Appetites: Leftovers from Thanksgiving? Time to feast on these recipes

A fall harvest dinner on display on a table.
You’ve done the grocery shopping and the fixings are ready to go for the big Thanksgiving meal. But what about after Thanksgiving?
Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

You've got the bird ready to go. The pies may already be made. Great!

But we're here to talk about some good ideas for all that food you’ll inevitably have left over from Thanksgiving.

Whether you cooked or just took home some Tupperware, chances are you'll have some leftovers for the weekend ahead. Chef Beth Dooley has a few ideas about what to do with them.

Turkey bánh mì 

Serves 4 to 6. 

Bánh mì the Vietnamese hoagie, layers two cultures in a crisp baguette. Sharp, hot and sweet flavors are the perfect antidote to turkey fatigue.  

  • 2 tablespoons of sesame or vegetable oil 

  • 1/4 cup of chopped onion 

  • 8 to 10 ounces of shredded turkey meat with the skin on 

  • 1 to 2 tablespoons of Asian chili sauce, to taste, plus more as needed 

  • Several splashes of soy sauce 

  • Several splashes of rice wine vinegar, plus more as needed 

  • Ground black pepper, to taste 

  • 2 (10 to 12-in.) baguettes, sliced in half horizontally and quartered vertically 

  •  4 to 6 tablespoons of good quality prepared mayonnaise (i.e. Hellmann’s), or more as needed 

  • 1/2 cup of shredded carrots 

  • 1/2 cup of shredded daikon or radish 

  • 1/2 cup of chopped fresh cilantro 

  • 1 small English cucumber, thinly sliced 

  • Salt, to taste 


Heat the oil over medium heat and sauté the onion and turkey until the turkey is hot and begins to brown and crisp, about 1 to 2 minutes. Season with the chili sauce, soy sauce, vinegar and pinch of black pepper. Remove and set aside. 

Preheat the broiler to high. Generously slather the cut side of the baguettes with the mayonnaise and arrange on a baking sheet and broil until hot and crusty, about 1 to 2 minutes. Remove and immediately pile on equal amounts of the turkey, carrot, daikon or radish, cilantro and cucumber slices. Season with more chili sauce and vinegar and salt and pepper to taste. Put the top halves of the baguettes on the filling and serve immediately. 

Turkey Cubano 

Serves 2 to 4 

This substitutes sliced turkey for roast pork, but retains melted cheese, ham and slivers of pickle that give the whole mess its spark.  

  • 4 tablespoons of good quality mayonnaise  

  • Hot sauce, to taste 

  • 2 soft (12-inch) rolls, split in half horizontally 

  • 4 ounces of cooked turkey, sliced 

  • 8 slices of ham 

  • 8 slices of Swiss or Muenster cheese 

  • 1/4 cup of sliced pepperoncini peppers 

  • 1 large dill pickle, sliced 

  • 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter, melted 


In a small bowl, stir together the mayonnaise and hot sauce. Spread this inside the rolls, coating both top and bottom halves. Layer the rolls with the turkey, ham, cheese, pepperoncini and pickle slices. 

Using your hands, press the sandwiches down making sure nothing spills out. Brush the butter on the bottom and top half of the rolls. 

Set a heavy skillet over medium heat. Set the sandwiches down in the skillet. Set a second heavy skillet or pot on top of the sandwiches and toast until the roll is golden brown, about 3 to 5 minutes. Lift the second skillet or pot and flip the sandwiches; return the second skillet or pot and press down on the sandwiches to toast the second side. The sandwiches are done when the cheese is melted and both sides are nicely browned. (If the sandwiches are not thoroughly cooked through, place on a baking sheet and finish cooking in a 350-degree oven.) 

Roast vegetable hummus

A hummus dish on a serving plate
This roasted vegetable hummus makes great use of roasted vegetables you have on hand.
Courtesy of Beth Dooley

Serves 4

This makes great use of roasted vegetables you have on hand — beets, sweet potatoes, squash, carrots, parsnips and rutabagas.

  • 1 pound of mixed roasted root vegetables

  • 1 clove of garlic, smashed

  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil, plus more for drizzling over the hummus

  • 2 tablespoons of tahini

  • 1 tablespoon of za’atar seasoning

  • 2 teaspoons of ground cumin

  • 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice, or more to taste

  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  • Chopped fresh herbs for garnish


Put the roasted vegetables, garlic, oil, tahini, za’atar, cumin and lemon juice into a food processor fitted with a steel blade and puree until smooth. Season to taste.

Ginger maple squash soup

A photo of three bowls of soup
Two bowls of ginger squash soup are on display.
Photo by Mette Nielsen

Serves 6

This is a very flexible recipe. It’s easily doubled or tripled, and freezes nicely. If you don’t have enough squash, feel free to use carrots or beets or parsnips or a mix of root veggies. This version is vegan. Feel free to use chicken stock instead of vegetarian and cream instead of coconut milk.

  • 2 tablespoon of organic canola or coconut oil

  • 2 shallots, minced

  • 2 1/2 pounds of butternut squash, peeled and cut into chunks

  • 1 tablespoon of freshly grated ginger

  • 1 tablespoon honey

  • 1/2 teaspoon of Thai red curry paste, or more to taste

  • 5 cups of water or vegetable stock

  • 1 cup of unsweetened canned coconut milk (don’t use refrigerated, it’s too thin)

  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

  • Fresh lime juice to taste

  • Unsweetened grated coconut for garnish


Set a large soup pot over medium heat and add the oil and shallots and sauté until soft. Stir in the squash, ginger, honey, curry and water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until the squash is tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender and return to the pot. Stir in the coconut milk and season with salt, pepper and lime juice to taste.