By now, whether you’re hosting or travelling for the holiday, you’re probably in the throes of Thanksgiving preparations. It sometimes amazes me how we put days of thought and energy into a meal that is usually over in less than an hour. Then comes the dish scrubbing, mopping, traveling home, and of course, the leftovers!

Because I can’t stand to see good food go to waste, I try to find ways to use up all the odds and ends in our refrigerator before going back to the grocery store to shop for another week of meals (You know I’m obsessed with weekly menu planning!). After our Thanksgiving feast, I find that we’re eager to finish up the sweet potato pie, cornbread stuffing and other flavorful side dishes, but the roast turkey and cranberry sauce sometimes languish at the back of the refrigerator.

Last year I invented this salad that can help you give new life to some of those leftovers. Once the feast is over and you’re likely more relaxed, I suggest getting your kids in on the cooking action. Because celery is pretty evenly shaped and stable on the cutting board, it’s a great vegetable for kids to practice their knife skills. Be sure to sharpen your knives first, as dull knives are harder to cut with. Also, teach your child to hold the knife steady and keep their other hand safely away from the blade.

Kids can also wash the celery and scallions, measure the rice and other ingredients, snip the scallions with kitchen shears, and of course mix the ingredients together. And don’t forget to have them taste the salad and let you know what, if anything, they think it needs. (Kids love to have their tastes and opinions valued by adults.)

For more on teaching knife skills to children, visit Simple Bites and What’s Cooking with Kids .

Do you have any other recipes or tactics for using up Thanksgiving leftovers? Please share below!

Recipe: Turkey and Wild Rice Salad

  • Prep Time: 10 min(s)
  • Cook Time: 60 min(s)
  • Total Time: 1 hour and 10 min(s)
  • Servings: 6

A tasty way to reuse leftover Thanksgiving turkey.


    • 1 cup wild rice blend, such as Lundberg’s
    • 1 cup cooked turkey breast, chopped
    • 1 cup sliced celery (about 2 stalks)
    • ¼ – ½ cup thinly sliced scallions, to taste
    • ½ cup dried cranberries or ½ - ¾ cup cranberry sauce, to taste
    • ¼ cup light balsamic vinaigrette dressing (or use equal parts olive oil and balsamic vinegar)
    • ½ cup pecans, lightly toasted and coarsely chopped
    • Salt and black pepper to taste (optional)


    • Prepare the rice according to the package directions, using water or leftover chicken broth.
    • In a medium serving bowl, combine the turkey, celery, scallions and cranberries or cranberry sauce.  When the rice is cooked, combine it with the ingredients in the bowl.  Stir in the vinaigrette dressing.
    • Refrigerate the salad for at least 15 minutes and up to 2 days.  Just before serving, stir in the pecans.

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5 Responses to “Got Leftovers? Try Turkey and Wild Rice Salad”

  1. alice

    Aviva: Beautiful salad. It seems too good just to wait until I have left over turkey to make.

  2. Gabrielle

    My mother used to make a turkey stew. It was edible, but not one of my favorites. 🙂 I definitely like the salad idea better. Happy Thanksgiving!

  3. Aimee @ Simple Bites

    I’m going to have to roast a chicken just to make this salad, Aviva. I’m crazy about every ingredient you used!

    Thanks so much for the mention!