thanksgiving leftovers

It’s the annual struggle – what to do with all the leftovers once the celebrations are over? So long, mayo and Wonderbread–Thanksgiving leftovers are getting a healthy twist.

Leftover turkey?

  • Turkey Avocado Wrap – Use whole-wheat tortilla, a Laughing Cow light cheese wedge, avocado slices and chopped turkey to make a delicious wrap
  • Soups – Place chopped turkey in soups…turkey noodle soup, turkey chili, turkey and rice soup and more!
  • Turkey Omelets – Use turkey, Havarti cheese and salsa in an omelet.
  • Salads – Toss turkey in lettuce salads along with dried cranberries, walnuts, green onion, shredded carrots, feta cheese and a light dressing.
  • Pizza – Top a whole-wheat pizza crust with ½ cup barbecue sauce, 1 cup chopped turkey and 1 cup shredded cheese. Bake for 10-12 minutes at 450 degrees.
  • Turkey Tacos – Sprinkle turkey with low-sodium taco seasoning. Fill taco shells with seasoned turkey, fat-free refried beans, shredded lettuce, salsa and shredded cheese.
  • Turkey Stir-Fry – Heat 1 tablespoon peanut oil in a wok and add stir-fry frozen veggies. When veggies are crisp-tender, add 1 to 2 cups cooked turkey. Add your favorite stir-fry sauce and serve over cooked brown rice.
  • Turkey Mac and Cheese – Make a box of Annie’s Organic Macaroni and Cheese. Stir in shredded turkey at the end of the cooking time.

Leftover Cranberry Sauce

  • Cranberry Muffins – Mix up your favorite muffin recipe. Put a scoop of cranberry sauce into each muffin cup before baking.
  • Cranberry Sandwich – Spice up a plain ol’ turkey sandwich. Use whole-grain bread, spread with cranberry sauce and topped with Swiss cheese, arugula and leftover turkey.
  • Cranberry Dip – Mix leftover cranberry sauce with 4 ounces Neufchatel cheese and thawed whipped topping (8-ounce tub) for a fun dip for fruit.
  • Meat Marinade – Combine cranberry sauce with vinegar to make a great marinade or glaze for meats such as pork and chicken.

Miscellaneous Sides:

  • Rolls can be frozen and used later for breadcrumbs, croutons or stuffing.
  • Vegetables like green beans and corn can be added to vegetable soup or stew. They can also be added to casseroles (such as the Turkey Mac and Cheese listed above).
  • Mashed potatoes don’t need to go to waste. Shape leftovers into patties and “fry” in a non-stick cooking pan for healthier hash browns.

Want more help? Ditch the cranberry-dressing-stuffing sandwiches and check out the following recipes:

Day-After Turkey Soup

day after turkey soup

Throw the whole leftover turkey carcass into the pot to make the broth for this next-day soup, which includes Thanksgiving staples like sweet potato, green beans and thyme.

Turkey Ramen

turkey ramen

Check out this unusual twist on turkey soup.

Leftover Green Bean Salad

Serve this Mediterranean-flavored side dish with your leftover turkey.

Cottage Pie from Leftover Mashed Potatoes 


It’ll feel like an indulgence but rest assured this recipe won’t wreck havoc on your waistline.  Leftover mashed potatoes are mixed with white cheddar cheese to form the top crust for this British pub-food staple.