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One bird, four ways: How to embrace the holiday leftovers

Tad Seaborn/The Globe and Mail

The day after turkey usually equals MORE turkey. But instead of avoiding that giant Tupperware in the fridge (and accompanying guilt trip), embrace the leftovers. They can make meal planning easy – and soon you'll forget that what you're eating had anything to do with sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce and your crazy uncle. Here are four simple, soup-free ways to reimagine those turkey remnants when you least want to be in the kitchen.

Turkey Tacos

Tacos will deliver you far from holiday dinner memories as fast as you can shred cheese. Instead of ground beef, use chopped turkey as a topping. You can add the turkey as is, just slightly warmed or give it a quick toss in a hot pan after you've sautéed some diced onion. Add a tablespoon of tomato paste and a few drops of stock, wine or water to thin it slightly, and sprinkle with a pinch of smoked paprika and ground cumin. Then fill your tacos and garnish with tomatoes, sour cream, green onion and the cheese.

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BBQ Turkey Pizza

Pizza is an all-ages crowd-pleaser. Add a squirt of BBQ sauce to your usual tomato base. Then create a cheesy layer on top of the sauce with a mixture of aged cheddar and smoked Gouda. Top with shredded turkey and thinly sliced red onion. Add chopped cilantro once out of the oven.

Winter Pesto Turkey Salad

Create a unique version of chicken salad by tossing your cubed turkey with finely diced celery and apple in a parsley-walnut pesto. Serve as a salad or between two slices of your favourite fresh bread.

For the pesto, combine 2 cups (500 ml) lightly packed fresh parsley, 1/3 cup chopped walnuts, 1 clove garlic, and a 1/4 teaspoon salt in a food processor. Pulse until you have a paste. Add a 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan Reggiano and pulse to combine. Then slowly drizzle in 1/4 to 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil and keep mixing until you have a thickened sauce. Season with salt and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice to taste.

Turkey Rice

This is the no-brainer for when you've been lulled into a holiday laze. Prepare four cups plain, cooked rice and two hard-boiled eggs in advance. In a large skillet add 2 tablespoons vegetable oil and on medium-high sauté a chopped onion and a handful sliced mushrooms. Add 1 clove minced garlic and a teaspoon minced ginger. Cook until the onion is soft and then add in the rice, chopped egg, some sliced green onion (and any other precooked veg, such as carrots or lima beans) and soy sauce to taste. Combine in the skillet and once warmed up you're ready to serve.

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About the Author

Sue Riedl worked for 12 years in the Toronto film industry where her culinary passion was ignited while consuming countless unhealthy snacks off the craft service table. More

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