Leftover turkey 5 ways

Posted on December 1, 2018 by Brynna Gabrielson

Plate of turkey

It's that time of year when turkey is on everyone's plate. We love a big turkey dinner, but there's no denying that the inevitable pile of leftover meat can seem quite daunting, especially after a few servings of Christmas leftovers! But you don't have to keep eating that turkey with the same old fixings. Instead incorporate it into one of these great recipe ideas.

Out of the box Turkey Sandwich
You're probably thinking 'Turkey Sandwich? Boring'! which is a legitimate thought if you're thinking of a bog standard turkey sandwich. After all, anyone can slap some turkey, cranberry sauce and stuffing on a couple pieces of bread. But a turkey sandwich need not be so traditional! How about getting a little pesto out and enjoying a grilled pesto, turkey and mozzarella sandwich?

All you need to do is shred or chop your turkey (enough for one sandwich) in a small bowl and combine with pesto sauce. We'd use about 1/2 a tablespoon but you may want to add a bit less or more depending on how strong you want the flavour. Next get two slices of bread and butter one side of each. 

Heat a non-stick frying pan on the stove and place the first piece of bread, buttered side down on the pan. Top with your pesto turkey and some mozzarella. Shredded mozza is best, but slices from a mozzarella ball work, though it will be a bit goopier. Add your second piece of bread, buttered side facing up and heat your sandwich until the bottom slice of bread is golden brown. Flip it and cook once more until the second piece of bread is golden!  Serve with some delicious soup (see our next idea) or a salad.

Savoury Turkey Soup
For a great turkey soup you'll need not just your left-over turkey meat, but the bones of the bird as well! First, you'll need to prepare your broth. To do this make sure you've removed all meat from the turkey carcass and then place the carcass in a large stock pot (you may need to break it up a bit if it doesn't fit) and fill with 6 - 8 cups of water. You want to ensure your bones are covered completely. Next add in 1 chopped carrot, 1 diced onion, a dash of both salt and pepper, a bay leaf and a couple sprigs each of thyme, parsley and rosemary. You may also want to throw in a clove of minced garlic. Bring to a boil and then simmer over low heat for 3 - 4 hours. Remove from the heat and carefully remove the bones, then strain the remaining broth until all the veg and globby bits are gone!

Return your broth the stock pot (you may want to rinse it out to remove any solid residue) and add 2 - 3 chopped carrots, 1 large diced onion and 3 - 5 stalks of chopped celery.  If you'd like just a turkey vegetable soup leave it here, but if you'd like to add some rice, add 1 cup of it, uncooked. Next add your shredded turkey meat, you'll want about 3 cups. Simmer on medium until the veg is soft and rice, if you added it, is cooked. Enjoy!

Turkey-riffic Turkey Pie
Pie is a great dish to serve in winter - it's homely and warming. A turkey pie is a tasty way to use up those leftovers while enjoying a favourite dish.  There are many recipes out there you can try, though we quite like the look of this Turkey and Sweet Leek pie from Jamie Oliver.

However if ease is the order of the day, we've got a simple crock pot alternative. Place 2 - 3 cups of cooked turkey in your pot with 2 cans of cream of chicken soup, 3 chopped carrots and 2 large white potatoes (cut into 1 inch cubes). Cook on high for 1 - 2 hours. Get some instant dumpling mix and make dough as instructed and then top your crock pot mixture with small dumplings until covered. Replace the lid and continue to cook on high for 30 minutes. The dumplings will be quite pale, but should be cooked through and ready to eat!

Turkey Curry
Making a curry with your turkey is a great way to use up some of those leftovers, and it's delicious as well. If you want to go all out, you can make your curry from scratch. There are lots of excellent recipes out there to try, including this one from the BBC. However, if you want to toss an easy curry together just grab a jar of premade sauce from the shop, add in a bit of veg and your turkey, and serve over rice!

Chopped Turkey Salad
Turkey is a great protein to add to a nice salad - and this salad is so easy to assemble you'll barely think you're cooking!  To start, chop two heads of romaine lettuce, wash and divide between two plates. Top each bed of romaine with 1/2 cup chopped turkey, 2 tablespoons of dried cranberries, and 2 tablespoons  of chopped pecans or cashews. 

For the dressing combine 2 tablespoons of cranberry sauce (smooth jelly works best) with 2 tablespoon of olive oil, 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar, and a dash each of salt and pepper. Combine well  - shaking in a jar is a good way, or whisking briskly - and drizzle over your salad.

Read our blog 5 healthy Christmas foods to enjoy to find out why turkey is great for you!

Originally published December 2016. Updated December 2018.