How to best use Christmas roast leftovers

Turkey sandwiches for days… it doesn’t have to be this way.

The week following Christmas can be a blur, with yet more cooking being the last thing on your mind.

In the post-Christmas slump it’s easy to get lazy and keep eating the same meals over and over.

But there are creative ways to use what’s leftover, making more exciting and nutritious meals.

Lola Biggs, a dietitian at Together Health says you should ‘ditch turkey and stuffing sandwiches’, and instead incorporate anything leftover into other meals in your cooking arsenal.

Turkey minestrone

Lola says: ‘Turkey minestrone is a great way to use lots of leftovers.

‘It’s low in fat, easy to prep and is warming.

‘Toss any leftover veg, bacon and turkey into a pan with stock (veg or chicken is fine), add in some cannellini or borlotti beans which offer lots of great protein and fibre and orzo, then simmer for 15 minutes.

‘For added power, you can sprinkle in a teaspoon of turmeric which is great for easing inflammation, acid reflux and can also support a healthy immune system.’

Moroccan turkey salad

For a light lunch, Lola suggests a turkey salad.

‘Fry up some aubergine until soft, add in some small cherry tomatoes, a teaspoon of harissa pastes and shredded leftover turkey.

‘Warm through, add to a bowl and scatter in some rocket and mint leaves and some pomegranate seeds. Pomegranate seeds are rich in antioxidants, vitamin E, magnesium, and fibre,’ she says, suggesting you add flat bread for something more filling.

Bubble and squeak

A classic option is bubble and squeak.

Lola notes: ‘An easy, one pot meal is a great way to use up leftovers. Potatoes, carrots, parsnips, and sprouts work well.

‘Just throw into a frying pan add a splash of olive or rapeseed oil and anything else you have left over like stuffing and warm through. Sprouts are full of healthy nutrients and a high fibre food while carrots are loaded with vitamins and beta-carotene.’

Even better, there’s minimal washing up with this one.

Turkey cottage pie

This easy option allows you to throw in anything leftover – you can adapt the pie filling to suit what’s still lingering in the kitchen.

Lola says: ‘Hearty, tasty and healthy, a turkey cottage pie with carrot and potato topping is a really comforting dish.

‘Pour a can of tomatoes into a pan, add celery and onion, and bring to the boil. Add in the turkey and simmer.

‘Thrown in a handful of frozen peas, a dash of Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper and mix through. Add to an oven proof dish and top with any left-over carrots, parsnip, sweet potatoes, and potatoes.

‘You can mash or crumble for the topping. Pop in the oven for 30 minutes until bubbling and golden. Serve with kale, sprouts, spinach – whatever you have left over.’

If you need more recipe inspiration, chef Steve Groves, who was crowned MasterChef: The Professionals Winner in 2009 and now is a chef at Glyndebourne by Restaurant Associates, shares some of his favourite uses for leftover turkey.

Ham and turkey Charlotte

This dish is based on Michel Roux Jr’s duck Charlotte. The bread becomes crisp on the outside, whilst soaking up some of the sauce on the inside.

Serves 6


  • 200g goose fat
  • 1 loaf of white bread
  • 500ml ham stock or chicken stock
  • 2 leeks, green part removed and washed
  • 40g unsalted butter
  • 40g plain flour
  • 100ml double cream
  • ½ bunch chervil, chopped
  • 400g cooked turkey breast cut into 2cm pieces
  • 300g cooked gammon joint, cut into 2cm pieces


I like to serve it with some savoy cabbage dressed with wholegrain mustard.

Turkey lasagna with pesto

This is a slightly different use of leftover turkey. I actually love it any time of year – it can be made with fresh turkey or chicken too.

Serves 4

Ingredients (white sauce)

  • 400ml whole milk 1⁄2 onion, peeled 1 bay leaf 2 cloves
  • 40g unsalted butter
  • 40g plain flour

Ingredients (pesto)

  • 50g pine nuts
  • 1 bunch basil
  • 40g Parmesan, finely grated
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 140ml Light olive oil

Ingredients (lasagna)

  • 400g Cooked turkey, thinly sliced
  • 1 Packet lasagne sheets
  • 1 Mozzarella ball, torn into small pieces & dried on kitchen paper
  • 20g parmesan, grated


Cranberry stuffing sausage roll

The stuffing is often my favourite part of Christmas lunch and I even love it cold the following days. If cold stuffing isn’t for you, however, here’s a great post-Christmas treat.

Serves 8-10


1 onion(180g), finely diced 1 tbsp chopped thyme 50g Butter 140g Diced dried Cranberries 100ml Water

500g Sausage meat

65g Fresh breadcrumbs 80g Cooked chestnuts, roughly chopped 1 Egg

5 Egg yolks or 2 whole eggs (Using just yolks will give a richer colour) 1tsp Milk Puff Pastry


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