Day-After 101: Thanksgiving Leftover Recipes & Wine Pairings
Want to learn more about your wine preferences? Take our quick 7-question quiz, and get personalized wine matches!
Looking for Thanksgiving leftover recipes? If you ask us, the days after Thanksgiving might be the best time of the year. There’s truly no better feeling than opening a fridge full of goodies, popping a colorful plateful in the microwave, and zapping for a minute 30.
Depending on how tall your tupperware tower is, you may find yourself in a Thanksgiving echochamber. You can only eat turkey for so many days in a row! If you find yourself wondering, “How can I make Thanksgiving leftovers better?” we have the answer. Wine.
Here are our favorite Thanksgiving leftover recipes, and the perfect wine to elevate your day-after meal.
How to Select a Wine for Your Day-After Meal
After all that eating, drinking, and being merry, you’ll most likely need a light-bodied wine for the days following the celebration. Pay attention to ways you can bring your dish to life again – the flavor variations will keep your Thanksgiving leftovers interesting and provide a palate for new wine pairings that you may not have considered otherwise. From leftover turkey casserole to leftover stuffing recipes, let your wine selection be as creative as your main course!
Thanksgiving Leftover Recipes & Wine Pairings
Leftover Turkey Panini
Why didn’t we think of this before? Out of all our leftover turkey ideas, a panini requires the least amount of preparation (and grocery shopping.) Whip out the panini press or heat up the skillet, and make your next Thanksgiving leftovers masterpiece!
2 slices sourdough bread
2 slices Swiss cheese
1/3 cup shredded leftover roast turkey
3 tablespoons leftover cranberry sauce
1/3 cup leftover dressing
2 tablespoons leftover gravy
2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
Add a slice of cheese on each piece of sourdough bread. On one slice, arrange the turkey and the cranberry sauce. On the other slice, lay on the dressing and spoon the gravy over the top.
Close the sandwich, and spread 1 tablespoon of butter onto the top slice of bread. Invert the sandwich onto a panini maker or skillet over medium-low heat, butter side down. Spread another tablespoon of butter on the remaining side.
Grill until golden and the cheese is melted. If using a grill pan or skillet, don’t forget to flip the sandwich halfway through.
Remove from heat, slice, and serve!
Pair this Thanksgiving leftover sandwich with the ultimate Thanksgiving wine – Pinot Noir. It’s light-bodied so it won’t feel too heavy after the big Turkey Day, plus it pairs perfectly with all the autumnal ingredients.
We recommend our Sophonisba Pinot Noir – a balanced Pinot with medium body, soft tannins and red fruit flavors of raspberry and cherry to complement the cranberry sauce. You’ll also notice a hint of vanilla and spice from oak aging that rounds out the creamier flavors of gravy.
This simple recipe is great if you have sweet potatoes sitting around! Simply puree a can of white beans in a food processor with 1 or 2 peeled, roasted sweet potatoes, 1/4 cup olive oil, and 1/2 cup grated parmesan. Salt and pepper to taste, garnish with toasted nuts and serve with crackers.
For this sweet potato-based dip, we recommend pouring a glass of our Acopio Garnacha. Another light-bodied red, this wine boasts the classic flavors of cherry, raspberry, vanilla, and warm brown baking spices with velvety tannins.
Thanksgiving Leftovers Crunchwrap
Taco Bell meets Thanksgiving? Trust us on this innovative idea! Add everything from leftover green beans and stuffing to cranberry sauce and mashed potatoes.
Large flour tortillas
1 cup mashed potatoes
1 cup green beans
1 1/2 cup shredded turkey
1 cup cranberry sauce
1 cup stuffing
1 cup shredded white cheddar cheese
1/2 cup gravy
Spread 1/4 cup mashed potatoes in the center of a tortilla, then top with green beans, turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing, and white cheddar. Fold the tortillas around the center, creating pleats. After wrapping, invert crunchwraps quickly so the pleats are on the bottom.
