Thanksgiving Leftovers Salad

Don't let your holiday meal go to waste with this delicious salad recipe.


By Jessica Cording, MS, RD, CDN


If you wake up feeling stuffed the day after a food-centric holiday like Thanksgiving, resist the urge to starve yourself. Instead, come up with some healthier ways to repurpose those leftovers. The good news is that a lot of those classic Thanksgiving foods like turkey, root veggies like beets, sweet potatoes, and butternut squash, Brussels sprouts, and even cranberry sauce work great in a salad. This recipe is a great way to get back on track the next day while still enjoying those fall flavors you love.

For the record, you don't have to wait until the day after Thanksgiving to eat this. It's delicious all the time. stores, it’s the perfect mix of protein, vegetables, and complex carbs. Added bonus: the leafy greens provide digestion-regulating fiber and bloat-soothing potassium to help you start feeling more like yourself if you’re prone to day-after “why did I eat all the things” regret.

Feel free to sub in chicken for turkey, but if you haven't tried making baked or grilled turkey at home, give it a shot! A few pieces of turkey or a package of turkey breast or cutlets are much easier than a whole bird. Even a turkey burger is delicious with this! For a meatless alternative to turkey, try red lentils or chickpeas for some tasty plant-based protein.

Though a little oil and vinegar will do just fine to dress this salad, a creamy, sweet yogurt dressing is a great way to use up leftover cranberry sauce.


For the Dressing:

¼ cup plain yogurt

2 tablespoons cranberry sauce

1-2 tablespoons water or as needed to thin it out

For the Salad:

5 cups dark greens like baby kale or spinach

6 ounces cooked turkey

1 cup roasted butternut squash or sweet potato

2 cups roasted brussels sprouts

2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds (optional)

2 tablespoons goat cheese (optional)


1. In a small bowl, whisk together yogurt and cranberry sauce, adding a teaspoon of water at a time until the dressing reaches the desired consistency.

2. Place greens, turkey, butternut squash, brussels sprouts, and pumpkin seeds (if using) in a large bowl. Add dressing and toss well to coat.

3. Divide dressed salad between 2 plates.

4. Garnish with goat cheese if desired.

(Serves 2)

Nutrition Information (via USDA Supertracker) for one serving of salad with pumpkin seeds (no goat cheese)

437 calories, 38 grams protein, 32 grams total carbohydrate, 8 grams fiber, 20 grams fat (4 grams saturated), 586 mg sodium

Jessica Cording, MS, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian, health coach, and writer with a passion for helping others experience a happier, calmer life and a balanced relationship with food. For those in need of some healthy-eating inspiration, Jess created five day's worth of delicious make-ahead lunches to make it even easier to eat well on a busy day. For more information on Jess, check out her website and follow her on InstagramTwitterFacebook and Pinterest.