It doesn’t matter how large or small your Thanksgiving Day gathering is because there always seems to be leftovers (sometimes in large quantities!) from the feast. While many look forward to turkey soup, turkey sandwiches and turkey casserole for a week, some may not be able to choke down another bite.
But, there are plenty of creative (and delicious!) ways to work with your leftovers this year, noted a few of America’s top chefs.
Stephanie Izard, chef and owner of Girl & Goat, Little Goat and several other restaurants, suggests a leftover fried rice made with turkey, green beans, sweet potatoes, pepitas and sprouts. “This Southeast Asia-spiced fried rice instantly transforms your Thanksgiving leftovers into a simple, flavor-packed meal that comes together in just minutes,” she explains.
Don’t have leftover green beans? Don’t worry — that leftover kale from your salad or mushrooms work great, she says. Izard also notes that you should feel free to substitute any of the vegetables with whatever you have leftover from your Thanksgiving meal.
While fried rice may seem out of the box, Chef Wolfgang Puck explains that repurposing Thanksgiving leftovers is only as limited as your imagination.
“There are so many things you can do with leftovers the next day. You can make turkey lasagna, turkey Cobb salad if you want something lighter, or even turkey tacos,” says Puck. However, he notes that a turkey pot pie may be the best way to mix leftovers with comfort food.
Chef Nini Nguyen explains that she celebrates her Louisiana roots with her leftovers, making one of the South’s most iconic dishes with a traditional Turkey Day spin.
“Coming from Louisiana, I like to make gumbo with my leftover turkey. This is the best way to repurpose your turkey, especially if it didn’t come out juicy as you liked the first go round,” she says.
And to help you along, she is hosting a live cooking class on the day after Thanksgiving to show people how to make Turkey and sausage gumbo. (You can purchase tickets here!)
Chef Jamie Gwen opts for turkey stew after the big day, however, she creates cheddar mustard biscuits to complement the spread. (She shares the recipe with us here.)
“I love the leftovers from Thanksgiving almost as much as the feast! For an indulgent weekend-after meal, I make a turkey cobbler with cheddar mustard biscuits that uses up everything you have left in the fridge. I hope that you love it as much as I do,” she says.
And, there is room for everything to be used, including gravy, says Dana Murrell, principal chef at HelloFresh. She notes that using gravy instead of stock in soup gives it an extra creamy kick.
And the cranberry sauce? “Warm up and spoon over vanilla bean ice cream for a festive topping or pair with whipped cream and layer between biscuits for a fun twist on strawberry shortcake. Looking for a savory spin? Stuff chicken with brie cheese and spoon warmed cranberry sauce over top,” says Murrell.