10 Healthy Thanksgiving Leftover Recipes

There is not a feast more famous and celebrated than Thanksgiving. This national and historical holiday is mostly spent in the kitchen preparing the huge meal, at the table eating and giving thanks with family and friends. But, one of the best parts of the holiday may just be the heaps of leftovers that pile up! 

This Thanksgiving, save all the turkey, cranberry sauce, pumpkin and stuffing you can to make these delicious Thanksgiving leftover recipes for you and your loved ones the weekend after!

Save These Delicious, Healthy Turkey & Thanksgiving Leftover Recipes to Make This Week!

Turkey & Orzo Soup

Total time: 30 minutes 

Serves 6 

During the Fall season, nothing hits the spot quite like a creamy, hearty soup. Combine the flavors of the season with Thanksgiving leftovers and delight in this wholesome Turkey & Orzo soup! 

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil

½ medium onion, chopped finely

2 sticks celery, diced into small cubes 

2 medium carrots, diced into small cubes 

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon all purpose flour

5 cups chicken broth

½ teaspoon Italian seasoning

½ teaspoon salt 

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

1 + ½ cups leftover cooked turkey, shredded

½ cup cooked orzo

¼ cup heavy cream

1 cup baby spinach

Recipe: 

1. Heat olive oil in a 4 qt dutch oven or medium cooking pot over medium-high heat. Add onions, celery, and carrots, and saute until soft, about 5-7 minutes. Add garlic and saute for one minute.

2. Add flour and cook for one minute, continuously stirring. Then, add one cup of chicken broth and stir until flour is dissolved. Add remaining broth, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Stir to combine.

3. Stir in turkey and orzo and bring to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat to medium, and cook for 10 minutes, until orzo is cooked through. Stir occasionally to prevent the orzo from sticking to the bottom of the pot. 

4. Remove from heat and stir in the cream until fully incorporated. Add spinach and stir until wilted, about 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper as needed, to taste. Serve immediately with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice (if desired). 

5. Enjoy!

Recipe from: https://www.aheadofthyme.com/creamy-turkey-orzo-soup/ 

Thanksgiving Sandwich 

Total time: 5 min 

Makes 1 sandwich 

The Thanksgiving sandwich is the most famous, healthy leftover recipe, also known as, the King of sandwiches. There is no bad or wrong way to make this recipe, simply grab your favorite leftover dishes, stack them between bread, and enjoy as a delicious post-holiday lunch! 

Ingredients:

1 bakery roll sliced in half or 2 slices of bread of your choice 

¼ cup leftover stuffing

3 slices of leftover turkey

⅛ cup leftover gravy

¼ cup leftover mashed potatoes 

⅛ cup cranberry sauce

Handful of arugula or baby spinach

Recipe:

1. If desired, lightly toast your roll or bread. 

2. Warm the stuffing, turkey, gravy, and potatoes.

3. On the bottom half of your roll, or bottom piece of bread, layer your greens,  stuffing and turkey, and top with gravy.

4. Next, layer the potatoes and cranberry sauce and top with the roll or second slice of bread.

5. Enjoy! 

Recipe adapted from: https://whatshouldimakefor.com/thanksgiving-on-a-roll-2/ 

Turkey Stuffed Peppers 

Total time: 1 hour 

Serves 4 

In the mood for something different, but still want to utilize that leftover turkey!? This is one of the best healthy turkey leftover recipes that is both nutritious and delicious.

Ingredients:

4 large bell peppers, sliced in half lengthwise

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon ground black pepper

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 cups mushrooms, finely chopped

1 cup onion, finely chopped

1 tablespoon garlic, minced

1 cup cauliflower, finely chopped

2 cups cooked turkey breast, cut into ½ inch cubes

½ cup tomato sauce

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

1 + ½ cups mozzarella cheese, grated and divided

Salt (to taste)

1 teaspoon fresh parsley, finely chopped (for garnish) 

Prepare the Bell Peppers:

1. Preheat the oven to 375 F.

2. Cut the bell peppers in half lengthwise and remove and discard the seeds. Place the halved peppers on a large half sheet baking pan and lightly season with salt and pepper. Roast the peppers for 15 minutes until softened.

Make the Filling:

1. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large shallow saucepan or Dutch oven for 2 minutes over medium heat until sizzling hot. Add mushrooms and saute until golden brown, about 4-5 minutes. 

2. Stir in onion and garlic and saute until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add cauliflower and turkey. Stir well to combine, and cook for 2 more minutes. 

3. Stir in tomato sauce, soy sauce and Italian seasoning. Add ½ cup mozzarella cheese and stir well to mix all evenly. Remove from heat and season with salt to taste, if needed.

Assemble and Bake the Stuffed Peppers:

1. Fill up each roasted bell pepper with the turkey mixture and sprinkle remaining mozzarella cheese on top.

2. Bake the assembled stuffed peppers for 25 minutes until the melted cheese turns golden brown. Let the stuffed peppers rest for 5 minutes before serving. Garnish with fresh parsley on top.

