Thanksgiving Leftovers Recipes

With these inventive recipes, Thanksgiving dinner is even better the second time around.

Full of butternut squash, acorn squash, parsnips, turnips and yams, this roasted root vegetable salad is a light and hearty day-after dinner. 

Roasted Root Vegetable Salad

Full of butternut squash, acorn squash, parsnips, turnips and yams, this roasted root vegetable salad is a light and hearty day-after dinner. 

Photo by: Image courtesy of Arlington Club

Image courtesy of Arlington Club

Full of butternut squash, acorn squash, parsnips, turnips and yams, this roasted root vegetable salad is a light and hearty day-after dinner. 

When I look at turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce chilling out in my refrigerator, I see leftovers. But chefs see a culinary challenge. Here are a few ways they're turning traditional Thanksgiving food into day-after delicacies: 

Roasted Root Vegetable Salad with Marcona Almonds

Courtesy of Laurent Tourondel, chef/partner, Arlington Club, New York, New York

Serves 6

Roasted Vegetables

  • 1 small butternut squash, peeled and seeded
  • 1 small acorn squash, peeled and seeded
  • 1 medium parsnip, peeled
  • 1 turnip, peeled
  • 1 small celery root, peeled
  • 1 large golden beet, peeled (leaves reserved for garnish)
  • 1 small yam, peeled
  • 2 medium shallots, peeled and cut into 3 pieces each
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

Sage Garlic Brown Butter

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon chopped sage
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 ½ tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup Marcona almonds

Preheat the oven to 375. Place the marcona almonds on a baking sheet and toast for 5 minutes, or until they turn golden brown in color. Remove from oven and roughly chop once they’re cool enough to handle.

Slice the squashes, parsnip, turnip, celery root and beet into 6 wedges each. Individually toss each vegetable with a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Transfer the vegetables to a roasting pan, making sure the beets and turnips stay together because they will have to roast longer. 

Toss the shallots with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and distribute on the roasting pan. Roast until squash and parsnips are tender, about 30 minutes. 

Remove all vegetables with the exception of the beets and turnips, transfer to a platter and cover with foil. Place the beets and turnips back into the oven and roast for an additional 20 minutes. 

While turnips and beets continue to roast, melt the butter in a small pot set over medium heat and allow to cook until golden brown. Add the garlic, sage, chopped almonds and remove from heat. Whisk in the red wine vinegar. 

Once turnips and beets are fully roasted, add them to the platter. Drizzle the vegetables with sage brown butter and chopped nuts. Garnish with reserved beet leaves and lemon zest and serve in the center of the table. 

Open-Faced Turkey Sandwiches

Courtesy of Ralph Scamardella, chef/partner of TAO Downtown, New York, New York

Yields 1 serving

  • 2 cups chicken/turkey stock
  • 1 slice bread
  • Turkey breast slices to taste
  • Gravy to taste
  • Stuffing to taste
  • Chopped parsley to taste

Bring the stuffing to room temperature, then bake until crispy on top. Reheat the gravy over medium heat. Heat up the stock in a high-sided skillet. 

Thinly slice 1 turkey breast. Lightly toast a slice of bread and place on a plate. Top the bread with a scoop of stuffing. Set a few slices of turkey into the broth to heat through. 

Arrange the turkey slices over the mound of stuffing. Liberally ladle the gravy over the top of the sandwich and garnish with chopped parsley. 

Thanksgiving Turkey Fried Rice

Courtesy of chef Michael Armstrong, Dream Downtown, New York, New York

Serves 4

  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 6 cups cooked white rice
  • 16 ounces turkey meat, dark and white 
  • 4 whole eggs, scrambled
  • ½ cup sweet potatoes, chopped
  • ½ cup green onions, chopped
  • ½ cup dried cherries or cranberries
  • ½ cup roasted chestnuts, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh sage, chopped
  • ¼ cup leftover turkey gravy (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

In a large nonstick pan on medium high heat, add half the oil and eggs and stir until cooked. Remove from pan and set aside, add the remaining oil in the pan and turn to high heat. Add the rice, cook while tossing and stirring for one or two minutes. Add green onions, sweet potatoes, chestnuts, cherries and turkey meat. Continue to cook while tossing for another minute. Add the cooked eggs and herbs, stir together until well mixed. Add the gravy and stir in, season with salt and pepper and remove from heat. Scoop equal portions onto four plates. 

Thanksgiving Leftover Mac

Courtesy of Michael Ferraro, chef/partner, macbar, New York, New York

  • 1 pound cooked elbow macaroni
  • 1 pound shredded turkey meat
  • 1 cup leftover stuffing (optional)
  • 3 medium-sized sweet potatoes, cut into small dice and cooked in salted water until tender
  • 1 cup cooked peas
  • ½ onion, chopped
  • 5 sage leaves, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ cup leftover cranberry relish (optional)
  • 1.5 quarts milk
  • ¼ cup butter
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 4 cups grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup mascarpone cheese
  • 1 cup grated Fontina cheese

In a large pot, add butter, onion, sage and garlic and sauté for 5 minutes. Add flour, whisk and cook for another 5 minutes. 

Add milk and continue to whisk until milk comes to a boil and thickens. Once it has thickened, whisk in the mascarpone, Fontina and one cup of cheddar cheese. Once cheese is melted and sauce is smooth, fold in the turkey meat, sweet potatoes, peas and pasta. Season with salt and pepper.

Place in a 3-inch baking dish, cover with remaining cheddar cheese and bake at 350 for 20 minutes until hot and brown. 

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