Food & Drink

7 Thanksgiving Leftover Recipes From James Beard Award-Winning Chefs

Use up your turkey with delicious ideas from Yotam Ottolenghi, Virginia Willis and more brilliant cooks.

With fresh turkey, sugary sweet potatoes and all things cranberry, it’s tough to beat the traditional Thanksgiving feast. But the turkey doldrums that inevitably follow? That’s a tedious stretch of leftovers most feasters could do without.

Turkey sandwiches are the obvious solution for leftovers, but bread-and-bird isn’t the only way to serve up extras. Turkey’s mild flavor makes it interchangeable for many chicken dishes; expert chefs recommend rejiggering tried-and-true recipes like noodle soup to use up the holiday bird in a new, delicious way. Extra cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes and green beans can also make repeat appearances post-holiday, as side-dish solutions include everything from rolls and biscuits to soups and salads.

To sprinkle some pizzazz into this year’s post-holiday menu, we’ve enlisted the experts ― a variety of James Beard-recognized chefs who have their own leftover adaptations. From creative sides to unique spins on the main bird, here are seven must-try Thanksgiving leftover recipes from the experts.

1
Chunky Chicken Noodle Soup
Angie Mosier/Lighten Up Y'all by Virginia Willis
Chef Virginia Willis learned to cook in her grandma’s country kitchen, then went on to win a James Beard Award for her book “Lighten Up, Y’All.” This noodle soup recipe from her popular book is a great way to repurpose poultry (with the easy swap of turkey instead of chicken).

Get the Chunky Chicken Noodle recipe from the James Beard Foundation.
2
Vidalia Onion Turkey Tacos
Courtesy of Virginia Willis
Tacos are a tangy twist on Thanksgiving leftovers. In this flavorful dish, Willis told HuffPost to make a turkey-for-chicken swap with reheated turkey meat.

Get theVidalia Onion Chicken Tacos recipefrom Virginia Willis.
3
Beverly Brown’s Potato Rolls
Keirnan Monaghan and Theo Vamvounakis
Beverly Brown’s potato rolls are one of James Beard-awarded chef Howard Hanna’s top leftover recipes. These rolls, created by his sous chef Kara Anderson, give mashed potatoes a scrumptious second life.

Get theBeverly Brown’s Potato Rolls recipefrom the James Beard Foundation.
4
Squash and Apple Soup with Fresh Cranberry Sauce
Mette Nielsen, from The Sioux Chef's Indigenous Kitchen
Sean Sherman and Beth Dooley, authors of the James Beard-awarded cookbook “The Sioux Chef's Indigenous Kitchen,” offer a unique use for leftover cranberry sauce in this tasty autumn soup.

Get theSquash and Apple Soup with Fresh Cranberry Sauce recipefrom the James Beard Foundation.
5
Tofu and Haricots Verts with Chraimeh Sauce
Jonathan Lovekin, from "Ottolenghi Simple"
While turkey leftovers get the spotlight, James Beard award winner Yotam Ottolenghi, author of “Ottolenghi Simple,” shares a creative and healthy way to reuse leftover green beans: a zesty tofu and green-bean veggie concoction. Even better? This dish can double as a sauce to add Libyan flair to chicken or — you guessed it — turkey.

Get theTofu and Haricots Verts with Chraimeh Sauce recipefrom the James Beard Foundation.
6
Turkey and Courgette Burgers with Spring Onion and Cumin
Jonathan Lovekin, from "Jerusalem"
These Ottolenghi burgers from the cookbook “Jerusalem” call for minced turkey, and the recipe’s creamy sumac sauce is perfect for spicing up that leftover bird. The sauce “will go well with most non-red meats” like turkey, according to the recipe.

Get the Turkey & Courgette Burgers with Spring Onion & Cumin recipe fromYotam Ottolenghi.
7
Spiced Sweet Potato-Walnut Biscuits
Stephanie Bourgeois
Brandon Frohne has made a name for himself cooking at the James Beard House in New York, and these spiced sweet potato-walnut biscuits — perfect for leftover sweet potatoes — are one of his biggest hits.

Get theSpiced Sweet Potato-Walnut Biscuits recipefrom the James Beard Foundation.
Leftover Turkey Sandwiches