Fresh Ideas for Your Holiday Leftovers


One of the best things about the Thanksgiving feast is being able to count on all the leftovers. It can mean days of reliving the festivities as you work your way through a fridge full of post-holiday sides. And re-imagining ways to serve up those remaining dishes is an art in and of itself. But not every recipe deserves a sequel. This year, skip the tired turkey tetrazzini and serve up one of these fresh ideas instead.

A Classic Turkey Salad

The best way to follow-up a heavy, calorie-laden Thanksgiving meal, is with a day of veg-filled soups and salads. Put your leftovers to good use with this classic Turkey Waldorf Salad. (Servings: 4-6; Prep Time: 20 minutes)


  • 2 cups shredded leftover turkey meat
  • 2 stalks celery, sliced
  • 1/2 cup celery leaves, coarsely chopped, plus more whole leaves for garnish
  • 1 crisp apple, such as Gala or Macintosh, cored and chopped
  • 1 cup red seedless grapes, halved
  • 1/2 cup pecans, toasted, and coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup non-fat yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon honey (option to switch to leftover cranberry sauce for an added Thanksgiving flair)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, plus more as needed
  • 1 small celery root, peeled and cut into matchsticks
  • Freshly ground black pepper


  1. In a large bowl, gently toss the turkey, celery, celery leaves, apple, grapes, and pecans until combined.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the yogurt, mayonnaise, honey (or cranberry sauce), and 1/4 teaspoon salt until well combined.
  3. Put the celery root in a small bowl, add 2 tablespoons of the dressing, and toss to coat completely.
  4. Add the remaining dressing to the turkey mixture, season with salt and pepper, and toss gently to evenly dress the salad.
  5. To serve, spread the celery root evenly onto a serving platter, top with the dressed salad, garnish with celery leaves and serve immediately.

Recipe courtesy of Wes Martin and Food Network.

Nutritional info: 327 calories, 18g total fat, 2g saturated fat , 0g trans fat, 75mg cholesterol, 306mg sodium, 19g carbohydrate, 4g fiber, 14g sugar, 25g protein.

More Inspired Ideas for Your Leftovers


  • You can’t beat a next-day turkey sandwich! Just be sure to pile on the leftover veggies instead of all that stuffing.
  • Combine leftover turkey with chunky vegetables and leftover broth to make a hearty pot of soup or stew.
  • Add an Italian spin to your Thanksgiving leftovers by mixing shredded turkey with marinara sauce and fresh basil for a quick and easy turkey bolognaise.


  • Turn stuffing into dumplings and add them to your turkey and vegetable soup.
  • Combine stuffing and turkey bolognaise, use the mixture to fill hollow red peppers, sprinkle with cheddar cheese, and bake.
  • Throw a few tablespoons of your surplus stuffing into scrambled eggs with turkey and vegetables, and call it dinner.

Cranberry Sauce

  • Stir a teaspoon of cranberry sauce into one-serving of whipped cream cheese and spread it over a toasted whole-wheat bagel.
  • Add leftover cranberry relish to your favorite whole-wheat muffin recipe.
  • Swirl a teaspoon into hot oatmeal for breakfast.

Mashed Potatoes

  • Top potato cakes with turkey, a handful of arugula, and a poached egg for an impressive post-Thanksgiving brunch.

Sweet Potato Casserole

  • Scoop off the marshmallows and combine leftover sweet potato casserole with curry paste, chicken stock and a dash of reduced-fat coconut milk for a delicious sweet potato soup.
  • Turkey shepherd’s pie will become that much more tasty (and nutritious) when topped with leftover mashed sweet potatoes (again, sans the marshmallow topping).


  • The options are endless! Scramble them with eggs for breakfast, slip ‘em in a salad for lunch, or add them to your dinner stew.


How will you be reinventing your Thanksgiving leftovers? Join the conversation!

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