Thanksgiving Leftovers Menu

thanksgiving leftovers

Here are some ideas on how to make the most of last night's dinner, but with different flavors to keep your taste buds guessing.

Download the Thanksgiving Leftovers Cookbook in English (PDF|1.30MB) or Spanish (PDF|1.3MB)

Don't Miss Important E-mail Updates: sign up button

Thanksgiving Leftovers
Black Beans and Rice Salad
Turkey Tostadas  OR  Curried Potatoes with Red Lentilsvegetarian icon
Corn Tortillas  OR  Naanvegetarian icon
Citrus Vegetables
= Vegetarian Option

See More Healthy Thrifty Holiday Menus

Black Bean and Rice Salad

Full of protein, fiber, and flavor, this salad works well as a side dish or stands alone as a main dish. It can also be made ahead of time and refrigerated.

Makes 3 servings.

rice and bean salad with a red background Ingredients

1/2 cup onion (chopped)
1/2 cup bell pepper (green or red, chopped)
1 cup brown rice (or white rice, cooked and cooled)
1 can black beans (15 ounce, drained and rinsed)
1/4 cup rice vinegar (or white wine vinegar or lemon juice)
mustard powder (1/2 teaspoon, optional)
1 clove garlic (chopped, or 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil


1. In a mixing bowl, stir together onion, red or green pepper, rice and beans.
2. In a jar with a tight fitting lid, add vinegar, dry mustard, garlic, salt, pepper and vegetable oil. Shake until dressing is evenly mixed.
3. Pour dressing over bean mixture and stir to mix evenly. Chill for at least one hour. Serve cold as a side dish or main dish.

For nutrition information visit Black Bean and Rice Salad at What's Cooking? USDA Mixing Bowl.

Turkey Tostadas

Makes 4 servings.

turkey tostadas Ingredients

2 cups cooked turkey (cut into bite-size pieces, or 2 cups ground turkey, browned in a skillet and drained)
2 tablespoons taco seasoning (chili)
1 1/2 cups water
4 corn tortillas
1/4 cup refried beans (low-fat or fat-free)
1/4 cup Cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese (shredded, low-fat)
1/2 cup tomatoes (chopped)
1/2 cup lettuce (shredded)
2 tablespoons onion (chopped)
8 tablespoons taco sauce (1/2 cup)
plain yogurt (low-fat or fat-free optional)
guacamole (or mashed avocado optional)


1. Wash and prepare vegetables.
2. In a large skillet over medium heat, combine turkey, taco seasoning, and water.
3. Bring mixture to boil, reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4. Place tortillas on a cooking sheet. Bake at 375° for 4-7 minutes or until tortillas are crispy.
5. Spread tortillas with a tablespoon of beans. Top with 1/4 meat mixture and cheese.
6. Return tortillas to oven to cook for 2-3 minutes or until cheese is melted.
7. Top with tomatoes, lettuce, onions and taco sauce. Garnish with yogurt and guacamole, if desired.

For nutrition information visit Turkey Tostadas at What's Cooking? USDA Mixing Bowl.

Curried Potatoes with Red Lentils

Lentils and spices add protein and flavor to this mixed potato dish.

Makes 6 servings.


1 tablespoon canola oil
1 tablespoon butter (or more oil)
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic cloves, crushed (use 2-3 garlic cloves)
1 sweet potato, medium peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (use a dark-fleshed potatoes)
2 potatoes, yellow, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (use thin-skinned potatoes, such as Yukon Gold)
1 tablespoon ginger, fresh grated
1 tablespoon curry paste (or curry powder)
1/2 cup dried red lentils
2 cups vegetable stock (or chicken stock)
chopped fresh cilantro, divided (1/2 cup, optional)
1 cup coconut milk
2 teaspoons lime juice
salt (to taste, optional)


1. In a large, heavy skillet, heat the oil and butter over medium-high heat. When the butter melts and foam subsides, sauté the onion for 3-4 minutes, until soft and starting to turn golden.
2. Add the garlic and potatoes and cook for another 3-4 minutes until the potatoes are starting to turn golden on the edges.
3. Add the ginger and curry paste and cook for another minute.
4. Add the lentils, cilantro (optional), vegetable stock, and coconut milk. Stir to combine well and reduce the heat to a simmer.
5. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. Add a little water, stock, or coconut milk if it gets too thick.
6. Add the lime juice and season with salt (optional). Serve hot.

