Can you make turkey salad without mayonnaise? Yes! This turkey salad no mayo recipe uses a high protein curry yogurt sauce in place of the mayo. Swapping your mayo for nonfat Greek yogurt makes this turkey salad low fat and low calorie while remaining delicious! Serve this cherry and pistachio studded turkey curry in lettuce cups, or make it a sandwich with your favorite bread.
I'm offering up a low calorie turkey leftover recipe today! These turkey curry salad sandwiches are a recipe update from 2019. I've tweaked the recipe and added new photos and a video. Enjoy!
This light dish features unsweetened dried cherries, pistachios, and pears that provide a variety of textures and flavors. We've also got a high protein curry yogurt sauce to bring on a little heat! It's a novel way to serve up your leftover turkey and get back on track after the holiday.
The sauce is a super way to integrate yogurt into a high protein curry. Since the sauce does not get heated, there are no worries the yogurt will become grainy (as it may with heated curries).
Turkey is a healthy lean protein, but leftovers can become rather monotonous. Don't forget that you can use turkey in just about any way that you would use chicken. That includes curry meals!
What are the benefits of making turkey salad without mayo?
- It's a great recipe to use holiday turkey leftovers. Try making these turkey curry salad sandwiches if you want to use your Christmas or Thanksgiving turkey leftovers. This recipe also works with leftover chicken or diced deli turkey (thickly sliced).
- Using non-fat plain Greek yogurt instead of mayo increases protein and calcium. Mayonnaise is an added fat which has a very small serving size. When you replace mayo with high protein Greek yogurt, you are adding the dairy food group to your meal. Your sandwiches will have more of the nutrients that support healthy bones and muscles, such as calcium and protein.
- The high protein curry yogurt sauce is a lighter option than mayo. Aside from being more nutrient-dense, the curried yogurt sauce is a low fat and low calorie alternative to mayo. Having some lighter recipes to use post-holiday can help keep you on track with a weight maintenance or weight loss goal.
- This turkey salad can be easily customized to fit your taste preferences. Don't like pears? Make your turkey salad with apples or grapes instead! You could also swap out the dried cherries to make turkey salad with cranberries (dried cranberries would be best here).
Ingredients for Turkey Salad with Curry Yogurt Sauce
This turkey salad without mayonnaise doesn't require many ingredients. (Hey, if you're making this recipe after a holiday, you've probably spent more than enough time in the stores recently!) Here's what you need:
- Shredded or chopped leftover turkey breast (using leftover rotisserie chicken would be fine here too)
- Chopped pears (remove the seeds but no need to peel them)
- Sweet dried cherries, halved (try to get ones with no added sugar)
- Chopped pistachio nuts
- Non-fat, plain Greek yogurt (regular yogurt makes a thinner curry yogurt sauce that is lower in protein)
- Fresh squeezed orange juice
- Orange zest
- Curry powder (use your favorite store-bought or homemade curry blend)
- Black pepper and salt, to taste
The sweetness in this recipe is coming from the pears and the dried cherries. Make sure to use very ripe pears here. You could also add more cherries for additional sweetness (though this will change the nutrition information).
In addition to the turkey salad ingredients, you should also have some sandwich wrappers and trimmings on hand. At the minimum, I recommend the following:
- Bread slices (toasted, if desired)
- Butterhead lettuce leaves (can be used as a sandwich trimming or as a lettuce cup if you want to skip the bread)
- Fresh tomato slices
Why not set up a sandwich bar? Your family members can decide whether they'd prefer a bready sandwich, a lettuce wrapper, or a mix of both!
Bread for Turkey Salad with no Mayo
Sometimes I use the Food for Life 7-Sprouted Grains Bread for these sandwiches. The packaging states this bread is flourless since they use whole sprouted grains. Here are the whole grains they use:
- Brown rice
This product also contains malted barley, barley that was germinated in water and then dried. In addition, this bread contains wheat gluten, a protein composite found in certain grains.
Even though this bread counts as ultra-processed food, I would count it as a "better for you" option. However, you have many alternatives if you would prefer to use something else for your sandwich fillings.
If you want a bread option that is not ultra-processed, some sourdough breads are made with flour, water, and salt only. I have instructions on how to make sourdough bread starter and bread if you want to try making it on your own.
If you want to go the store-bought route, minimally processed sourdough is typically found in the bakery section, not the grocery store's bread aisle. Unfortunately, these offerings are often refined grain products. Also, they are no lower in calories than typical breads.
For a lighter sandwich wrap, try one of these options:
- Sandwich wrappers made with leafy greens: One example from this website is the Sardine Salad with collard green wraps. Another is the Chicken Salad with Apples and Pecans, which uses butterhead lettuce leaves to hold the sandwich filling.
- Low-calorie bread: Choosing a low-calorie bread can save you anywhere from 25-100 calories per slice. Often these breads are packed with fiber and thus are low in net carbs as well. These are considered ultra-processed products but may help you to maintain a calorie deficit.
- Make open faced sandwiches: Lighten your meal by using half the bread.
