I had no leftover turkey as I traveled for the holiday, but I did have some from the deli and, in need of lunch, made this sweet and savory salad. It was just the ticket for a day when, after boatloads of family dinners, my jeans were not exactly in their happy place. This meal is fast, nutritious, figure-friendly, and family-pleasing. Could you add a little of that leftover cranberry salad or relish off to the side of the plate? I’m thinking you could. Happy Giving Tuesday!
STILL HAVE FROZEN TURKEY? Take out a bit, unthaw, and use that. By the way, your frozen turkey is at its best-tasting for 2-3 months if it’s wrapped properly and stored at 0 degrees Fahrenheit, according to STILL TASTY DOT COM, my go-to for storage questions. If it’s in your refrigerator since last Thursday, it’s past time to throw it away; it was good/safe for 3-4 days only. In fact, even simple vegetables cooked Thanksgiving day and stored in the refrigerator should be tossed after today. Sad, I know.
TURKEY-ACORN SQUASH SALAD WITH APPLES AND PARMESAN DRESSING
- 2 cups mixed greens of your choice–I like Romaine
- Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
- 1 cup chopped or sliced cooked turkey (breast or dark meat)
- 1 acorn squash, cooked, peeled, and sliced thinly*
- 1 apple, cored and sliced thinly, but unpeeled
- 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
- 2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
- Parmesan dressing (recipe below)
Place a cup of greens and 1/2 cup turkey at the center of a large plate; mix a bit and season with salt and pepper. Place squash and apples around the greens in a circle, alternating as shown. Drizzle salad with one tablespoon orange juice and sprinkle with a tablespoon of pumpkin seeds. Spoon on a little dressing to taste and grind a little more pepper over everything. Repeat with second plate and serve immediately.
*To cook acorn squash quickly: Cut in half and place halves cut-side down in a 9-inch square microwave-safe glass dish with 1/4 cup of water. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and cook at full power for 5-7 minutes or until tender. The squash could take longer to cook if it’s larger; mine was fairly small. Uncover carefully (it’s hot!) and let rest 10 minutes or until cool enough to handle. Using a small, sharp knife, peel the squash and slice into 1/4-inch pieces.
PARMESAN DRESSING: In a small bowl, whisk together 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar with a few grinds of black pepper and a good pinch of salt; stir in a 1/2 teaspoon of honey and let sit a few minutes. Whisk in slowly 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil until well-blended. Stir in 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese and a tablespoon of mayonnaise. Mix until well-blended.
Dieting note: If you’re seriously counting calories, skip the dressing. Squeeze a bit more orange juice on the salad and drizzle just a teaspoon of olive oil over all. The oil comes in at 40 calories and our bodies need it!
I was in Florida for Thanksgiving enjoying incredible sunrises and sunsets. That’s the reason for the deli turkey in my photo as I ate my leftovers down south, you see. I made Thanksgiving dinner together with Dave and my sister’s family and it all came out beautifully. Somehow it usually does. We didn’t overthink it, but made a fresh turkey, two kinds each of stuffing (oyster and sausage) and potatoes (mashed and au gratin), cumin carrots, green beans with bacon and onions, hot and spicy cranberry sauce, gratinée of cauliflower from Silver Palate–often referred to as “that cauliflower dish”– and a staple for 30 years on my Thanksgiving table, homemade crescent rolls straight out of Betty Crocker, and of course Helen’s Cherry Pie:
as well as my own pumpkin pie with whipped cream. There definitely was a wee dram of brandy in the coffee for afterwards.
Dave grilled the perfect small turkey, though I missed getting any photos of it! Somehow it didn’t taste grilled at all–it was as if it just came out of the oven. It was ready nearly an hour ahead of its E.T.A., so we wrapped it tightly with foil and made haste with the rest of dinner. It was warm and juicy and… well, I have no complaints. On Wednesday, I roasted turkey wings so that I could use their drippings and make gravy ahead as I didn’t think I’d have drippings from the grilled turkey. (Turns out I did have some, but it was too late.) Having the gravy ready the day before the turkey is cooked was a lovely idea whose time has come. I might do it again just for grins. I did not use this recipe, but it’s much like I made my gravy.
When we returned, the dogs went crazy–laughing and running for fifteen minutes…and then collapsed on the floor:
Happy week after Thanksgiving…enjoy your Advent if that’s something in your life. Winter blessings.
Sing a new song,