Leftover turkey breast shines in this spinach salad with spiralized butternut squash and apple in a sesame-tinged dressing for a full meal dinner or super easy and delicious lunch with mega crunch.
There’s nothing better than helping someone in need, and if you’ve ever had a newborn, you know you need all the help you can get. So when Ali of the food blog Inspiralized asked me if I’d be interested in sharing a recipe on her site while she was on maternity leave, I said yes in a heartbeat, because sharing recipes is a whole lot more fun than changing diapers.
The Inspiralizer has become one of my all-time favorite kitchen gadgets because it inspires healthful eating and makes regular old veggies and fruits look totally unique. Plus, it’s really kind of fun to use. If you don’t have one yet, you really should add it to your wish list.
It’s no secret that Ali is an Inspiralizer genius and her two cookbooks are proof in the curly-cued veggie pudding and they’ve inspired me to share this Thai Zucchini Noodle and Quinoa Salad recipe as well as this Caprese Zucchini Salad recipe from her first cookbook.
Now, from her second cookbook, Inspiralize Everything, I’m sharing this totally unique spin (literally) on what to make with leftover Thanksgiving turkey. Because you can only eat so many turkey and stuffing sandwiches before the scale totally tips in the wrong direction.
About This Spinach Salad
This salad is the epitome of fall salads and is totally filling all on its own. It’s fresh flavors and veggie crunch will absolutely pull you out of your post-Thanksgiving Day rut, but because I love baking a turkey breast for my daughter’s weekly school lunches (this is my favorite way to bake an always juicy turkey breast) I can make this salad any old time I want.
Spiralized vegetables and fruit are an easy and healthful way to get in your daily 5-a-day in and with this salad, you’ll only have one left to add in.
First, spiralized squash is roasted in the oven so it lightly caramelizes and becomes sweeter in flavor while holding it’s earthy bite. In Ali’s original recipe, she used a large Asian pear to complement the fall flavors. But true to form, I didn’t have time for the store-bought pears to ripen on the counter before making this salad so I used a crunchy Honeycrisp apple instead, and spiralizing it gave it a whole new apple-esqu appeal.
Tip: If you’re spiralizing the apple in advance, store it covered in a bit of water with a touch of lemon juice so it doesn’t discolor.
After spiralizing, be sure to trim both the butternut squash and the apple with kitchen scissors, cutting them into more manageable lengths.
Bright pomegranate seeds add a sweet but tart bite to the earthy roasted squash and savory turkey and paired with pecans and goat cheese, it’s like a flavor explosion with each bite.
I like to roast my pecans before chopping to deepen their flavor. To do so, simply add the whole or roughly chopped pecans to a dry fry-pan over medium-high heat. Let them cook for 1 minute or so undisturbed then move them around so they toast but don’t burn. Pull from the heat as soon as they begin to golden and become fragrant, then give them a rough chop and add to the salad.
But the crowning moment for this salad may actually be the simple, Asian-style sesame-flavored dressing, sweetened with a bit of maple syrup. Ali calls for apple cider vinegar here, but I used rice wine vinegar instead. Either one would be totally interchangeable and absolutely delicious. My favorite way to make homemade salad dressings is to add all the ingredients to a small glass jar with a fitted lid, then simply shake vigorously until all the ingredients fold together. This makes it easy to store any leftover dressing with one less dish to clean, too.
If you’re looking for more healthy recipes that start by spiralizing, check out my list of 20 Inspiring Spiralized Recipes and then get into the kitchen and spin something good.
- For the Salad
- 1 medium butternut squash, peeled, spiralized with Blade B, and noodles trimmed
- Cooking spray
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 5 ounces of fresh baby spinach
- 1 large Honeycrisp apple, or Asian pear, sprialized with Blade D
- 1 pound roasted turkey, shredded or cut into bite size pieces
- ½ cup pomegranate seeds
- ½ cup chopped toasted pecans
- ½ cup crumbled goat cheese
- For the Vinaigrette
- 2 tablespoons vinegar, either apple cider or rice wine vinegar depending on your preference
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon sesame seeds (white or black)
- 1 garlic clove, minced or pressed
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the butternut squash noodles on the baking sheet, spacing them evenly. Lightly coat with cooking spray and season with kosher salt and black pepper, Roast for 10 minutes or until they lose that raw flavor and are softened.
- Meanwhile, make the vinaigrette. In a small bowl or a jar with a tight fitting lid, add all the vinaigrette ingredients and either whisk or shake the jar until the ingredients are emulsified. Set aside.
- Add the spinach to a large serving bowl with the spiralized apple or pear, butternut squash, and the turkey. Top with half of the pomegranate seeds and pecans and drizzle with the dressing and toss to coat. Top with the rest of the pomegranate seeds, pecans and the goat cheese, season more to taste and serve.
More Salads that Act As a Main Meal
- Ahi Tuna Poke Salad with Mango
- Autumn Cobb Salad
- Citrus Shrimp and Avocado Salad
- Balsamic Skirt Steak Salad with Stone Fruit
- Italian Chopped Salad with Marinated Chickpeas
This recipe was originally shared on Inspiralized.
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