Wondering what to serve with turkey in the summer? The truth is, you have many great options! While turkey is traditionally a Thanksgiving food, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it all year round. You’ll see what I mean when I show you these summer side dishes for turkey!
What to Serve with Turkey (not Thanksgiving)
I’m about to show you 15 ideas and over 20 recipes for serving with turkey. While I do mention a few traditional sides, most of the ideas are unique ways to eat turkey that do NOT involve Thanksgiving at all! Here are a few things just to get you thinking:
- Rice or quinoa
- Green salad
- Brussel Sprouts or Corn
And there really is so much more, which we’ll see soon!
What flavors go well with turkey?
There are a lot of spices, herbs, and flavors that pair well with turkey. Of course, traditional herbs are ones like rosemary, sage, garlic, or lemon.
However, if you’re going for a summer turkey with different flavorings, there are other options! Paprika or smoked paprika pairs well with turkey, as does oregano, basil, and chives! Even other citrus, like oranges, go well with turkey. You can get as creative as you want!
Summer Turkey Recipes – The List!
Idea #1: Green Salads
One very simple idea for a summer turkey is to serve it with salad. This would make for a ligher, more refreshing meal. For example, you could make a chicken ceasar salad but with turkey instead of chicken!
Another simple idea is this Green Salad with Turkey breast.
Idea #2: Fruit Salad
Another simple side dish for turkey in the summer is a fruit salad. There are so many summer fruits that will be ripe and delicious, like strawberries, peaches, apricots, etc. Use your favorites to make a one of the kind fruit salad! Here’s an example of a fancier fruit salad recipe.
Idea #3: Fruit
If you don’t have a lot of different fruits on hand, you can also choose a specific fruit. One in particular that sounds refreshing after eating turkey is watermelon or other melons like cantelope.
Idea #4: Pasta/Mac n Cheese
Here’s a more substantial idea: pasta! When I say pasta, there are endless possibilities! Mac and Cheese is always a popular one, but you could also serve it with Parmesan Noodles.
Or, I am partial to my Garlic Parmesan Chicken Pasta recipe—you could easily switch out the chicken for turkey and have a great meal!
Idea #5: Baked Beans
If you want to go very non-traditional (compared to Thanksgiving) then Baked Beans would be a unique choice! I like to make my own from this 5-Ingredient Baked Beans recipe. It’s great because it just calls for white beans and a few condiments like BBQ sauce, mustard, and maple syrup.
I like to spice mine up a little more and saute an onion and green pepper first with some smoked paprika. But that’s optional of course!
Idea #6: Rice
Sometimes in the summer you just need a quick and easy dinner. No fuss, no complex flavors—just protein and a side dish. If that is you today, then simple white or brown rice might be the perfect side dish for your summertime turkey.
Idea #7: Potato Dishes
Now who says you can’t have more traditional sides with turkey in the summer? I don’t see any problem with that 🙂 Mashed potatoes and scalloped potatoes undoubtedly go well with turkey. If you’re craving Thanksgiving in the summer, go for it!
Idea #8: Sweet Potatoes
Another food that can either be traditional to Thanksgiving or not depending on how you prepare it is sweet potatoes! If you’re in the thanksgiving mood, by all means, make some sweet potato casserole.
But I think another great idea is roasted sweet potatoes! Just cut up some sweet potatoes, rub them with olive oil, salt, pepper, and spices of your choice (I love to use chili powder, smoked paprika, and garlic/onion powder).
Idea #9: Quinoa
One side that you can easily serve with turkey is quinoa! Quinoa is technically a seed, but it is made and looks a lot like rice. This Tricolor Quinoa with Sweet Potatoes would make a great summer side dish.
Idea #10: Cranberry Sauce
Cranberry sauce makes a great side for a summer turkey, even though it is so traditional! If you just serve it alone with the turkey, you’ll have a light meal with a hint of Thanksgiving…just enough to wet your appetite for November. 😉
Idea #11: Asparagus
There are a whole host of veggies that pair well with turkey, and asparagus is definitely one of them! For a simple meal, blanche some asparagus along with your turkey breast. I love this Parmesan Lemon Asparagus if you want something with extra flavor.
