Monday, November 21, 2011

Recipe for Easy Leftover Turkey Pita Sandwiches with Fresh Cranberry Salsa

Trina's Fresh Cranberry Salsa made these pita sandwiches into a real treat!

Yes, I realize you probably don't have any leftover turkey yet, and you might even still be looking for diet-friendly Thanksgiving Recipes if you haven't decided what you're making for the big day.  But in that funny world of food blogging, I cooked a turkey breast and a whole turkey last week so I'd have leftover turkey for recipe experiments.  That way I can get them posted before Thanksgiving for people to consider when they *do* have leftover turkey.  And although I've made a lot of good things through the years using leftover turkey, these tasty little pita sandwiches with Trina's Fresh Cranberry Salsa may have just gone to the front of the line for this year.  I made my leftover turkey into a turkey salad mixture to go in the pitas, but if you didn't want to bother with that turkey + cranberry salsa + pita bread would also taste pretty fantastic!

If you're making this for the South Beach diet, be sure to choose pita that's 100% whole wheat.  Check the label and don't be fooled by labels that say "wheat flour," it must say "whole wheat flour."  This is one of the brands I like.

The hardest part of making this might be making sure you have some of Trina's Fresh Cranberry Salsa left over from Thanksgiving.  (This amazing salsa is one of the things I'm taking to my sister Sandee's for Thanksgiving this year.)

Cut up diced leftover turkey into pieces that aren't too big.

Chop up a tiny bit of celery and thinly slice some green onion.

I mixed mayo, celery seed, and just a pinch of dried thyme and dried sage to make a herby mayonnaise for the turkey salad.

Mix together the diced turkey, celery, green onion, and just enough of the mayo mixture to moisten it.

Spread about 2 tablespoons of Trina's Fresh Cranberry Salsa across the bottom of each pita half.  (You could also use whole wheat tortillas and make this into a wrap.)

Then fill the pita with the turkey salad mixture and enjoy!  (I devoured the two pitas you see in this photo in nothing flat immediately after I finished taking the pictures.)

Easy Leftover Turkey Pita Sandwiches with Fresh Cranberry Salsa
(Makes four pita halves but can easily be doubled or tripled; recipe created by Kalyn with inspiration from Trina's Fresh Cranberry Salsa.)

Dressing Ingredients:
2 T + 1 tsp. mayo (I used light mayo but even if you use regular there's not that much mayo)
1/4 tsp. celery seed
pinch of dried thyme
pinch of dried sage

Turkey Salad Ingredients:
1 cup diced leftover turkey (diced fairly small)
1/4 cup finely diced celery
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
salt and fresh-ground black pepper to taste

Sandwich Ingredients:
four whole-wheat pita bread halves (for South Beach Diet be sure the label says 100% whole wheat flour)
1/2 cup Trina's Fresh Cranberry Salsa

Stir together the mayo, celery seed, dried thyme, and dried sage and let the flavors blend while you chop the turkey, celery, and green onions; then stir the turkey salad mixture together and season to taste with salt and fresh-ground black pepper.

Spread about 2 tablespoons of Trina's Fresh Cranberry Salsa on the bottom of each pita bread half.  Stuff the pita with about 3 tablespoons of the turkey salad mixture and enjoy!

South Beach Suggestions:
Made with 100% whole wheat pita bread and light mayo like I used, this is a great after-thanksgiving lunch for phase 2 or 3 of the South Beach Diet.  You could also eat the turkey salad mixture in a regular sandwich or a wrap as long as they're made with 100% whole wheat bread or pita bread.

Ten More Tasty Ideas with Leftover Turkey:
(Recipes from other blogs not always South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
Brown Rice Casserole with Leftover Turkey (or chicken), Mushrooms, Sour Cream, Cheese, and Thyme from Kalyn's Kitchen
Brown Rice Salad with Leftover Turkey, Red Cabbage, and Pecans from Kalyn's Kitchen
Turkey and Guacamole Quesadillas from Kalyn's Kitchen
Coconut-Lime Turkey (or Chicken) and Rice Soup from Kalyn's Kitchen
Leftover Turkey-Apple Salad Melt Panini from Panini Happy
Turkey Enchiladas from Simply Recipes
Turkey and Sun-Dried Tomato Bread Pudding from What We're Eating 
Turkey Pot Pie with Mashed Sweet Potato Topping from Food Blogga
Turkey Rice Paper Rolls from White on Rice Couple
Leftover Turkey Tacos from Cooking by the Seat of My Pants
(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.) counter customizable free hit
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More to Chew On:


  1. For some reason, I never think to make a turkey salad.

  2. Pam the turkey salad is really good in this, but I think you could eat this Cranberry Salsa on a piece of plain turkey and it would still be heavenly!

  3. Now I'm convinced that I must make this fresh cranberry salsa. What a great way to jazz up leftover turkey!

  4. One of my favorite things about hosting Thanksgiving is figuring out ways to give the leftovers a new "life." These pitas sound delicious!

  5. It's not too early for me! I'm already putting together lists of ways I want to try the leftover turkey, and your cranberry salsa is already on the list. And now I'm adding this sandwich!

  6. Lydia, I do love the salsa. I'm making a double batch to take to my sister's house for Thanksgiving (and also for an appetizer recipe coming up that uses it.)

    Teenagetaste, I am completely in agreement about how fun it is to dress up the leftovers. Glad you like this idea.

    Deborah, you're my kind of woman! Hope you like it.

  7. Absolutely sensational! I would make this sandwich with fresh turkey and not wait till I had some leftovers!

  8. I'm not a Turkey fan. But everything wrapped in pita bread tastes good and with that cranberry salsa I would take few

  9. You've almost made me wish that I'm going to have turkey leftovers on Friday! What a great pita!

  10. What a great use for leftover turkey! And that cranberry salsa looks delicious. Happy Thanksgiving!

  11. Meeta, yes I would love to make this any time I could get the fresh cranberries.

    Kulsum, I would go for cheese and cranberry salsa in this!

    Joanne, thanks. The cranberry salsa is good on everything!

    Katherine, thanks and Happy Thanksgiving to you too!

  12. Had my main Thanksgiving meal yesterday, so made this combo for lunch today with the leftovers. Delicious! I made it Phase 1 friendly by serving the turkey mixture on a bed of salad greens, surrounded by raw veggies, and the cranberry salsa on the side. Didn't miss the pita at all.

  13. Gingko Girl, glad you enjoyed it. (Cranberries would not be phase one though.)

  14. Yes, you're right... cranberries are Phase 2. Am trying to do as much Phase 1 as possible through the holidays, but do allow for a little Phase 2 or 3 here and there. Progress, not perfection.

  15. Gingko Girl, no judgements from me whatsoever about how anyone incorporates the principles. (And BTW, my brother and I call that Phase 1.5 when you're mostly doing phase one but you might eat a few things here and there that are not phase one!) I just wasn't sure if you knew.

  16. Kalyn This is a delight! I just about fainted in my kitchen!

    This is my first comment on your site --- I could not resist. But I wanted to thank you for your wonderful website. I started eating on the south beach diet last spring when I couldn't fit in any of my summer clothing. I succeeded in losing a couple sizes over the summer and of course enjoyed fitting into my clothes and receiving compliments from people. But the best part, beyond what I can put into words, is the renewed health I have discovered on this healthy eating plan. It is too long a story for this spot, but let's just say, LIFECHANGING is not an overstatement. Your website --- so user-friendly with extensive archives, simple organzational categories, and AWESOME recipes ---- has been key to my success. I cannot thank you enough.


  17. Katharine, what a nice comment. This completely made my day, thanks!


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