Leftover turkey is great…for the first day or two. Then it starts getting a little blah, and re-creating the flavor profile of a Thanksgiving feast in different forms doesn’t help! So here are 5 ideas for jazzing up your leftovers, with a few recipes for each just to get you started.
1. Transform it into Curry
The generous amount of spices in most curry recipes gives the meat a completely different flavor and reduces the distinctive taste of the turkey itself.
Some recipes to help you spice it up:
- Leftover turkey yellow curry (Stupid Easy Paleo)
- Apple turkey curry on cauliflower rice (Fast Paleo)
- Taj Mahal turkey curry (The Clothes Make the Girl)
- Curried chicken (or turkey) salad (Chris Kresser)
2. Add Different Vegetables
Turkey can taste completely different if you pair it with vegetables that don’t typically make an appearance on the Thanksgiving table. Make it spicy, savory, or even sweet – just use the plants to add some interest to the same old turkey breast.
Some recipe ideas:
- Turkey chili (Paleo Leap) – tomatoes and bell peppers aren’t typical “Thanksgiving” vegetables, and adding a hint of the Southwest gives your taste buds a break from the flavors of all the foods that go with gravy.
- Turkey zucchini hash (Fluffy Chix Cook) – zucchini and mushrooms are also unlikely to be on the Thanksgiving menu, and who doesn't love a savory breakfast hash?
- Turkey Thai basil (Paleo Parents) – bok choy! Fish sauce! Okay, fish sauce isn’t technically a vegetable, but this recipe still perks up leftover turkey with a healthy dose of delicious greens, including the eponymous Thai basil.
3. Freeze it Properly
You don’t have to eat everything now. It’s perfectly fine to either freeze the turkey as-is, or to make something with it and then freeze it - then you can pull it out later when you're ready for turkey again. But if you’re going to go the freezer route, here are some quick tips:
- Do any carving before freezing. Who wants to try to carve a half-frozen breast off the bone? Nobody. Do your future self a favor and get the knife out now.
- Divide the meat into portions you’ll want to use. Cooking for one? Separate it into single servings before freezing. Then you can just take out however much you need at once, and more easily spread the meat out, instead of just delaying the problem of “half a bird to eat.”
- Use the proper containers, and seal them tightly (for plastic wrap, make sure it’s airtight). Freezer burn is nobody’s friend.
4. Add Another Meat
There’s no rule that once you’ve put turkey in a meal, your protein quota is filled and all other animals are barred from the plate! Why not mix it up by adding sausages to your leftover turkey soup. Or what about bacon? Everything’s better with bacon!
Some recipe ideas…
- Creole shrimp and turkey stir-fry (Paleo Periodical)
- Turkey sausage soup (On Sable Hill)
- Paleo turkey sweet potato hash (with bacon) (Conscious Eatery)
5. Switch up the Soup
Leftover turkey soup with turkey, celery, carrots, and onion? It’s good, but if you’re tired of turkey, it doesn’t really help, and just throwing in a bunch of kale doesn't always do the trick either. So here are some ways to make that soup pop:
- Thai coconut turkey soup (The Endless Meal) – just replace the soy sauce with coconut aminos.
- Turkey-butternut squash soup with celery root (Everyone Eats Right)
- Spanish garlic soup with saffron and cumin (Eating the Scenery)
So…what’s your favorite way to make turkey leftovers interesting? Let us know on Facebook or Google+!