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Healthy Leftover Recipes

You don’t have to waste leftover food this holiday season. These healthy leftover recipes will help you use up all of your leftovers in the most delicious ways!

Key Takeaways:

  • Healthy leftover recipes taste delicious and use up extra ingredients in your house after the holiday festivities are over
  • Many families contribute to food waste over the holidays when they do not take advantage of healthy leftover meals
  • Popular leftover ingredients often combine to make delicious post-holiday meals

Don’t waste time, money, and food – whip up a mixture of your leftovers and enjoy a healthy dish after the holidays!

Table of Contents:

  • Tips for Using Holiday Leftovers 
  • Leftover Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie
  • Cranberry Parfait
  • Leftovers Sandwich with Whole Grain Bread

Tips for Using Holiday Leftovers 

If you do not want to waste food after the holidays, you are in the right place. We have some tips to help you use the last of your holiday ingredients for healthy, delicious leftover meals

Store Leftovers Properly

Any leftovers you have should be stored in airtight containers and plastic bags. This is essential if you want to keep the food from spoiling early. 

Some people choose to freeze holiday leftovers. This can be a good solution for certain dishes – if you know you will not eat them immediately, freezing leftovers reduces holiday food waste. 

Bread, vegetables, and cookies all freeze well and taste great when thawed. Take advantage of your freezer space and store your holiday leftovers for later use. 

Mix Foods Together

You do not have to keep all of your holiday leftovers separate from one another. Sometimes the best leftover recipes come from mixing foods together!

Vegetables and starches often combine well to make delicious casseroles. For example, if you have corn and rice left over from your holiday meal, why not toss the two together for lunch? 

Don’t be afraid to try new combinations of ingredients as you use up your leftovers. You may discover the best family casserole for next year!

Add Healthy Ingredients to Heavy Dishes

You can make leftover recipes healthier by adding lean protein, vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. Don’t think of eating healthy as restricting yourself – focus on what you can add to make your plate more nutritious. 

Cranberry sauce can be turned into a healthy fruit salad or used as a dipping sauce for fresh fruits and veggies. Get creative with it – there are no rules regarding leftovers!

Adding protein and other satiating ingredients will keep you full for longer periods of time after you eat. If you are focused on weight loss, this will help keep your calorie intake low. 

Leftover Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie

This leftover sweet potato recipe is hearty, filling, and a delectable blend of sweet and savory. Use your leftover ingredients to make this meal for lunch or dinner after the holidays!


To make this recipe, prepare the following ingredients:

  • 3 cups of sweet potato
  • ¼ cup of coconut milk
  • 2 cups of leftover turkey, chopped
  • 2 cups of chicken stock (substitute: turkey stock)
  • 1 cup of mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cups of broccoli (substitute: any other leftover veggies)
  • 2 tablespoons of arrowroot flour
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced 
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon of rosemary, sage, and thyme
  • 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

You can add any leftover vegetables and spices you wish. The listed spices taste best when fresh, but this is not required. 

Preparation Instructions

Follow these steps to make this recipe:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Mix the mashed sweet potato with coconut milk
  3. Season this mixture with salt and pepper to taste
  4. Add the olive oil, garlic, and onion to a skillet
  5. Saute until everything is soft — this should take between five and seven minutes. 
  6. Add in the broccoli and mushrooms and saute the mixture for another three to four minutes
  7. Season the vegetable mixture with the listed spices and herbs as you sautee them
  8. Add in the chicken or turkey stock
  9. Add in the Dijon mustard
  10. Add arrowroot flour to the pan and whisk until everything is combined
  11. Mix in your leftover turkey
  12. Add the entire mixture to a casserole dish
  13. Add the sweet potato mash on top and smooth it into an even layer
  14. Bake the casserole for 25 minutes or until the top starts to turn brown
  15. Serve fresh and hot or reheated the next day

This recipe is perfect for using up leftover turkey and sweet potato. Fans of combined sweet-and-savory dishes will love this shepherd’s pie!

Cranberry Parfait

Have leftover cranberry sauce? Add it to this delicious breakfast recipe!


For this parfait, you only need the following ingredients:

  • 1-2 tablespoons of leftover cranberry sauce
  • 1-2 tablespoons of honey, to taste
  • ⅔ cup non-fat Greek yogurt, plain or vanilla-flavored
  • Granola, to taste (substitute: crushed cereal)

If you do not know what to do with your leftover cranberry sauce, turn it into a yummy parfait the next morning!

Preparation Instructions

Follow these steps to assemble your leftover parfait:

  1. Scoop a layer of Greek yogurt into a cup
  2. Drizzle honey on top of the first layer
  3. Add a layer of cranberry sauce and granola
  4. Repeat these instructions with the second half of your Greek yogurt

You can arrange the parfait layers any way you wish to, but this works best for optimal taste and texture. 

Leftovers Sandwich with Whole-Grain Bread

This one is the easiest to make because you choose all of the ingredients! Enjoy a delicious leftovers sandwich full of whole grains, vegetables, and protein after the holidays. 


You can add any roasted, baked, or sauteed vegetables from your holiday dinner to this sandwich. 

We recommend using leftover ham or turkey (or both) as your sandwich meat. Vegetarians can substitute mock meats or hummus for extra protein. 

Use whole-grain bread to make this recipe more nutritious. Avoid refined white bread and sugar as much as possible – this will keep your leftovers sandwich healthy and satisfying. 

Preparation Instructions

You can toast your whole-grain bread or eat it as it is. Simply add your favorite condiments to the sandwich and enjoy!

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