Turkey Time: Recipes for Thanksgiving Leftovers

You packed up the pumpkin pie and gave it to Aunt Marie and sliced up the sweet potatoes and shipped it off with you cousin Glen, but now you’re left with a heap of leftover turkey and not a plan in the world for what to do with it.

A problem? Nope, not when you consider all the tasty – and primal – items you can make with the leftovers!

Read on to discover some of our favorite post-turkey day treats:

Hearty Turkey and Mixed Vegetable Frittata

Feeling industrious following Thanksgiving? Take a few minutes the next morning to make this turkey-themed frittata, perfect for a healthy post thanksgiving brunch!

1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium red pepper, chopped
1 tsp garlic, minced
2 tsp olive oil
1 cup mushrooms, thinly sliced
½ tsp pepper
¼ tsp salt
1 cup cooked asparagus, chopped
2 cups left over turkey, shredded
4 eggs
½ cup fresh parmesan, grated

In a large, oven-proof skilled, sauté onion, red pepper and garlic in 1 tsp olive oil over a medium heat until onions are translucent. Add mushrooms, salt and pepper and sauté 2 minutes. Pour mixture into a medium bowl. Add asparagus, shredded turkey and egg. Coat skillet with remaining oil, return egg and vegetable mixture to skillet and cook on medium-low heat for 10-15 minutes until mixture is set on the bottom and lightly browned at the edges. Sprinkle parmesan cheese over the top and place under broiler for 2-3 minutes or until cheese is lightly browned. Serve immediately.

Thanksgiving Turkey Taco Salad with Savory Cranberry Salsa

Add a little spice to your post-turkey day with this tasty, Mexican-inspired salad.

3 cups cooked turkey meat, chopped into bite-sized pieces
6 cups of romaine lettuce or fresh spinach
2 large avocados, peeled and sliced
1 ½ cups of cranberries (fresh or frozen)
½ medium apple, cored and peeled
Zest of one medium orange
1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
2 tbsp fresh cilantro
1 tsp lemon or lime juice
Salt and pepper to taste


In a food processor, pulse cranberries and apple until coarsely shredded. Pour into a bowl and combine with orange zest and jalapeno. Let sit for 15 minutes, then add cilantro, lemon or lime juice and salt and pepper to taste.

Next, break lettuce/spinach into bite-sized pieces and arrange in a bowl. Top with turkey and avocado and serve with the cranberry salsa mixture.

Crisp Apple and Turkey Salad

Try this crunchy spin on traditional turkey salad.

2 cups leftover turkey cut into bite-sized pieces
2 cups celery, diced
2 cups apple, cored and diced
¼ cup golden raisins (yes, they’re kind of high in sugar, but when used in moderation – such as in this dish – they can be part of the Primal lifestyle)
2 tbsp mayonnaise (extra credit if you make your own)
2 tbsp plain yogurt
¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
Salt and pepper to taste

In a small bowl, combine mayo, yogurt, and spices. Set aside. In a large bowl, combine turkey, celery, apple and raisins. Fold in yogurt mixture. Season with salt and pepper and serve atop a salad of mixed greens and tomatoes.

Turkey and Spicy Sausage Gumbo

The winter weather has crept in fast, but this dish will warm you up even on the coldest of days! Plus, this is truly one of the few Primal ways to prepare a gumbo because it doesn’t rely on the usual brown roux (which is flour-based) to thicken it up!

¾ cup olive oil
2 lbs fresh okra
3 large onions, chopped
2 large green peppers, chopped
6 stalks of celery, chopped
½ pound andouille or kielbasa sausage, chopped into bite-sized pieces (try to make sure you get the good stuff)
Turkey broth (Obtained by boiling the carcass. If you don’t plan on doing this, you can substitute a quart of chicken broth)
½ pound leftover turkey
3 lbs shrimp, cleaned and deveined
1 can tomato sauce
Salt, to taste
Cayenne pepper, to taste
2 Bay leaves

To make the roux substitute, in a medium heavy skillet, over medium-high heat, add half of the olive oil and sauté the okra, stirring constantly, until the okra begins to dry. This process will take about 40 minutes.

In a large pot, add the remaining oil and sauté the onions until they become translucent. Add the green pepper, celery, and sausage and cook 10-15 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the broth, tomato sauce, salt and cayenne pepper (to taste) and let simmer over medium heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add in bay leaves and bring to a low boil. Turn down heat, cover pot, and let simmer for anywhere between 15 minutes and an hour. About 10 minutes before you expect to eat, add in the shrimp and turkey. Test the food, adjust seasonings as needed and serve immediately.

cobalt123, Muffet, talekinker, Jenny Leigh Flickr Photos (CC)

Further Reading:

Make it a Primal Thanksgiving!

10 Primal Meals in 15 Minutes or Less

Primal Breakfast Suggestions for People On the Go

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