Six Christmas leftover recipes, from risotto to ramen

·9-min read
 (Bala Baya)
(Bala Baya)

While it might be hard to even think about eating again following the quantity you consumed on Christmas Day (and Boxing Day, and the the day after...) but somehow, food is still there, and it needs eating up.

The never-ending bird, it’s likely you have some turkey left, some vegetables, maybe a few roast potatoes and possibly some gravy - but what do you do with it?

Well, turn the scraps into another Christmas feast of a different variety.

From turkey ramen to carrot and Brussel sprouts pasta, below we’ve collated some of our favourite chef’s go-to Christmas leftovers recipes. Clean-eating can wait till Jan.

Carrot and Brussel sprouts pasta

 (Deliciously Ella)
(Deliciously Ella)

This recipe is by Deliciously Ella

Ingredients (Serves 2)

  • 150g pasta (I use brown rice pasta)

  • 2 carrots, peeled and grated

  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped

  • 250g Brussel sprouts, finely chopped

  • Handful of fresh parsley, (about 20g) chopped

  • 2 tablespoons of natural yogurt (I use coconut yogurt)

  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon

  • Drizzle of olive oil

  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Start by placing your pasta in a pan full boiling water, cook for 8-10 minutes until soft.

  2. Place your chopped garlic in a pan with a drizzle of oil over a medium heat and cook for 5 minutes until soft. Add in your grated carrot and chopped Brussel sprouts and cook everything for 5-10 minutes, continuously stirring, until golden.

  3. Once your pasta is cooked, drain the water and place in a large mixing bowl. Spoon through all of your other ingredients and mix well before serving.

Turkey, roasted squash & spelt risotto

 (Holborn Dining Room)
(Holborn Dining Room)

This recipe is by Calum Franklin of London’s Holborn Dining RoomIngredients (serves 4)

  • 1 large butternut squash, peeled & deseeded

  • 1 large Spanish onion diced

  • 2 cloves garlic finely chopped

  • 2ltr vegetable stock

  • 200ml white wine

  • 500g pearled spelt

  • 50g grated parmesan

  • 50g crème fraiche

  • 40ml olive oil

  • 500g shredded turkey leftover meat

  • 1 red chilli, deseeded and finely sliced

  • 4 spring onions finely sliced


  1. Preheat oven to 200c.

  2. Cut squash into 30g wedges, rub with olive oil and a little salt and roast in oven on a baking tray till golden brown and just cooked through, set aside half and place remainder in a small pot with 200ml veg stock and cook till very soft.

  3. Remove and blend in food processor till smooth then set aside.

  4. Sweat down the onion and garlic in 20ml olive oil in a thick bottomed pan over a moderate heat till soft but not coloured, add pearled spelt and white wine then cook out till liquid is reduced by half.

  5. Gradually add hot vegetable stock 150ml at a time till the spelt is cooked but still has a little bite.

  6. Finish risotto by stirring in squash puree, shredded turkey, parmesan and crème fraiche.

  7. To assemble dish, divide out the risotto into 4 bowls, quickly reheat pre roasted squash in frying pan with a little olive oil, scatter on top with fresh chilli and spring onions.

Bala Baya Christmas Pitta

 (Bala Baya)
(Bala Baya)

​This recipe is from London’s Bala Baya restaurantIngredients (Serves 2)

  • 2 Pitta

  • Roughly chopped leftover turkey 200g

  • Roast potatoes, smashed 100g

  • Any cheese (cubed) you have lying around (we use Taleggio) Brie or cheddar are good alternatives 50g

  • Mustard to taste

  • 1 large tomato, cut into wedges

  • Fresh oregano

  • Mixed pickles


  1. Turn the oven on max heat (normally 240 degrees Celsius)

  2. Mix cheese and smashed potatoes together before putting on an oven tray, season with salt and pepper

  3. Put under the grill if you have one to get it nice and crispy

  4. Place 2 frying pans on the hob on high heat until smoking hot

  5. Put a good knob of butter on both pans, immediately put the turkey in one, shake for a bit and leave for 1 minute. Pour it all onto a plate with the burnt butter

  6. Do the same with the tomatoes in the other pan for 2-3 minutes

  7. Roughly chop mixed pickles and oregano


  1. You can choose to put the filling inside the pitta or on top

  2. Layer the pitta with potato, turkey, tomato, pickles and oregano, at least twice

  3. Take the biggest bite you can

Christmas Turkey Gumbo Ya-Ya

 (Plaquemine Lock)
(Plaquemine Lock)

This recipe is by Jacob Kenedy of London’s Plaquemine LockIngredients (serves 8)

  1. The leftovers of your turkey*

  2. 5 sticks celery

  3. 3 medium onions

  4. 3 green peppers

  5. 4 cloves garlic, sliced

  6. 6 bay leaves

  7. A spoonful of peppercorns

  8. 2 jalapeno peppers

  9. Some seafood – two dozen raw shell-on prawns (shrimp), or cooked shell-on crayfish

  10. (crawfish), or two cooked smallish lobsters, or two medium cooked (or one massive) crab.

