turkey salad recipe

Leftover Turkey Salad

Turkey leftovers? This unpretentious salad is simple, classic and makes a delicious lunch the day after. You can also use chicken instead of turkey.

Serves 4


1 lb cooked turkey meat (preferably breast), cut into small cubes

½ cup diced Honeycrisp or Fuji apples, about ½ an apple

¾ cup diced celery, about 3 stalks (save some leaves for garnish)

1 tablespoon finely chopped shallots

1/3 cup light Mayonnaise

1/3 cup sour cream

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon lemon juice

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley

½ cup almonds (or walnuts), lightly toasted

4 slices multi-grain bread


  • In a bowl, place the turkey, apples, celery and shallots.
  • In a different bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, sour cream, mustard and lemon juice. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
  • Pour the sauce into the salad and fold everything with a rubber spatula.
  • Add the parsley and almonds and fold again.
  • Toast a slice of multigrain bread and pour the salad on top. Garnish with some celery leaves.


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At Home With Natalie Morales

Natalie Morales: What You See Is What You Get


It’s a phenomenal career trajectory for Natalie Leticia Morales, who went from East coast to West coast as the anchor of the Today Show, and just came out with a gorgeous cookbook titled At Home with Natalie (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2018).

Wait. Natalie Leticia Morales? Yes, we share the name Leticia! And that’s just the beginning, we also share a passion for Brazilian culture and cooking!

At Home with Natalie, features recipes like Tortilla Espanola, Huevos Rancheros, Ropa Vieja, Brazilian Style Kebabs, Black Bean Veggie Burger, Berry Parfait with Coconut Granola Crumble to name a few.The book really feels like a rare invitation to her home, to meet her family and cook recipes that belong in her cultural backround.

The first time I went on the Today Show, I was promoting my own cookbook The Brazilian Kitchen. I was incredibly nervous and excited to do a segment with Natalie, whose mother is Brazilian and speaks fluent Portuguese and Spanish. She also lived in Brazil, Panama, and Spain as a “U.S. Air Force brat”, so I knew I had to make things right.

Natalie and me on the set of Today Show
Natalie and me, on the set of Today Show


I was wondering if she would make me feel nervous during the segment. She didn’t. I was wondering if she would be as kind in person as she appears on TV. She was. I was wondering if she would look as beautiful in person as she is on TV. Even more! I was wondering if she would write a blurb for my book. She did! And it helped me tremendously!

With Natalie, it’s like this: What you see is what you get!

If you are as big a fan of Natalie as I am, you can get more of her in the cookbook. I have been making the recipes mentioned above and I’m delighted to share one my favorite recipes from her book here on my blog. This Healthy Sweet Potato Salad is pretty easy to prepare and already became part of my lunch repertoire.

You can also watch Natalie anchoring Access Hollywood on NBC with co-host Kit Hoover.

To know more about Natalie, visit her web site Natalie Morales.me


Healthy Sweet Potato Salad

Sweet Potato Salad adapted from At Home with Natalie
Sweet Potato Salad, adapted from At Home With Natalie


Serves 6

4 large sweet potatoes (2 ½ to 3lbs), peeled, and cut into 1-inch cubes

½ cup + 3 tablespoons EVOO

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

1 cup tiny sliced celery (about 3 stalks)

½ small red onion, thinly sliced

½ cup thawed and shelled frozen edamame

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

1 tablespoon minced fresh chives

Toasted pepitas

  • Pre-heat the oven to 400˚F.
  • Put the cubed potatoes on a large baking sheet, drizzle with 3 tablespoons olive oil, ensuring all of the cubes are coated. Spread the potatoes in a single layer. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes, until the potatoes are tender and browned, stirring them halfway through roasting time. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, stir together the celery, red onion, and edamame. Stir the potatoes into the onion mixture and set aside.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining ¼ cup olive oil, lemon juice, and mustard. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the potatoes and toss gently. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the parsley and chives and serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate, adding the herbs just before serving. Sprinkle with pepitas if you like to add crunch.
Summer lobster rolls

Summer Lobster Rolls

Oh, do I love sunny days in Connecticut! Every ray of sun, every piece of light I get in my kitchen it is used with a purpose. And then, art, creativity, cooking and writing happens all together. If there is a recipe with the face of summer—is Lobster Rolls. Cook it today, cook it tomorrow, but cook this summer!


