Light Healthy Leftover Turkey Recipes | WeightWatchers Friendly (2024)

For me, the best part of roasting a turkey for Thanksgiving or Christmas (or anytime for that matter) is all the delicious recipes you can make from the leftover turkey.

Have you been stuck with loads of leftover turkey and wondered how to repurpose it without piling on the pounds? Well, you're in luck! This article is all about turning those extra turkey bits into yummy dishes that won't wreck your Weight Watchers plan.

After the big Thanksgiving holiday feast, our fridges are often filled with turkey, and it's time to get creative. We're on a mission to find easy and healthy ways to use up that leftover bird. From soups to salads and hearty mains, we've got your back with recipes that not only taste great but are also light and healthy.

Light Healthy Leftover Turkey Recipes | WeightWatchers Friendly (1)

Cooked turkey can be used in so many ways. You can use it anywhere you would use cooked chicken - in rice dishes and in Mexican dishes like quesadillas, enchiladas, burritos and nachos and in all kinds of soups, stews and chilies.

I'm a big fan ofleftover turkey noodle soup, turkey sandwiches, soups and leftover turkey casseroles.

Simple Leftover Turkey Noodle Soup

And as I focus on healthy eating and weight loss, I'm on the lookout for for ways to lighten-up old family favorite dishes. So,I've gathered a great collection of light and healthy leftover turkey recipes all in one place so they're here when I need them.

A long-time go-to wild rice casserole, perfect with after-Thanksgiving leftover turkey. And so easy since it's made in the slow cooker.

2. Impossibly Easy Pot Pie Made Lighter

Impossibly Easy Chicken (or Turkey) Pot Pie Made Lighter - A comfort food favorite from freezer and pantry staples that comes together in minutes and always satisfies! A delightful way to use up leftover turkey or chicken.

3. Wild Rice Turkey Pot Pie

Dig into a pot pie with a new twist. You'll find wild rice in the savory veggie-rich filling and the Bisquick® topping. (Found at Betty Crocker.)

4. Skinny Chicken (or Turkey) Broccoli Casserole

- You can substitute leftover turkey for the chicken in this lightened up version of Mom's favorite chicken & broccoli casserole.

5. Skinny Chicken (or Turkey) Apple Stuffing Casserole

This Chicken (or Turkey) Apple Stuffing Casserole - Creamy and comforting, this casserole is another easy and delicious family-favorite recipe that starts with shredded cooked chicken breast, turkey breast or leftover rotisserie chicken and only requires a handful of additional ingredients. Low in fat and calories, it mixes together in minutes and needs about 30 minutes to bake. If you have enough leftover stuffing, from you Thanksgiving dinner, this recipe will come together even quicker.

6. Crock Pot Turkey Vegetable Barley Soup

Crock Pot Turkey Vegetable Barley Soup - This is one of those easy dump and stir recipes that takes just a few minutes to toss together. Perfect after a long weekend of cooking, when you're ready to take it extra easy in the kitchen.

7. Slow Cooker Turkey Green Chile Chowder

Slow Cooker Turkey Green Chile Chowder - This slow cooker turkey green chili chowder reminded me of my mom’s corn chowder, only zippier and heartier, thanks to the addition of green chilies and turkey.

8. Slow Cooker Thanksgiving Leftovers Soup

Slow Cooker Thanksgiving Leftovers Soup - It may not be the prettiest soup ever, but we all thought it was pretty darned good. Tasty and comforting.

9. Crock Pot Turkey Broth

Crock Pot Turkey Broth - Making turkey or chicken broth (stock) is pretty easy anyway, but using a slow cooker makes the process virtually effortless. For very little work you are rewarded with several cups of delicious homemade broth, free of the artificial stuff often found in the boxed kind

- What's not to like about thinly sliced apples, smoked turkey, spinach and cheddar layered between spicy mayo smeared multigrain bread and grilled until toasty and melty? Substitute leftover turkey for the smoked deli turkey in this panini.

11. Chicken (or Turkey) Salad with Apples and Cranberries

Substitute leftover cooked turkey in this ever popular chicken salad with apples and cranberries. One of the post popular recipes on Simple Nourished Living, it has been shared more than 250 thousand times for good reason.

12. Skinny Curried Chicken (or Turkey) Salad

Substitute cooked turkey in this flavorful curried chicken salad recipe. It's a tasty combination of sweet and spicy with lots of crunch from the celery and apples.

More Turkey Sandwich Ideas for Weight Watchers

More Weight Watchers Friendly Ideas for Thanksgiving Leftovers

Substitute Turkey for Chicken in this Slow Cooker Chicken Ala King

Substitute Turkey for the Chicken in One of these Salads

Light Healthy Leftover Turkey Recipes | WeightWatchers Friendly (16)Martha is the founder and main content writer for Simple-Nourished-Living.

A longtime lifetime WW at goal, she is committed to balancing her love of food and desire to stay slim while savoring life and helping others do the same.