How to Make Turkey Salad without Mayo
Ok, let's get to it! If you haven't, chop or shred the cooked turkey. You should also chop the pears, juice and zest an orange, and cut the dried cherries in half.
Combine the turkey, pears, cherries, pistachios, yogurt, curry powder, salt, pepper, orange juice, and zest in a large bowl. (Yes, basically just throw everything into the bowl. Lol) Stir well, thoroughly combining the ingredients.
This recipe makes enough for four servings of three lettuce wraps or sandwiches per person. To make the sandwich, top your bread with a butterhead lettuce leaf, a tomato slice, and the no mayo turkey salad. To make a lettuce cup, simply put a small scoop of salad in the middle of a clean lettuce leaf.
I love these picks that look like little swords for securing the sandwiches. If you have kids, small finishing touches like this make dinner a little more fun.
Hello, easy dinner! You've saved me on many a busy evening.
How to Make Curry Yogurt Sauce
I could have taken an extra step in this recipe, mixing the curry yogurt sauce before adding it to the turkey. Honestly though, the results are identical to when we mix all of the salad ingredients together at once. Why dirty another bowl if you don't have to?
That said, if you want to have the high protein curry yogurt sauce available for dipping or another recipe, you could make it separately. Simply stir the yogurt, curry powder, black pepper, orange juice, and orange zest together. If it is too thick, try thinning it with a little more orange juice, milk, or water.
But how to use curry yogurt sauce? Try putting a little on fish (such as salmon), vegetables (cauliflower would be nice), or chicken. It might be nice drizzled over a salad of leafy greens for a kick of spicy flavor.
Expert Tips from a Dietitian
This is a level 1 recipe (may help support fat loss). This is a low fat recipe that is high in protein. Though I normally give recipes with dried fruits a bump to level 3, there is a minimal amount here per serving. If you serve this no mayo turkey salad in lettuce cups, you've got a low calorie meal.
This turkey salad recipe makes four servings of three sandwiches each. The Food for Life bread discussed above is 80 calories per slice. A meal of three sandwiches would provide 480 calories from the bread alone.
Three butterhead lettuce leaves provide a mere six calories (per Cronometer). That means you'll save 474 calories per meal when you substitute lettuce cups for bread. If you have a weight loss goal and are looking to lighten up your meals, that is a big difference!
Technically, you can eat whatever you'd like while losing weight. However, the nutrient-dense food choices that leave you feeling satisfied may help you maintain a calorie deficit without relying on willpower.
Most breads are not the best choices for satiety. They tend to be low in protein, fiber, and water compared to other options.
Additionally, most ultra-processed grain products (breakfast cereals, granolas, cookies, bread, etc.) provide 12-20 small servings (or more) per package! The calories can add up quickly since few follow the serving size listed on the label. The Food for Life bread I recommended is kept in the freezer, making it easier to portion just a slice or two.
But what if you're looking for a high calorie turkey salad recipe without mayo? Increase the energy density of this recipe by using whole milk yogurt in place of the non-fat. Serve the sandwiches on bread, not lettuce cups, and add more dried cherries and pistachios. Yum!
What are some other high protein recipes?
Are you looking to eat more protein? This turkey salad without mayo is a great start, but don't miss these:
- Easy Stir Fry Vegetables Recipe with Chicken
- Chick Fil A Superfood Salad Copycat Recipe
- Keto Crustless Quiche | High Protein Frittata
- Shrimp Chowder (New England Style)
- Proats Recipe: Egg White Oatmeal
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does turkey salad last in the fridge?
As with most leftovers, your turkey salad should last 3-4 days in the fridge. Keep in mind that the pears may brown, and the salad may not look as good as when freshly made. If liquid begins to separate from your turkey salad, simply stir it back in before making wraps with it.
Can you freeze turkey salad?
Some turkey salad recipes freeze better than others. I don't recommend freezing this turkey salad without mayo because the curry yogurt sauce will become watery when it thaws. Additionally, the texture of the fresh pears will change with freezing.
Instead of having to freeze leftover turkey salad, try making only the amount you'll use in 3-4 days. This recipe can easily be halved if needed. Any cooked turkey that isn't used to make salads can be frozen; cooked turkey freezes very well.
When you are ready for more turkey salad, simply thaw your cooked turkey meat and make a fresh salad with it. This is the best way to avoid the texture issues that can arise with freezing.
How many calories are in a turkey salad sandwich?
The precise number of calories in a turkey salad sandwich will depend on the ingredients that you use. A serving of this turkey salad in lettuce wraps (i.e., three wraps with no bread) is approximately 337 calories. A serving of this turkey salad on bread (i.e., three sandwiches) is approximately 811 calories.
Since this is a turkey salad recipe with no mayo, let's compare the calories using non-fat Greek yogurt versus mayo. Non-fat Greek yogurt has 90 calories per ¾-cup, while mayo has 100 calories per tablespoon.