Makes 6 to 8 rolls


Lobster Rolls

For the Salad:

3 hard boiled eggs, chopped

1 bunch chives, chopped

4 celery sticks, diced (save leaves to use as herbs)

2 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley

1 ¼ pounds (about 3 ½ cups) cooked lobster meat, cut into ½-inch pieces ***

2 tablespoons capers, roughly chopped

¼ cup store bought whole mustard vinaigrette (more if needed)

¼ cup light mayonnaise

grated zest of 1 lemon

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper


For the Rolls:

8 hot dog rolls

½ stick butter, melted

  • Prepare the salad: in a large bowl mix all of the ingredients together and fold carefully, making sure each and every ingredient is well coated with vinaigrette and mayonnaise. Season with salt and pepper and taste. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour to allow flavors to blend. Taste and season again if necessary.
  • Warm a pancake pan or griddle. Open hot dog rolls and brush them with melted butter, making sure they remain attached in the middle). Working in batches, place rolls cut side down and sear them until they are golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Flip them and heat lightly on the other side, about another minute. Transfer to a plate.
  • Spoon about ¾ cup into each roll and top with arugula. Sprinkle some crystal salt and serve immediately.

*** If you prefer to buy live lobsters and cook them yourself, 3 to 4 two-pounders will yield 1 ¼ pounds of lobster meat.




Melon with Prosciutto Di Parma

Melon with Prosciutto Di Parma

Melon with Prosciutto Di Parma was really the first fancy food I ever tasted and loved when I was a kid in Brazil.
I can’t possibly understand why this dish went out of style.
It’s Italian simplicity in its glory. All you need is two ingredients: a good melon and a few slices of paper-thin Prosciutto di Parma.

I don’t even know if I can call this a recipe. Would you? In that sense it’s like Salada Caprese, you know? Cut tomatoes, cut mozzarella. That’s Salada Caprese! Is this a recipe?

Who cares? Here is the guidance to prepare this ridiculously easy taste of glory.

A few variables to consider:
The prosciutto must be sliced paper thin. A little thicker and the magic is lost. Bum. Gone. So be sure to tell your deli guy to follow suite. Can you use any other prosciutto? Sure, as long as it’s the style of Parma ham. They usually have a few other types on the deli and indeed they are a just a few bucks less. Since you really don’t more than a couple of slice, my suggestion is to stick with Parma ham.

As for the melon, you can use any melon— as long as it’s ripeness is exalted.


Melon with Prosciutto Di Parma

½ Cantalupe melon, sliced lengthwise
¼ lb Prociutto di Parma
Kosher Salt or even better, crystal salt
Freshly ground pepper
Olive oil to drizzle

Arrange the melon on plate with slices of Prociutto on top of each.
Drizzle with olive oil and a few twists of freshly ground pepper.

Fruit Salad! Yummy Yummy!

Fruit Salad! Yummy Yummy!

Inspired by this very photo, from the beach sands of Buzios in Rio de Janeiro, here is a fruit salad that easy as 1-2-3!

Fruit Salad


Serves 4-6

1 cup (60g) dried coconut chips

¾ cup (175ml) cups orange juice (juice of 2 oranges)

2 tablespoons (42g) honey

1 cup (195g) diced pineapple, about a quarter of a pineapple

1 cup  (185g) diced mango, about 1 mango

1 cup (125g) raspberries, about 1 pint

1 cup (135g) quartered strawberries, about 6

1 cup (175g) halved seedless red grapes

1 cup (185g) diced ripe papaya, about 1 papaya)

1 ¼ cup (170g) diced banana, about 2

1 teaspoon finely grated lime zest

2 tablespoons fresh chopped mint

Pre heat the oven to 300˚F. Spread coconut ships on a small baking sheet and toast in the oven until lightly golden, rotating once during baking time, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and reserve.

  • In a small bowl whisk orange juice and honey.
  • In a large bowl mix all the fruit gently with a spatula. Pour the orange juice, lemon zest and mint. Fold carefully until all fruits are coated. Garnish with coconut chips on top.
  • Pour into serving bowls and eat fresh.


I can’t help but share a few other gorgeous photos I took I Búzios:

Ocean View from Orla Brigitte Bardot
Ocean View from Orla Brigitte Bardot


Rua das Pedras
Rua das Pedras






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Green Bean Salad

Green Bean Salad

Last week I did a cooking segment with Teresa Dufour and Ryan Kristafer at CT Style at ABC Network.

Teresa Dufour, me and Ryan Kristafer
Teresa Dufour, me and Ryan Kristafer

We featured this recipe from my cookbook My Rio de Janeiro and I’ve made twice since last week.

final RIO US front cover

In my book, I use Minas cheese

Minas cheese
Minas Cheese

which is typical from Brazil, but for the segment I used feat cheese to make it a little more familiar. Either cheese will wok. Goat cheese would also work great here!

