If you’re looking for ways to use up your leftover turkey from Thanksgiving or Christmas, but don’t want to destroy your healthy eating habits, then this is the article for you. Leftover turkey can be a great base ingredient for some delicious and healthy recipes. You don’t have to settle for boring sandwiches or salads – there are so many creative and tasty dishes you can make with your leftover turkey. With these healthy leftover turkey recipes, you won’t have to sacrifice flavor for nutrition.
What Are Healthy Leftover Turkey Recipes?
After spending hours cooking the perfect turkey with all the trimmings for Thanksgiving, you may be wondering what to do with all the leftover turkey. One solution is to come up with healthy leftover turkey recipes that can help keep you on track with a healthy diet and eliminate waste.
Healthy leftover turkey recipes usually involve incorporating vegetables and grains into the recipe to make a balanced meal with lots of protein, fiber, and nutrients. These recipes are typically lower in fat, sugar, and calories than traditional leftover turkey recipes, which can be heavy in sauces or gravies that are high in fat and salt.
The benefits of healthy leftover turkey recipes extend beyond just the nutritional value of the meal. By using leftovers, you can save money and reduce waste by repurposing the turkey. This can help you stay on budget and help the environment by reducing the amount of food waste that ends up in landfills.
Easy and Healthy Leftover Turkey Recipes
Here are some easy and healthy leftover turkey recipes that you can try:
- Turkey and Vegetable Stir Fry: Chop up leftover turkey and mix it with fresh vegetables such as carrots, peppers, and onions. Stir fry the mixture in a pan with a small amount of oil and season with soy sauce, ginger, and garlic for a healthy and tasty meal.
- Turkey and Sweet Potato Hash: Dice sweet potatoes and sauté in a pan with chopped onions until they are crispy and tender. Add diced turkey and heat through. Season with cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and pepper for a satisfying breakfast or lunch.
- Turkey and Quinoa Salad: Combine cooked quinoa with chopped turkey, diced cucumber, cherry tomatoes, and avocado for a fresh and healthy salad. Dress with lemon juice and olive oil for a light and refreshing meal.
- Turkey and Broccoli Casserole: Steam broccoli and mix with diced turkey in a baking dish. Top with a mixture of breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, and olive oil and bake until golden brown for a comforting and healthy one-dish meal.
Top 3 Healthy Leftover Turkey Recipes
Thanksgiving is over, but the turkey leftovers are still present! There are plenty of ways to use up the leftover turkey in healthy ways that will leave your taste buds satisfied and your body nourished. Below are the top 3 healthy leftover turkey recipes that are delicious and easy to make.
This turkey salad recipe is simple and delicious, perfect for lunch or dinner.
- 1 cup of cooked, shredded turkey
- 1 cup of chopped celery
- 1/2 cup of diced apple
- 1/4 cup of chopped walnuts
- 1/4 cup of dried cranberries
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon of honey
- Salt and pepper to taste
Combine the turkey, celery, apple, walnuts, and cranberries in a bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the olive oil, apple cider vinegar, honey, salt, and pepper. Pour the dressing over the turkey mixture and toss to coat. Serve over a bed of greens or with whole wheat crackers.
This turkey stew recipe is hearty and flavorful, perfect for a cold winter night.
- 2 cups of cooked, shredded turkey
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 3 carrots, chopped
- 3 stalks of celery, chopped
- 2 cups of chopped kale
- 1 can of diced tomatoes
- 4 cups of chicken broth
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon of oregano
- 1 teaspoon of thyme
- Salt and pepper, to taste
In a large pot, sauté the onions and garlic in a tablespoon of olive oil until translucent. Add the carrots, celery, and kale and cook until slightly softened. Add the shredded turkey, diced tomatoes, chicken broth, bay leaves, oregano, thyme, and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 30-40 minutes. Remove the bay leaves before serving.
Turkey Lettuce Wraps
This turkey lettuce wrap recipe is perfect for a quick and healthy lunch or snack.
- 1 cup of cooked, shredded turkey
- 1/2 cup of shredded carrots
- 1/2 cup of sliced cucumber
- 1/4 cup of chopped peanuts
- 2 tablespoons of soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons of honey
- 1 tablespoon of rice vinegar
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 8 large lettuce leaves (such as bibb or butter lettuce)
In a bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, honey, rice vinegar, and garlic. Add the shredded turkey, carrots, cucumber, and chopped peanuts to the bowl and toss to coat. Spoon the turkey mixture onto the lettuce leaves and wrap them up. Serve immediately.
How to Store and Reheat Leftover Turkey
Thanksgiving or Christmas is the time of the year when we indulge in good food and time with our loved ones. However, after the holiday season is over, we might end up with leftovers of the delicious turkey that was the centerpiece of our meal. Here are some tips for safely storing and reheating leftover turkey to ensure its freshness and quality.
Storing Leftover Turkey
Proper storage of leftover turkey is crucial for preventing food poisoning. Leaving the turkey out at room temperature for more than two hours can allow bacteria like salmonella and campylobacter to grow, leading to upset stomach, diarrhea, and fever. Here are some tips for storing leftover turkey:
- Wrap the turkey in an airtight container or plastic wrap to prevent it from getting dry.
