On The Table

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Healthy Holiday Leftover Recipes (Better than the Originals!?)

Turkey Day transforms into delicious and innovative recipes - that might just be better than the originals!

Healthy Holiday Leftover Recipes (Better than the Originals!?)

Instead of tossing or giving away food after the big feast, use remaining meal components in healthy holiday leftovers recipes. The unique flavors of your holiday favorites make for unforgettable leftovers.

Mix and match holiday staples—like meat and potatoes—for a satisfying second round of seasonal meals. Read on for delicious ways to use your favorite foods, including healthy leftover turkey recipes and healthy leftover ham recipes. 

Healthy Holiday Leftover Recipes: Sides

Rethinking post-Thanksgiving leftovers? Transforming Christmas dishes into something special? Quick and easy recipes make magic out of holiday leftovers. 

From appetizers to the main dish, there’s a redone recipe to make the most of your leftovers. Enjoy them just as much the second time around as you did the first! 

Mashed Potatoes 

Wondering what to do with leftover potatoes? Repurpose mashed potatoes by topping them with sautéed onions, onions, mushrooms, and chives.

Alternatively, top mashed potatoes with leftover turkey, stuffing, and leftover gravy. 

Sweet Potatoes 

Can’t get enough sweet potatoes? Most recipes come with a delicious blend of cinnamon and spices. Simply mash leftover cooked sweet potatoes and add any additional oil or seasonings you’d like.

For a tasty crunch, sprinkle some roasted pumpkin seeds on top! 


Another creative recipe involving potatoes is stuffing hash browns. Simply toss leftover stuffing together with chopped vegetables and olive oil. Then, combine with hash browns and top with fresh herbs for a fresh breakfast the day after the big feast. 


Soups can be a great meal following a day full of eating—nourishing your body without feeling overly heavy.

Use leftover root vegetables and canned beans from your pantry to make a plant-based bean soup. If you smoked a turkey for Thanksgiving, there’s an option for you, too.

Slow cooker split pea soup with smoked turkey is also perfect way to use up leftover ingredients. 

Cranberry Sauce

Cranberry sauce is sweet on its own, but as a breakfast? Even better!

Add a few tablespoons to an overnight oat recipe for a protein-packed start to the morning. 

Healthy Leftover Turkey Recipes

Leftover turkey recipes make use of (arguably) the most important part of the main meal. Whether you prefer it hot or cold, there’s plenty of ways to reuse this delicious bird. 

Rework Reheated Turkey 

With warm turkey, the possibilities are nearly endless. Turkey can be used in place of chicken in many recipes.

For example, you can replace chicken with turkey in soups, pot pies, casseroles, and more. 

Turkey Chili 

Made with leftover meat, turkey chili is perfect for the chilly days following the big holiday.

The best part? It is made with seasonings, spices, and canned goods you likely already have on hand. 

Turkey Salad Sandwich

Possibly the easiest use of turkey meat is turkey salad. Made just like chicken salad, turkey salad can be made by mixing diced celery, chopped hard boiled eggs, chopped apples, Greek yogurt, Dijon mustard, and a sprinkling of salt and pepper together with leftover turkey.

Adding cranberries to the mix can turn a simple turkey sandwich into a seasonal crowd-pleaser. 

Healthy Leftover Ham Recipes

Like turkey, ham is another holiday staple at many dinner tables. Leftover ham recipes can turn that glazed or baked favorite into many meals to come. 

Ham Bone Soup 

Ham bone soup is a well-loved favorite that helps you make use of the whole ham. The marrow from the bone makes the broth rich and delicious.

Plus, many health benefits are linked to broth and the ham and beans add protein. 

Scalloped Potatoes And Ham

Need another use for leftover ingredients? Scalloped potatoes and ham are full of flavor and can help you use up excess ingredients.

It’s also a frugal find that creates a delicious dish from items, like diced ham, that you probably already have in your fridge. 

Ham Salad 

Just like turkey, ham can be used in a chicken salad-inspired concoction. Ham salad, however, is often enjoyed with assorted flavors of crackers.

Instead of as a main dish, ham salad can make a comeback as the perfect appetizer or charcuterie sidekick. 

A Final Word About Appetizing Leftovers

Sick of leftovers? Creative combinations of classic holiday dishes make it possible to enjoy your seasonal favorites a second time.

From the bones of the ham or turkey to vegetables scraps, utilizing your leftover ingredients can be an easy and cost effective way to continue holiday celebrations.