Published on October 24, 2020

A never-ending cycle of delicious food, catch-up conversations, and satisfying naps, Thanksgiving is the holiday that keeps on giving. Aside from the piping-hot gravy that is best enjoyed day of, we know that the real reason everyone gathers round the table after Thanksgiving is the leftovers.

For those less seasoned in the art of meal prepping, tossing remnants in empty Tupperware will typically suffice as a storage solution. But what if we told you that you didn’t have to eat your favorite Thanksgiving dishes the same way over the ensuing week? You’ve already done most of the hard work, so the holidays are the best time to put your food-prepping skills to the test. From a simmering soup to hearty salad bowls, here are six fresh leftover ideas that require minimal time and little effort to prepare.

Warm Roasted Butternut Squash and Kale Tortellini Salad

Warm Roasted Butternut Squash and Kale Tortellini SaladPin It
Supper With Michelle

Approximate prep time: 25 minutes

If you had a veggie-filled holiday, this festive re-creation—which can be served cold as a pasta salad or plated warm—is calling your name. To give it a new life as a next-day lunch, put spare greens and butternut squash to use by tossing cheese tortellini into the mix. The Dijon mustard–apple cider vinaigrette dressing the recipe calls for will make this meal feel like anything but a repeat.

Get the full recipe at Supper With Michelle.

Fall Harvest Salad Bowl

Fall harvest salad bowlPin It
Sweet and Strong

Approximate prep time: 10 minutes

Easy to make and straight to the point, this autumnal bowl comes down to a simple matter of taking each individual ingredient out of its respective Tupperware container and harmoniously combining it to make one all-encompassing dish. The recipe calls for shredded chicken (or turkey!), roasted sweet potatoes, almonds, broccoli, and greens—consider this the easiest way to prep for the week ahead.

Get the complete recipe at Sweet & Strong.

Chicken Wild Rice Soup

Chicken Wild Rice SoupPin It
A Farmgirl’s Dabbles

Approximate prep time: 20 minutes

When in doubt, channel your favorite flavors into a soup. This lightly creamy option, which calls for a hefty dose of chicken (although you can easily substitute leftover turkey, as it will bring out the smokiness of the other earthy ingredients), wild rice, and vegetables, will leave you feeling warm and cozy inside, even after your loved ones have come and gone. Once you’ve prepared the rice, this one-pot dish comes together quickly.

Get the recipe at A Farmgirl’s Dabbles.

Turkey Sandwich With Cranberry, Brie, and Prosciutto

SandwichPin It
Eat Yourself Skinny

Approximate prep time: 5 minutes

Now this is a leftover turkey sandwich done right. When coupled with creamy Brie, sliced prosciutto, peppery arugula, and cranberry sauce (a Thanksgiving staple that can often be a challenge to repurpose), the elevated lunchtime transformation is one you’ll want to show off to all your colleagues the next day.

Get the lowdown on this celebratory sandwich at Eat Yourself Skinny.

Stuffed Acorn Squash

Stuffed Acorn SquashPin It
The Healthy Maven

Approximate prep time: 10 minutes

These delicious pockets of post-Thanksgiving heaven don’t just look good, they will help you bounce back from your carb coma faster than expected. From the stuffing to the cranberry sauce, this festive riff calls for all your go-to ingredients. Cook until golden brown, and then load up each acorn squash with your favorite toppings and bake for an additional 10 minutes.

Discover the full recipe at Lexi’s Clean Kitchen.

Roasted Fall Veggies Rice Bowl

Roasted Fall Veggies Rice BowlPin It
Simply Scratch

Approximate prep time: 25 minutes

Meet the dish that will speak to your soul all season long. Sweet potatoes, brussels sprouts, radishes, and brown rice make up this vibrant jewel-toned veggie medley, plus your choice of protein (incorporate chickpeas as a vegetarian alternative). Once prepared, package each serving in an individual container to make eating on the go a breeze.

Check out the complete recipe at Simply Scratch.

This story was originally published in November 2018. It has since been updated. 

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