Thanksgiving dinner is a funny thing. There are so many traditional and “must-have” dishes that it’s hard to incorporate anything new. Yet all of us food lovers want to try new recipes and what better time than with a crowd? In our family, each person has their pick and at the end of the day, there isn’t much room for innovation. So, let’s get innovative with leftovers, shall we? And first up, this leftover turkey chili with white beans.
I grew up in a kitchen that embraced leftovers as much as the initial meal. My parents understood the importance (financially as much as sustainably) in avoiding food waste. And now it’s my turn to embrace all those ‘innovative’ leftover ideas! After all avoiding food waste is always the first thing I recommend to anyone interested in sustainable living!
So what’s involved in turkey chili? Well for starters – shredded turkey. When the Thanksgiving meal is done and you’re putting the turkey away, you can even start shredding it by hand then!
Beyond that, it’s yellow onion, garlic, green chilies, white beans, and some important seasonings for tasty flavor. You could easily add in bell peppers or some other veggies, but don’t feel like you have to do much (after all, Thanksgiving will be over).
While the recipe is incredibly easy and you likely have everything on hand, it’s important to note the salt situation.
Oftentimes turkey, stock, and even canned beans are all loaded with salt. If you throw them all together in a pot, you’ll have a mouth-puckering experience on your hands.
If you aren’t using homemade broth, be sure to use low-to-no sodium ingredients where noted and I’d avoid salting until the very end when you taste it all together!
Leftover Turkey Recipes
Growing up, I sometimes looked forward to the leftover Thanksgiving recipes my mom routinely made after Thanksgiving more than the main meal itself.
My favorite? A turkey alfredo pasta situation – simply with pasta, turkey pieces, and a jar of alfredo sauce. If I remember correctly, she mixed sour cream into the sauce to make it creamier too. No surprise why I loved it so much, right?
I also created my own leftover turkey carnitas recipe a few years ago that’s delicious and quite easy – my husband requests it with chicken quite a bit. You can eat it in tacos, on nachos, or in a burrito!
But this turkey chili situation might be a new favorite. It might be the sour cream, cilantro, and tortilla chips on top, but even that turkey is calling my name – a rare feat after such a feast!
If you play your cards right, you have three nights of deliciousness planned with these leftover turkey recipes! Good luck saving enough turkey!
If you’re feeling frisky, you can serve it with cornbread crackers rather than tortilla chips for a slightly different serving option.
It would also be great to serve for a Friendsgiving gathering!
Looking for more chili recipes? Try this kid-friendly chili!
Leftover Turkey Chili
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup chopped yellow onion
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 4 cups unsalted chicken stock
- 1 4 oz. can green chilies
- 15 oz low-sodium white beans, rinsed and drained
- 4 cups shredded leftover turkey
- 1 to 1 ½ teaspoons fine sea salt*
- To serve: chopped cilantro, sour cream, and tortilla chips
- Heat the olive oil over medium-high in a large soup pot. Add the onion and then the garlic and cook for 3 minutes, just until the onion begins to soften. Stir in the chili powder and cumin to coat the onion.
- Pour in the chicken stock and stir well. Add the chilies and the beans. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the turkey and cook until heated through, about 2 minutes. Stir in salt to taste.
- Serve topped with cilantro, sour cream and crumbled tortilla chips.
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