Imaginative recipes to use up Christmas Day leftovers, from coronation turkey to brussel sprout spaghetti

15 December 2020, 21:08 | Updated: 16 December 2020, 10:39

Check out these delicious recipes for using Christmas leftovers
Check out these delicious recipes for using Christmas leftovers. Picture: Getty

Over the past 12 months, people have found a new love for home cooking, and grown in confidence in their own abilities, too. These recipes are brilliant ways to use up any Christmas leftovers - and might make Boxing Day even more delicious than the big day itself...

Butter turkey

Enjoy a luxurious turkey curry on Boxing Day
Enjoy a luxurious turkey curry on Boxing Day. Picture: Kate Whitaker

Similar to a tikka masala, butter chicken is one of the most popular curries at Indian restaurants around the world.

With a bit of effort, you can make your own at home, and it takes less than an hour to pull together.

You can make the aromatic creamy sauce as mild or as spicy as you like by adjusting the quantity of chilli powder. Serve with rice, naan and mango chutney.

This recipe serves four people, and has the potential to make your Boxing Day dinner the highlight of the Christmas season.

If you're vegetarian, substitute the turkey for any leftover veg.


100g Trewithen Dairy Salted Butter

1 large onion, roughly chopped

2 tbsp garlic paste, or 4 large garlic cloves, crushed

1 tbsp ginger paste, or 2.5cm piece fresh ginger peeled & finely grated

2 tsp ground cumin

2 tsp garam masala

1 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp hot chilli powder

400g can chopped tomatoes

1 tsp salt

2 tsp caster sugar

200g Trewithen Dairy Clotted Cream

1 tsp fenugreek seeds, ground

800g leftover turkey, cut into bite size pieces

To serve

25g Trewithen Dairy Salted Butter

2 tbsp roughly chopped coriander

2 tbsp pomegranate kernels


1. Heat the butter in a frying pan over a medium heat until melted. Add the onions and cook for 5 minutes until beginning to colour.

2. Add the garlic and ginger paste and cook for 1 minute, stirring occasionally. Add the cumin, garam masala, coriander and chilli powder and cook for 30 seconds, until fragrant.

3. Add the tomatoes, salt and sugar to the pan, bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes until the onions are soft and the sauce is a dark red colour. Add a splash of water if the sauce is getting too thick.

4. Tip the sauce into the bowl of a food processor or blender and blitz until smooth. Pour the sauce back into the pan and add the clotted cream and ground fenugreek seeds. Bring to a simmer, then add the turkey.

5. Cover the pan and simmer gently for 10 minutes, until the turkey has heated through and the sauce is thick and bubbling.

6. To serve, stir in the butter and sprinkle over the chopped coriander and pomegranate kernels.

Read more: Different delicious ways to use up Christmas pudding, from crumble to cake pops

Spaghetti with Brown Butter Brussels Sprouts, Sage & Cheese

Brussel sprout spaghetti might become your new favourite way to eat the little cabbages
Brussel sprout spaghetti might become your new favourite way to eat the little cabbages. Picture: Barilla


1 box Barilla® Spaghetti

4 tablespoons butter

450g Brussels sprouts

6 sage leaves

170g Parmigiano-Reggiano (or any other) cheese, grated

1 tablespoon parsley, chopped

Salt and black pepper to taste


1. Bring two pots of water to a boil

2. In one pot, boil the brussels sprouts for 8 minutes in salted water. Drain and cut in quarters

3. Place the butter in a pan over medium heat and cook until it turns slightly brown, then add sage and the brussels sprouts. Brown over high heat and season with pepper

4. In the second pot, cook the pasta according to the package directions. Then drain, reserving 120ml of the pasta’s cooking water

5. Toss pasta with the brussels sprouts and cooking water. Finish with parsley and cheese before serving

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Coronation turkey sandwich

This is a seasonal twist on a coronation chicken sandwich
This is a seasonal twist on a coronation chicken sandwich. Picture: Hellman's


Sliced bread or rolls (whichever you prefer)

300g leftover shredded turkey

6 tbsp Hellmann’s LightMayonnaise

3 tsps curry powder

4 tsps Madras curry paste

3 tablespoons dried apricots (finely chopped)

3 tablespoons sultanas

3 tablespoons flaked almonds

6 tablespoons mango chutney

Soft lettuce leaves


Salt and pepper to taste


In a large bowl, mix the shredded leftover Christmas turkey with the Hellmann’s Light Mayonnaise, curry powder, curry paste, dried apricots, sultanas, flaked almonds, lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.

Spread mango chutney over the slices of sourdough bread.

Fill each sandwich with a generous portion of coronation turkey and complete with watercress or soft lettuce leaves.

Fried sprouts with cranberries, pepper, ginger and garlic

Use brussels as a base for this Chinese-inspired dish
Use brussels as a base for this Chinese-inspired dish. Picture: Aldi


500g Sprouts quartered or halved if small (also works with leftover cooked sprouts)

1 onion 

1 tbsp pepper

150g cranberries

1 tsp ginger puree or grated fresh ginger root

1 tsp garlic puree, or finely chopped fresh garlic 

Handful of chopped Parsley 


Slice the onions and half the sprouts. Season and cook the sprouts in a frying pan with a little oil until crispy, then remove and set aside.

Using the same pan, cook the onion in a little oil until dark brown and caramelised then add a teaspoon of ginger, a teaspoon of garlic and a teaspoon of pepper.

Fry for a minute then add the sprouts back into the pan.

Finish and serve with a handful of chopped parsley and cranberries. 

Freeze it for later

There are plenty of Christmas leftovers that can be safely frozen, including ham, turkey, potatoes, and even stuffing.

It's important to note that the fresher the food is when it goes into the freezer, the fresher it will taste when you bring it out to use, so it’s good to prepare it for freezing as soon as you can, making sure it is cooled before you put it in.

Experts spoken to by Thomas Sanderson add that it's vitally important to ensure that your food is wrapped well to avoid freezer burn, which can make it less delicious when you come to enjoy it second time around.

Food tastes best when you eat it no more than three months after heating it, and make sure you defrost it before reheating fully.

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