Green Chile Turkey Tetrazzini

Green Chile Turkey Tetrazzini takes this traditional Thanksgiving turkey leftover recipe to the next level. This turkey casserole is loaded with flavor thanks to the addition of green chiles, poblano peppers, and spicy pepper jack cheese. 

You’ll want to check this recipe out if you’re looking for leftover turkey recipe ideas! No one will be bored with leftover turkey this year!

casserole dish of turkey tetrazzini

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Growing up, our mom ALWAYS made turkey tetrazzini with our leftover turkey after Thanksgiving. I think we all both loved and hated it at the same time.

Not because this turkey casserole was a bad recipe or because our mom didn’t know how to cook. But because it was always the same and usually by the time this recipe was hitting the dinner table we were already so completely sick of turkey.

I never liked turkey all that much as a child because it was always so dry (my parents had never heard of Turkey Brining back then and unfortunately, usually ended up over cooking the turkey because they didn’t have these fool-proof Turkey Roasting Tips. They relied on the pop up thermometer, which usually activates long past the recommended turkey temp, yielded a dry, overcooked turkey.

bowl of turkey tetrazzini

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Creating this Green Chile Turkey Tetrazzini Recipe

Chicken Tetrazzini, sometimes called Cheesy Chicken Spaghetti, is a creamy and classic comforting chicken casserole that is perfect for the fall and winter months.

I don’t want anyone at my kitchen table to experience the feeling of being so sick of turkey. So, I decided I needed to experiment with making turkey tetrazzini, one of the most classic turkey leftover recipes, more exciting to kick it up a few notches.

What is this Turkey Tetrazzini Made Of?

This Green Chile Turkey Tetrazzini is so great for turkey leftovers after Thanksgiving because it gives you the opportunity to use up leftover chicken AND homemade turkey stock that you’ve made from your turkey carcass. This updated recipe for Green Chile Turkey Tetrazzini contains:

  • Spaghetti
  • Turkey
  • Mushrooms
  • Onion
  • Red Bell Pepper
  • Poblano Pepper
  • Fire Roasted Green Chiles
  • Garlic
  • Butter
  • Flour
  • Dry White Wine or Cooking Sherry
  • Homemade Turkey Stock (or chicken broth)
  • Cream Cheese
  • Parmesan
  • Pepper Jack Cheese
  • Panko Breadcrumbs

Many of these ingredients are classic to the original Turkey Tetrazzini recipe, but with the green chile twist! There is also no cream of anything soup in this recipe, unlike the recipe that I grew up eating.

casserole dish of turkey tetrazzini

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Green Chile Turkey Tetrazzini Ingredients

In this revamped Turkey Tetrazzini recipe, you can expect all of the usual delicious, creamy pasta and turkey tastes here in this casserole. But, I also added plenty of fire roasted green chiles, a poblano pepper, a red pepper, and pepper jack cheese.

To finish off my Green Chile Turkey Tetrazzini, I topped the entire casserole with buttery, toasted panko breadcrumbs for a crunchy contrast the creamy sauce.

I definitely think that this Green Chile Turkey Tetrazzini is a winner. And, this version of the classic leftover turkey casserole would please even those who declare themselves so sick of turkey post-Thanksgiving feast.

turkey tetrazzini in a baking dish

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Can you freeze Turkey Casserole?

You can, though the real question is does Turkey Tetrazzini freeze well? I generally don’t recommend freezing pasta dishes because the pasta can become mushy after freezing and reheating. This dish is definitely best served fresh, right out of the oven

To make this recipe easier to cook, you can do plenty of the pre work ahead of time:

Make Ahead Tips for Turkey Tetrazzini

  • Turkey (or chicken) can be cooked and chopped and stored frozen for up to 2-3 months, or refrigerated for 2-3 days.
  • Pepper Jack and Parmesan cheeses can be grated ahead of time and stored in the freezer for 2 – 3 months, or about 1 week refrigerated.
  • The panko breadcrumb/butter/parmesan mixture can be prepared ahead of time and frozen for 3 months, or refrigerated for 4-5 days.
  • All of the vegetables can be chopped 3 days ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator. I don’t recommend freezing the vegetables.