This recipe contains ¼-cup of non-fat Greek yogurt per serving or 30 calories of yogurt. An equivalent volume of mayo (i.e., ¼-cup) clocks in at 400 calories. (Of course, it would be a good idea to modify the recipe if you're substituting mayo for the yogurt.)
I'm not mentioning this to say you should necessarily be tracking your calorie intake (some find tracking helpful, others don't). However, I think it's good to be aware of how making some simple recipe substitutions can greatly impact a dish in terms of nutrition.
What are some other ways to make turkey salad without mayo?
I used seasoned Greek yogurt here, but there are many other ways to make a no mayo turkey salad, some dairy free. Here are a few more ways to substitute for mayonnaise in sandwiches:
- Guacamole or mashed avocado
- Hummus (thinned with a bit of water if too thick)
- Blended and seasoned silken tofu
- Herbed white bean spread (thinned with water if too thick)
- Red bell pepper spread
- Peanut sauce
- Vinaigrette dressing with olive oil, lime juice or lemon juice, and Dijon mustard
More Turkey Recipes That You May Enjoy
Looking for more healthy recipes using turkey that you can "gobble gobble"? (Ok, ok, that was really bad. Lol) Here are some other delicious turkey recipes that you can try next:
- Turkey Meatballs with Zucchini Meatballs and Sauce – Gluten Free!
- Turkey Leftover Meals: Greek Salad Meal Prep
- Air Fryer Turkey Burgers with Sriracha Mayo
- Ground Turkey Jerky Recipe – No Dehydrator Needed! (low carb)
- Turkey Soup with Wild Rice Recipe (Crockpot)
And now for the disclaimer…
All recipes on this website may or may not be appropriate for you, depending on your medical needs and personal preferences. Consult with a registered dietitian or your physician if you need help determining the dietary pattern that may be best for you.
The nutrition information is an estimate provided as a courtesy. It will differ depending on the specific brands and ingredients that you use. Calorie information on food labels may be wildly inaccurate, so please don't sweat the numbers too much.
For more information on how the three recipe levels may help with a weight management goal, refer to my overnight oats with yogurt post. Let's get cooking!
Turkey Salad Without Mayo | High Protein Curry Yogurt Sauce
- 3 cups cooked turkey breast, chopped or shredded (one pound)
- 1½ cups finely chopped pears (½-inch pieces)
- 1 cup Greek yogurt, non-fat (plain, unsweetened)
- 6 tablespoons dried sweet cherries, halved (try to find ones with no added sugar)
- 6 tablespoons pistachios, chopped
- 1-1½ tablespoons curry powder (use your favorite blend, store-bought or homemade)
- ½ tablespoon orange juice, freshly squeezed
- ¼ teaspoon orange zest
- salt and black pepper, to taste
- whole-grain bread
- 1 head butterhead lettuce (or similar lettuce)
- 1 medium tomato, sliced
- Combine the turkey, pears, cherries, pistachios, yogurt, curry powder, salt, pepper, orange juice, and zest in a large bowl.
- Stir well to thoroughly combine all of the ingredients. Chill the turkey salad until serving time.
- This recipe makes enough salad for four servings of three lettuce wraps or three sandwiches per person. To make the sandwich, top your bread with a butterhead lettuce leaf, a tomato slice, and the no mayo turkey salad. To make a lettuce cup, simply put a small scoop of salad in the middle of a clean lettuce leaf.
- For easier eating, cut each sandwich in half and secure each half with a small skewer or cocktail pick. I used picks that look like little swords. It's OK to have some fun with your food!
This is a level 1 recipe (may help support fat loss). This is a low fat recipe that is high in protein. Though I normally give recipes with dried fruits a bump to level 3, there is a minimal amount here per serving. If you serve this no mayo turkey salad in lettuce cups, you've got a low calorie meal. This turkey salad recipe makes four servings of three sandwiches each. The Food for Life bread discussed above is 80 calories per slice. A meal of three sandwiches would provide 480 calories from the bread alone. Three butterhead lettuce leaves provide a mere six calories (per Cronometer). That means you'll save 474 calories per meal when you substitute lettuce cups for bread. If you have a weight loss goal and are looking to lighten up your meals, that is a big difference! Technically, you can eat whatever you'd like while losing weight. However, the nutrient-dense food choices that leave you feeling satisfied may help you maintain a calorie deficit without relying on willpower. Most breads are not the best choices for satiety. They tend to be low in protein, fiber, and water compared to other options. Additionally, most ultra-processed grain products (breakfast cereals, granolas, cookies, bread, etc.) provide 12-20 small servings (or more) per package! The calories can add up quickly since few follow the serving size listed on the label. The Food for Life bread I recommended is kept in the freezer, making it easier to portion just a slice or two. But what if you're looking for a high calorie turkey salad recipe without mayo? Increase the energy density of this recipe by using whole milk yogurt in place of the non-fat. Serve the sandwiches on bread, not lettuce cups, and add more dried cherries and pistachios. Yum! Nutrition information is for one serving of the recipe and includes the turkey salad only, without bread or sandwich trimmings.