Tasty Turkey Salad (with a kick!)

A generous amount of punchy peperoncini and fiery giardiniera makes this a savory Tasty Turkey Salad with a kick.

Turkey SaladSandwich with arugula, tomato or pickle

for some helpful tips before you begin, click here.


  • 4 cups (about 1 lb or 500 g) cooked turkey, chunky-diced (about 2 turkey breasts)
  • 3 stalks celery (about 1 cup or 237 ml), small diced
  • 1/2 medium red onion or 4 scallions (1/2 cup or 119 ml), finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) lemon juice
  • 1 cup (237 ml) mayonnaise
  • 1/2 teaspoon (about 1.5 g) ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon (3 g) MSG
  • 12 peperoncini peppers (about 1/2 cup or 119 ml), chopped
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons (15 to 30 ml) peperoncini brine
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) giardiniera, chopped (Chicago-style hot mix)
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons (15 to 30 ml) giardiniera oil
  • Salt, if needed, to taste


– In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients, except for the salt. Taste and add salt only if it’s still needed.

– Cover and chill in the refrigerator until ready to use. 

Turkey Salad ingredients
Turkey Salad

About this recipe

In our house, peperoncini and giardiniera find their way into a lot of our sandwiches. Turkey salad sandwiches are no exception.

The addition of peperoncini peppers and giardiniera not only give this Tasty Turkey Salad a pleasant amount of heat, the peperoncini brine and giardiniera oil add a nice tang that cuts through the rich creaminess of the mayonnaise.

Tasty Turkey Salad (with a kick!) is perfect in sandwiches, wraps, green salads or pasta salads.


Here are 4 helpful tips:

1) This salad is good using chicken or tuna, as well.

– This salad is just as delicious with chicken – poached, roasted or even fried! (It’s actually great with leftover fried chicken!)
– I have used tuna instead of turkey, as well. However, I reduce the amount of mayonnaise and add olive oil instead. I also increase the amount of lemon juice, too. It’s all a matter of personal tastes!

2) About the MSG…

– I use MSG because it makes savory food even more delicious. But of course, if you don’t use MSG, feel free to omit it.

3) About the heat…

– The peperoncini, peperoncini brine, giardiniera and giardiniera oil all add salt, tang and HEAT. I would consider this recipe to be MILD heat. Increase or decrease the amount of these ingredients to your own personal taste.

giardiniera and peperoncini
I can usually find giardiniera and peperoncini in the condiments, pickle or ethnic sections of my grocery store.

4) About the salt…

– Be cautious with the salt. Many of the ingredients already contain salt and MSG actually reduces the need for salt, as well. (Most of the time, I don’t add salt at all.)

5) Chicago vs Italian-style giardiniera: (Use Chicago-style)

– We like to use Chicago-style giardiniera, which is usually a mix of chopped, brined vegetables and hot peppers marinated in olive oil with red chili flakes and Italian seasonings. It’s meant to be used as a condiment.

Italian-style giardiniera is usually larger cut vegetables pickled and bottled in vinegar. There are not always hot peppers in the mix either. This type of giardiniera is served as an antipasto.

  • So if what you have on hand is Italian-style giardiniera, drain the vinegar and add in some canned or jarred jalapenos and olive oil. Chop well.

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