A healthy living blog from Marshfield Clinic Health System

Leftover turkey recipe idea: Turkey burritos

A Thanksgiving turkey usually means lots of leftovers in the days that follow. You can only do so many cold turkey sandwiches, right? This shredded turkey and pinto beans burrito recipe is a perfect leftover turkey recipe idea for your family.

Shredded Turkey and Pinto Bean Burrito is a great leftover turkey recipe idea

Break tradition with holiday leftovers and try this Shredded Turkey and Pinto Beans Burritos recipe instead.

RELATED RESOURCE: Download the shredded turkey and pinto beans burrito recipe

Fortunately, turkey is a great source of protein that is often low in fat. Turkey is a good source of minerals and vitamins including magnesium, phosphorus, iron, potassium, zinc and selenium.

Fat content in turkey

If you do eat leftover turkey, Karla Arrigoni, registered dietitian with Marshfield Clinic Health System, recommends taking the skin off before you put it in the fridge for leftovers to reduce the fat content.

“The health of turkey all depends on whether you eat the skin and how you prepare it,” said Karla. “Eating the skin of a turkey that was fried in oil can add a lot of fat to an otherwise healthy protein.”

Dark meat is higher in fat content, but Karla says the difference is pretty small.

RELATED ARTICLE: Does eating turkey make you sleepy?

Storing and reheating leftover turkey

After you have eaten your filling of turkey on Thanksgiving, the leftover turkey should be placed in the fridge or freezer within two hours of cooking. Do not place it on the counter to cool to room temperature before placing it in the fridge.

“You should place all the meat in smaller containers so that it can cool faster. Placing it in a large container or simply placing the entire turkey in the fridge is a bad idea,” Karla said.

Turkey should be good in the fridge for 3-4 days after cooking it. If you place it in the freezer, the turkey should be eaten within six months to ensure it is of the best quality.

When reheating your leftover turkey for a recipe, it needs to get to 165 degrees Fahrenheit. You can reheat it from freezing or thaw it first.

“If you use a microwave, it is best to cover the turkey and vent the lid a little bit,” Karla said. “This helps to keep the moisture in and also helps with even cooking.”

RELATED ARTICLE: Leftovers: 3 tips to keep food fresh

With these health recommendations in mind, go a little bold with this leftover turkey recipe idea.

Shredded Turkey and Pinto Beans Burritos

Servings: 6

Prep time: 40 minutes


  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 medium onion, halved and sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes with green chilis
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 4 cups shredded cooked turkey
  • 1 15-ounce can pinto beans, rinsed
  • 6 10-inch whole-wheat flour tortillas or wraps, warmed (see tip and note)
  • 3/4 cup grated Monterrey or pepper Jack cheese
  • 2 cups shredded green cabbage


Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, until softened, about 2 minutes.

Stir in garlic, cumin and chili powder and cook for 30 seconds.

Add tomatoes and lime juice; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until the onions are very soft, 16 to 20 minutes.

Stir in turkey and beans and continue cooking until mixture is heated through, 3 to 5 minutes.

Divide the turkey-bean mixture among tortillas or wraps. Top each with cheese and cabbage, roll into burritos and serve.

Tip: To warm tortillas, wrap in foil and bake at 300°F until steaming, or wrap in barely damp paper towels and microwave on High for 30 to 45 seconds.

Note: Substitute lettuce cups or leaves for the tortillas or wraps for an even healthier option.

Nutrition information

Each serving contains about 415 calories; 12 g fat; 7 g fiber; 38 g carbohydrates; 39 g protein; 107 mg cholesterol; 4 g sugars; 712 mg sodium.

Source: EatingWell.com

Print Shredded Turkey and Pinto Beans Burritos Recipe

For health recommendations, talk to a Marshfield Clinic Health System provider.

Learn more about Nutrition Services Find a nutritionist

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