You can also make this recipe with yellow wax beans or even purple beans ( same shape, just a color change). While there is not much flavor difference among them, they are all beautiful and can be interchangeable with the green counterpart.



Green Bean Salad

Serves 4


1½ lbs string beans, both ends trimmed

Kosher salt

1 garlic clove, minced

2 tablespoons lime juice

1 teaspoon soy sauce

Freshly Ground Pepper

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

½ cup (72g) Feta cheese crumbled

¼ cup thinly sliced red onion

1/3 cup (40g) Brazil nuts


  • Fill a large bowl with ice water. In a steamer or a pot fitted with a steaming basket, bring the water to a boil and place the string beans. Season with kosher salt, cover the pot, and steam until just tender, about 5 minutes. Remove the beans and transfer to the iced water. Set aside for 5 minutes. Remove from the ice water and spread the beans on a plate covered with paper towels to absorb any extra water. Let it air dry for 5 minutes.
  • In another bowl whisk together the garlic, lime juice, soy sauce, salt and pepper. While whisking, slowly add the olive oil to make an emulsion.
  • Place the beans in a bowl and pour enough dressing over to coat lightly, (reserve the rest for another use). Toss with the cheese, red onion and grade the Brazil nuts over the string beans with a microplaine.
  • Taste for seasoning and serve.



Avocado Salad

Winter in Rio – is there such a thing? On the first day in my hometown during my Brazilian vacation, I went to the local farmer’s market. You should see my face – I felt like a kid in a toy store! A glimpse of the stands reveals the bounty of the season in ingredients that screamed to be mixed: bell peppers, red onions, scallions, cilantro, and lots of avocados.

Most Brazilians think of avocados as a dessert fruit, but this time, I decided to approach the fruit the way we do in the US, where avocado is used in guacamoles, salads, rolls, tacos, and chilis.

Not an easy task though. Many Brazilians regard the handsome avocado the same way I do Mc Donald’s French fries, with an expression that says: “Stay away from me!”

For most Brazilians, there is no such thing as “healthy fat”. In our eyes, fat is fat. Period. However, after having experienced the sinfully rich taste of guacamoles, chiles, and salsas, and listening to nutritionists such as Joy Bauer from “The Today Show” explaining that as long as is natural is good for you, well, then, avocados allows us to savor the fat of the Earth!

So, with a bit of persuasion, and lots of tastings, I decided to try this avocado salad on my family and friends. The color is vibrant and the taste is exotic, almost carnavalesque. I prepared with plenty of peppers for crunch, and lime for and acidity. They couldn’t have enough of it!

What makes this salad so different is that unlike the majority of fruit, avocado is a fatty fruit – a natural one – giving a unique dynamic to the dish, which is not only good the day you make it, but gets even better the day after, when all the flavors blend. The result is refreshing and so very satisfying!

An American might look at this dish and call it a salsa. Well, it might be, but in Portuguese the concept of “salsa” is not as strongly defined as it is in English. In fact, we don’t even have the word “salsa”. You see, we run into problems like this more often that you can imagine. While there are so many words that cannot be translated from one language to another, the cooking vocabulary itself is full of them. Can someone help me translate the word “braise” into Portuguese? Or salsa? What is salsa anyway? If you translate it from Spanish, it means sauce, but in practice it also means a bunch of chopped fruit and/or vegetables mixed with herbs and vinaigrette. And how do you eat it? With just about with anything; as a side for fish, on a piece of toast, on a cracker, or pita– it’s a versatile salad.

Am I analyzing this simple recipe a bit too much? Hmm… I usually have a tendency to do that. If so, let’s stop right here. Get up, head to the kitchen, chop and mix this quick Brazilian salad, and in a matter of minutes, I guarantee you, there ‘will be nothing left to be analyzed.

Serve this salad cold, but not icy cold.

Avocado Salad

1 teaspoon minced garlic

2 avocados (about 220g), Hass, medium chopped

2 scallions, white and green parts, chopped, about 2 tablespoons

½ cup choped fresh parsley

½ cup (80g) red bell pepper

½ cup yellow bell pepper

1 cup (210g) chopped tomato

1 cup (130g) chopped red onion

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 teaspoon salt

Fresh black pepper to taste

¾ cup Extra virgin olive oil

Combine all of the ingredients. Season to taste and refrigerate for at least 3 hours so that flavors can develop. Serve slightly cold with toast and/or crackers.