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Three Healthy Recipes for Leftover Turkey

Updated on November 24, 2016
Man Cooking Roast Turkey
Man Cooking Roast Turkey | Source

Three Healthy Ways to use Leftover Turkey

Turkey meat leftover from your big dinner is a versatile choice that makes great, healthy meals and lunches. This page contains three recipes that use up the leftover meat while providing excellent taste and nutrition.

A roast turkey dinner is wonderful, but what to do with the leftovers? You surely don't want to waste this tasty, healthy food. Turkey is low in fat and high in protein. Not only that, its chock full of minerals including iron, zinc, phosphorus, potassium and the B vitamins.

This page offers you three delicious recipes that will have you enjoying this bird for a long to time come. You can cook these recipes now, and freeze for future mealtimes -- or you can freeze the leftover turkey meat and prepare these dishes when you are ready for another turkey dinner.

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What do you do with Leftover Turkey?

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Tacos | Source

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Leftover Turkey Tacos

made with ground turkey

These delicious turkey tacos are fairly mild, so they suit all tastes. If you want something a little hotter, add 1/2 a teaspoon of red pepper flakes.


1 pound of ground, cooked turkey

1/2 onion, chopped

2 stalks of celery, chopped

2 carrots, peeled and grated

2 tablespoons of vegetable oil

2 cloves of crushed garlic

1/2 cup of tomato paste

1 tablespoon of chili powder

1/2 teaspoon of cumin

1 cup water

1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

salt and pepper as desired

12 large soft flour tacos (whole wheat is recommended)


1 cup of salsa

1 cup yogurt or light sour cream

10 leaves of Romaine lettuce, shredded

4 tomatoes, diced

1/3 cup red onions, diced

1 avocado, chopped and sprinkled with lemon or lime juice

1 cup grated Cheddar Cheese


You will need a large frying pan. Sauté the onions, celery and carrots in the vegetable oil for about ten minutes. Add the ground turkey and garlic and continue to sauté for another ten minutes.

Add the tomato paste, chili powder, cumin and water. Simmer for ten or fifteen minutes.

Remove from heat, and add salt, pepper and cilantro.

Assemble by placing two tablespoons of meat mixture on each taco. Allow each person to add their own toppings.

Turkey Soup with Dinner Rolls
Turkey Soup with Dinner Rolls | Source

Turkey Soup from the Carcass

you don't need a real recipe ....

This is the recipe for leftover turkey soup that the women in my family have been making for decades. It's not truly a recipe -- its simply a list of instructions that will produce the most wonderful turkey soup you could imagine.


You can freeze the turkey carcass and any of the meat and make this soup at your convenience. You can also freeze leftover water from cooking the potatoes and other vegetables and use it in the soup. This way, absolutely none of the nutrition gets lost.


Cooked turkey carcass, with bits of turkey meat and scraps of dressing still attached

  • water
  • bay leaves
  • onion, chopped
  • sweet bell pepper, any color, chopped
  • carrots, peeled and chopped
  • stalk of celery, chopped
  • any leftover vegetables, such as peas, corn, etc.
  • additional chopped turkey meat as desired
  • rice
  • salt, pepper
  • sage (optional)


Place the turkey carcass and bones in a large soup pot. Fill the pot with water and add 2-3 bay leaves. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for three hours. Add additional water at any time if required.

Remove from heat, allow to cool somewhat and refrigerate for several hours or overnight. Skim off any fat that has settled on the surface and discard. Remove the bones from the stock, saving any turkey meat that is attached to the bones. Discard the bones. At this point, you could strain the soup stock to remove bits and pieces of turkey and dressing -- OR simply use it as is. The turkey meat and dressing add to the flavor. Remove the bay leaves, however, if you opt not to strain. If you do strain, I recommend returning the turkey meat to the stock after you have strained.

Return the soup stock to the stove and bring to a simmer. Add about 1/2 cup of raw rice at this point. Cook until the rice is almost done.Refer to the package directions for approximate cooking time. When the rice is almost done, add all remaining ingredients and continue simmering until the vegetables are cooked. Add additional water if required. Taste test, and add seasonings as preferred.

As an alternative to rice, you could add raw or cooked pasta instead. Adjust cooking times accordingly.

Serve your leftover turkey soup with a good bread and a salad on the side. It makes an excellent main course meal or lunch.

Video Demo: Chef Jason Hill Demonstrates

Leftover Turkey Recipe -- Turkey Curry

this recipe for leftover turkey is a bit different

Turkey curry is an interesting and tasty way to serve that leftover turkey. This recipe, as written, is quite mild. If you prefer a spicier dish, double or triple the amount of curry used.


1 1/2 cups of rice

3 cups of water

1/4 onion, minced

1 tablespoon of butter

1 can of condensed mushroom soup

1 cup of fresh mushrooms, sliced

1/4 cup of milk

1 cup sour cream (OR plain yogurt if preferred)

1/2 teaspoon curry powder

2 cups of cooked turkey meat, chopped

1/3 cup fresh red bell pepper, chopped

1/2 cup leftover peas, optional but adds nice color


Cook the rice and the water as per instructions on the rice package.

Melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the onion and mushrooms and cook until the onion is translucent. Do not brown. Add the soup and milk. Stir until all is smooth. Add all remaining ingredients. Stir until everything is heated. At this point, cover the turkey curry and simmer for about twenty minutes.

Ladle the cooked rice onto plates and top with the curry mixture. Garnish with parsley.

Serve this turkey curry with sides such as boiled eggs, raisins, chutney, slivered almonds and pickles.

Your Ratings

Cast your vote for Turkey Curry

© 2009 June Campbell

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    • profile image


      7 years ago

      These are great ideas, besides Thanksgiving isn't that far away. This Lens will prove quite Useful and Valuable! ;D

    • WriterJanis2 profile image


      7 years ago

      Really good ideas, especially the turkey soup.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      It would be a lot easier to cook any food with the help of Cuisinart mini food processor.

    • junecampbell profile imageAUTHOR

      June Campbell 

      8 years ago from North Vancouver, BC, Canada

      @rivercityconcepts: Thanks! Yes, anything that helps us get rid of that bird is a good thing!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      The turkey tacos are an excellent idea! A great way to use up the turkey left overs.

    • junecampbell profile imageAUTHOR

      June Campbell 

      9 years ago from North Vancouver, BC, Canada

      @jolou: Thanks! i can't get enough homemade soup. It's definitely a favorite

    • jolou profile image


      9 years ago

      Happy Thanksgiving! I love the homemade soup recipe, either rice or potatoes are nice.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Shhh! ... The best part of Thanksgiving dinner is the leftovers. Oh, I love the leftovers.

    • junecampbell profile imageAUTHOR

      June Campbell 

      9 years ago from North Vancouver, BC, Canada

      @SoyCandleLover: Thanks so much for stopping by and for the lensroll.

    • SoyCandleLover profile image

      Beth Webster-Duerr 

      9 years ago from Henrietta, New York

      Great leftover Turkey recipes. I especially like the Turkey Taco. A huge difference from my usual leftover recipes. Lensrolling back from my Turkey Pasta Soup recipe. Thanks!

    • junecampbell profile imageAUTHOR

      June Campbell 

      9 years ago from North Vancouver, BC, Canada

      @GramaBarb: Thanks!

    • GramaBarb profile image


      9 years ago from Vancouver

      Great Recipes!


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