7 healthy leftover turkey recipes that are anything but boring

  • 1 Minute Read
Katherine Isacks
Katherine Isacks, MPS, RDN, CDCES - Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist (CDCES)

Check out a few of my favorite healthy leftover turkey recipes. First and foremost, hang on to your turkey bones at Thanksgiving!

Healthy leftover turkey recipes

Healthy leftover turkey recipes you'll be grateful for

Thanksgiving Day is almost here. Hurray! This blog is dedicated to a few of my favorite healthy post-holiday turkey recipes. They make the most of the leftovers from everyone's favorite food holiday. Your family will thank you, and your waistline will, too!

Turkey stock

Even if your bird is picked over like there's no tomorrow, you can roast the bones and make superb no sodium turkey stock from the carcass. Use that broth in any dish that calls for chicken broth. Take the time to roast the turkey bones for richer color before putting them in a stockpot along with onions, carrots, and celery. Unlike broth, stock is unseasoned. Cover with water, bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 2-6 hours. Let cool. Remove turkey carcass and vegetables and strain in a cheesecloth-covered strainer. You can refrigerate or freeze the broth. To make it even easier, use a slow cooker and set on low for up to 10 hours, but the longer the time, the more intense the flavor!


I know most of you feel just too darn tired or busy to make homemade soup after Thanksgiving, but this is your chance to finally do some good with the tiny pieces of poultry left behind. You can make a classic turkey soup or do something a little fancier with the leftover meat.

Next-Day Turkey Soup Food Network (Michael Chiarello). This recipe calls not only for turkey bones but for your leftover veggie sides as well!

Lemon Turkey Soup with Fresh Spinach and Farfalle. This is a healthy recipe from Epicurious (Bon Appétit) that uses leftover turkey meat (no bones).


As a condiment, pair low-fat mayo with a small amount of leftover cranberry sauce. Spread it on whole-grain bread topped with leftover turkey and any salad greens for a fabulous, healthy lunch. If you are looking for healthy leftover turkey recipes that use more veggies, try Turkey Veg Out Sandwiches from Food.com.


I can't think of a better use for leftover turkey than Waldorf Salad. This classic retro salad combines sweet and savory with smooth and crunchy. For a lighter version, try Cooking Light's Lightened Waldorf Salad. For a delightful, spicy twist on this classic, try Eating Well's Curried Waldorf Salad.


Turkey in a whole-grain tortilla with low-fat sour cream, a mix of salsas (one hot, one sweet), avocado, and sautéed peppers and onions is pretty darn good and fast to make.


Turkey chili is delicious, easy, and one of the most popular healthy leftover turkey recipes to warm up the chill of the season. Freeze it for a return on your investment come January. Here's a turkey chili recipe you can try from the Food Network.

Reviewed and revised by Brenda Braslow, MS, RD, LD, CDES on November 12, 2020.

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Foods & Recipes->Chicken & Turkey Holidays / Parties->Thanksgiving
Nov 13, 2020

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