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Delicious leftover turkey recipes

Michele Borboa, MS is a freelance writer and editor specializing in health, fitness, food, lifestyle, and pets. Michele is a health and wellness expert, personal chef, cookbook author, and pet-lover based in Bozeman, Montana. She is also...

Unique ways to use turkey leftovers

Did you overestimate your holiday turkey intake and now have leftovers you simply can’t ignore nor want to go to waste? Then tie on that apron and make these delicious leftover turkey recipes. Don’t worry if you’re turkeyed out – these mouthwatering recipes taste nothing like the holiday feast.

Leftover turkey with mole sauce

Quick turkey mole

The thought of chocolate in any dish – sweet or savory – piques my palate. (If you didn't know, dark chocolate is a key ingredient in mole!) Leftover turkey in a rich mole sauce will keep you from thinking Thanksgiving leftovers are a yawn.

Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 1 (15 ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 (4 ounce) can diced chiles
  • 1/2 cup toasted sliced almonds or roasted pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 of an onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • A few grinds black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 3 to 4 cups diced cooked turkey
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • Cooked rice or tortillas

Directions:

  1. In a blender or food processor, combine tomatoes, chiles, almonds, onion, garlic, spices, salt, pepper and sugar. Blend until smooth.
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat and add sauce. Sprinkle in chocolate and cook, stirring often, until chocolate melts. Simmer sauce on medium-low for 10 minutes.
  3. Add turkey and cook, stirring often, until it is heated through. Stir in cilantro.
  4. Serve turkey mole with rice or tortillas.

Whole wheat gnocchi with turkey ragu

This day-after comfort food turns leftover turkey into a dish so scrumptious you'll want to make extra ragu and freeze for later use.

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 ounces pancetta, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • About 14 ounces diced turkey leg meat (skinless) and other dark meat
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3 whole juniper berries
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 8 ounces tomato paste
  • 1/3 cup water plus more, if needed
  • 1 (16 ounce) package whole wheat gnocchi
  • 3 tablespoons slivered fresh basil leaves
  • Shaved Grana Padano PDO or Parmesan cheese

Directions:

  1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat and add pancetta. Cook, stirring often, for three minutes or until starting to brown.
  2. Add garlic to skillet and cook, stirring, for about one minute or until garlic is fragrant.
  3. Add turkey, turmeric, ginger, juniper berries and bay leaf. Season with salt and pepper and stir to combine. Cook, stirring often, for two to three minutes.
  4. Add the tomato paste and 1/4 cup water and stir until a sauce forms. Simmer for about 30 minutes.
  5. About five minutes before ragu is ready, cook gnocchi in salted, boiling water according to package directions (cooking time is usually two to three minutes). Drain and transfer to serving bowls.
  6. Stir basil into ragu and ladle over gnocchi. Garnish generously with cheese and serve immediately.

Turkey artichoke heart salad

Thanksgiving Day is all about indulgence and excess calories, but you can redeem your diet by tossing leftover turkey breast into a tongue-tantalizing arugula salad, featuring marinated artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes and feta.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 (5 to 6 ounce) bag arugula
  • 6 to 7 fresh basil leaves, tightly rolled, finely sliced crosswise
  • 3 cups diced cooked skinless turkey breast (add dark meat, if necessary)
  • 1-1/2 cups chopped marinated (drained) artichoke hearts
  • 2/3 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes packed in olive oil
  • Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 teaspoons white balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Cat Cora's Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh chives
  • Crumbled feta

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, combine arugula, basil, turkey, artichoke hearts and tomatoes.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together lemon zest and juice, vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper and chives.
  3. Drizzle half of the vinaigrette over salad and toss to combine.
  4. Divide salad among four salad plates, garnish with feta, and drizzle with remaining vinaigrette, if desired.

Watch: How to make turkey pot pie

Perfect for Thanksgiving leftovers of turkey and vegetables, turkey pot pie is a warm, filling dish that gives you loads of room for creativity in the ingredients.

More ideas for Thanksgiving leftovers

Thanksgiving leftovers: The classic turkey sandwich
Thanksgiving leftover ideas and wine pairings
Creative recipes for Thanksgiving leftovers

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