Say hello to Cranberry and Turkey Melts with Brussels Sprout Slaw – the ultimate leftover Thanksgiving turkey sandwich. This addictive sandwich is slathered with a cranberry mayo, topped with turkey, gooey smoked gouda cheese, and a sweet and savory Brussels sprout slaw.
Cranberry and Turkey Melts with Brussels Sprout Slaw
It’s a known fact the leftovers of Thanksgiving are just as good as the main show itself. Reheated green bean casserole? Yes please. Warmed-up stuffing that’s become almost soggy, sounds off-putting, but gosh is it good.
After I’ve found myself unable to tolerate yet another round of Thanksgiving, I’m all about using those leftover turkey scraps for the ultimate turkey sandwich.
Usually this means I just pile a bunch of turkey on flimsy whole-wheat sandwich bread, slather it with hot gravy, lots of mayo, crisp lettuce and one single thinly sliced tomato, and call it a day. However, today we’re stepping things up a notch with the ultimate turkey melt.
Here’s what’s happening in my version of ultimate leftover turkey melts.
- soft-as-air rolls
- a sweet cranberry-infused mayo (You’ll want to slather this stuff on all your sandwiches from now until eternity.)
- piles of leftover turkey
- a sweet and savory Brussels sprout slaw
The combination of savory turkey, gooey cheese, soft bread, and crunchy Brussels sprout slaw is the ultimate mash-up of fall flavors and out-of-this-world delicious. Plus, they’re insanely easy to throw together AND use up two different leftovers that typically get thrown away.
Dig in please!
Ingredients in Leftover Turkey Melts
Stuffing rolls. Obviously you can use whatever soft dinner roll you want. If you have leftover dinner rolls, please use those! However, I couldn’t help myself from picking up a bag of Trader Joe’s stuffing rolls.
If you haven’t tried these before, they’re exactly as they sound. A roll that tastes like stuffing. I actually don’t find actually find they taste EXACTLY like stuffing, but they have a lot of the same flavors, which makes them perfect for these leftover turkey melts.
Leftover turkey. This is pretty self explanatory. You can use whatever leftover turkey meat you’ve got for leftover turkey melts – white meat, dark meat, leg meat, breast meat – whatever goes!
Smoked gouda cheese. I LOVE smoked gouda. It melts beautifully and has this lovely, very subtle smoky flavor. It’s not too pungent, so it also doesn’t overpower the turkey, slaw, and cranberry mayo.
Cranberry mayo. All this is, is leftover cranberry sauce plus a little bit of mayo. Easy peasy. Also, I actually like to use low-fat mayo, I find that it tastes the exact same as full-fat, so I’d rather reduce the calories.
Brussels sprout slaw
Mayo. Just as in the cranberry mayo, I like to use light mayo. This adds just a touch
Cranberry sauce. Whatever leftover cranberry sauce you’ve got on hand. If you’re making this at a different time of year, you can use cranberry or raspberry preserves.
Apple cider vinegar. Apple cider vinegar adds a little bit of tang and acid that I need in a goo slaw.
Honey. Honey balances out the acid in the vinegar and the tanginess in the dijon.
Dijon mustard. For tanginess and a little zip.
Salt and pepper. Always lots of salt and pepper to taste!
Brussels sprouts. I find it very annoying to shred Brussels sprouts, so I pay the extra $1 and buy them pre-shredded at Trader Joe’s or my local grocery store, It’s one shortcut, I’m 100% all for.
How to make Leftover Cranberry and Turkey Melts
Toast the bread.
Whenever I’m making a turkey melt with a softer bread and the bottom or top is going to be slathered with some kind of mayo or glaze, I like to create a barrier to keep the bread from getting soggy.
Grease your baking sheet, arrange the bottom of the rolls on the sheet and baked for about 5 minutes until they’re slightly crisp and firm.
Make the cranberry mayo.
While the rolls crisp up, add cranberry sauce and mayo to a small bowl. Stir until combined. Season with salt and pepper.
Assemble the turkey melts.
Let the rolls cool for a minute or two. Evenly divide the cranberry mayo between all 12 rolls and spread evenly. Top with a few pieces of turkey. Cover with shredded gouda cheese. Bake until the cheese is melted and gooey, about 10 minutes.
Make the slaw.
While the sliders bake, make the slaw. Add remaining mayo, cranberry sauce, apple cider vinegar, salt, dijon mustard, and honey to a medium bowl. Whisk together. Add shredded Brussels sprouts. Toss until combined. Season with salt and pepper.
Finish them off!
Once the turkey melts come out of the oven, evenly divide the slaw between the 12 sandwiches. Cover with the top bun. Enjoy!
Can I make these in advance?
Sure! Just make sure to toast the bread and cool completely before assembling the sandwich. Store the slaw separately in an airtight container. When you’re ready to eat. Pop the sliders into the oven and check the Brussels sprout slaw for seasoning.
You can make them up to 24 hours in advance.
Substitutions and Tips and Tricks for Recipe Success
- Obviously if you don’t live near a Trader Joe’s, you can swap out the stuffing rolls for regular dinner rolls. I’ve also found the Hawaiian rolls fit perfectly in a quarter sheet pan or 9×12 baking dish. They’re also delicious.
- Use your favorite melting cheese. I love a smoked gouda because it pairs perfectly with the turkey and cranberries. However, gruyere would be great, smoked cheddar, a white cheddar, or even Swiss cheese.
- Make sure to toast the bottom of the buns. This will ensure the sandwiches don’t become soggy when you spread them with the cranberry mayo. It creates a barrier to keep the bottom nice and crisp.
- Spray your baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray to ensure the sandwiches don’t stick to the bottom.
- This is one of those evergreen recipes that doesn’t just have to be served with leftover thanksgiving turkey. Try swapping the turkey out for leftover rotisserie chicken. Leftover deli turkey would work great as well.
Other recipes leftover turkey would be great in.
- Swap out the chicken for turkey in this Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup
- This Cheesy Chicken Pot Pie with Cheddar Biscuits would be PERFECT for leftover turkey.
- We are obsessed with this Cheesy Chicken Enchilada Soup. So delicious!
- This Alfredo Soup with Tortellini tastes JUST like fettuccine Alfredo, but in soup form. One of our favorites!
- 12 stuffing rolls (or you favorite soft dinner roll), sliced in half
- 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp cranberry sauce
- 3 tbsp light mayo, divided
- 1 lb leftover turkey
- 8 oz shredded smoked gouda cheese
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp dijon mustard
- 1 tsp honey
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 3 cups brussels sprouts
- Mixing bowl
- baking sheet
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 9x12 baking sheet or baking dish.
- Line the bottom half of the rolls in three rows on the bakign sheet. Pop in the oven to toast for about 5-6 minutes or until slightly toasted.
- While the rolls toast, add 3 tablespoons cranberry sauace and 1 tablespoon mayo to a small bowl. Whisk to combine. Season with salt and pepper.
- After the rolls toast, let the cool for just a minute or two. Evenly divide the cranberry mayo between the 12 rolls. Tops with turkey. Cover with gouda cheese. Place back into the oven and bake until the cheese is gooey and melted, it should take about 10 minutes.
- While the rolls bake, make the slaw. Mix remaining 2 tablespoons mayo, 2 tablespoons cranbery sauce, apple cider, dijon, honey, and salt togethe in a medium bowl. Whisk to combine. Add brussels sprouts. Toss until coated in the dressing. Season with salt and pepper.
- When the turkey melts have baked, pull them out of the oven. Evenly divide the slaw between the melts. Cover with the top half of the roll. Serve!