Leftover Turkey Recipes: What to Do with All That Bird
With the biggest “feasting holiday” in the rearview, if you are like me, you have a plethora of leftovers taking up valuable real estate in your refrigerator. My kids usually call dibs on the mashed potatoes and macaroni and cheese. Any leftover veggies can be paired with various proteins to knock out next week’s meal prep. But what do you do if you have an abundance of leftover bird?
I can recall when I was little, we used to throw the leftover turkey between two slices of Wonder Bread with a heaping slather of mayonnaise and call it a day. That was our breakfast, lunch, and dinner for the entire week following Thanksgiving.
Now that I am an adult, I have come up with some more creative ways to not let that turkey go to waste or to your waist.
5 Leftover Turkey Recipes
Turkey Lettuce Wrap
Nothing too fancy to see here, just a couple of slices of turkey rolled up in your greens of choice. I usually reach for a nice bib lettuce, but iceberg works just as well, as would a leaf of kale or romaine.
Rather than add unwanted calories by throwing mayonnaise in the mix, you can opt for a stone ground mustard or maybe some hummus.
The sky is the limit with what you can add to these wraps, but I implement the K.I.S.S. method with this one. (Keep it stupid simple. 😉 See what I did there?)
Turkey Pot Pie
- 1 cup flour, plus more for dusting
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp fine salt
- 4 Tbsp unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
- 1 large egg
- 2 Tbsp milk
Leftover turkey and whatever vegetables you have on hand, such as potatoes, carrots, green beans, corn, etc. This is your chance to use up the remainder of your Thanksgiving feast, and maybe your ONLY chance to sneak a few extra servings of vegetables in your kids’ diet. 😉
- 4 ½ cups vegetable broth
- 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
- 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup 2% milk
- 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1/2 cup minced fresh parsley
- Salt and pepper, to taste
Chef Note: You may use any variety of flour or milk-like beverage (plain almond or coconut, for example) you have on hand, or prefer.
Chef Note: You may substitute chicken broth or even bone broth for the vegetable broth.
- Prepare the crust: Pulse the flour, baking powder, and salt in a food processor until combined. Add the butter, one piece at a time, pulsing until the mixture looks like coarse meal. Separate the egg (set aside and refrigerate the egg white). Beat the egg yolk and milk in a bowl, then add to the food processor, pulsing until the dough comes together. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and gather into a ball. Flatten into a disk, wrap in food wrap, and chill at least 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
- Bring the chicken broth and thyme to a simmer over medium heat; cover and keep warm.
- Slowly whisk in flour.
- Add milk and veggies, and simmer until thickened (about 15 minutes).
- Remove from the heat and stir in turkey, yogurt, and parsley.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Transfer the filling to a 2-quart casserole dish.
- Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface until about ½-inch thick and slightly larger than the dish.
- Beat the reserved egg white in a bowl, brush over the dough, and season with salt and pepper.
- Press the dough against the sides of the dish.
- Place on a baking sheet and bake until the crust is golden brown (20 to 25 minutes).
Slow Cooker Turkey Chili
- 1 large sweet potato
- 1 1/2 lbs leftover turkey
- One 15-oz can black beans
- One 1-oz can pinto beans
- Two 15-oz cans crushed tomatoes
- 1 sweet onion, chopped
- 1 bell pepper, chopped (any color you prefer)
- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1 1/2 Tbsp chili powder
- 1 1/2 Tbsp cumin
- Chop sweet potato and chicken into 1-inch chunks.
- Place turkey in slow cooker first.
- Then layer the sweet potatoes on top, followed by beans, tomatoes, veggies, garlic, and seasonings.
- Cook for 6 hours on low.
- Enjoy and serve with any desired toppings!
Teriyaki Turkey Meatballs
- 1 tsp ginger
- 1 clove garlic, chopped
- ¼ cup + 1 Tbsp water
- ¼ cup soy sauce, low-sodium
- 3 Tbsp brown sugar
- 3 tsp cornstarch
- 2 stalks green onions, chopped, green and white parts separated
- 1 lb turkey, ground/shredded
- 1 egg
- ¼ cup Panko breadcrumbs
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Teriyaki sauce (ingredients listed separately above)
- Heat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Mix the white parts of the green onions (reserve the green parts), turkey, egg, panko, and salt and pepper (to taste).
- Form into 1” (2.5 cm) wide meatballs.
- Brush a sheet pan with some extra virgin olive oil and spread meatballs out on half the sheet pan.
- Bake until meatballs are cooked through (20 to 25 minutes).
- Serve as a standalone or atop rice or quinoa.
Chef Notes: You may substitute honey for the brown sugar.
Chef Notes: You may also sprinkle sesame seeds on top. A nice touch is to toast the sesame seeds prior to including in the dish.
Chef Notes: I have added pineapple to the mix when I have it available, and it adds just the right balance of flavors.
Instant Pot Turkey Soup
- 1 Tbsp EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 1 cup diced carrots
- 1/2 cup diced celery
- 6 cups chicken broth
- 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 1/2 cup brown rice
- 2 tsp herbs de Provence
- 4 cups chopped kale
- 3 cups chopped turkey
- Using the sauté function, heat the olive oil and then add onions, carrots, and celery. Cook, stirring constantly, for 2 – 3 minutes, until the vegetables start to soften.
- Add chicken broth, crushed tomatoes, rice, herbs de Provence, and salt and pepper (to taste).
- Secure the lid. Select manual and set for 20 minutes.
- When finished cooking, quick release the pressure.
- Open the lid and stir in the kale and turkey.
- Season to taste with additional salt and pepper, if needed.
Chef Note: I like to top this soup with a bit of parmesan cheese. I politely suggest you do the same—trust me, you will love it!!
Chef Note: It was not specified, but you don’t need to cook the soup any further once you add the turkey and kale, as the residual heat will allow the kale to soften and the turkey to get hot, as well.
Chef Note: If you are watching carbs, you don’t have to include the rice, but in my honest opinion, a little in moderation isn’t going to make or break your meal plan, and it really adds to this dish.