Thanksgiving Leftovers: Breakfast Burrito Edition

November 27, 2014

I don’t know if it’s that my family has always made a smaller-than-average turkey or that we have exceptionally large appetites, but we’ve never wound up with an overload of Thanksgiving leftovers. There's enough for one dinner of plain old leftovers, then sandwiches, and then it’s gone, with no time at all to get sick of it! But, my family not withstanding, I have gathered from the proclamations and cries in the media that Thanksgiving leftover overload is a dire problem for many people out there.

So, in the spirit of helpfulness, I thought I would try to think of some breakfasts that use Thanksgiving leftovers. Strata is a great solution, since stuffing is already halfway there -- just add some chopped leftover vegetables and turkey and a few extra eggs, then bake. Mashed potatoes (regular or sweet) can be made into potato pancakes, or added to waffle batter.  You can stir your leftover cranberry sauce into yogurt or put it on top of oatmeal

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But then I thought, wouldn’t it be more fun to go for a less obvious breakfast? Like the breakfast answer to turkey curry, or turkey bánh mì. So, I decided I’d spice my leftovers up and stuff them all into a breakfast burrito. (And when I say burrito, I mean “burrito” in the very loosest, almost unrecognizable sense. There are no beans or rice or other normal things, but at least there is a combination of proteins and carbs and vegetables all wrapped in a large tortilla.) What I’ve developed is not so much a recipe as a template, so hopefully it is workable regardless of whatever your leftovers are.  

Simply sautée some chopped turkey along with some of your stuffing, leftover vegetables, and a shower of chorizo spices (if your stuffing happens to have chorizo in it already, then you’re extra in luck!), then crack an egg over the whole thing and stir it in. Smear a nice cushion of mashed plain or sweet potatoes (no marshmallows though, please) onto a large tortilla, pile everything else in, wrap, and go. You may find yourself wishing for extra leftovers.

Thanksgiving Leftovers Breakfast "Burritos"

Serves 1 

Olive oil or butter
1 large garlic clove, peeled and chopped to almost a paste
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 pinch cayenne pepper
1/4 cup diced leftover roast turkey
1/4 cup leftover stuffing
3 tablespoons leftover cooked vegetables such as brussels sprouts, green beans, or roasted root vegetables
1 large egg
1 large spoonful of mashed potatoes or mashed sweet potatoes
1 large flour tortilla (10- or 12-inch, or as big as you can get)
Sour cream and chopped cilantro or parlsey for serving, if desired

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

Photos by Emily Vikre

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  • BoulderGalinTokyo
  • Issaka
I like to say I'm a lazy iron chef (I just cook with what I have around), renegade nutritionist, food policy wonk, and inveterate butter and cream enthusiast! My husband and I own a craft distillery in Northern Minnesota called Vikre Distillery (www.vikredistillery.com), where I claimed the title, "arbiter of taste." I also have a doctorate in food policy, for which I studied the changes in diet and health of new immigrants after they come to the United States. I myself am a Norwegian-American dual citizen. So I have a lot of Scandinavian pride, which especially shines through in my cooking on special holidays. Beyond loving all facets of food, I'm a Renaissance woman (translation: bad at focusing), dabbling in a variety of artistic and scientific endeavors.


BoulderGalinTokyo December 1, 2014
Already baked the second turkey. Never enough leftovers. Now I need to bake another one to try your creative recipe. Thanks for the excuse!
Issaka November 27, 2014
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