About 88% of Americans eat turkey on Thanksgiving, and most us are now facing a fridge full of leftovers. All together, we spend about $976.9 million each year on our Thanksgiving turkeys, but we throw away an estimated 200 million pounds of turkey after the big meal. If you’re tempted to toss that leftover turkey because you can’t face another boring turkey sandwich, maybe you need a few new ideas for leftovers. Here are 10 delicious ways to revive that leftover turkey.
Transform leftover turkey into tetrazzini, a comforting casserole with creamy white sauce and noodles. Food.com has a great recipe here.
Turkey curry turns the leftovers from the traditional American feast into a British Boxing Day staple. Combine leftover turkey with onion, ginger, cumin, garam masala, and other warm Indian spices to make a mild but flavorful curry. Follow the BBC’s recipe here.
Use your slow cooker, multicooker, or stovetop to simmer your turkey carcass in water to produce a rick stock you can use later for a base for soups and stews. Homemade stock—sometimes appearing under the trendy name of bone broth—is richer and tastier than store-bought broth. You can find directions here.
Use up leftover vegetables like green beans and brussels sprouts, too, in a turkey noodle soup. It’s a delicious way to use your homemade stock or make it with store bought stock or broth. Choose low sodium broth for a heart-healthy soup. Here’s a great, healthy recipe for turkey noodle soup.
Another use for your turkey stock—leftover turkey pot pie. Use a pre-made pie crust to make constructing this flaky comfort food even easier. Pillsbury has a good recipe here.
Make your traditional day-after-Thanksgiving sandwich more exciting by transforming your leftovers into a turkey Ruben. Start with rye bread spread with Dijon mustard and Russian dressing. Top with slices of roasted turkey, sauerkraut, and Swiss cheese. Pan-fry the sandwiches until the cheese is melted.
Leftover turkey makes great barbeque sandwiches, too. Shred dark or white meat and mix with your favorite barbeque sauce. Construct your sandwich on a split biscuit or bun and top with sliced pickles.
Combine leftover turkey, celery, apple, and walnuts with a simple homemade salad dressing to create a turkey Waldorf salad. Get Real Simple magazine’s recipe here.
Tacos and burritos
Sauté shredded turkey until crispy, and wrap in soft corn or flour tortillas with shredded cabbage, chopped onions, salsa and cheese for tacos. Leftover turkey also makes great burritos. Try combining it with black beans, rice, and cotija cheese in a warm flour tortilla.
Replace ground beef with chopped or pulled turkey meat to make chili. You can use white or dark meat, or a combination of both. Food Network has a reliable recipe here.
Lighten things up after the big meal. Try turkey salad—like chicken salad, with almonds, celery, scallions, fresh dill or tarragon, and Dijon mustard, but with leftover turkey breast instead of chicken. Check out this recipe.