MealEnders Blog

Quick & Easy Ways to Use Up Leftover Holiday Ingredients

By MealEnders
December 18, 2017

thanksgiving leftover recipes

If you’re like most people, you’ll shop for a holiday dinner for ten as though you were planning to feed thirty. We tend to overbuy–”just to be safe.” So, around holiday times, you’re likely to find yourself with some leftover ingredients – maybe some sweet potatoes you didn’t use, extra pecans that you aren’t quite sure what to do with, or half a can of pumpkin that you’d prefer not to waste. Need to use up those leftover ingredients and keep yourself on a healthy diet? We’ve got you covered. Here are some ways to make quick and easy meals with those leftover ingredients so you can stick to a healthy and delicious diet through shopping, wrapping, and running between events.


Soup Ideas

Soups are an awesome way to clean up a lot of leftover ingredients, from root veggies to broth to spices. Soups are also easy to make, and you can get your online shopping or some wrapping done while it cooks.

Curry Carrot, Sweet Potato & Ginger Soup

Sweet potatoes and carrots are common leftover ingredients after a holiday meal – easy to overbuy in large bags and not use up. Ginger is an ingredient you often buy for one recipe and then are left wondering what else to do with it. With only 150 calories per serving, this dish is a healthy way to use up those sweet potatoes, carrots, veggie or chicken broth and the ginger you’ve got left.

Butternut Squash Soup

A great use for a leftover squash, this soup can be made in 30 minutes and also contains sage and onion, which you’ll probably have laying around after holiday cooking. Perfect for dinner on a chilly evening or take to work with a couple of slices of wheat bread to dip for a healthy lunch.

Root Vegetable Soup

Root vegetables include potatoes, beets, turnips, parsnips, carrots, rutabagas, squash, and more. This soup calls for potatoes, turnips, squash, carrots and rutabagas, but you could easily do some substitutions for whatever root vegetables you have on hand. This is a great way to get rid of a large number of root veggies in one swoop. Plus it uses milk, another item that is often purchased in a larger quantity than needed. Even better, it has only 124 calories per serving and 1.4 grams of fat.


Snacks for On the Go

During the busy holidays, having delicious snacks to keep you fueled throughout the day is important. Here are some ways to turn those leftover ingredients into shopping trip fuel.

Baked Cinnamon Apple Chips

Buy more apples than needed for the pie? While you’re decorating the tree, bake up this easy sweet treat. Seriously, just apple slices and cinnamon. Put them out to satisfy a sweet tooth or in a to go container to snack on during a shopping marathon.

Healthy Pumpkin Cheesecake Muffins

Wondering what to do with that leftover half can of pumpkin puree? Or perhaps you didn’t need all that cream cheese for that cheesecake? Well, these muffins will help you to solve those problems. Gluten free and protein filled (recipe contains nut butter), these muffins will help to clean up those odds and ends. Just 150 calories each, enjoy these muffins while you’re out and about.

Butternut Squash Hummus

A unique way to use up that leftover squash (plus any leftover parsley, garlic, and lemons you’ve got lying about), this hummus can be paired with some carrots, pita, or other veggies for a delicious on-the-go snack.


Breakfast Goodness

Breakfast is an important part of the day, getting you fueled for all the hecticness ahead. Here are some unique ways to use some leftover ingredients as you begin your day.

Pumpkin Oatmeal

A perfect use for leftover pumpkin puree and pumpkin spice, this healthy morning treat is only 229 calories per serving.

Sweet Potato Breakfast Bowl

Sweet potatoes for breakfast? Why not? Bake sweet potatoes, scoop out from skins, mash up, then top with nuts, raisins and almond butter. Sounds pretty good to us! For prepping in advance, bake the sweet potatoes the night before, then reheat mashed potatoes in the AM before adding the toppings.

Root Veggie Hash With Eggs

This calls for beets, fennel, and sweet potatoes, but you can use whatever root veggies you have on hand. Paired with an egg, it’s a healthy and protein-filled way to start your day.


Salads Galore

Salads are another great way to pull together those leftover ingredients that you just aren’t sure what to do with. If you’ve got the greens, you are halfway to a delicious dish that will help clean up those stray ingredients you have on hand.

Kale and Brussels Sprout Salad

This tasty creation will help you to use up any leftover greens (you could substitute kale with collards, swiss chard or spinach) and those extra brussels sprouts and almonds you didn’t need. It’s only 195 calories and packed full of healthy goodness.

Apple, Beet, & Fennel Salad

This is another recipe that covers a lot of bases in the leftover ingredient category. Apples, beets, fennel, greens, and walnuts will all get used up here.

Quinoa Winter Salad

This winter salad can cross off a lot of ingredients. Sage, broth, apples, onions, and acorn squash to be exact. Easy substitutions can be made here as well to accommodate what you have.

Your diet doesn’t have to suffer just because you have too much to do, and those ingredients don’t have to be wasted. Take some time to do some cooking or plan out some easy meals and you’ll be well on your way to using up those leftover ingredients AND still eating well during the holiday rush.

*Individual Results May Vary