  11. 125ml vegetable oil

  12. 125g plain flour

  13. 400g smoked sausage, chunked

  14. 100g okra, sliced in 1-2cm rounds

  15. 1 bunch spring onions, thinly sliced

  16. 1 soup-bowlful of cooked rice

*you need about a highly heaped bowlful of picked meat, probably 500 grams or so – but the quantity doesn’t matter that much. A gumbo can equally well be made with any bird – leftover roasts, or raw meat can be lightly floured and browned at the outset, then stewed in the gumbo until tender.


  1. Start the stock – put the turkey carcass in a large pot and barely cover it with cold water. Bring to a simmer and keep it there. Chunk two of the celery sticks, one of the onions and one of the green peppers (seeds, stalks and all) and put them in the pot. Add half the garlic, half the bay, and the peppercorns. Keep simmering.

  2. Dice the remaining vegetables for the gumbo – dice the celery 5mm, the onions 5mm (throw trimmings into the stockpot), seed and dice the green peppers and jalapenos 5mm (seeds and stalk go into the pot as you go). Keep the stock simmering.

  3. Now turn your attention to the seafood: shell it. Keep the shells. Keep the brown meat. If using lobster, cut the tail meat into chunks. If using shrimp, devein them. Put the shells into the stockpot, keep it simmering.

  4. Make a roux: in a wide, heavy pot heat the oil and flour together over a medium heat. Stir. It will start to turn a nut brown. Keep stirring – but carefully, this stuff is magma and splashes could be serious. Keep stirring until a fine white smoke rises, the flour precisely the colour of melted dark chocolate.

  5. All at once, add the diced vegetables (celery, onion, green pepper, jalapeno) to the roux along with the garlic and bay. Stir in well with a good pinch of salt – the roux will seize up and darken to the colour of solid dark chocolate.

  6. Continue to stir over the heat 10-15 minutes more, until the vegetables are fully softened, the roux relaxed to a gloopy sauce. Add the chunked sausage (or ham) and stir it in. Leave over a low heat while you turn your attention back to the stockpot.

  7. Taste your stock. It's been on perhaps a couple of hours now, and should be delicious.

  8. Strain it, and skim off any fat. Measure out 1.2 litres and add it, in a few fairly rapid additions, to the roux. Keep any excess stock in case the soup needs thinning later.

  9. If you have leftover gravy (proper stuff) you can dispose of it now by adding it to the pot

  10. Increase the heat to bring the soup to a simmer, then reduce it to keep it there again. Add the okra, and cook gently, for 30 minutes more. The soup should be tending towards a certain thickness and body – not gloopy, but substantial.

  11. Remember your turkey meat, the reason you started making this gumbo, now so long ago? Cut it into chunks, small enough to eat in the soup, and add it. Simmer long enough for the meat to start to relax – probably 15 minutes, but this depends on your turkey, and what you did to it yesterday.

  12. If the soup isn’t for now, or not use all of it, chill or freeze that which isn’t for eating immediately. It can be brought back to a simmer before you add the seafood, which should be just before you eat.

  13. Add the seafood. Simmer 3 minutes – just long enough to cook the shrimp or warm the crawfish/lobster/crab.

  14. Your gumbo is (finally) ready. Serve it in bowls garnished with not a great deal of hot cooked rice and a fair bit of spring onion.

Turkey Ramen


​This recipe is by Nicholas Balfe, Head Chef at London’s Salon Brixton restaurantIngredients (serves 4)

For the ramen broth:

  • Bones and trimmings from your turkey/goose/duck/etc

  • A ham bone /pork knuckle/ham hock would also be great for flavour (optional)

  • 1 large onion or couple of shallots

  • 1 leek

  • a few sticks celery

  • one large carrot

  • a thumb sized piece of ginger

  • a few star anise

  • a head of garlic, split in half cross ways

  • 1 red chilli

  • coriander stem

For the soup:

  • A few dashes Soy sauce

  • Rice wine vinegar and mirin (optional)

  • Left over turkey meat, shredded (around 200 - 400g depending on how much you have)

  • Some of the meat from the ham hock if using

  • Rice noodles - cooked

  • Some left over greens e.g. cavolo nero, kale, broccoli, cabbage, even brussel sprouts!

  • A couple of spring onions, sliced thinly

  • A red chilli, de-seeded and chopped or chilli flakes or some chilli sauce

  • Something pickled if you have it - ginger would be great, mushrooms would be ideal, a pickled onion would also be fine (all optional)

  • Toasted sesame seeds & sesame oil (optional, but a nice touch!)


  1. First make the broth. Slice the onions, leek and celery, and saute with a tiny bit of oil - soften them but don't colour them at all.

  2. Add the ginger, peeled and slice, garlic, star anise, and red chilli, pricked with the point of a knife.

  3. Cover with water (approx 1.5 litres), and simmer very gently for at least an hour, if not 4 or more.

  4. Strain off the liquid and set aside (you can do this advance and keep it for a couple of days in the fridge if you like).

  5. When you're ready to prepare the meal, gently warm up the broth, and season with soy sauce, rice wine vinegar and mirin until it has a deep, savoury flavour, with a bit of a tang to it too.

  6. Add the meat and allow to warm through in the broth. Separately cook/warm up the greens (you could steam/blanche/microwave/whatever).

  7. Cook the noodles in boiling water for a couple of minutes and divide between four bowls.

  8. Add the greens, then the meat, then the broth.

  9. Top with the spring onions, chillies (in whatever form and quantity takes your fancy), pickles and sesame (if using)

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