Idea #12: Brussel Sprouts
Brussel Sprouts are another idea as far as veggies with turkey go! You can make them with bacon, or keep it more simple, up to you. The peak season for brussel sprouts starts in August, so this might work best for a late summer idea (this veggie is always best bought on the stalk rather than bagged).
Note: The next two ideas aren’t *exactly* sides for turkey, but more of ways TO serve turkey in the summer! I wanted to make sure I included these ideas because sometimes you need a unique way to make that turkey into something that is actually “servable” (is that even a word? LOL).
Idea #13: Make the Turkey into wraps
One way to make turkey into a summer meal is by making wraps! Wraps usually involve a tortilla, a protein, a sauce, and some kind of veggies or cheese.
I went looking for wraps that used leftover turkey (not lunch meat) and I found some pretty great looking recipes! Check them out below.
Idea #14: Make the Turkey into a sandwich
Similar to a wrap, turkey sandwiches are also a great way to serve turkey in the summer.
Most recipes for sandwiches that use leftover turkey are using up all thanksgiving leftovers, so instead of linking those I came up with a few sandwich combo ideas below:
- Turkey – roasted red peppers – pesto – mozzarella (Starbucks has a sandwich like this and it is bomb!)
- Turkey – hummus – tomato – pepper jack
- Turkey – lettuce – BBQ sauce – mozzarella
I hope you find some inspirations from these turkey sandwich ideas!
Idea #15: Corn on the Cob
Corn is in season in the summer, so it is another great side dish for turkey when the weather is warm! You can boil your corn on the cob, but I prefer roasting it and adding compound butter once cooked. Yum!
Idea #16: Pasta or Potato Salad
Another common side for turkey is pasta or potato salad! Many people like to eat this in the summer with their turkey. It would be great for a picnic lunch or something where you need the sides to be cold!
Idea #17: Rolls/Bread
One more classic turkey side idea is rolls! You can make homemade dinner rolls or buy prepackaged. If you’re wanting to have a turkey breast dinner, you could choose a veggie side and rolls and there you have a balanced meal!
Idea #18: Cornbread
Last, but not least, you could make cornbread! While cornbread and turkey are not traditional together at all, I think it could make a good meal. You could put the turkey into a dish like this Cornbread & Leftover Turkey Casserole, or simply make turkey with corn bread as the side dish!
What to Eat With Turkey Slices
Now, if all you have on hand is turkey slices, you can use these to make meals as well! Of course, turkey slices are typically used in wraps or sandwiches (so those ideas would work great).
Here are some more ideas:
- Make an egg dish with diced deli turkey
- Serve it as a roll up with cheese and other veggies
- Put it on skewers
- Make it into a salad with other proteins like hard boiled eggs
What to Serve With Other Turkey Dinners:
There are a lot of other dinners made from turkey and they can all lend themselves better to different sides. Let’s take a quick look at a few of these as well—I’ll make a quick list for each with some of the ideas above and some new ideas!
Sides for Turkey Burgers
- French fries
- Roasted potatoes
- Scalloped potatoes
- Baked beans
- Roasted veggies
Sides for Turkey Meatballs
- Smashed potatoes
- Roasted veggies (asparagus, brussel sprouts, etc.)
Sides for Turkey Wings
- Baked potato
- Mac n Cheese
- Baked Beans
- Potato salad
Sides for Turkey Tenderloin
- Roasted herb potatoes
- Roasted carrots
- Mashed potatoes
- Mashed Cauliflower
- Quinoa or Rice
- Sweet potatoes
Can you have turkey in the summertime? Absolutely! Turkey can be served so many different ways without a Thanksgiving theme, and summer is a great time for that. Whether you choose pasta, veggies, rice, or a different side, you’re sure to have a delicious meal. Enjoy, and make sure to share this post so more people can see it!