The Easily-Adaptable Turkey and Assorted Vegetable Pulao

Thanksgiving Day leftovers have a special joy; they bring back flavorful memories of an exciting meal, in addition to being a precursor to the amazing treats and eats awaiting us through the upcoming holiday season.

Thanksgiving Day Leftovers Bring Back Flavorful Memories

Over the years, with growing children and their increasing appetites, our turkey sizes have gotten bigger…and our leftover portions much smaller. But the sheer yum-factor of Thanksgiving Day leftovers has remained unchanged.

I’m guessing, just like ours, right now the refrigerators in most American homes are laden with a bounty of Thanksgiving Day leftovers….

And to make light work of your leftover turkey, roasted root vegetables, Brussels sprouts or anything else you have on hand, here’s our easy-to-adapt recipe for a simple and finger-licking good Indian-style Turkey and Vegetable Pulao.

Indian pulao, basmati rice and Turkey pulao

The Easily-Adaptable Turkey and Assorted Vegetable Pulao

Serves: 4-6 (or as many as you need to feed)


3 cups brown or white Basmati rice, cooked and warm
2 cups diced turkey (rotisserie chicken works well too)
1 cup sliced red onions
2 cups, your choice of diced fresh or leftover vegetables; some vegetable possibilities include bell peppers, Brussels sprout, roasted root vegetables, green beans, potatoes, peas, corns and zucchini
1 tablespoon canola oil
1/4 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon ground red chili or Cayenne Pepper (reduce for less spice)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
Salt to taste, since the leftovers are already seasoned
2 tablespoons of leftover turkey gravy (optional, if you have some on hand)
Chicken stock, as needed
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
Drizzle of lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon Garam Masala


turkey, rotisserie chicken

Thanksgving Day Leftover Turkey, Diced

In a large pan, heat canola oil and crackle mustard seeds in the hot oil. Add sliced onions and fry till they are browned.

Add the diced turkey/chicken and vegetables of your choice. Sprinkle spices, leftover gravy, if using and salt over the vegetables. Cook together until the meat and vegetables are warmed through and sizzling in the pan.

Mix the warm rice into the meat and vegetables. If the preparation is too dry, use chicken stock to moisten it as required.

Sprinkle chopped cilantro, garam masala and a drizzle of lemon juice over the Turkey and Assorted Vegetable Pulao. Serve steaming hot along with this cooling Cucumber Yogurt Raita or plain seasoned yogurt.

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  1. says

    Funny how this one pot rice meal is found in so many far flung cultures. You say pulao, others say pilaf, and in my native Trinidad & Tobago we say pelau.

  2. says

    Dear Peri, happy post Thanksgiving!:) I loved the way you spiced up left over turkey, a real feast on its own:) Delicious way to use up all the left overs, yummy! This again puts a smile on my face, witnessing more similarities between our cuisines; we Turks also love cooking rice with veg and left over meat, and add flavors thru spices; love seeing the connection between our cuisines:) Your recipe will be close to me when we do the turkey at Christmas time in England, thank you!: ) xx Ozlem

    • says

      Dear Ozlem, thanks and always a pleasure to read about our cuisine similarities:) just the best way to use up leftovers is to mix it in with rice & spice it up! Hope you enjoy the leftover turkey during Christmas:) we missed you dearly at thanksgiving, in the kitchen and at the table! Xx Peri.

  3. says

    Alas, my husband used the entire remaining carcass for soup tonight (with homemade naan, ironically, on the side!) — I am bookmarking this recipe for the next round (or thinking that it would work well with chicken, also!) ~ Kat

  4. says

    What a great recipe for leftovers or really for any time. I can imagine picking up a few ingredients at the grocery store and having a quick dinner that I can make!

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