Can I Substitute Chicken in Turkey Tetrazzini?

No leftover turkey? No problem. Just substitute shredded or cubed chicken in place of the turkey. Leftover rotisserie chicken works great as a substitute in this recipe. It will taste just as good!

turkey tetrazzini in a bowl

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What are some Dietary Substitutions for Turkey Tetrazzini

If you are vegetarian or gluten-free here are some helpful dietary substitutions for this recipe:

Can I make a Vegetarian Tetrazzini?

Sure, you can totally adapt this Green Chile Turkey Tetrazzini to be a vegetarian version if you or someone you are serving this recipe to doesn’t consume meat. First, you will want to substitute vegetable broth from the turkey stock and you will omit the turkey. You’ll likely want to add in some extra vegetables to compensate for the loss of the 3 cups of turkey.

What Vegetables Should I put in Vegetarian Tetrazzini?

Since you’ll be omitting 3 cups of diced or shredded turkey to make this Green Chile Tetrazzini vegetarian friendly, you’ll need to make up for the loss of that bulk. I recommend doubling or tripling the amount of mushrooms since they will help make up for the lost savory flavor due the chicken. I also recommend frozen peas as a good addition.

How do you Make Gluten-Free Turkey Tetrazzini?

To convert this Green Chile Turkey Tetrazzini to a gluten-free version, first you’ll want to find your favorite gluten-free pasta to substitute in place of the spaghetti. If your preferred gluten-free pasta is a shape other than spaghetti, that would be fine to use if you prefer.

Then, you’ll need to use an alternative thickener in place of the flour. There are a couple of good alternative thickeners: cornstarch or arrowroot powder.

Cornstarch is a good alternative thickening agent if you are avoiding wheat or gluten. Cornstarch is more powerful than flour, so you’ll use half as much cornstarch for the same results as achieved using flour.

For those who might be avoiding both corn and gluten, you can use arrowroot powder as a thickener. Arrowroot powder is more powerful than cornstarch. When substituting arrowroot powder for flour, start with this rule of thumb: 1 teaspoon of arrowroot powder = 1 tablespoon of flour. Arrowroot powder is the ideal thickener for those with gluten-free, grain-free, and paleo diets.

What to Serve with Turkey Tetrazzini?

If you’re looking for side suggestions to go with this recipe, I recommend a big green salad. It doesn’t have to be fancy at all. We often use mixed greens, lettuce, cucumber, shredded carrot, and tomato for a basic side salad. Check out these 3 Simple Salad Dressing Recipes to go along with your salad.

More Turkey Leftovers

Sick of turkey leftovers? Check out my The Ultimate Guide to Thanksgiving Leftovers for some fresh ideas to use up that leftover turkey!).

Did you grow up eating Turkey Tetrazzini as a child?

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Green Chile Turkey Tetrazzini

Green Chile Turkey Tetrazzini

Yield: serves 6 - 8
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

Green Chile Turkey Tetrazzini takes this traditional Thanksgiving turkey leftover recipe to the next level. This turkey casserole is loaded with flavor thanks to the addition of green chiles, poblano peppers, and spicy pepper jack cheese.  You'll want to check this recipe out if you're looking for leftover turkey recipe ideas! No one will be bored with leftover turkey this year!

Ingredients

For the Turkey Tetrazzini

  • 1 tablespoon Butter
  • 1 yellow Onion, diced
  • 8 ounces Mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper, diced
  • 1 Green Bell Pepper, diced
  • 1 Poblano Pepper, diced
  • 4 cloves minced Garlic
  • 3 tablespoons Butter
  • 1/4 cup Flour
  • 1/3 cup Dry White Wine or Sherry*
  • 3 cups Turkey Stock or Chicken Broth
  • 1/4 teaspoon Dried Thyme
  • 2 ounces cream cheese, softened and cut into cubes
  • 3 cups cubed or shredded Turkey
  • 8 ounces diced Fire Roasted Green Chiles
  • 2 1/2 ounces fresh grated Parmesan
  • 1 cup shredded Pepper Jack Cheese
  • 1 tablespoon minced Cilantro
  • 10 ounce Spaghetti, cooked al dente
  • salt and pepper, to taste

