My Paleo Turkey Tetrazzini recipe is a delicious and healthy way to use up those holiday turkey leftovers!
Plus, unlike the original, this one is gluten-free, grain-free, and dairy-free…
Now, I love holiday turkey as much as the next gal. But sometimes, good lord, the leftovers can seem to go on for days, am I right?
I’ve got a few recipe inspo ideas here on the blog for you, but this year I decided to add a fresh one.
(Click here for my Instant Pot Bone Broth recipe…great for using up turkey bones. And click here for my Paleo Thanksgiving Leftovers “Sandwich” recipe.)
Of course, you can use cooked leftover turkey in just about any chicken recipe, too.
My Paleo Turkey Tetrazzini is a spin on an old classic, but I’ve removed a couple of the common allergens for ya and made it way healthier. Plus it’s a one-pan meal. Win!
Usually, this dish has a pasta base to help soak up all the sauce. Traditionally, it has wine and cream and cheese as well as breadcrumbs.
Now, while I don’t dispute that all those things sound delicious (!), for a lot of people eating along a real food paleo-style framework, lots of those ingredients don’t fly.
Here’s how my Paleo Turkey Tetrazzini works…
First, you’ll sauté a base of aromatic veggies including garlic, onion, celery, and mushrooms. This gives the dish a backbone of flavor that you really need if you’re removing the cheese and wine.
It’s similar to a traditional mirepoix – onion, celery, and carrot – but with mushrooms instead of the carrots. I prefer brown mushrooms in this dish for couple reasons: I find them less watery than white ones, and I think the flavor is much more intense.
The brown mushrooms really add that punch of savory umami flavor that this Paleo Turkey Tetrazzini needs.
Then, you’ll add cooked, chopped leftover turkey. Feel free to add a mix of light and dark meat…whatever you have available. You’ll need about four cups of leftover turkey.
Finally, you’ll make the sauce which is a pretty simple combination of coconut milk and chicken broth.
I used full-fat coconut milk from a can to form the creamy base. If you can’t do coconut milk, cashew milk would be my second choice.
Almond milk is usually far too watery and won’t give you the same creamy result in this Paleo Turkey Tetrazzini.
The key to a thick sauce without using a flour roux is to use arrowroot flour. It’s gluten-free and thickens sauces almost instantly…but there are a couple key things you need to know.
First, arrowroot flour cannot be added directly to hot liquid or it’ll immediately clump up. Not good.
Instead, you’ll make a slurry of arrowroot flour and a small amount of cold or room temp coconut milk. After everything in the pan is hot, you’ll turn off the heat and add the slurry. The resulting sauce will thicken almost immediately.
Second, you don’t want to bring this thickened sauce back to a boil because the arrowroot will lose its thickening ability and become watery again.
At the very end of cooking, I added some frozen peas. Totally optional but they give a fresh pop of flavor.
Now, traditional turkey tetrazzini is mixed with wheat pasta. I swapped it with roasted spaghetti squash in this recipe for a similar look and feel.
But if you want, you could totally serve this Paleo Turkey Tetrazzini over any of the following:
- cauliflower rice
- sweet potato noodles (made with a spiralizer)
- zucchini noodles
- gluten-free pasta
- white rice*
*Yes, some people can handle white rice without a problem. You do you!
I hope I’ve totally inspired you to make this Paleo Turkey Tetrazzini with your leftovers. On to the recipe!
Paleo Turkey Tetrazzini Recipe
- 2 tbsp ghee, divided*
- 8 oz sliced brown mushrooms
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped finely
- 2 stalks celery, diced (~1 cup)
- 1/2 large white onion, diced (~1 cup)
- 1 bay leaf
- 4 cups cooked chopped turkey
- 1 cup full-fat coconut milk, divided
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 1 tbsp arrowroot flour**
- 1 cup frozen peas
- Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
- Roasted spaghetti squash, cooked cauliflower rice, zucchini noodles, etc for serving
Heat a large skillet (I prefer cast iron because it gets super hot) over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the ghee. When the ghee is hot and shimmery, add the mushrooms and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring a few times, for about 5 minutes. You want most of the moisture to cook off and the mushrooms to get a little caramelized on the edges. Remove the mushrooms and set aside in a bowl.
Reduce the heat to medium. Add another 1 tablespoon of ghee to the same skillet. Immediately add the garlic and bay leaf, cooking and stirring for about 30 seconds, until the garlic is fragrant. Add the celery and onion. Cook and stir often until the veggies are tender and translucent but not browned, about 8 minutes.
While this is cooking, measure out 1 cup of coconut milk. Remove 2 tablespoons of that into a small bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of arrowroot flour. Stir with a spoon until the arrowroot is dissolved. Set the slurry aside.
Now, add the mushrooms back to the pan. Add the cooked turkey, the coconut milk without the arrowroot, and the chicken broth. Bring this mixture to a simmer, then turn off the heat.
Stir in the arrowroot slurry. It will thicken almost immediately.
Add the frozen peas. Remove the bay leaf.
Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Serve over roasted spaghetti squash.
* For 100% dairy-free, use coconut or avocado oil instead of ghee.
**If you don't have arrowroot, you can use tapioca flour just the same.
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