The Turlafel 3.000

Erin Patrick O'Connor for The Washington Post

Nov 22, 2015

This is a mashup guaranteed to upgrade your Thanksgiving leftovers sandwich game: Turkey, stuffing, fresh herbs and global spices are formed into falafel-type patties and pan-fried just enough to create a crisp crust. Here, they’re rolled into a wrap dressed with a zingy balance of flavors and textures, including your leftover cranberry sauce. The patties also taste good on their own or atop a pile of fresh salad greens.

If your stuffing is moist, the beaten egg can be omitted. Our recipe for Corn Bread Apple "Sausage" Stuffing was used to figure the nutritional analysis.

Make Ahead: The patty mixture needs to be refrigerated for 30 minutes and up to 1 day in advance. The cranberry harissa can be refrigerated for up to 5 days. The cucumber-yogurt dressing can be refrigerated for up to several hours in advance.

Where to Buy: Pureed ginger and garlic are available in the international aisle of large grocery stores and in Indian markets.


When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 3 servings

  • For the patties
  • 1 packed cup cooked boneless, skinless turkey
  • 1 packed cup leftover stuffing (see headnote)
  • 2 tablespoons pureed ginger (see headnote)
  • 2 tablespoons pureed garlic (paste)
  • 1 teaspoon seeded, finely minced jalapeño pepper
  • 3/4 cup chopped fresh herbs, such as a combination of mint, parsley and cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten (optional; see headnote)
  • 5 tablespoons vegetable oil, for frying
  • For assembly
  • 1/4 cup harissa (Mediterranean pepper paste)
  • 2 tablespoons jellied cranberry sauce
  • 1/2 seedless (English) cucumber, cut lengthwise in half
  • 1/2 cup regular or low-fat Greek-style yogurt
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 lavash, naan or flatbread
  • 1 cup thinly sliced grilled or griddled red onion (may substitute raw red onion)
  • 1 cup leftover cooked vegetables, such as green beans, cauliflower, red peppers or mushrooms
  • 3 handfuls fresh greens/herbs, such as a combination of cilantro, mint and scallions

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For the patties: Combine the turkey, stuffing, ginger, garlic, jalapeño pepper, herbs, garam masala and ground coriander in a mixing bowl; use your clean hands to knead the mixture together to form a homogenous mass. Taste, and season as needed with salt and pepper. (If it doesn’t quite hold together, stir in the egg.) Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes (to firm up) and up to 1 day.

For assembly: Stir together the harissa and cranberry sauce in a medium bowl. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Scrape out the center of the cucumber, then cut the cucumber into 1/4-inch pieces, placing them in a medium bowl as you work. Add the yogurt and lemon juice, then season lightly with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

When you’re ready to build the sandwiches, heat the oil in a large skillet, preferably nonstick or cast-iron, over medium-high heat. Line a large plate with paper towels. Uncover the chilled mixture and form 9 balls of equal size, then flatten them slightly with your hands.

Meanwhile, lay out the lavash, naan or flatbreads on a clean work surface. Spread a generous amount of the cranberry harissa sauce down the center of each.

Once the oil shimmers, add all the patties; cook for 2 to 3 minutes on each side or just long enough to create a crisped crust on each side. Transfer them to the paper-towel-lined plate to briefly drain, then place 3 patties, overlapping them slightly, on each swath of sauce.

Next, layer slices of the red onion over each portion, then some of the cooked leftover vegetables. Top with a generous dollop or two of the yogurt-cucumber sauce, then a handful of the fresh greens/herbs. Serve it open-face, or carefully roll or wrap up the filling in the bread to create a fairly tightly structured wrap sandwich. Cut the wrap in half for easier eating.

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Recipe Source

From Alex McCoy, chef and co-owner of the upcoming Alfie’s in Petworth. An earlier version of this recipe left out the shaping-patties step.

Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.

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