Turn Your Thanksgiving Leftovers into These Loaded Nachos

On this episode of Mad Genius, Justin Chapple tops nachos with turkey, roasted vegetables, and even cranberry sauce.

After Thanksgiving dinner is over, you might find yourself with a fridge full of leftovers, from a few stray roasted brussels sprouts to the last bit of gravy. You can certainly enjoy them as-is, or combine forces to make the classic turkey sandwich. But in this episode of Mad Genius, Food & Wine Culinary Director-at-Large Justin Chapple offers another idea — nachos. In his recipe for Thanksgiving Leftovers Nachos, roasted turkey and vegetables are transformed into a cheesy, low-lift meal that's ready in just 30 minutes. What you put in the nachos can be flexible based on what you have available, and Justin says that even a small amount of leftovers will come together for a satisfying snack platter. Just make sure you serve them right away, so you can enjoy all that melted cheese while it's still hot.

Read on for Justin's step-by-step instructions and follow along with the video above.

Prep Your Ingredients

Justin uses leftover turkey, roasted cauliflower, squash, brussels sprouts, and cranberry sauce for these nachos, but notes that you can incorporate any leftovers from the holiday meal, adding, "gravy would be delicious on these nachos." Cut the meat and vegetables into bite-sized pieces. Shred or dice the turkey; leave the skin on if you'd like.

Build the Nachos

Next, grab a large rimmed baking sheet and brush it with extra-virgin olive or canola oil; doing this will help prevent the cheese from sticking to the baking sheet when it melts. Then comes the fun part—building the nacho pile. Half of the thick tortilla chips go onto the baking sheet first in an even layer, followed by half of the shredded Pepper Jack cheese. After that, layer on half of the turkey and half of the roasted vegetables. Finally, dollop half of the cranberry sauce on top. Repeat with a second layer of chips, cheese, and fixings until you have an impressive double-decker nacho situation.

Sarah Crowder

Bake, Garnish, and Serve

Once the nachos are assembled, slide the baking sheet into a 400°F oven and bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until the cheese is nice and melty. To garnish the nachos, top them with pickled red onion slices, thinly sliced jalapeños (fresh or pickled), and a few sprigs of cilantro. Serve the nachos with sour cream and hot sauce and go to town.

More Thanksgiving Leftover Ideas

In addition to these nachos, we have plenty of other recipes for repurposing Thanksgiving leftovers. Turn mashed sweet potatoes into fluffy pancakes for breakfast. Or, if you're looking to finish up a lot of leftovers in a single meal, this Turkey and Butternut Squash Lasagna with Crispy Sage is the way to go, packed with roast turkey, gravy, and sautéed mushrooms, as well as mashed cooked butternut squash. (Feel free to swap in leftover roasted sweet potatoes.) You can even transform leftover cranberry sauce into a tart vinaigrette that's perfect for a chicory salad. No matter which route you choose, you're in for a satisfying meal.

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