Come end of November, the only thing that rivals the anticipation of Thanksgiving dinner is the following week of Thanksgiving leftovers. The midnight fridge raid for a sliver of pie. A scoop of potatoes au gratin reheated for breakfast alongside some scrambled eggs. Another raid on the fridge for another piece of pie.
However, the true king of the leftovers is, of course, the centerpiece of the Thanksgiving meal, the turkey. Maybe it’s because we hardly ever take the time to roast a turkey the rest of the year, because come Thanksgiving, we just can’t get enough. In our household, we’ll even go so far as to roast an extra turkey on Thanksgiving just for the leftovers.
Of all our “turkey reinvented” dishes, Turkey Sloppy Joes is one of our all-time favorites. Saute up some onions and garlic. Add tomato sauce, ketchup, a little vinegar and brown sugar. Throw in a few more ingredients for spice and flavor. Chop up a chunk of the leftover turkey. And no sloppy joe is complete in our house without the addition of cheese. It’s a tradition that goes back to childhood.
If you find yourself craving these with no roasted turkey in sight, you could easily adapt this recipe with fresh ground turkey. Use fresh ground turkey and make the sloppy joes in the traditional manner, cooking the meat alongside the onions and garlic, then add in the sauce ingredients. However, you might find yourself so addicted to these sloppy joes, you’ll be roasting a whole turkey just to make them.
Turkey Sloppy Joe Recipe
- 1 pound cooked, chopped turkey
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 cups tomato sauce
- 1/2 cup ketchup
- 1 tablespoon mustard
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
- 4-6 buns
- Lettuce, optional for sandwiches
- In a large saucepan heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and cook until soft. Add tomato sauce, ketchup, mustard, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, chili powder and sea salt. Mix to combine and cook for another minute.
- Stir in turkey. Stir in cheese until melted. Remove from heat.
- Slice buns and toast insides on a hot pan. Add a layer of lettuce. Spoon in turkey mix. Serve immediately.
More Thanksgiving Leftover Ideas
- Turkey Roast Dip
- Turkey Tacos
- Potato Quesadillas
- Next-Day Turkey Soup
- Sweet-Potato Pancakes
- All Leftover Recipe Ideas
Todd Porter and Diane Cu are professional food and travel photographers who publish the popular food blog White on Rice. Their lives have always been about love, family, friends, sharing, exploring and food.