If you’re like me, you think of leftovers from big holiday meals as money in the bank. You can reheat them to repeat them, or you can repurpose them for other dishes. Despite seeing some “petite” turkeys at Whole Foods the other day, most turkeys that are cooked up for Thanksgiving are big ones. Sure, you can bake up a turkey tetrazzini casserole and assemble a turkey club sandwich, but how about using scraps from the bird to prepare some fun Asian foods?
Going into a holiday like Thanksgiving, I’m already dreaming of things to do with the remains of the day. I’m often scheming on ways to give the leftovers an Asian makeover.
Turkey Pho Noodle Soup or Wonton Noodle Soup
A light bowl of Asian noodle soup can sooth and cleanse after a big meal like Thanksgiving. If pho is for you, save that carcass and even vegetable scraps to brew up a pot of pho. Brew turkey pho in a stockpot with vegetables, aromatics, and lots of spices. Here’s an easygoing turkey pho recipe to simmer up on the day or weekend after Thanksgiving.
If you’re running around and just want to whip up a pot of pho in little time, use the pressure cooker. You can plug in a multicooker such as an Instant Pot or Fagor Lux, put the pho ingredients in the pot, program it, and walk away! I developed a pressure cooker turkey pho recipe that’ll work with regular stovetop cookers as well as electric multicookers. Go pho it!
Or, use the turkey carcass for a Chinese noodle soup broth and then add wontons and maybe some noodles too. Leftover veggies can be added to the bowl. Here’s a wonton noodle soup recipe to use; replace the chicken and pork parts with 3 pounds of turkey carcass. In the bowl below, I had some beautiful dried shrimp in the broth and just left them in the broth for textural fun.
Add turkey (or roast chicken as shown above) to the bowl if you’d like extra protein and a roasty flavor.
Bun rice noodle salad bowls
Rice noodle salad bowls are also one of my go-to dishes for using up leftovers. You can warm up the turkey in a microwave oven or cook it up with some stir-fried onion and garlic. Season the turkey with salt, pepper and a glug of fish sauce, soy sauce or Maggi Seasoning sauce. Use the turkey in this bun salad bowl recipe blueprint. If you have canned fried onions around, garnish each bowl with about 1 tablespoon for crunchy fatty bling. I really like the Trader Joe’s fried onions and stock up this time of the year.
Japanese curry fried rice
When the taste of turkey weighs you down, try turning the leftover turkey meat into a curry fried rice. The curry adds a new layer of flavor on the turkey, and for my Japanese curry fried rice recipe, you can add some pickled ginger too. Or, just have the rice with a Viet daikon and carrot pickle (do chua) or the lemongrass green tomato pickle on the side.
Turkey banh mi
Leftover turkey, vegetable sides and cranberry sauce can all go into a post-Thanksgiving turkey banh mi! Add chiles or even a squirt of sriracha (mix the hot sauce into the cranberry sauce, if you like), and you’ll have a Vietnamese-American holiday snack. If you don’t have baguette around, use a light, delicate roll leftover from your Thanksgiving feast. Note how you can use those canned fried onions here too!
You’ll have worked hard to put Thanksgiving together so in the aftermath, play around with the leftovers. Enjoy!
What are your favorite things to do with Thanksgiving leftovers?
Related post: Asian Recipes for Thanksgiving plus Tips for Less Stress