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10 New Ways to Use Your Thanksgiving Leftovers

Curried Sweet Potato Soup

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A little leftover mashed sweet potato goes a long way—especially if you transform it into soup! Simply combine with stock until you reach a nice consistency, simmer to reinvigorate the flavors, and add your favorite spices.

Serves: 2


1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium onion, diced

1/2 teaspoon curry powder*

2 cups leftover mashed or roasted sweet potatoes

1 quart vegetable broth

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup whole milk

Greek yogurt, for garnish

Cilantro leaves, for garnish


1. In a medium Dutch oven, heat olive oil over a medium flame. Add onions and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in curry powder and sauté for another 2 minutes, until fragrant. Add sweet potatoes, broth, and salt and turn heat to high. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook 20 to 25 minutes, until mixture has reduced and the flavors have melded.

2. Use an immersion blender, food processor, or blender to puree mixture. Add milk and taste for seasoning. Garnish with a dollop of yogurt and some cilantro leaves.

*If your curry powder is on the spicy side and your tolerance for spice is on the weaker side, you may want to use less.

Low-Fat Turkey Melts

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We understand putting leftover meatloaf or eggplant parmesan between two slices of bread, but an entire meal?! Skip the carbo-loading and make a tasty panini instead if you want a turkey sandwich.

Serves: 2


4 slices whole-wheat bread

2 tablespoons honey mustard

8 slices low-fat cheddar or pepper Jack cheese

8 slices leftover turkey breast


Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Make two sandwiches using half the ingredients for each. Place on a sheet pan and top with another sheet pan with an ovenproof pot on top of it to weigh sandwiches down. Bake for 5 to 10 minutes, until bread is toasted and cheese is melty. Cut each in half and serve immediately.

Roasted Potato and Green Bean Salad with Pesto

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Since next-day veggies can seem limp and boring, toss those beans and roasted potatoes with the bright, fresh flavors of pesto to liven them up.

Serves: 4 as a side


1 clove garlic

1/4 cup blanched whole almonds

1/2 cup snipped chives

1 cup coarsely chopped basil leaves

Juice of 1/2 a lemon

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 to 1/2 cup olive oil

2 cups leftover roasted potatoes*

4 cups leftover green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces


1. Pulse garlic and almonds in a food processor. Add chives, basil, lemon juice, and salt and pulse until roughly chopped. Stream in oil 1/4 cup at a time until pesto is smooth and has the consistency of mayo. Tastes for seasoning and add more salt if necessary.

2. Toss potatoes and beans with 3/4 cup pesto, reserving remaining pesto for another use. Taste and season, if necessary, and serve at room temperature.

*If you don’t have leftover roasted potatoes, bake halved baby potatoes with olive oil and salt in a 400-degree oven for 20 to 30 minutes.

Turkey Soup with Garlic and Rice

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There’s nothing more comforting than soup, and using brown rice with your turkey instead of noodles amps up the fiber, protein, and satisfaction. Add some fresh herbs and spices to make the dish your own.

Serves: 4


1 head of garlic

1 1/2 quarts chicken stock

1/2 cup brown rice

1/2 tablespoon rosemary or thyme, finely chopped, optional

Pinch cayenne, optional

1 egg yolk

Juice of half a lemon

1 cup leftover roast turkey, roughly torn or chopped


1. In a small saucepan, bring 1 1/2 cups of water to a boil. With the back of your knife, crush garlic head so cloves separate from the base. Add to boiling water and blanch for 2 minutes. Reserving water, use a slotted spoon to remove garlic and rest on a cutting board. When cool enough to touch, remove skin.

2. In a medium casserole or soup pot, bring stock and garlic cooking water to a boil. Add rice, garlic cloves, herbs, and cayenne. Simmer over medium heat with the lid on for 40 to 45 minutes, or until rice is cooked. Take soup off the heat.

3. In a shallow bowl, beat egg yolk. Slowly whisk in a ladle of broth to temper it, adding a very small amount of broth at a time to avoid cooking egg. Once fully incorporated, add to soup with lemon juice. (Yolk should give soup a subtle, silky quality, while lemon adds brightness to the rich, sweet aroma of boiled garlic.) Stir in turkey and serve.

Baked Eggs with Stuffing

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Instead of having boring, dry toast with your morning eggs, have stuffing. Not only is it much tastier, the veggies or fruit in your leftovers are loads healthier than any sugary jelly.

Serves: 2


Butter or oil, for greasing pan

3 to 4 cups leftover stuffing

Chicken stock, optional

2 eggs

1/4 cup grated cheese


1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees and butter or oil a gratin or baking dish. Spread stuffing evenly in the dish and drizzle with stock if it’s dry. Bake about 10 minutes, until top has begun to set again and become crusty.

2. Cut two small wells in stuffing. Crack eggs into the wells, sprinkle with cheese, and return to the oven for 7 to 10 minutes, until egg whites have set and cheese is gooey.

Ancho Chili Turkey Tacos with Spicy Black Beans

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If your turkey turned out a little dry, simmer it in a chili-and-cumin spiked tomato sauce to moisten and give it a Mexican kick. Pile into a tortilla with your favorite toppings for a fast dinner.