For nutrition information visit Curried Potatoes with Red Lentils at What's Cooking? USDA Mixing Bowl.

Corn Tortillas

Once you've enjoyed a warm, homemade corn tortilla, you might never go back to buying them in a bag! Look for masa harina in the baking or ethnic food aisle of your favorite grocery store.

Makes 12 servings.

corn tortillas Ingredients

2 cups masa harina (instant)
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter (at room temperature)
1 1/2 cups water (warm)


1. Measure the masa harina and salt into a large bowl. Cut the butter into tablespoon-sized pieces and work it into the dry ingredients using the back of a wooden spoon. Add the water and mix with a wooden spoon or with your hands until a soft dough forms. Cover the dough with a clean cloth and let rest for 5 minutes.
2. Divide the dough into 12 pieces and roll each piece into a ball.
3. To keep the dough from sticking to the tortilla press, put a piece of plastic wrap (or a plastic bag) on the bottom surface of the press Put a ball of dough in the center of the plastic. Then place another piece of plastic wrap on the top of the dough. Press the dough flat in the press.
4. Pick up the tortilla with the plastic on both sides. Peel off one piece of plastic (which can be reused). Flip the tortilla off of the plastic onto a hot griddle. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until the bottom of the tortilla becomes golden. Flip the tortilla and press lightly with a spatula, which will make the tortilla puff slightly. Cook for one to two minutes more, until the tortilla appears to be done.

For nutrition information visit Corn Tortillas at What's Cooking? USDA Mixing Bowl.


Makes 40 servings.


1 packet of yeast, active dry (1/4 ounce)
1 cup warm water
1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons milk, 1%
1 egg, beaten
2 teaspoons salt
4 1/2 cups bread flour
garlic (2 teaspoons, minced, optional)
4 tablespoons butter, melted (1/4 cup)


1. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water and let stand about 10 minutes or until frothy.
2. Stir in sugar, milk, egg, salt and enough flour to make a soft dough.
3. Knead for six to eight minutes on a lightly floured surface or until smooth. 5. Let it rise one hour until the dough has doubled in volume.
6. Punch down dough and knead in garlic.
7. Pinch off small handfuls of dough about the size of a golf ball.
8. Roll into balls and place on a tray. Cover with a towel and allow to rise until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.
9. During the second rising, preheat grill to high heat.
10. At grill side, roll one ball of dough out into a thin circle. Lightly oil grill. Place dough on grill and cook for two to three minutes or until puffy and lightly browned.
11. Brush uncooked side with butter and turn over.
12. Brush cooked side with butter and cook until browned, another two to four minutes.
13. Remove from grill and continue the process until all the naan has been prepared.

For nutrition information visit Naan at What's Cooking? USDA Mixing Bowl.

Citrus Vegetables

Put a new twist on classic mixed vegetables with a splash of lime juice, some olive oil, and fresh oregano.

Makes 4 servings.

veggies Ingredients

2 tablespoons lime juice (fresh)
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon oregano (fresh, chopped)
4 cups mixed vegetables, sliced and steamed (such as zucchini, corn, and tomatoes)


1. Slice vegetables and steam in a small amount of water.
2. Drain, and place in a bowl to cool.
3. Mix lime juice with oil. Add oregano and combine.
4. Pour lime juice mixture over cool vegetables and mix well.
5. Serve.

For nutrition information visit Citrus Vegetables at What's Cooking? USDA Mixing Bowl.


Makes 6 servings.


1/2 cup onion (chopped)

1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
4 cups winter squash (1 1/4 pounds of butternut, acorn, or pumpkin)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)


1. Boil the sugar and water until it forms a thick syrup.
2. Wash the pumpkin, peel it, remove the seeds, cut into pieces and cook in the syrup until it is very thick and almost all absorbed.
3. Arrange the pumpkin on a plate and decorate with walnuts and cinnamon (optional).

For nutrition information visit Shirini at What's Cooking? USDA Mixing Bowl.