Leftover Turkey ?? Help is Here

Every year there are literally dozens of articles in newspapers and magazines on how to celebrate the perfect Thanksgiving. You’ll see advice on how to roast and what to serve with the perfect bird. You can read reams of information on whether or not you should stuff your turkey and risk salmonella or just play it safe and make dressing instead. Headlines will tout new recipes for exotic rubs and glazes to give you the perfect crispy skin and moist and succulent meat using vegetables and ingredients you’ve never heard of and that cost more than the bar mitzvah you had catered 5 years ago. So much information dedicated to a bird that can’t even fly.

While helpful, these well meaning articles always seem to address the day and never the day after Thanksgiving when you have to deal with the remaining 12 pounds of turkey you were sure you needed when you bought that 27 pound bird. Yes, there a few papers that will carry articles on how to make 7 different types of turkey sandwiches and turkey salad. They are usually found, however, under the title “been there, made them before”.

What you really need are fun and different recipes that treat the turkey as an ingredient that is needed to create a dish rather than a leftover added as an after thought. You can, of course, substitute an equal amount of cooked chicken in any of these recipes.

The following recipes are so good that you’ll turn to them anytime you want a good poultry recipe and not just when you have leftovers.


2 to 3 cups cooked turkey cut in 1/2 inch pieces*

1 tablespoon peanut oil

1 tablespoon ginger root, finely grated

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 pound sugar snap peas

1 teaspoon spicy sesame oil

1 tablespoon sesame seeds

Heat the wok over high heat. When wok is smoking hot, swirl in the oil. Let

Oil settle, and stir in turkey. Stir fry for 30 seconds. Stir in ginger root

and soy sauce. Cook, stirring, until turkey is hot, about 2 minutes.

Add the peas, sesame oil and sesame seeds. Continue stir-frying for 2 minutes or just until everything is hot throughout. Remove the turkey from the heat immediately and serve with cooked white rice. Serves: 4

* You can use fresh turkey or chicken if you don’t have any leftovers. You need to cook the raw turkey or chicken in the oil for 4 to 5 minutes until it’s fully cooked and then proceed with the recipe as it is written for the cooked turkey.


1 large head Napa cabbage, chopped

1 cup carrots, cut into matchstick pieces (I like the pre cut variety)
5 green onions, diced

1/2 cup sliced black olives
1/2 cup margarine
2 packages ramen noodles (discard soup flavoring)
1/2 cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup  sliced almonds
1 cup oil
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1/2 cup white vinegar
1 cup sugar

In a large bowl place the cabbage, carrots, olives and green onions and mix to combine. Set the mixture aside. Melt the margarine in a frying pan over medium heat. Break noodles in small pieces. Place the noodles, sesame seeds and almonds in the pan and cook, stirring constantly until they are lightly brown. Remove the noodles and seeds from the pan immediately and place them on paper towels to cool and drain.

In a microwavable bowl combine the oil, soy sauce, vinegar and sugar . Microwave for about 3 to 5 minutes to dissolve the sugar. Let cool (about 20 minutes) before dressing the salad. The dressing can be made a day ahead of time. Add the dressing just before serving and toss to combine. Serves 6. This recipe can be doubled or tripled.


This variation of a classic Southeast Asian dish can be served as a salad with lettuce or as a main course with rice.

1/2 cup unsalted chunky peanut butter

1 tablespoon seasoned sesame oil

1-1/2 teaspoons chili oil, or more to taste

3 tablespoons white wine

2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger

3 to 4 cups cooked turkey, cut into pieces,

2 tablespoons plain rice vinegar

3 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro

In a small bowl, combine the peanut butter, oils, wine and soy

sauce and ginger; stir to blend. In a large bowl, toss the turkey with about

1/3 of the peanut sauce mixture and reserve the rest. Cover and refrigerate at

least 1 hour or up to 6 hours. Stir the vinegar and cilantro into the

reserved peanut sauce and set aside. Thread the turkey strips lengthwise on skewers. Broil the turkey for 1 or 2 minutes on each side, or until warm throughout. Serve on lettuce or with rice with the remaining sauce. Serves 4


This recipe was sent to me by a reader who swears that it is as close to the Byerly’s (a great grocery store) Thai chicken salad as you can get.

3/4   pound cooked turkey meat cut into strips

1/2 pound uncooked spaghetti

2 cups water

1 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup shredded carrots

4 green onions — thinly sliced

1/3 cup dry roasted peanuts — chopped

1/3 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup vegetable oil

2 tablespoons white vinegar

2 tablespoons peanut butter

2 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons sesame seeds — toasted

dash crushed red pepper

Break pasta into thirds In a sauce pan bring the water and salt to a boil. Add the pasta. Boil for 5 minutes, or until just tender. Drain the pasta and rinse it with cold water. Drain again.

To make salad: In large salad bowl, combine the turkey, pasta, carrots, onions and peanuts toss and set it aside. In a small bowl, combine soy sauce, vegetable oil, vinegar, peanut butter, sugar, sesame seeds and red pepper. Stir until thoroughly combined. Add the dressing to the salad. Toss to coat and cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Serves 4 to 6.


This tasty salad is great served over slices of ripe avocado and lettuce leaves.

2 1/2 to 3 cups cooked diced turkey

1 package kosher breakfast beef, cooked and crumbled

1 can (8oz) water chestnuts, drained

2 ribs celery, thinly sliced

1 cup seedless green grapes, halved

3/4 cup mayonnaise

1 tablespoon parsley, fresh or dried

2 tablespoons finely minced green onions

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

dash Worcestershire sauce

salt and pepper, to taste Recipe Instructions:

In a large bowl combine the turkey, breakfast beef, water chestnuts, celery and grapes. Mix to combine and set it aside. In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, parsley, green onions, lemon juice, ginger, soy sauce and salt and pepper to taste. Combine the dressing with the turkey mixture. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour for the flavors to blend. Stir the salad once again before serving.  Serves 4 to 6.    


3 to 4 cups cooked turkey, cubed into bite size pieces

1 cup chopped celery

1 cup cubed unpeeled apple

1/2 cup raisins

1/3 to 1/2 cup roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped

1 cup mayonnaise

2 teaspoon curry powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cider vinegar

1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper, cayenne

In a large bowl combine the turkey, celery, apple, raisins, and peanuts. Mix well. Add the mayonnaise, curry powder, vinegar, salt, and peppers and mix well to combine.  Cover and refrigerate until serving time. Makes 4 to 6 servings.


4 to 5 cups cooked turkey pulled into shreds

1 3/4 cups mayonnaise

1/2 cup pecans, chopped

1 1/2 tablespoons honey*

salt and pepper to taste

red leaf lettuce

green onions, chopped

Mandarin oranges

In a large bowl combine all the ingredients and mix well. Add the salt and pepper to taste. Serve on a bed of lettuce decorated with the chopped green onions and the mandarin oranges. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

*You may want to add more honey for a sweeter salad.


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