Thanksgiving Leftovers - Health Chef Julia

Thanksgiving Leftovers Ideas with Turkey

November 26, 2021

The day after Thanksgiving might just be the best ever because you have all of that mouth-watering leftover turkey in your refrigerator. Next-day turkey sandwiches are a post-holiday tradition we all love. But if you are looking for more creative ways of taking advantage of the leftovers, you’ll want to scroll down. 

Here are three leftover ideas that might just be better than the Thanksgiving Day dinner. 

Turkey Leftover Chilli

Here is what you’ll need for 8 servings:

1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil 

1 lb Left Over Turkey (Cut into small pieces) 

1 Yellow Onion (chopped) 

2 cups Diced Tomatoes 

2 cups Crushed Tomatoes 

2 cups Black Beans (cooked, rinsed) 

1 3/4 cups Red Kidney Beans (cooked, rinsed) 

2 Carrot (chopped) 5 stalks Celery (chopped) 

1 Red Bell Pepper (chopped) 

1 Jalapeno Pepper (chopped) 

3 tbsp Chili Powder 

1 tsp Cumin 

1 tsp Sea Salt

How to make: 

1. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and sauté for about five to seven minutes, add remaining ingredients and spices. 

2. Add all the remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. 

3. Divide into bowls, serve and enjoy!


Leftovers: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to three days, or freeze for up to two months. 

Serving Size: One serving is equal to approximately two cups of chili. 

More Flavor: Add a pinch of cayenne. 

Additional Toppings: Top with shredded cheese, extra jalapeño slices, cilantro, sour cream, or avocado. 

More Veggies: Add sliced mushrooms, sliced kale, or baby spinach.

Turkey Kale Wraps

Here is what you’ll need for 1 serving:

3/4 cup Kale Leaves (whole, lacinato, washed and dried) 

1/3 cup Hummus 

4 1/4 oz Sliced Turkey Breast 

2 tbsp Radishes (thinly sliced)

How to make: 

  1. ​​Divide the hummus between kale leaves and use a knife to spread it across the leaves evenly. Place the turkey and sliced radish on top. 
  2. Roll the leaves into a wrap. Enjoy!


No Kale: Use other large leafy greens such as collard or lettuce. 

No Turkey: Instead use chicken breast. 

Leftovers: Store the leftovers in a container in the fridge for up to three days. Pierce the wraps with a toothpick to hold them together during storage. 

No Hummus: You can use a different type of spread as a condiment, such as mustard, mayonnaise, or yogurt. 

More Flavor: Sprinkle with sea salt, black pepper, paprika, or your favorite spices.

Turkey & Barley Soup

Here is what you’ll need for 6 servings:

6 1/2 cups Water 

5 Carrot (medium, diced) 

1/2 Sweet Onion (diced) 

1 1/2 tsp Italian Seasoning 

1 tsp Sea Salt (to taste) 

2/3 cup Pearl Barley (uncooked) 

12 oz Turkey Breast, Cooked (roughly chopped) 

2 cups Baby Spinach

How to make: 

  1. In a pot over medium-high heat, add the water, carrots, onions, Italian seasoning, and salt. Once boiling, lower to a simmer and cook until the carrots are tender-crisp for about five to seven minutes. 
  2. Stir in the barley and cook for 15 more minutes. ​​
  3. Add the turkey and spinach and cook until the turkey is warmed through and spinach is wilted, about three minutes. Divide into bowls and enjoy!


Leftovers: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to three days. 

Serving Size: One serving is approximately two cups. 

Gluten-Free: Use quinoa, gluten-free pasta, or rice instead of barley and adjust cooking time accordingly. 

More Flavor: Sauté the onions and carrots in your choice of cooking oil. Add minced garlic or ginger. Use broth instead of water. 

Additional Toppings: Add parsley, sliced green onion, or red pepper flakes. 

Make it Vegan: Use tofu, edamame, chickpeas, or lentils instead of turkey breast.

I’d love to see how your meals turned out! Connect with me on Instagram, and send me the final results. 

If you are looking for vegan recipes, check out my Vegan for 1 – 7 Day Meal Plan & Recipes. This plan includes a grocery list, nutritional facts, step-by-step instructions, and more!

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