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It’s not Thanksgiving without turkey! I suppose there are those who buy a much bigger bird than what they need in order to have leftovers, but most families try to plan for the appropriate amount of turkey for the number of guests they will have for dinner. However, your aunt and uncle may miss their plane, your brother has the stomach flu and one of your cousins is now a vegetarian—what will you do with all that leftover turkey?

Turkey is a lean source of protein and is a good source of iron, zinc and B vitamins. In fact, a 3.5-ounce portion of white meat turkey with the skin is 194 calories, 8 grams of fat and 29 grams of protein. Leftover turkey is safe for around three days if it was thoroughly cooked, was not left out at room temperature on Thanksgiving Day for more than two hours and if your refrigerator is set at less than 40 degrees.

Depending on how much turkey you have left over, you may not want plate after plate of turkey and all of the sides for several days after Thanksgiving. Hopefully, the following ideas, along with these recipes, will provide you enough tasty varieties to help you finish all of the turkey you have!


Use the turkey, along with some of the sides, to create a Turkey Hash that can be topped with a fried egg.


Turkey Stock

Turkey & Rice Soup

Turkey, Kale & Orzo Soup

Turkey Tortilla Soup

Turkey Gumbo

Turkey Chili



Traditional Turkey Salad

Turkey & Napa Cabbage Salad with Lime-Ginger Vinaigrette

Thanksgiving Cobb Salad

Turkey & Kale Salad with Roasted Sweet Potatoes



Turkey Monte Cristo Sandwiches

Turkey & Vegetable Subs drizzled with Sriracha

Turkey Pesto Paninis

Turkey Ruben Sandwiches



Turkey Pot Pie

Turkey, Wild Rice and Broccoli Casserole



Turkey Tacos

Turkey Burritos

Turkey Tostadas

Turkey Enchiladas

Turkey Quesadillas

I know some of these recipes are not necessarily considered “healthy,” but with some basic recipe modification techniques they can be converted into healthier versions. For example:

  • Use corn instead of flour tortillas
  • Use evaporated skim milk rather than heavy cream
  • Use less cheese or substitute low-fat sour cream for regular sour cream
  • Prepare food in a non-stick pan which requires less fat and oil helping to reduce the fat and calories
  • Another tip is to pack in vegetables wherever possible, which not only decreases the calories but also increases the nutritional content

I hope by clicking on some of these recipes you are inspired to create your own “leftover turkey” recipes!

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