Easy Ways to Turn Thanksgiving Leftovers into Healthy Meals

Learn how to make Thanksgiving leftovers into healthy meals with our easy recipes for leftovers.

I look forward to turkey at Thanksgiving, but the real excitement for me lies in the dinners I’ll make with the leftover turkey. I choose a bigger Thanksgiving turkey than I need and I do the same when I roast a whole chicken because I like to have the leftovers to use in all sorts of other dishes. (Cooked chicken and turkey can be used interchangeably in the recipes below.)

And don’t worry if you overdid it at Thanksgiving— with only about 144 calories and less than 2 grams of saturated fat per 3-ounce serving, roasted turkey or chicken is a healthy choice. Plus we put a healthy twist on these five recipes for leftover turkey for your post-Thanksgiving meals.

Hilary Meyer, Associate Food Editor for EatingWell Magazine

Watch: See how to make healthy stuffing


Crispy Turkey Tostadas

Pictured Recipe: Crispy Turkey Tostadas

Leftover Turkey Recipes for Mexican Food

Crispy Turkey Tostadas are a perfect way to use up any leftover turkey. The tostada shells are homemade from fresh corn tortillas—they’re super-easy (crisp them in the oven while you prepare the toppings) and have a lot less fat than the fried ones at the grocery store. Serve with high-fiber black beans, rice and extra salsa or hot sauce.


Moroccan Chicken Salad

Pictured Recipe: Moroccan Chicken Salad

Leftover Turkey or Chicken Salad

Leftover chicken or turkey and rice come together in Moroccan Chicken Salad, a flavorful main dish salad. Serve over baby spinach.


Cheesy Chicken Pasta

Pictured Recipe: Cheesy Chicken Pasta

Leftover Turkey or Chicken Pasta

Cheesy Chicken Pasta, an ooey-gooey pasta dish that pleases adults and kids, is like rich and creamy macaroni-and-cheese tossed with cauliflower and chicken or turkey.


Leftover Turkey Soup

Cream of Turkey & Wild Rice Soup is a healthier twist on a classic creamy turkey and wild rice soup that hails from Minnesota.


Leftover Turkey Casserole

Got lots of leftover mashed potatoes too? Try Turkey & Leek Shepherd’s Pie—just skip making the mashed potatoes and cover the pie with your leftover ones instead.