Heat a thin layer of vegetable oil in a medium nonstick pan over medium heat. One at a time, add the crunchwrap seam-side down and cook about 3 to 5 minutes, until golden on the bottom. Make sure to flip the crunchwrap and cook until the other side is golden, 3 to 5 minutes more.
Repeat with remaining crunchwraps. Cut in half and serve warm with gravy.
Add a little bit of spice to this pairing with a Zinfandel. Zin is fuller-bodied that goes with spicy, bitter, and sweet flavors, so it covers all the Thanksgiving bases.
We recommend our Obscura Zinfandel – California Zin with flavor notes of raspberry, strawberry, plum, and spicy black pepper.
Turkey and Wild Rice Soup
If you’re looking to mix up your leftover turkey recipes, swap your chicken for turkey! This wild rice soup is classic among households, but provides a great opportunity to clear out some of that light or dark meat taking up room in your fridge.
4 tbsp. unsalted butter
3 celery ribs
1 medium onion
2 clove garlic
1 1/2 tsp. thyme
1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. wild rice
2 qt. chicken stock or low-sodium broth
2 c. water
4 c. roasted rotisserie chicken or turkey
1 c. heavy cream
In a large saucepan, melt the butter. Add the celery, carrots, onion, garlic, thyme and a generous pinch each of salt and pepper and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables just start to soften, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and cook, stirring, until evenly coated and lightly browned, about 3 minutes.
Add the wild rice to the saucepan and gradually stir in the stock and water. Bring to a boil, then simmer over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes. Add the chicken and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the wild rice is tender, 10 to 15 minutes longer. Stir in the cream and season with salt and pepper. Ladle the soup into bowls and serve.
Match the creamy deliciousness with an equally creamy oaked Chardonnay. Our Chêne Crémeux Chardonnay is a clear crowd favorite and has been barrel aged just enough to give it that warm, buttery baguette sensation. The slight tropical notes of pineapple, peach, and melon plus the bright acidity will make this pairing a complex standout for your day-after dinner.
3 tablespoons plus 1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 3/4 cups finely chopped onions
1 28 oz can enchilada sauce
5 plum tomatoes, finely chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped canned chipotle chilies (find at your local Latin grocery store)
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 cups coarsely shredded cooked turkey
2 cups grated Monterey Jack cheese
3/4 cup sour cream
12 5-to-6 in corn tortillas
In a large saucepan over medium heat, heat about 3 tablespoons of oil. Add onions and sauté for about 5 minutes. Add enchilada sauce, tomatoes, and chipotles, then cover and simmer for about 20 minutes. Stir often. Remove from heat and season with cilantro, salt, and pepper. In a bowl, mix turkey, sour cream, cheese, the rest of the onions, and ½ cup cilantro.
Preheat your oven to 350°F. In a medium skillet over medium heat, heat ½ cup vegetable oil. Cook your tortilla, about 20 seconds per side. Let drain on paper towels and repeat the process with the other tortillas.
Spread about ½ cup of your enchilada sauce into a glass baking dish (13 x 9 x 2”). Spoon ¼ cup of your turkey mixture in the center of each tortilla. Roll up, and arrange seam side down. Spoon 2 ½ cups of sauce over the enchiladas. Sprinkle with cheese, about ½ cup. Bake for about 30 minutes.
In a saucepan over medium-low heat, rewarm remaining sauce. Serve over enchiladas.
A Sangiovese is the perfect complement to any enchilada dish – even when you sub out chicken for turkey! Our Cabin 5 Sangiovese hails from San Francisco Bay’s Livermore Valley AVA and flaunts fruit-forward notes of plum and cherry, alongside hints of herbal mint and eucalyptus.
In Vino Finito
Do you have any other tried-and-true Thanksgiving leftover recipes? Comment below to swap Thanksgiving secrets and keep the wine pairings flowing!