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  • Writer's pictureNikki Bidun

5 Thanksgiving Leftovers Recipes

Updated: Jan 23, 2023

The best meal of the year and only gets better with leftovers :) Here are my favorites and they're not all what you would expect! The best part is that they are all under 30 minutes!

What do I have leftover?

Everyone cooks different things on thanksgiving, but this is what I have leftover


- Mashed Potatoes

- Cranberry Sauce

- Pumpkin Bread*

- Gravy

- Cheesecake (there is no recipe using this. My advice is to eat your leftover dessert and enjoy it)

*If you have soft dinner rolls leftover, it will work great in the French Toast Recipe

How am I using them?

These are the 5 recipes I always fall back on:

Turkey Tikka Masala: This is based on the classic Chicken Tikka Masala. It involves making a tomato-based tikka masala sauce, then adding in turkey meat and serving it over rice. This is a total comfort meal which I think is an apt way to repurpose thanksgiving leftovers

French Toast: Instead of making dinner rolls this year, I made pumpkin bread. It's great for leftover sandwiches the next day and takes in the gravy nicely. I'm using it in a classic French toast. This French toast recipe works with any bread, but adding the extra spice with the pumpkin makes it a seasonal staple.

Classic Leftovers Sandwich: Everyone has their own interpretation of the Leftovers Sandwich, but this is how I've always done it.

Turkey Miso Salad: After a pants-stretching meal, sometimes you need something lighter to take you out of the food coma. This salad is what I would consider a non-traditional application of utilizing leftover turkey, but it does the trick!

Cranberry Overnight Oats: I use my normal Overnight Oats Recipe, but adding a heaping spoonful of cranberry sauce to the bottom of my oats container is one of my favorite uses for cranberry sauce.


Turkey Tikka Masala

Makes 4 servings

30 minutes

Amazing for lunch the next day or for dinner on a cold November night.


- 2 tbsp canola oil

- 1 small white onion, chopped finely

- 4 cloves garlic, minced

- 1 tsp: salt, cumin, paprika, turmeric, curry powder, ground ginger

or 1 tbsp favorite curry powder

- 14 oz crushed tomatoes or puréed tomatoes

- 1 cup heavy cream

- 1 tbsp sugar

- 2 cups cooked turkey (preferably dark meat)

- rice, to serve


  1. Start cooking the rice in your rice maker or on the stove.

  2. In a large pot, heat 2 tbsp canola oil on medium heat. Add in 1 small white onion, chopped and 4 cloves garlic, minced. Cook for 3 minutes until onions are translucent and garlic is fragrant. Add in spice mix and mix. Toast for 1 minute.

  3. Add in 14 oz crushed tomatoes and mix. Simmer on medium heat until sauce can thickly coat spoon—10 minutes. Stir in 1 cup heavy cream and 1 tbsp sugar. Taste for salt and sugar and adjust.

  4. Mix in 2 cups cooked turkey and continue cooking until turkey is warmed through and sauce reaches desired thickness.

  5. Serve with rice and enjoy!


French Toast

2 slices

20 minutes


- 1 cup milk

- 1 large egg

- 1 tbsp sugar + 1 tbsp sugar

- 1 dinner roll, sliced lengthwise or 1 slice pumpkin bread

- 1 tbsp butter

- 1 tsp pumpkin spice or cinnamon

- ice cream for serving


  1. In a shallow bowl or pyrex, whisk together 1 cup milk, 1 large egg, and 1 tbsp sugar. Add in the 1 sliced dinner roll or 2 slices bread and let soak on each side for 2 minutes. In a separate small bowl, mix 1 tbsp sugar and 1 tsp pumpkin spice or cinnamon.

  2. In the meantime, heat 1 tbsp butter in a. frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the soaked bread to the pan and cook for 2 minutes each side until they just begin to brown. Sprinkle the toast with the cinnamon/sugar mix evenly. Flip again to brown the sugar and get a crunch—about 1 minute. Repeat with the other side

  3. Serve with ice cream and enjoy!


Classic Leftovers Sandwich

For 1 sandwich

10 minutes


- 2 slices bread (I prefer sourdough or pumpkin bread)

- 3 tbsp mashed potatoes

- 2 tbsp gravy

- 2 tbsp cranberry sauce

- sliced turkey breast

- handful arugula


  1. Smear both slices of bread with mashed potatoes. On one side add cranberry sauce. On the other, add the handful of arugula (the mashed potatoes glue them to the sandwich). Add the sliced turkey on top of the arugula and drizzle with gravy. Add the other slice of bread on top and smush.

  2. Optional: Wrap with aluminum foil and stick in the oven at 350ºF for 3 minutes. The only thing this does it heat up the sandwich if you prefer it that way.


Turkey Miso Salad

For 2 portions (one for now, one for lunch the next day)

15 minutes



- 1 clove garlic, minced

- 1 tbsp miso

- 1 tbsp honey

- 1 tbsp soy

- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

- 1/3 cup canola or vegetable oil

- 1 tbsp sesame seeds


- 3 cups salad mix or romaine

- 1 shallot or red onion, chopped

- 2 stalks celery, sliced (optional)

- 1 cup turkey meat


  1. In a blender or bowl, add 1 clove garlic, minced, 1 tbsp miso, 1 tbsp money, 1 tbsp soy, 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar and 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar. Whisk or blend until combined. Gradually stream in oil and whisk or blend until a thick, glossy dressing is formed.

  2. In a large mixing bowl, add all salad ingredients. Drizzle over miso dressing. Don't start with everything, but keep mixing until everything is coated but not soggy.

  3. This is great for lunch the next day or right after mixing. Enjoy!


Cranberry Overnight Oats

One serving

5 minutes plus at least 30 minutes in fridge


- 1/2 cup rolled oats

- 1 tbsp chia seeds (optional)

- 1/4 cup plain yogurt

- 1/2 cup milk of choice

- 2 tbsp sweetener of choice

- 3 tbsp cranberry sauce


  1. In a mixing bowl, combine 1/2 cup rolled oats, 1 tbsp chia seeds, 1/4 cup plain yogurt, 1/2 cup milk of choice and 2 tbsp sweetener of choice

  2. In the bottom of a jar or deli container, add in 3 tbsp cranberry sauce and spread evenly. This creates the same effect as the yogurts you buy with fruit at the bottom :)

  3. Add the oat mixture on top and refrigerate at least 30 minutes before eating

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