Grilled Turkey Salad with Low-Fat Avocado Dressing
Tender slices of grilled turkey, a creamy, low-fat avocado dressing and garlicky toasted croutons turn a basic green salad into a satisfying, healthy dinner. To be sure that our turkey tenderloins stay juicy and flavorful on the grill we give them a short soak in a simple salt and sugar brine. This is one of our favorite tricks for grilling and it works equally well for boneless chicken breasts and pork chops.
- 2 boneless turkey tenderloins, 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 lbs
- 4 cups water
- 4 tablespoons kosher salt
- 1/2 cup sugar
- Olive oil
- Freshly ground black pepper
For the dressing:
- 1 ripe Hass avocado, mashed
- 1/3 cup low-fat milk
- 1/3 cup plain, nonfat yogurt
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 clove garlic, very finely chopped
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 to 2 tablespoons fresh chives, finely chopped
For the salad:
- 1 large head romaine lettuce, washed and torn into bite sized pieces
- 2 medium tomatoes, cut into wedges
- 1 medium cucumber, peeled and sliced
- Toasted garlic croutons (see below)
- Make the brine for the turkey by combining 2 cups of the water with the salt and sugar in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir until all the salt and sugar has dissolved, then remove from the heat and stir in 2 cups of ice water. Refrigerate until completely cooled, 15 to 20 minutes.
- One at a time, place the tenderloins between two sheets of plastic wrap and gently pound them to an even thickness of about 3/4-inch.
- Submerge the turkey tenderloins in the cooled brine, weighing them down with a plate to keep them submerged if necessary. Refrigerate for a minimum of 30 minutes, but no longer than 1-1/4 hours (we've found 45 minutes to be ideal).
- While the turkey brines, preheat a gas or charcoal grill to medium-high heat (about 400 to 425°F).
- Make the dressing by combining the mashed avocado, milk, yogurt, lemon juice and garlic in small bowl. Whisk until smooth and well blended then season to taste with salt and pepper and stir in the chives. Set aside.
- Remove the tenderloins from the brine, pat dry with paper towels and transfer to a plate. Drizzle both sides with a little olive oil and season with a few grinds of black pepper. The brine provides all of the salt you need, so don't add any extra.
- Oil the grill grates and add the turkey tenderloins. Cover and grill for 4 minutes on the first side, then turn and continue grilling until the tenderloins reach an internal temperature of 160°F, 3 to 5 minutes longer.
- Transfer the tenderloins to a cutting board and let them rest for 10 minutes before slicing.
- To assemble the salad, divide the lettuce between 4 dinner plates. Add tomato wedges, cucumber slices, croutons and sliced turkey. Drizzle a little of the dressing on top, then pass the rest at the table.
How To Make Toasted Garlic Croutons:
Combine 1 tablespoon each melted butter and olive oil in a medium-sized bowl. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped garlic (1 small clove) and add 1-1/2 cups lightly toasted bread cubes.
Toss until the bread cubes absorb the butter-oil mixture. Transfer them along with the chopped garlic to a small foil-lined baking sheet. Bake in a 200°F oven until crisp and golden, 10 to 15 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before adding to them to your salad.