Blueberry Turkey Panzanella Salad

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Blueberry Turkey Panzanella Salad |

So, this twist on an Italian peasant dish was created from three inspirations that came together:

1) Wondering why I only cook turkey one day out of the year?
2) The current trend of using fruit & spices, which are usually designated to sweet recipes, in savory preparations
3) A recent craving for a simple bread salad

All the above inspirations were sparked when I learned about the “Mama’s Plate Update” Blueberry Blogger Recipe Contest. There are many days I wish we had access to a blueberry bush  because we go through them like mad in this house. My 5 year daughter likes to make blueberry soup (1. add blueberries to bowl, 2. pour in the milk, 3. eat with a spoon.) but that’s really as fancy as it gets – 99% of the time, we are just eating them out of hand.

So I got to thinking about using blueberries in any type of recipe besides a dessert (reference inspiration #2 above.) Here Thanksgiving leftovers (turkey, days old baguette, extra blue cheese crumbles and pecans) sure came in handy. I used blueberries both in the salad and as a base for the Blueberry Lemon Vinaigrette dressing.

Blueberry Turkey Panzanella Salad |

The result? An explosion of flavors and textures that definitely woke up my lunch time routine. My early new year’s resolution is to cook turkey more often and use the leftovers to make this salad.

Blueberry Turkey Panzanella Salad

Makes 6-8 servings


    For the salad:
  • 2 cups cooked turkey breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 3/4 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup red onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup blue cheese crumbles
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, torn
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3 cups day old bread (like sourdough, baguette or crusty Italian bread), toasted and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • For the dressing:
  • 2/3 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon champagne or white wine vinegar
  • Juice and zest of one small lemon
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Salt & pepper to taste


  1. In a large serving bowl, toss together turkey, 1 cup blueberries, tomatoes, onion, blue cheese, pecans, mint and pepper. Add in bread pieces and gently mix together. Set aside.
  2. In a blender, add 2/3 cup blueberries, oil, vinegar, lemon juice, lemon zest and sugar. Blend well and strain. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Pour about a third of the blueberry dressing over the turkey/bread mixture. Toss gently until thoroughly incorporated.
  4. When serving, pour remaining blueberry dressing in serving pitcher and place next to salad bowl so everyone can add extra dressing as they wish.

Blueberry Turkey Panzanella Salad |
For more ways to expand your blueberry recipe horizons (beyond the pancakes and muffins!) check out

Disclaimer: By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.

Do you have any favorite savory fruit recipes? How often do you cook turkey (if ever)?

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  1. says

    This looks delicious – can’t wait to try!
    I have been making a lot of soups lately; and using an immersion blender makes the whole process quick. I felt the same way about pumpkin as you did about turkey; why only once a year? And why only in pie? I have been fun taking fresh pumpkin and turning it into soup, muffins and salads. Yum! Here is my recipe for pumpkin and pear soup:!/2012/10/scrumptious-soup-pumpkin-and-pear.html
    Holly recently posted..Scrumptious Soups: The Green Machine – Creamed Celery and Spinach SoupMy Profile

  2. says

    This is my first time here.
    I just imagine how tasty this salad is…It will be in my list what-to-cook-soon.
    I love how vibrant and healthy it is. Thanks for sharing the recipe. Instead of turkey, I’ll use roasted chicken — but I will switch to turkey on the holidays. 😉


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