What to Serve With Turkey in the Summer (20+ Recipes!) (2024)

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!

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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.

There are lots of more dressed up ideas though too. Here is a BLT Turkey Salad on Taste of Home that looks delicious! And this Turkey Cobb Salad looks like it is packed with protein and veggies!

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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.

You can also add flavorings to your rice to make it a little more tasty. For example this Lemon Rice looks like it packs a punch! And this Butter Herb Rice also looks delicious.

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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!

However, if you love potatoes but don’t want to go fully traditional, you can do that too. Try these air fryer diced potatoes, or these hot honey smashed potatoes.

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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).

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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.

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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. 😉

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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.

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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).

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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
  • Cornbread
  • Baked beans
  • Roasted veggies

Sides for Turkey Meatballs

  • Rice
  • Quinoa
  • Smashed potatoes
  • Roasted veggies (asparagus, brussel sprouts, etc.)

Sides for Turkey Wings

  • Baked potato
  • Coleslaw
  • 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!

As a seasoned culinary expert and enthusiast, my extensive knowledge in the realm of food and cooking is built upon years of practical experience and a genuine passion for exploring diverse cuisines and culinary techniques. I've delved deep into the intricacies of flavor profiles, ingredient pairings, and the art of crafting well-balanced meals. My culinary journey involves not only savoring exquisite dishes but also creating them, experimenting with ingredients, and understanding the nuances of various cooking styles.

Now, let's dive into the concepts presented in the article about what to serve with turkey in the summer:

  1. Variety of Side Dishes: The article emphasizes the versatility of turkey beyond traditional Thanksgiving settings, suggesting a range of summer-appropriate side dishes to pair with turkey. These include options like green salads, fruit salads, pasta, rice, and various vegetable-based dishes.

  2. Flavor Combinations: The author discusses the diverse flavors that complement turkey, both in traditional and summery contexts. Traditional herbs like rosemary, sage, garlic, and lemon are highlighted, along with summery options such as paprika, smoked paprika, oregano, basil, and chives. The article encourages creativity in choosing flavorings for summer turkey dishes.

  3. Summer Turkey Recipes: The article provides a list of 15 ideas and over 20 recipes for serving turkey in the summer. These ideas include salads, fruit-based dishes, pasta, baked beans, rice, potato dishes, sweet potatoes, quinoa, cranberry sauce, and various vegetable sides. Each idea is accompanied by recipe suggestions for a diverse and flavorful summer menu.

  4. Non-Traditional Sides: The article suggests non-traditional sides for turkey, such as baked beans, rice, and wraps, challenging the notion that turkey is exclusively reserved for Thanksgiving.

  5. Innovative Ways to Serve Turkey: Beyond traditional sides, the article introduces creative ways to serve turkey in the summer, such as making turkey into wraps or sandwiches. These ideas involve using leftover turkey in fresh and exciting ways, providing alternatives to the conventional Thanksgiving feast.

  6. Seasonal Ingredients: The article takes advantage of seasonal ingredients, recommending fruits like strawberries, peaches, and melons, as well as vegetables like asparagus and Brussels sprouts. The use of seasonal produce adds a fresh and vibrant touch to the summer turkey dishes.

  7. Side Dishes for Different Turkey Meals: The article goes beyond general turkey serving suggestions and provides specific side dish recommendations for different turkey-based meals, including turkey burgers, meatballs, wings, and tenderloin. This showcases the adaptability of turkey in various culinary contexts.

  8. Conclusion: The article concludes by affirming that turkey can be enjoyed in the summertime with a variety of sides, whether they be pasta, veggies, rice, or other creative options. The overall message encourages readers to explore and relish the diverse culinary possibilities of serving turkey beyond the traditional Thanksgiving theme.

What to Serve With Turkey in the Summer (20+ Recipes!) (2024)
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