- Store the turkey in the fridge at a temperature of 40°F or below within two hours of cooking it.
- Leftover turkey can last for up to four days in the fridge. You can prolong its shelf life by freezing it for up to four months.
Reheating Leftover Turkey
Reheating leftover turkey is an easy way to enjoy it again. However, reheating improperly can result in dry turkey or worse, food poisoning. Here are some tips on how to reheat leftover turkey:
- Use the oven, microwave, or stovetop to reheat leftover turkey. Avoid reheating it on the counter.
- When microwaving leftover turkey, cover it with a damp paper towel to keep it moist.
- When reheating in the oven, set the temperature at 350°F and heat the turkey for about ten to fifteen minutes or until heated thoroughly. Cover the turkey with aluminum foil to prevent it from drying out.
- If you’re using the stovetop, slice the leftover turkey into small pieces and reheat it on low heat. Add a small amount of broth or gravy to keep the turkey moist.
Proper storage and reheating of leftover turkey can help preserve its quality, flavor, and nutritional value. Follow the tips mentioned above to ensure that your leftover turkey is both safe to eat and delicious.
How to Make Leftover Turkey Last Longer
If you have a lot of leftover turkey after the holidays, you don’t have to worry about letting it go to waste. There are a number of ways you can repurpose leftover turkey in various recipes and make sure it lasts for a long time. Here are some creative ways you can make the most out of your leftover turkey:
Turkey Pot Pie
Pot pies are a classic comfort food and a great way to use up leftover turkey. You can make a pie crust from scratch or use a pre-made one to save time. Add in some diced veggies like carrots, peas, and onions, as well as some potatoes. Mix in the turkey and pour your mixture into the pie crust. Bake until the crust is golden brown. Your delicious turkey pot pie is ready to serve.
Chili is another comfort food that is perfect for a chilly night. It’s also an amazing way to use up leftover turkey and make it last longer. Start by cooking some onions and peppers in a large pot. Then, add your leftover turkey along with some canned tomatoes, black beans, and kidney beans. Season with chili powder, cumin, and garlic powder, and let it simmer for an hour or so. This is a great option if you have a lot of turkey leftover and want to make something that can feed a large group of people.
Turkey Quinoa Bowls
If you’re looking for a healthier way to use up your leftover turkey, why not try a quinoa bowl? Quinoa is a great source of protein and can be mixed with a variety of ingredients to make a filling and nutritious meal. Start by cooking your quinoa according to the package instructions. Then, add some diced veggies like tomatoes, cucumbers, and avocado, as well as some leftover turkey. Season with some olive oil, salt, and pepper, and you’re ready to go. You can also add a sauce like tzatziki or hummus to give it an extra punch of flavor.
If you’re in the mood for something lighter, make a turkey salad. Chop up your leftover turkey and mix it with some lettuce, tomatoes, and any other veggies you like. You can also add some nuts or dried fruit to give it a bit of crunch. For the dressing, mix some olive oil, vinegar, and dijon mustard, and season with salt and pepper. Mix everything together and you’ll have a healthy and delicious salad that’s perfect for lunch or dinner.
Crispy Turkey Tacos
If you’re in the mood for some Mexican food, make some crispy turkey tacos with your leftover turkey. Start by shredding the turkey and mixing it with some taco seasoning. Then, fry up some corn tortillas until they’re crispy. Fill the tacos with the turkey, some shredded lettuce, cheese, and any other toppings you like. Crispy turkey tacos are a quick and easy way to use up leftover turkey and add some spice to your meal.
Healthy and Delicious Sides to Pair with Leftover Turkey
Thanksgiving is over and you have a fridge full of turkey leftovers. The question is, how do you turn those leftovers into healthy and tasty meals? One answer is to pair your leftover turkey with healthy and delicious side dishes. Here are some delicious side dishes to enjoy with your leftover turkey:
Roasted vegetables are an easy and delicious way to add a healthy side dish to your leftover turkey meal. You can roast a variety of vegetables such as sweet potatoes, carrots, broccoli, zucchini, and butternut squash. Roasting vegetables is easy, and you can season them with your favorite herbs and spices. Roasted vegetables are delicious and nutritious, and they are a great way to get your daily dose of vitamins and minerals.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Chop your vegetables into bite-size pieces.
- Toss them with olive oil and seasonings.
- Spread out the vegetables on a baking sheet.
- Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender and browned.
Sweet Potato Mash
Sweet potato mash is a healthy and delicious alternative to mashed potatoes. Sweet potatoes are rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals, and they have a natural sweetness that pairs well with leftover turkey. To make sweet potato mash, you’ll need sweet potatoes, milk (use non-dairy milk for a vegan version), butter (use vegan butter for a vegan version), and seasonings of your choice. Sweet potato mash is easy to make and a perfect side dish for leftover turkey.
- Peel and chop the sweet potatoes into small pieces.
- Boil them until they are tender.