For the Crunchy Panko Topping

  • 1/2 cup Panko Breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup Fresh Parmesan
  • 1 tablespoon Butter

Instructions

Recipe Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. Prepare the spaghetti it in 4 quarts of water with 1 tablespoon of salt, cooking to al dente according to times listed on package instructions.
  3. Prepare a 9x13 inch casserole dish by greasing with butter or non-stick cooking spray.

To Prepare the Turkey Tetrazzini

  1. In a large saute pan or cast iron skillet, heat the 1 tablespoon of butter. Saute the mushrooms and onion over medium heat until tender, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add the green bell pepper, red bell pepper, poblano and saute for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for an additional 2 minutes.
  3. Transfer the vegetables to a large mixing bowl and set aside.
  4. Add the 3 tablespoons of butter to the same pan. Whisk in the flour. Slowly slowly add the chicken broth, making sure to whisk constantly as you pour.
  5. Add the thyme, cream cheese and the wine or sherry (if using) to this mixture, whisking to eliminate any lumps. Simmer for about 5 minutes
  6. Add the sauce mixture to the bowl with the vegetables along with the fire roasted green chiles, parmesan, pepper jack, and cilantro. Stir to combined.
  7. Add the pasta to the bowl, stirring until it is evenly coated with the sauce and the ingredients are evenly distributed.
  8. Transfer the pasta mixture to the prepared 9x13 casserole dish.

For the Topping:

  1. Combine the panko bread crumbs, 1/4 cup of parmesan, and butter in a small food chopper or food processor. Process until mixture is well combined and coarse crumbs.
  2. Set the breadcrumb mixture aside.

To Bake:

  1. Cover with foil and bake in the oven at 400 degrees F until the sauces are heated through - about 10-15 minutes.
  2. Remove from the oven and discard the foil.
  3. Sprinkle the buttered bread crumbs on top, return the turkey tetrazzini to the oven and bake until the topping is golden, about 10 minutes.

Notes

*you'll want to substitute additional 1/4 cup - 1/2 cup chicken broth if you don't plan to use the dry white wine or cooking sherry.

Can I substitute Chicken in Turkey Tetrazzini?

No leftover turkey? No problem. Just substitute shredded or cubed chicken in place of the turkey. Leftover rotisserie chicken works great as a substitute in this recipe. It will taste just as good! This all purpose Shredded Crock-Pot Chicken also works well.

MAKE AHEAD TIPS FOR TURKEY TETRAZZINI

I generally don’t recommend freezing pasta dishes because the pasta can become mushy after freezing and reheating. This dish is definitely best served fresh, right out of the oven

  • Turkey (or chicken) can be cooked and chopped and stored frozen for up to 2-3 months, or refrigerated for 2-3 days.
  • Pepper Jack and Parmesan cheeses can be grated ahead of time and stored in the freezer for 2 – 3 months, or about 1 week refrigerated.
  • The panko breadcrumb/butter/parmesan mixture can be prepared ahead of time and frozen for 3 months, or refrigerated for 4-5 days.
  • All of the vegetables can be chopped 3 days ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator. I don’t recommend freezing the vegetables.

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Nutrition Information
Yield 8 Serving Size 1
Amount Per ServingCalories 398 Total Fat 21g Saturated Fat 10g Trans Fat 0g Unsaturated Fat 9g Cholesterol 99mg Sodium 734mg Carbohydrates 25g Net Carbohydrates 0g Fiber 2g Sugar 4g Sugar Alcohols 0g Protein 27g
GoodLifeEats.com offers recipe nutritional information as a courtesy and is an estimate only. This information comes from online calculators. Although GoodLifeEats.com makes every effort to provide accurate information, these figures are only estimates.