Leftover Thanksgiving Turkey Goes Global

It’s Thanksgiving morning and we’re looking forward to chowing down on turkey, mashed potatoes and all the fixins with the family. My very ambitious goal for today is to somehow manage to save some room for a sliver of pumpkin pie and a sliver of my husband’s granny smith apple pie. Dare to dream!

I’m in the “I love leftovers” camp, so as I sip my coffee and catch up on Top Chef this lazy holiday morning, I’m mulling over some possibilities for the foil covered paper plate of Thanksgiving turkey that will make its way back home with us. My dad’s “international fried rice” is a definite contender (heck, throw the cranberries and sweet potatoes in there too.) But I’m also thinking about some of our favorite global recipes that would be perfect with a substitution of some leftover turkey. Wishing everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving  — happy eating!

Vietnamese Bun Thit Nuong (Rice Noodle Bowls) with Nuoc Cham

Mexican Chilaquiles

Carribbean Cha Cha Bowls

Indian Turkey Tikka Masala

Thai Lemongrass Turkey and Coconut Soup


Sesame-Avocado Brown Rice Bowls

Mission Street Food’s Sesame-Avocado Brown Rice

A recent brown rice bowl with green beans, tomatoes, roasted eggplant, cilantro, a poached egg and... of course avocado and toasted sesame seeds.

Before I get get to the awesomely easy and extra delicious Sesame-Avocado Brown Rice, I’ve got to give a shout out to one of the new favorites on my bookshelf, “Mission Street Food: Recipes and ideas from an Improbable Restaurant“, which chronicles the creation of a San Francisco dining hot spot that broke the mold. In it’s all-too-brief run, Mission Street Food provided a showcase for up and coming guest chefs and presented innovative menus around themes such as “homage to Auguste Escoffier”, “new school tapas”, “super bowl party”, “breakfast for dinner”, and “ottoman cuisine” — all served out of a hole in the wall Chinese restaurant, with proceeds benefiting local nonprofits. Mission Street Food evolved into Mission Chinese Food which serves up a menu of tasty “Americanized” takes on dishes like Hainam Chicken Rice, Sizzling Cumin Lamb and Ma Po Tofu. [If you want to check out our visit to Mission Chinese Food earlier this year, click here.] Interwoven into the story of Mission Street Food are recipes, techniques and a whole lot of inspiration. You cannot browse this book without coming away with at least a dozen ideas to incorporate in your own cooking.

Sesame-Avocado Brown Rice was an immediate “must make” and it’s been on our regular rotation for both lunch and dinner ever since. This one is so easy it’s hardly a recipe and the variations are endless. Make the rice, whisk together the 3-ingredient dressing and serve alongside your favorite toppings. Anthony Myint (of the duo behind Mission Street/Chinese Food) suggests sauteed beech mushrooms, blanched broccoli rabe, sliced avocado, bbq-ed unagi. We like everything from green beans to poached or scrambled eggs, chopped raw spinach, roasted chicken, scallions, pickled carrots and sliced radishes. I’ve even gone so far as to add toasted sliced almonds and a squeeze of fresh lime juice.

This is a perfect weeknight family meal because you can make most or all of the components in advance, it’s a great canvas for leftovers, and you can serve it hot, room temp or straight from the refrigerator depending on your laziness level. This is also a fantastic recipe to teach to older kids who are starting to learn to cook on their own. Younger kids can get into the action too by designing and assembling their own custom rice bowls and even our bambino loves it because he can nibble along with the family on some of the softer items and try out the tangy-salty flavors of the dressing.

It’s as easy as this:

  • Cook 2 cups of your favorite brown rice
  • Whisk together the dressing: 1/4 cup soy sauce, 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar, 3 TBL sesame oil
  • Toss your cooked rice with the dressing, reserving a little of the dressing to serve at the table
  • Fold in some toasted sesame seeds
  • Serve the seasoned rice alongside your favorite toppings. Start with a sliced avocado and go from there.

We like these quick pickled carrots. They are great addition to any rice bowl, Banh Mi-type sandwich, or taco, you name it!

  • Mix 1 cup water, 1 TBL each of rice wine vinegar, sugar and salt.
  • Cut carrots into thin matchstick and let them stand in the pickling mixture for 1 hour or up to several days in the refrigerator.

Luca dreamed up this bacon and eggs version. I like your style, kid.

You'll find ideas and inspiration aplenty in the Mission Street Food cookbook.

If you liked this, you might also like: Japanese Comfort Food: Harumi’s Three Topping Rice, “There’s Nothing to Eat”: Bacon and Egg Rice, Cooking with Mom: Chicken Biryani