Your Boxing Day Nutritious and Delicious Leftovers Lunch

The perfect Boxing Day lunch is a Leftovers Delight in our house. We always have a big family gathering on Boxing Day, and the main event is the rest of the turkey and of course, the traditional Boxing Day Bubble and Squeak.

The great thing is, it doesn’t seem like a plate of “healthy”, but turkey is a really good source of protein and with all that veg in the bubble and squeak, how can in not be healthy? 

I used to have a problem with jars breeding in my fridge, so I use the Boxing Day lunch to get out all those jars of pickle and chutney and piccalilli that are taking up way too much space. Not what we typically think of as Leftovers but need using up none-the-less!

Our first task on Boxing Day morning is to pick off every last bit of meat from the turkey. I strongly believe in buying good quality, local meat. I want to know the animal has had a decent life and I am going to do it justice by making sure I get every scrap of goodness from it. I’ll serve mostly the breast meat on Boxing Day as I think the darker leg meat is nice for stews and curry which we’ll eat throughout the cold days of January. I stock my freezer with turkey based home-made ready meals, but if I’m short on breast meat, I’ll use some of the dark meat to make what my mum used to call “Turkey Veronique” – but it is more like a coronation chicken so maybe it should just be called “Turkey Jenny”.

I bulk out the cold meat and bubble and squeak, with some truly nutritious seasonal winter veg salads. We will often have a bit of red cabbage left after Christmas lunch, so red cabbage salad is a great way to finish this up. One of my  other favourites, as it is also a fabulous colour combination, is grated carrot and grated beetroot. The orange and deep red of the beetroot looks so great and it is a well known superfood combination. 

If I have a lot of people coming, unexpected extras or we just all ate more than I anticipated at Christmas lunch, then I’ll serve a good hearty soup before the cold meat and salad to fill everyone up.  My broccoli and blue cheese soup is great for this, using up the turkey stock, the bottom of the cauliflower and the stems of broccoli, as well as all the mangled mess of cheese rind and broken up bits from the cheese board. It is a good way to tidy up the cheese board ready to go out again for your Boxing Day lunch buffet.

Bubble and Squeak 

Leftover cooked veg
1 tablespoon of oil

Mash up your leftover cooked veg in a food processor or with a hand blender. Heat the oil in a frying pan and add all the veg. Cook for 20 minutes, occasionally unsticking it from the pan and flipping halfway. For larger quantities, this will take a little longer and require a bit more turning.

If we find we are a bit short on leftover veg, we steam a few more potatoes and some cabbage to bulk out the leftovers.

Broccoli and blue cheese soup 

Serves 4 

  • 1 tablespoon oil 
  • 1 onion, peeled and chopped 
  • 1 leek, chopped including the leafy green part 
  • a couple of celery or lovage stalks and leaves, chopped 
  • 1 litre turkey (or vegetable) stock 
  • cauliflower leaves and stalk, chopped 
  • broccoli stem, chopped 
  • any cheese rind and old bits of cheese that need using up

Sweat the onion, leeks and celery in the oil. Add the stock and the cauliflower leaves and broccoli stalks. Bring to the boil and then turn down the heat, add in your cheese and allow to simmer for 25 to 30 minutes. Blitz with a hand blender, taste and season with salt and black pepper.
Red Salad Cabbage

Quarter to half a red cabbage

Juice of 1/2 to 1 lemon

Sprinkle of sea salt

Finely slice the red cabbage, pour over the lemon juice a little at a time and sprinkle with sea salt and give it all a good mix through. Taste and add a little more lemon and or salt if needed. The lemon juice cuts through the saltiness and the salt cuts through the bitterness of the lemon. This brings a lovely bit of colour to the table and saves your cabbage from rotting at the bottom of the fridge six weeks later.


Half an onion. 

Two medium or one large carrot

Quarter of a white cabbage

Lemon juice or mayo – about 2 tablespoons

Salt and pepper for seasoning

Finely slice and dice the onion, and the white cabbage, and grate the carrot. Give it all a good mix in a large bowl and then mix in the mayo or the lemon juice. I like to season with a bit of sea salt and generous amounts of black pepper.

Jenny’s turkey salad

Chunks of dark turkey meat

Grapes or olives or sultanas


Curry powder

Measure out your mayo into a large salad bowl. I use about a tablespoon of mayo per double  hand full of turkey meat, but adjust the quantity according to how much your family likes mayo. Stir in a tea-spoon of curry power to your mayo. Stir in the turkey until it is nicely coated and then add in the grapes, olives or raisins. I like to do this at the end after mixing up the turkey so they grapes / olives /raisins are highlights of colour in the dish, but you’ll want them to go right through the dish, so I lift up a tablespoon of the turkey mix, sprinkle my grapes etc and pop the turkey back down and repeat across the bowl then add more on top. 

Carrot and Beetroot superfood salad

2 carrots

1 raw beetroot

Caraway seeds (optional)

Grate the carrot first and transfer to a salad dish, then grate the beetroot. This way round helps to keep the nice colour combination. I find this salad needs no dressing and no seasoning as it has bags of flavour all by itself, but I do sometimes add a sprinkling of caraway seeds to the top.

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Anna Pitt

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