Wondering what to do with leftover turkey? Add some pasta, vegetables and cheese to make this Leftover Turkey Pasta Bake.
What to do with leftover turkey….
This Leftover Turkey Pasta Bake was born out of the predicament that many of us find ourselves in after Thanksgiving or Christmas – what to do with leftover turkey? Well this, my friends, is exactly what to do with leftover turkey and in my opinion, one of the best leftover turkey recipes ever – but then I could be biased 🙂
But seriously, creamy and comforting but also full of fresh vegetables this Leftover Turkey Pasta Bake will give new life to those turkey leftovers.
We have turkey every year at Christmas with. out. fail. I put full stops there to really get the point across. Every year. And there is always waaaaay too much. Every year. Growing up, we’d eat cold turkey sandwiches for the next couple of days. I’m not a fan of sandwiches with soft bread that sticks to the roof of your mouth (eewwww), so I would only get one sandwich, using the two crusts at the ends of the loaf. Just the crusts, butter, turkey and salt and I was back in happy turkey heaven.
Love this time of year 🙂
As much as I loved those leftover turkey bread crust sandwiches, I’m a little more adventurous these days. I cooked up some turkey the other day for the sole purpose of having leftover turkey (love this time of year). But I did it so that I could make this recipe for you and show you how to use up that leftover turkey. I actually made 2 recipes out of it. This yummy, cheesy, delicious Leftover Turkey Pasta Bake and I also chopped some of it up finely and made my Quick and Healthy Turkey San Choy Bow with it. See. So versatile.
So Leftover Turkey Pasta Bake is full of, well, turkey and pasta, of course but there are some other wonderful ingredients that make this comforting pasta bake so, so good like
- pine nuts and
- loads of cheese
So, there you go, never again will you need to question how to use leftover turkey.
Happy Thanksgiving to those celebrating it and I look forward to bringing you another leftover turkey recipe after Christmas 🙂
More pasta recipes
Leftover Turkey Pasta Bake
- 3 cups dry pasta shells
- ¼ cup panko bread crumbs, lightly toasted (notes)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil (notes)
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 small purple onion, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons butter (notes)
- 2 tablespoons plain (AP) flour (notes)
- 3 cups milk
- 1 medium green capsicum
- 150 g fresh baby spinach leaves
- 2 tablespoons pine nuts (notes)
- 400 g cooked turkey, roughly chopped
- 1 ½ cups 185g cheddar cheese, grated
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 200C / 400F / 180C fan forced.
- Add pasta to a large pot of boiling, well salted water and cook until just al dente (it should still have some bite). Drain and set aside.
- If toasting the breadcrumbs, lay them out on a baking tray and bake in the preheated oven for around 5 minutes until just starting to turn golden
- Heat olive oil in a large pan and add garlic and onion. Saute for a couple of minutes until starting to soften.
- Add the butter and stir as it melts. Once melted, add the flour and quickly stir through. Cook stirring for another minute or so.
- Slowly pour in the milk, stirring constantly to avoid lumps. Bring the milk to a simmer and simmer for a couple of minutes until it begins to thicken.
- Add the capsicum, spinach, half of the pine nuts, the turkey and stir until the spinach has wilted.
- Add 1 cup of the cheese and continue to stir until it is melted and completely combined.
- Add the salt and pepper to taste.
- Finally, add in the pasta and stir to combine.
- Tip the whole lot into a baking dish, then sprinkle over the remaining cheese, pine nuts and the breadcrumbs.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden on top.
- I use a standard Australian 20ml tablespoon
- Toasting the breadcrumbs is an optional step but it does give a nice flavour and helps to keep the breadcrumbs nice and crispy on top of the pasta bake