This turkey pasta salad is packed with fresh ingredients, with a creamy maple tahini dressing. Perfect for BBQs, potlucks and summer picnics, it will be a sure-fire hit with friends and family and is super easy to make!
Check out my turkey cranberry cream cheese sandwich as another lunch option!
Pasta salad is one of the those real crowd-pleasers of a dish. Loved by both adults and kids alike, it's the tasty and healthy side dish that is a staple of summer gatherings and works so well with both hot and cold dishes.
If you love this type of recipe then do check out my roasted vegetable pasta salad and my cucumber dill pasta salad, both of which are tasty vegetarian options. And for another pasta idea that uses tahini sauce, my creamy tahini pasta is so good for an easy evening meal!
This turkey pasta salad is made without mayo, and instead has a creamy tahini dressing making it suitable as a dairy-free salad. It's packed with healthy vegetables, herbs and of course the best comfort food that is pasta!
⭐ Why this recipe is so good
The best side for summer gatherings. Pasta salad always goes down well with a crowd! Take to summer BBQs, cook outs and potlucks.
A Thanksgiving buffet idea. Have a packet of turkey left over in the fridge? Then this salad is perfect for a Thanksgiving buffet!
Dairy-free. This pasta salad uses a tahini dressing so it is dairy-free, and it can also be gluten free if you use alternative pasta.
Fresh ingredients. We cook and shred the turkey so it is fresh, making it more suitable for my low histamine readers. Plus lots of vegetables and herbs for crunch and flavour!
All the ingredients are set out in the recipe card below, but some notes on a few of them:
- Turkey breast fillets. We use turkey breast in this recipe, which we cook and then shred ourselves. If pre-prepared shredded turkey works for you, then you can of course skip these steps.
- Pasta. You can use any type of pasta you prefer, but I suggest fusilli is best for a pasta salad as it picks up the dressing so well.
- Tahini. To make the dressing. I suggest using light tahini (sometimes called pale tahini) which is made of hulled sesame as it has a lighter taste.
📖 Variations to the recipe
For the pasta, you can easily swap out for gluten free pasta if you are on a gluten free diet.
If tahini isn't your thing, and mayo works for you (perhaps not for my low histamine readers), then use in place of the tahini.
If lemon is suitable for you, then you can swap out in place of the apple cider vinegar.
🔪 Step by step instructions
Just four simple steps to make your turkey pasta salad recipe!
Fry the turkey in a little olive oil until cooked through. You may wish to cut the turkey breasts into smaller pieces first for ease of cooking. Check for an internal temperature of 165F and that the meat is white throughout. Set aside to cool.
Cook the pasta according to packet instructions. Once cooked, place in a colander to drain, and drizzle a little olive oil on it to help prevent it sticking together.
Once the turkey is cooled, shred using two forks (or a mixer if you have the suitable attachment). Hold the turkey with one fork then shred with the other.
Make the tahini dressing by combining the tahini and water and stirring well until it becomes creamy. Adjust with more water if required. Then add the remaining dressing ingredients and stir well to combine.
Combine the pasta, vegetables, turkey and herbs in a bowl and drizzle on the dressing. Stir well to combine.
💭 Recipe tips
- You can either shred the turkey with two forks (as I do) or if you have a mixer with the suitable attachment, that is an alternative way to do it.
- Drizzle the cooked pasta, once cooled, with a little olive oil to help prevent it from sticking together.
- Adjust the tahini dressing to taste and texture preference. Add more water to thin, and more tahini to thicken.
📋 Frequently asked questions
Yes, if it it works for you then this is a great way to use your leftover Thanksgiving turkey or from holiday celebrations!
Of course, simply swap out for mayo if you like.
If meal prep works for you (likely not my low histamine readers), then this is such a good recipe to make ahead for summer picnics, BBQs or holiday get-togethers.
⏲️ Freezing guidance
This turkey pasta salad doesn't work well in terms of freezing and is best eaten on the day it is made.
🥗 More tasty salad recipes
Salads are perfect for summer, and for taking to enjoy alongside BBQ food, or with picnic recipes. There are many to choose from on my salads page, but a few recent recipes to try out:
Turkey Pasta Salad
- 3 cups pasta uncooked weight
- 2 cups turkey breast
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 celery stick diced
- 6 radishes sliced
- 1 carrot grated
- 2 green onion diced, optional
- 1 cup basil leaves loosely packed, torn
- ⅛ cup mint leaves loosely packed, torn
- Lightly drizzle a pan with olive oil and fry the turkey for 5-6 minutes each side, or until cooked through to an internal temperature of 165F. Set aside to cool.
- Cook the pasta according to packet instructions. Set aside, and drizzle with a little olive oil to help prevent it from sticking together.
- Shred the turkey with two forks or use a mixer to do so.
- Make the tahini dressing by combining the tahini and water and stirring until it forms a creamy dressing. Then add the other dressing ingredients and stir again. Adjust with more water to thin, or more tahini to thicken, to taste preference.
- Combine the turkey, pasta, vegetables and herbs in your bowl and stir through the tahini dressing. Season with salt, and black pepper, if using.
- If pre-cooked turkey or leftovers works for you, then this can used in place of cooking and shredding the turkey yourself. This would likely not be suitable for my low histamine readers.
- Most varieties of pasta work well. I use fusilli, but macaroni and others are good too!
- Thin the tahini dressing with more water, or thicken with more tahini to taste preference.
- If regular wheat pasta isn't suitable for you, then swap out for an alternative such as brown rice pasta.
- Please note that nutritional information is offered as a courtesy. It is auto-generated and should be understood to be an estimate.
- green onion isn't rated on the SIGHI list.
- tahini (sesame), which scores 1. Only use if you know you tolerate well as sesame is a potential allergen.
- apple cider vinegar, which scores 1.
- black pepper, which scores 2.
- pasta (wheat), which scores 1.