The well-fed student: Christmas leftovers special

Here are some delicious and healthy ideas for using up the turkey and ham leftover from Christmas day; balancing out the inevitable over-indulgence of the festive season, and leaving you feeling light and nourished. If you are a vegetarian, you can substitute the turkey for your Christmas meat substitute, and omit the ham in the soup.

Quick Stir-fried Sesame and Ginger Turkey

Serves 4

This is delicious served with brown rice or noodles (I like buckwheat noodles). The recipe only takes about 10-15 minutes to make, so if you are having brown rice you will have to start cooking it about 10 minute in advance. This is easily made gluten free by substituting the soy sauce for tamari sauce, but if you are only slightly sensitive to wheat you should be fine.


  • 300-400g leftover turkey, cut into bite-size chunks.
  • 1 tbsp oil of choice (coconut oil or rapeseed oil are best due to their high smoking points)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped into small slivers.
  • Thumb-size piece of ginger, chopped or grated finely.
  • 200g green beans
  • A couple of handfuls of spinach
  • 4 teaspoons cornflour.
  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce (or tamari)
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds

[1] Make up the sauce in a small bowl by mixing the cornflour, soy/tamari sauce and honey together. Set this to one side for later.

[2] Heat the oil in a frying pan or wok with the garlic and ginger on a medium to high heat. When it starts to sizzle add in the turkey and green beans. Cook this, stirring regularly until the turkey starts to look a bit crispy and the green beans seem almost cooked.

[3] Add the spinach and the sauce, and stir until the spinach has wilted and the sauce is sticky. At this point, sprinkle over the sesame seeds and stir through.

Accompany with the cooked brown rice or noodles.


Pea and Ham Soup

Serves 4

This thick pea soup is a speciality of my Dad’s; it’s a good way to get your greens in and delicious with ham stirred through. This is also a good way to use up leftover cheese – you can sprinkle some on top of each bowl.


  • 500g frozen peas.
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil.
  • 1 onion, finely chopped.
  • 1 clove garlic, finely sliced.
  • 500ml hot water/vegetable stock.
  • Leftover ham, shredded or cut into small pieces.

[1] Heat the olive oil in a large pan on a medium to low heat, and cook the garlic and onion until the onion is soft and slightly translucent.

[2] Add the peas and the water, and raise the heat to bring the water to the boil.

[3] Once boiling, put the lid on and cook for about 5-10 minutes until the peas are cooked.

[4] Blend the mixture with a hand blender.

[5] Stir through the ham after the soup has been blended.


Serve sprinkled with leftover cheese, and with warm, buttered crusty bread.
Patsy O’Neill


Image: Mirror. 

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