- Drain the water and mash the sweet potatoes.
- Add milk, butter, and seasonings to taste.
- Mix well and serve.
Quinoa salad is a healthy and tasty side dish that pairs well with leftover turkey. Quinoa is a high-protein grain that contains all nine essential amino acids. Quinoa salad is easy to make, and you can customize it with your favorite veggies, fruits, and dressings. Quinoa salad is perfect for a quick and healthy lunch or as a side dish for dinner.
- Cook quinoa according to package instructions.
- Chop vegetables such as cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, and bell peppers.
- Add your favorite fruits such as strawberries or dried cranberries.
- Make a dressing with olive oil, lemon juice, and honey or use your favorite dressing.
- Mix the quinoa, vegetables, fruits, and dressing together in a large bowl.
Green Beans Almondine
Green beans almondine is a classic French side dish that is easy to make and pairs well with leftover turkey. Green beans are rich in vitamins and minerals, and almonds add a crunchy texture and nutty flavor to the dish. To make green beans almondine, you’ll need green beans, sliced almonds, butter, lemon juice, and seasonings such as garlic and thyme.
- Cook the green beans in boiling water for 5-7 minutes or until they are tender.
- In a separate pan, melt the butter and add garlic and thyme.
- Add the sliced almonds and cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Drain the green beans and add them to the pan.
- Add lemon juice and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Cauliflower Rice Pilaf
Cauliflower rice pilaf is a healthy and low-carb alternative to rice pilaf. Cauliflower rice is made by grating cauliflower into small pieces that resemble rice grains. Cauliflower is rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber, and it’s a perfect side dish for leftover turkey. You can customize your cauliflower rice pilaf with your favorite herbs, spices, and veggies.
- Grate cauliflower into small pieces that resemble rice grains.
- Heat some oil or butter in a pan and add the cauliflower rice.
- Add your favorite herbs and spices such as cumin, paprika, and oregano.
- Cook for 3-4 minutes or until the cauliflower is tender.
- Add your favorite veggies such as peas, carrots, and onions.
FAQs on Healthy Leftover Turkey Recipes
If you have leftover turkey from Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner, don’t let it go to waste! There are many ways to transform your leftovers into delicious and healthy meals that your family will love. Below are some of the frequently asked questions about cooking with leftover turkey, including how long it lasts, how to check if it’s still good, and how to make it more flavorful.
How long does leftover turkey last?
Leftover turkey can last for up to four days in the refrigerator if stored properly in an airtight container or wrapped tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil. To prolong its shelf life, you can also freeze it for up to three months. However, it’s important to note that while refrigerated or frozen turkey may still be safe to eat after the recommended time frame, its quality may start to deteriorate and it may not taste as good as it should.
How do you check if leftover turkey is still good?
Before using leftover turkey, it’s important to check if it’s still safe to eat. Signs that it may have spoiled or gone bad include a foul odor, slimy texture, and visible mold. If it looks or smells off, it’s best to discard it to avoid foodborne illness. A good rule of thumb is to always smell food before eating it, especially if it’s been sitting in the fridge for a while.
How do you make leftover turkey more flavorful?
Leftover turkey can be rather bland on its own, so you may want to add some flavor to it to make it more appetizing. One easy way to do this is by using different herbs and spices. For example, you can sprinkle some thyme, rosemary, or sage on top of the turkey to give it an earthy flavor. You can also mix leftover turkey with other ingredients like veggies, rice, or pasta to create a more filling and flavorful dish. Adding some sauce or gravy can also help bring out the flavor of the turkey.
What are some healthy leftover turkey recipes?
- Turkey and veggie stir-fry: Saute some vegetables like bell peppers, onions, and carrots in a pan with some olive oil. Add leftover turkey and soy sauce and cook until the turkey is heated through. Serve over rice for a healthy and delicious meal.
- Turkey soup: Boil some chicken broth in a large pot and add leftover turkey, carrots, celery, and onion. Simmer until the vegetables are soft and the turkey is heated through. Add some noodles or rice for a more filling soup.
- Turkey and avocado salad: Combine leftover turkey with some diced avocado, cherry tomatoes, and mixed greens. Drizzle with some olive oil and lemon juice for a light and refreshing meal.
- Turkey and sweet potato hash: Saute diced sweet potatoes, onions, and garlic in a pan with some turkey bacon. Add leftover turkey and cook until heated through. Serve for breakfast or brunch.
- Turkey tacos: Shred leftover turkey and mix with taco seasoning. Serve in tortillas with some shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, and avocado for a healthy and tasty meal.
- Turkey and cranberry quinoa bowl: Cook quinoa according to package instructions and mix with leftover turkey, dried cranberries, goat cheese, and chopped nuts. Drizzle with balsamic glaze for a flavorful and nutritious meal.
Happy, Healthy Eating with Leftover Turkey
Thanks for taking the time to read about some delicious, healthy leftover turkey recipes. Now it’s time to get cooking and enjoy the flavors and nutrients in these dishes. Don’t forget to come back and visit for more healthy food inspiration and tips. Happy cooking!