3. Enjoy!

Recipe from: https://www.aheadofthyme.com/leftover-turkey-stuffed-peppers/#tasty-recipes-17531-jump-target 

Thanksgiving Salad 

Total time: 15 minutes

Serves 4 

If you’re craving something light and fresh after your huge Thanksgiving feast, then this salad is for you. This salad uses your leftover turkey, and is just as pretty and colorful as it is tasty! 

Ingredients:

2 oranges

¼ cup olive oil

1 small shallot, finely chopped

1 teaspoon snippet fresh thyme

½ teaspoon Dijon-style mustard

¼ teaspoon salt

⅛ teaspoon black pepper

8 cups baby greens or baby spinach

8 oz. leftover roasted turkey breast, sliced or shredded

¼ cup pomegranate seeds

¼ cup chopped pecans or nuts of your choice

¼ cup shredded parmesan cheese

Recipe:

1. Using a paring knife, cut off a thin slice from both ends of one of the oranges. Place a flat end of the fruit on a cutting board, and cut away the peel and white part of the rind, working from top to bottom.

2. Working over a glass measuring cup, hold the orange in one hand; tip the fruit to its side and cut into the center between one section and the membrane. Cut along the other side of the section next to the membrane to free the section. Continue with the remaining fruit sections and repeat with remaining orange. Squeeze enough juice from the membranes to equal ¼ cup. Set sections aside.

3. To the orange juice, add oil, shallot, thyme, mustard, salt, and pepper. Whisk to combine.

4. Divide greens among four pint jars or bowls. Top with turkey, reserved orange sections, and pomegranate seeds. Cover and chill for up to 3 days. Before serving, drizzle each salad with about 2 tablespoons of the dressing and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon each of pecans and parmesan cheese. 

5. Enjoy!

Recipe from: https://www.eatthis.com/spinach-pomegranate-salad-turkey-recipe/ 

Stuffing Breakfast Skillet

Total time: 30 minutes

Serves 4

Transform your leftover stuffing into this healthy, gorgeous Mediterranean inspired breakfast or brunch.  

Ingredients:

2-4 cups leftover stuffing 

4 eggs

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup chopped tomatoes

½ small onion, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

Salt and pepper to taste

2 tablespoons cream or half & half

¼ cup grated parmesan cheese

Leftover fresh herbs such as parsley (optional)

Recipe: 

1. Heat olive oil in a medium-sized skillet over medium heat (cast-iron works great for this). Add onions and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, paprika, salt, pepper, and chopped tomatoes and cook until fragrant; about 5-8 minutes longer. If the sauce gets too thick, add a little water.

2. Reduce the heat to medium-low, stir in the cream, then carefully crack the eggs into the simmering sauce. Try not to break the yolks, but it’s ok if you do. Cover the pan and continue to simmer until the whites are white, and the yolks are set. 

3. Spoon 1 cup of warm stuffing on the bottom of each serving plate or bowl. Top with eggs and garnish with parmesan cheese and any leftover fresh herbs.

4. Enjoy!

Recipe from: https://jackieshappyplate.com/skillet-stuffing-shakshuka/ 

Pesto Turkey Tartine

Total time: 10 minutes

Serves 2

Inspired by a panini, this tartine is served warm and takes on a different take than the usual leftover Thanksgiving sandwich. 

Ingredients:

2 pieces thick cut bread

½ pound leftover turkey, sliced

½ cup pesto

8 oz. fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced

Handful of fresh arugula or greens of choice

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Recipe: 

1. Turn the oven on broil.

2. Toast the 2 pieces of bread until the bread is golden brown.

3. Slather ¼ cup of the pesto on the top of each piece of toast and add the sliced turkey and fresh mozzarella. Season with salt and pepper. Place the 2 tartines into the oven and broil for 1-2 minutes until the cheese just starts to melt and bubble. Remove from the oven and top with some fresh arugula. Serve immediately. 

4. Enjoy! 

Recipe adapted from: https://whatsgabycooking.com/arugula-pesto-turkey-tartine/ 

Turkey Fried Rice

Total time: 15 minutes

Serves 4-6

What’s better than a meal that’s as easy to make as it is delicious!? This one skillet recipe is a quick and simple way to make use of your leftover turkey, while satisfying the whole family! 

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon oil

½ cup onions, finely chopped

1 teaspoon garlic, minced

1 ½ cups leftover cooked turkey, shredded or cubed

2 eggs

3 cups white rice, cooked

1 tablespoon soy sauce

½ tablespoon sesame oil

1 teaspoon vegetable stock

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 cup carrots and peas vegetable mix, frozen

½ tablespoon green onions, finely chopped

1 teaspoon sesame seeds, for garnish

Recipe: 

1. Heat oil in a large wok or skillet over medium high heat for 2 minutes until sizzling and hot. Add onions and garlic and saute for 2 minutes until fragrant. 

2. Add shredded or cubed turkey and stir to combine, about 1 minute. Move the turkey mixture to one side of the skillet and add eggs to the empty space in the skillet. Stir the eggs until scrambled and cooked through, yet still tender, about 1 minute. (The eggs should be springy and bright in color, and not too dry at this stage). Stir to combine all the ingredients.

