Other than a food coma and a family gathering, one more thing you can count on with a big Thanksgiving dinner is a lot of leftover turkey. And while stuffing it between bread seems like the simplest way to go, why limit yourself to plain old sandwiches when there are so many other easy and healthy ways to enjoy all those extras? Check out these 23 insanely tasty recipes for using up your leftover turkey—they’ll make you wish that every day could be the day after Thanksgiving.
You can throw pretty much anything into a hash and get away with it. But this combo of leftover turkey and potatoes with Creole seasonings and chili powder, topped with cheese, is especially delicious.
Turn up the volume on regular scrambled eggs by adding not only turkey, but also a smattering of corn, green beans, and sweet potatoes. The produce adds lots of flavor and results in a complete one-dish meal in just 10 minutes.
Make a simple egg frittata extra filling by stirring in a cup of cubed turkey. With some mozzarella in the mix too, it’s a super high-protein way to start the morning after that carb-tastic Thanksgiving dinner.
Some of us will be too hungover from all the wine we drank, so we’ll be craving something a little more substantial come Black Friday. Enter: breakfast pizza. Use your leftover turkey as a topping for some added protein in addition to the eggs. We might leave out the hash browns to make this dish a little lighter… or not.
With seasonings similar to those you’d use in a stuffing, this casserole is perfect for serving after Thanksgiving or TBH anytime during the holiday season. With a full cup of kale in-between the eggs and cheese, it’s also a great way to sneak some veggies into your family.
Tired of Thanksgiving flavors but don’t want to throw away the turkey? Use the leftovers in another post-holiday tradition—a Chinese-American one, in which families cook the meat with rice and soy sauce to make a savory, porridge-style breakfast that brings comfort on a cold morning.
Traditional Monte Cristo sandwiches are stuffed with ham and cheese, egg-battered, and deep-fried. This one uses turkey for the meat instead and dips the bread slices in egg whites only before pan-grilling them. The substitutes make for a sandwich that’s much lower in cholesterol but scores just as high on taste.
Turn Thanksgiving turkey into Vietnamese street food by stuffing it in a baguette lightly slathered with mayo, packed with veggies, and drizzled with Sriracha. Lots of fresh cilantro makes this banh mi taste even more authentic.
This unusual quesadilla makes good use of leftover turkey and cranberry sauce, stuffing both—plus cheese, of course—between two whole-wheat wraps (gotta love the extra fiber!). A sprinkle of fresh sage adds even more fall flair to this flavor party.
Some French bread, a few slices of tomato, and some fresh mozzarella help turn turkey leftovers into an easy panini. Don’t worry if you don’t have homemade pesto; your favorite store-bought version will work just as well.
A wrap is the lunchtime equivalent of a breakfast hash—roll everything but the kitchen sink into a tortilla, and it’s bound to taste pretty good! In this one, turkey and veggies are mixed into a mashed avocado and tangy Greek yogurt “dressing” for a wrap that’s light, refreshing, and the perfect antidote to a heavy dinner.
Soups and Salads
This healthier Cobb salad replaces a bunch of its traditional ingredients with several Thanksgiving leftovers you’re bound to have on hand: turkey instead of chicken, butternut squash and Brussels sprouts instead of hard-boiled eggs and tomatoes, and cornbread croutons. You get the idea (don’t worry, there’s still bacon in here!). Doused with a cranberry sauce-based dressing, your festive dish is now complete.
Leftover turkey checks off the protein requirement in this simple, produce-packed salad. Warm, roasted veggies make it perfect for the colder weather, and with an easy olive oil and balsamic dressing, the whole thing makes for a super low-maintenance lunch or dinner.
Your leftover turkey is the star of this well-rounded recipe. It’s joined by lots of vegetables, a heap of orzo, and some shredded cheese for a wholesome minestrone-like soup. And it’s just what the doctor ordered after a big holiday dinner.
If you’ve got leftover turkey, a deli-style turkey salad will probably be on the menu at some point. When it does, go for this healthier recipe, where Greek yogurt and low-fat mayo cut down on the fat, and chopped fruit and walnuts add a fun bit of crunch and fiber.
Having cooked turkey already on hand makes this spin on a Mexican classic come together in just 30 minutes (and most of that time is just leaving the pot on the stove to simmer). While the different type of poultry gives this dish a distinctively different flavor, it still tastes fantastic topped with your favorite tortilla soup fixin’s.
Turkey and lentils provide a double whammy of protein, while cubed potatoes fill in the carb quotient—ideal for a light meal that still keeps you satisfied for hours. Leave out the Parmesan for an easy way to keep the recipe dairy-free.
Instead of thick pastry crust, you’ll use flaky layers of phyllo dough to top this dairy-free pot pie—but with cubes of turkey, the classic pea-and-carrot combo, and chunks of potato, it’s as hearty and comforting as the original.
Pasta isn’t exactly a fixture on the Thanksgiving table, so have it the next day instead! With no butter or milk, and lean turkey meat instead of beef or veal, this spaghetti Bolognese is comfort food at its finest—and lightest. Want to go even lighter? Use zoodles instead of pasta.
Using Arborio rice and a splash of wine for a risotto-like result, plus including saffron and smoked paprika for a paella-type effect, this Spanish rice is a delicious mishmash of flavors. Plus, with chopped veggies and leftover turkey, it’s fresher, healthier, and tastier than the boxed stuff.
If it’s actual risotto you’re after, look no further than this recipe. Using plenty of leftover turkey meat and stock to turn Arborio rice into a creamy (but cream-free) risotto, the dish keeps the holiday spirit going just a bit longer.
Post-Turkey Day pasta dinners don’t have to stick to your ribs. This tetrazzini uses low-fat dairy, whole-wheat spaghetti, and lots of shredded leftover turkey for a filling, high-fiber but low-cholesterol dish that may just become a new day-after-Thanksgiving tradition.
This recipe gives you the chance to finish up leftover turkey, make use of that bag of broccoli that’s been lying in your freezer, and experiment with wild rice, all at once. With a bit of cottage cheese binding everything together, just about half an hour in the oven should do the trick.