Serves: 4


1 onion, diced

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes

1 teaspoon ancho chile powder

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups leftover turkey breast, shredded

4 soft flour tortillas

Chopped vegetables of your choice, optional

1 cup spicy black beans, optional

Guacamole, optional

Salsa, optional


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a medium Dutch oven, cook onion in oil over medium heat until soft, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, chile powder, cumin, and salt and simmer for 10 minutes, until the flavors have melded and tomatoes have reduced slightly. Stir in turkey and simmer until heated through, about 3 more minutes.

2. Wrap tortillas in foil and warm in oven for 10 minutes. Serve turkey in tortillas with your favorite toppings, such as veggies, black beans, guac, and salsa.

Root Vegetable and BlackBean Chili

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If you have any wayward root-vegetable side dishes (carrots, squash, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, parsnips, turnips), chop ‘em up and add to your favorite chili.

Serves: 4 to 6


1 ounce dried chile negro

1 packed cup cilantro, leaves and stems separated

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large onion, diced

2 large carrots, peeled and diced

1 tablespoon ancho chili powder

1 tablespoon cumin

1/2 tablespoon oregano

Sea salt

1 (28-ounce) can fire-roasted tomatoes

4 cups leftover root vegetables, diced

2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained

Cayenne pepper

Sour cream, optional

Jack cheese, optional


1. Place chiles in a bowl and submerge in boiling hot water. Soak for at least 20 minutes and up to an hour. Remove chiles from water, reserving liquids. Rinse off seeds and skin and discard with stems. Place cleaned chiles in a small food processor with roughly chopped cilantro stems, garlic, and 1/2 cup soaking liquids. Puree to a fine paste, adding more liquid as necessary.

2. Meanwhile heat oil in a large, lidded Dutch oven over a medium-high flame. Sauté onion and carrots until soft, about 5 minutes. Add chili powder, cumin, oregano, and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Carefully pour in tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Add root vegetables, black beans, black chile paste, and remaining soaking liquid. Stir to combine and bring to a simmer, adding one or two cups of water if necessary. (You want a soupy consistency, as chili will thicken as it simmers.)

3. Simmer partly covered for 20 minutes, until root vegetables are tender. Season with salt and cayenne pepper to taste and simmer for 5 more minutes.

4. Serve garnished with cilantro leaves, sour cream, and jack cheese, as desired.

Turkey Hash

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A great Black Friday breakfast, potatoes are the classic ingredient for this dish, but leftover turnips also work well.

Serves: 2 to 4


1 tablespoon olive oil

2 medium Yukon gold potatoes (about 1 pound), finely diced

1 sweet onion, finely diced

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup diced leftover turkey breast

2 to 4 eggs, poached


In a large nonstick or cast-iron skillet, heat olive oil over high heat. Add potatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and browned on all sides, about 30 minutes. Add onion, paprika, and salt, turn the heat down to medium-low, and sauté for about 5 minutes, until translucent and sweet. Stir in turkey and cook until heated through and browning on the bottom, about 3 minutes. Top each serving with a poached egg.

Turkey Wraps with Hummusand Avocado

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Escape post-Thanksgiving turkey sandwich monotony by making a wrap stuffed with fresh veggies and a mix of condiments, such as guac and hummus.

Serves: 6


3 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained

4 large garlic cloves, chopped

6 tablespoons tahini

Juice of 1 1/2 lemons

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1 3/4 teaspoons salt

2 chipotle peppers in adobo, minced

2 tablespoons adobo liquids from can

1/2 cup water

1 avocado, mashed

6 medium tortillas

3 medium carrots, peeled, cut into 4-inch matchsticks

1 1/2 cups diced leftover turkey breast

2 cups sliced radishes

1/4 pound baby arugula


1. In a small food processor, combine chickpeas, garlic, tahini, juice of 1 lemon, cumin, paprika, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Puree, adding water to reach your desired consistency. Spoon hummus into a bowl and mix in chipotles and 1 tablespoon adobo liquids. Taste for seasoning and add more adobo liquids as desired.

2. In a small mixing bowl, combine avocado with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and juice of 1/2 a lemon.

3. Spread a large spoonful of hummus on half of each tortilla and cover the other half with a spoonful of avocado mixture. Reserve extra hummus (you should have about 1 cup left) for another use. Divide carrots, turkey, radishes, and arugula between tortillas, placing them in the center of each. Fold in the top and bottom sides of each tortilla, then fold in one of the sides length-wise and roll, making sure the top and bottom stay tucked.

Roasted Pumpkin Wedges with Chili, Lime, and Cotija

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Those decorative little gourds you used as centerpieces make a delicious side dish when sliced and baked.

Serves: 4


1 small pumpkin (about 1 1/2 to 2 pounds), cleaned and scrubbed

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

2 teaspoons brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon ancho chili powder

Juice of 1/2 lime

2 tablespoons finely grated cotija cheese

2 tablespoons cilantro leaves, for garnish, optional


1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut the top and bottom off pumpkin using a large chef’s knife. Halve lengthwise and scoop out flesh with a spoon (grapefruit spoons work well here). Discard flesh and reserve seeds for another use. Cut pumpkin into 1/4-inch wedges.

2. In a large mixing bowl, toss pumpkin with olive oil, salt, sugar, and chili powder. Arrange in an even layer on the baking sheet and cook for 30 to 40 minutes, flipping halfway through the cooking process, until the wedges are soft and caramelized. Allow to cool slightly.

3. When cool enough to touch, drizzle with lime juice and cotija. Garnish with cilantro leaves, if using, and serve room temperature or warm.


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