She is the author of the Smart Start 28-Day Weight Loss Challenge.

A huge fan of the slow cooker and confessed cookbook addict, when she's not experimenting in the kitchen, you're likely to find Martha on her yoga mat.

More about Martha McKinnon

*Points® calculated by WW. *PointsPlus® and SmartPoints® calculated by Simple Nourished Living; Not endorsed by Weight Watchers International, Inc. All recipe ingredients except optional items included in determining nutritional estimates. SmartPoints® values calculated WITHOUT each plan's ZeroPoint Foods (Green plan, Blue plan, Purple plan) using the WW Recipe Builder.

This post contains affiliate links to products I like. When you buy something through one of my Amazon links or other (affiliate links), I receive a small commission that helps support this site. Thank you for your purchase!

Light Healthy Leftover Turkey Recipes | WeightWatchers Friendly (17)
originally published 11/2018; republished with updated content and photos 11/2023

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Light Healthy Leftover Turkey Recipes | WeightWatchers Friendly (2024)


Are turkey leftovers good for your health? ›

According to, a website of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the following foods are safe in the fridge: Turkey: 3-4 days. Eat turkey within three to four days of cooking. If you use the turkey in a new dish like a soup or casserole, only consume within those initial four days.

How long does leftover turkey last? ›

USDA recommends using cooked turkey within 3 to 4 days, kept refrigerated (40°F or less). Refrigeration slows but does not stop bacterial growth. Turkey can be frozen for 3 to 4 months. Although safe indefinitely, frozen leftovers can lose moisture and flavor when stored for longer times in the freezer.

What can I buy instead of a whole turkey? ›

Here are our best budget alternatives so you can still enjoy Thanksgiving, without the hefty price tag!
  • Swap your turkey for a rotisserie chicken. ...
  • The free turkey program. ...
  • Get fancy with Cornish game hens. ...
  • Opt for turkey cuts. ...
  • Butterball roast. ...
  • Tofu. ...
  • Whole roasted cauliflower.
Oct 11, 2023

What is the healthiest way to eat turkey? ›

Choosing light meat without the skin is the healthiest way to eat turkey. It's also important to choose fresh over processed turkey. One cup of light meat turkey already contains more than 18% of your daily recommended dose of sodium. Processed turkey can have more than 35% of that recommended dose.

Is it safe to eat cold leftover turkey? ›

Remember, every time they're removed from the refrigerator, it gives pathogens an opportunity to grow. Your leftover turkey sandwich is fine cold, if you cooked it properly the first time.

How do you reheat turkey so it tastes good? ›

Place the turkey pieces in a baking dish and drizzle with a few tablespoons of stock and/or butter. Cover the dish with foil and heat in the oven at 350°F for about 30 minutes. Alternatively, you can microwave the sliced turkey (cover with a damp paper towel) in a microwave-safe dish at 50% power in 1-minute intervals.

Why does leftover turkey turn pink? ›

Chemical changes during cooking.

Scientists have found that pinkness occurs when gases in the atmosphere of a heated gas or electric oven react chemically with hemoglobin in the meat tissues to give poultry a pink tinge. They are the same substances that give red color to smoked hams and other cured meats.

What to do with leftover dry turkey? ›

If the turkey is dry, sitting in the moist gravy will help to rehydrate it. Serving more sauce on the side also helps to add moisture. Finally, if you've made a large turkey and have a lot left over, use it in recipes such as Turkey Pot Pie or a soup such as Turkey Wild Rice.

What is a healthier alternative to turkey? ›

Roasted Whole Chicken

“Each of these can be seasoned to your taste and roasted in the oven, resulting in wonderful aroma and delicious meat,” says Palumbo. Both chicken and turkey are lean proteins, especially if you avoid dark meat.

What meat is healthier than turkey? ›

Beef has more iron, zinc, and vitamin B12, which are nutrients that promote healthy blood, immunity, and nervous system health, than turkey.

Can I eat leftover turkey after a week? ›

How long do the turkey and trimmings stay safe in the refrigerator or freezer? The answer is simple: leftovers can be kept in the refrigerator for three to four days. This means you have until the Monday after Thanksgiving to eat all those delicious leftovers or place them in the freezer to enjoy later.

Are leftovers still nutritious? ›

You will often find people reheating leftover food time and again. However, this change in temperature washes off all the nutrients from the food. So, you must only reheat as much food as you need and eat it at one go.

Is reheated turkey good? ›

Cold, cooked turkey meat will keep in the fridge for up to four days, but always use your best judgement. Always reheat cold turkey until it's piping hot, not just warmed through. Only reheat cooked turkey once.

Is turkey good or bad for you? ›

Turkey is often considered a special occasion food, but incorporating it into your regular diet can offer a wide variety of health benefits. Not only is turkey delicious, lean, and easy to prepare, but it's also an excellent source of protein and other essential vitamins and minerals.


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