Your Guide to Perfecting Thanksgiving Leftovers

Lisa Fields
by Lisa Fields
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Your Guide to Perfecting Thanksgiving Leftovers

If you’re inviting fewer guests for Thanksgiving this year, the good news is you can still cook all of your favorite recipes. Take advantage of making big batches of roasted veggies and protein-rich turkey and repurpose it into creative leftovers. If this sounds like glorified meal prep, you’re onto something.

Freeze some of your food in single-serve containers so it’ll be easy to reheat when you don’t feel like cooking, suggests Rachael Hartley, RD. Then, keep the rest in your fridge so you can mix-and-match it with pantry staples for healthy meals beyond eating the same old thing.

Try any or all of these tasty ideas, created by Hartley:

Your Guide to Perfecting Thanksgiving Leftovers

Turkey Hash

In a skillet over medium-high heat, warm some olive oil and add leftover chopped turkey and roasted vegetables to make a protein- and fiber-rich hash. Toss with pan-fried potatoes for complex carbs to round out the meal.


Sweeten fiber-rich oatmeal with leftover cranberry sauce. Top with diced apple and toasted pecans.


Add diced turkey and roasted vegetables to store-bought pureed bean or potato soup.


Build an open-face sandwich on sourdough bread with turkey, diced, roasted Brussels sprouts and a slice of sharp cheddar cheese. Toast until melted, then drizzle with cranberry sauce dressing.

Something hot, not turkey: soup

Combine roasted vegetables, vegetable broth and a can of white beans in the blender. Garnish with toasted leftover stuffing.

Something hot, not turkey: something else

Pan-fry patties made from leftover mashed potatoes, roasted vegetables and stuffing. Top with a fried egg (optional).

Something cold, turkey: salad

Top baby kale with turkey and roasted winter squash. Garnish with goat cheese, wild rice and toasted nuts. Dress with cranberry sauce dressing.

Something cold, not turkey: veggie and bean salad

Top mixed greens with roasted vegetables and canned beans. Top with croutons made from toasted cornbread. Serve with buttermilk dressing.

Cranberry sauce dressing

Thin leftover cranberry sauce with a little olive oil and red wine vinegar. Whisk before serving.

Discover hundreds of healthy recipes — from high protein to low carb — via “Recipe Discovery” in the MyFitnessPal app.

About the Author

Lisa Fields
Lisa Fields

Lisa Fields is a full-time freelance writer who specializes in health, nutrition, fitness and psychology topics. Her work has been published in Reader’s Digest, WebMD, Women’s Health, Shape, Self and many other publications. A former lifeguard, Lisa swims regularly to stay in shape.You can read more of her work at


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