Other than non-stop feasting, everyone knows Christmas is all about the leftovers. But no one wants roast dinner after roast dinner. Here are my favourite ways to be creative with all the festive extras to bring some innovation to the offerings. Read on for my easy but delicious Christmas leftover recipes…
The best recipes to use up Christmas leftovers
We’ve said it once and we’ll say it again: if there’s no ham, did Christmas even happen? Depending on how many hungry carnivores were celebrating in your household this year, there’s a high probability that you’ll have some leftover ham after the festive feasting. So how to use it up? I’m talking the grilled cheese and ham sandwich that’s miles ahead of all others, a deliciously spicy bowl of Dan Dan Noodles, Ham Ramen, Ham Salad and Spicy Ham Wontons… and all the ways to use up turkey, too.
For when you need comfort food fast – this is hearty, flavour-packed Asian soup in just 10 minutes. It’s a great way to use up leftover cooked chicken and tofu – as well as that pesky half a carrot that always seems to be in the crisper – although we reckon it would taste equally as yum with leftover turkey.
It’s spicy dan dan noodles… but not as you know it! This version switches out pork mince for leftover Christmas ham, and the result is a holly, jolly, tongue-tingling time. Sichuan peppercorns give depth and heat to this dish and the spicy sauce is the perfect pairing.
Banh xeo is a crispy Vietnamese pancake made with rice flour, coconut milk and turmeric. We originally used cooked chicken to cut down on cooking time, but why not go rogue and try it with turkey, pork or even leftover ham? These are great as a starter with friends, or for a quick lunch. The spicy nuoc cham dressing brings everything together with its spicy, sweet flavour.
My take on Japanese okonomiyaki pancakes are packed full of greens and good stuff – the perfect antidote to festive indulgence! If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably always got masses of wombok lurking about in your fridge, which makes these savoury saviours a great solution to reducing food waste. The result is a batch of fritters anyone would be happy to eat, any day of the week (they’re also kid-approved!).
Wondering how to use up that leftover Christmas ham? Try my take on Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Croque Madame, aka the ULTIMATE grilled ham and cheese sandwich topped with a rich and creamy mornay sauce and gooey eggs. I can’t even.
A Christmas leftovers banh mi
I’ve got a recipe for a Sticky Pork Belly Banh Mi as well as a Spicy Meatball Banh Mi. And it got me thinking… how about leftover turkey in a banh mi? Follow either recipe to make the pickled carrot, then simply go your own adventure with the crusty bread rolls, pate, mayonnaise, cucumber, chilli and coriander.
No party platter is complete without a batch of freshly made spring rolls – they’re perfect when entertaining, and are even awesome as appetisers or for the kids’ lunchboxes! While Mama Noi’s Traditional Thai Spring Rolls use pork mince as the protein component, I reckon you could use some shredded leftover turkey instead or roast pork, no problem. Just ensure the filling has cooled down fully before you start rolling to keep the wrappers intact.
That’s it: from now on, I’m always saving my leftover ham at Christmas to upgrade my instant ramen stock. This is an ingenious way to get maximum flavour from something you’d probably normally just discard. Life-changing, you guys. Get amongst it!
This version of Indonesian fried rice aka nasi goreng is a fantastic way to use up your leftovers after a big roast and gives day-old rice a whole new lease of life. And that crispy fried egg? Non-negotiable!
My recipe for homemade chicken stock may mention using a whole fresh chicken to start your flavour base off, but you could just as easily use your turkey carcass instead. My simple recipe will yield two litres of liquid gold. Either use it straight away in your favourite soup recipe, else it’ll keep in your freezer for up to three months.
Just when you think you can’t eat any more ham, along comes a dumpling to save the day. These bouncy, juicy ham wontons are a clever, quick and easy way to use up your Christmas leftovers and bring some much-needed spice to the post-festive proceedings.
It wouldn’t be a Christmas leftovers recipes article without mention of at least one curry! My version of the Boxing Day curry classic originally included leftover chicken, but it would also be tip-top with turkey. For speed and convenience, Marion’s Kitchen Thai Green Curry kit comes to the rescue, too.
I’d love to hear about the creative ways you’re using your leftovers! Tag me on the socials so I can take a peek.