3. Add cooked rice and all seasoning including soy sauce, sesame oil, vegetable stock, salt and black pepper. Stir well to combine, about 2 minutes. If the rice is not soft enough, add up to ¼ cup of water to soften it.

4. Add carrots and peas, and stir fry for 2 minutes while evenly mixing and distributing the ingredients. Then, stir in green onions.

5. Serve hot on a plate, and sprinkle sesame seeds on top.

6. Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from: https://www.aheadofthyme.com/leftover-turkey-fried-rice/#tasty-recipes-14563-jump-target 

Turkey Curry

Total time: 25 minutes

Serves 4

Inspired by chicken tikka masala, this turkey curry recipe is a hot bowl of comfort packed with flavor! 

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium onion, sliced

1 red pepper, sliced

1 green pepper, sliced

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

3 cloves garlic, crushed or grated

3 centimeters ginger, grated

3 teaspoons garam masala

2 teaspoons turmeric, optional

2 ½ cups leftover cooked turkey, shredded or cubed

1 can diced tomatoes

1 cup coconut milk

Salt and pepper to taste

Recipe:

1. Place the oil, onions and peppers in a wide, deep pan and cook over a gentle heat (lid on) for about 5 minutes, or until softened but not brown.

2. Add the red pepper flakes, garlic, ginger, garam masala and turmeric and fry gently for 2 more minutes (add a very small splash of water if it gets too dry).

3. Add the turkey, diced tomatoes, coconut milk, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Turn down low and simmer for 10 minutes until the sauce has thickened slightly and the turkey is piping hot all the way through.

4. Serve with rice and/or naan bread and all your favorite accompaniments! 

5. Enjoy! 

Recipe adapted from: https://www.easypeasyfoodie.com/easy-leftover-turkey-curry/#recipe 

Cranberry Oat Bars  

Total time: 50 minutes

Yields 9 (3-inch) squares

These cranberry oat bars are a sweet take on Thanksgiving leftovers! Use your leftover cranberry sauce to make a colorful, seasonal snack for you and yours. 

Ingredients:

¾ cup butter, softened to room temperature

¾ cup brown sugar

1 + ½ cups rolled oats

¾ cup all purpose flour

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon baking powder

Pinch of salt

1 cup leftover cranberry sauce

For pecan oat topping:

3 tablespoons butter, melted 

¼ cup brown sugar

½ cup rolled oats

⅓ cup pecans, finely crushed

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

Recipe:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.

2. In a large bowl, use a hand mixer or stand mixer to cream together butter with brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add rolled oats, flour, vanilla, baking powder, and salt. Continue to mix until fully combined. The mixture will resemble crumbs.

3. Transfer the mixture into a 9-inch square baking pan, and firmly press it in to create an even layer on the bottom. Layer and spread cranberry sauce on top.

4. Make the pecan oat topping: In a shallow saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Once melted, remove from heat and stir in brown sugar, oats, pecans, and cinnamon. Stir until fully combined. Sprinkle and evenly distribute the topping on top of the layer of cranberry sauce. 

5. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until lightly browned. Place on a wire cooling rack to cool down and cut into 9 even squares. 

6. Enjoy!

Recipe from: https://www.aheadofthyme.com/cranberry-sauce-oat-bars/#tasty-recipes-8740-jump-target 

Pumpkin Chili 

Total time: 45 minutes

Serves 6-8 

Don’t limit yourself only to pumpkin desserts & beverages! This pumpkin chili uses any leftover pumpkin you have and is a delicious, bold take on the classic dish. 

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 pound ground spicy italian sausage

1 onion, chopped

1 red bell pepper, chopped

3 garlic cloves, chopped

1 ½ tablespoons chili powder

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste

¾ teaspoon ground black pepper, plus more to taste

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 15 oz. cans fire-roasted tomatoes, not drained

1 15 oz. can kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 15 oz. can pumpkin puree 

2 ½ cups chicken broth

Recipe:

1. In a large Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the sausage and cook, stirring to break into pieces, until browned and cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the sausage to a paper towel lined plate to drain.

2. Add the onion and bell pepper to the Dutch oven. Cook over medium, stirring until softened, 10 to 12 minutes. Stir in the garlic, cumin, chili powder, 1 teaspoon salt, ¾ teaspoon pepper and cinnamon. Cook, stirring, for 30 seconds.

3. Stir in the tomatoes, kidney beans, black beans, pumpkin puree, chicken broth and sausage. Bring to a boil over medium-high. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the flavors meld, about 20 minutes.

4. Season the chili with salt and pepper. Serve, garnishing with pumpkin seeds, sour cream, cheese and avocado, if desired. 

5. Enjoy!

Recipe from: https://www.thepioneerwoman.com/food-cooking/recipes/a36973563/pumpkin-chili-recipe/ 

Give these tasty Thanksgiving leftover recipes a try to make use of all your holiday leftovers in an efficient & nutritious way. Let us know in the comments which of these 10 recipes you’ll be making for you and your family!

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