Recipes: Thanksgiving Leftovers Reimagined

There’s no arguing that one of the best things about Thanksgiving is the huge pile of leftovers that remains after your dinner’s done. Leftovers rock. Your fridge is stocked. But you end up eating the same thing – in the same way – for days. So why not repurpose your Thanksgiving leftovers into something new, innovative and super tasty?

I’ve got some ideas for you!


Do you have leftover cooked squash from your Thanksgiving feast? Maybe you roasted a whole squash to make squash soup but didn’t need it all for your recipe? Or you cooked a pumpkin for pie but have a lot of extra pumpkin left?

Turn your leftover squash into these delicious muffins! They’re perfect for a next-day brunch (or even as a quick snack on the go if battling the Black Friday crowd is your thing).


  • Any kind of winter squash works great here. Don’t have any leftovers from your Thanksgiving dinner? Cook some up special for this recipe; you won’t be disappointed. (You could probably also just use canned pumpkin. I won’t tell anyone.)
  • Mash your squash, but don’t worry about getting all the pieces. Some (smallish) chunks actually make these better.
  • I use whole wheat pastry flour for my baking. I highly recommend it, but you can use whatever you like.
  • Try to use a good-quality cinnamon. It makes a difference. Trust me.

Squash Muffins
Yields 12 small, yummy muffins*

– 2 TB. flax meal (ground flax seeds)
– 1/4 cup water
– 1 cup coconut sugar
– 3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
– 1 3/4 cup flour
– 1 tsp. baking soda
– pinch of salt (about 1/4 tsp.)

1 tsp. cinnamon
– 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
– 1 cup cooked and mashed squash
– 1/2 chopped walnuts
– 1/4 cup raisins
– 1 TB. raw sugar for sprinkling (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, mix the flax meal with water and set it aside to thicken.

Grease a muffin tin or line it with paper muffin cups.

Once the flax mixture has thickened a bit (about 5 minutes), stir in the coconut sugar and applesauce. Mix until it’s relatively smooth.

Add in the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice. Mix until well combined.

Stir in the squash. Fold in the walnuts and raisins. Divide batter evenly into your twelve muffin cups.

If you’re using it, sprinkle the raw sugar (about a 1/4 tsp. on each) over the top of the muffins.

Pop them in the oven and bake for about 40 minutes.

Squash Squares *Alternative: Don’t want to make muffins? These are also great as “squash squares.” Prepare the batter the same way, but instead of a muffin tin you can pour it into a greased 8×8 or 9×9 baking dish. Top with a sprinkle of your raw sugar (if you’re using it) and bake it on 350 for about 40 minutes, or until a knife or toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let it cool completely, then cut it into squares to serve.


The Jewish Mother What Mom Says
“Those muffins were the best I have ever tasted of yours. My only complaint: they were a little too small!” (“Why were they so small, Rachel? I want jumbo muffins. Haven’t you ever seen Dunkin’ Donuts muffins?”)

Cousin Susie - thumbnail What Cousin Susie Says
“These have a delicious, scrumptious blending of flavors and ingredients.” She also told me she prefers them to chocolate cake, but I think she was just being nice. While these are quite tasty, chocolate cake is the best thing ever.

The Picky Eater What Mel Says
“These are really ‘effing good! I can taste the applesauce. And I love the sugar on top for added extra sweetness.”

The Funny Man What Ant Says
“They’re dynamite. And you can quote me on that.” And I just did.



You’d be insane not to make some yummy vegan mashed potatoes for your Thanksgiving table. I make mine by boiling some potatoes with other root veggies (parsnips, turnips, whatever you’ve got). Then I mash it all up with a heaping helping of Earth Balance, a little drizzle of rice milk, a sprinkle of garlic powder and a generous shake of salt and pepper. So good.

But what do you do with the leftovers (other than sneaking cold spoonfuls right from the fridge – that can’t just be me)? Turn it into a warm, comforting pot of soup!


  • This soup comes together in minutes. Really. It’s so easy.  Don’t have leftover mashed potatoes? Plain cooked potatoes would work fine here, too. You just may need to adjust the seasonings a little bit more to taste.
  • Chopping LeeksClean your leeks really well. Leeks are tricky little things. They’ve got a lot of dirt and grit between the layers. Slice them down the center length-wise. Then, slice them across into pieces (check out the picture). Place the pieces into a bowl of cold water and swish them around really well with your hands, breaking up the layers. Remove the pieces from the bowl, being careful to leave all the grime that fell out in the bottom of the bowl. Put the pieces in a strainer, and give them one more rinse and swish. Then they’re ready to go.
  • Got leftovers from your holiday veggie tray? I bet some carrot and celery pieces in here would be fabulous. Just dice them extra small and throw them in when you’re sauteing the leeks.

Potato Leek Soup

– 1 TB. olive oil
– 2 leeks, cleaned and sliced
– 2-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
– 3 cups mashed potatoes
– 1 carton (4 cups) vegetable broth
– salt and pepper

In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add leeks and saute for 5-10 minutes, or until softened and beginning to brown.

Add garlic and saute for about 1-2 minutes more.

Add your mashed potatoes and mix well to combine.

Pour in the broth and turn the heat up to high. Bring everything to a boil. Once it’s boiling, cover the pot and turn the heat to low. Let it all simmer together for 5-10 minutes.

Let the soup sit for a few minutes; it will thicken up as it cools down. Add salt and pepper to taste.

At this point, you can use an immersion blender to puree the soup and get it nice and smooth. Or, you can leave it as is and enjoy it chunky, which is how I like it.


The Funny Man What Ant Says
“Tasty in all the right places. The leeks mesh well with the potatoes. And it’s creamy without dairy – how did you pull that off?”

The Picky Eater What Mel Says
“I looooove this soup. I love that it’s not too leek-y (does that make sense?). And I love the textures of the potato and greens (from the leeks). It’s fabulous.”



  • Got Leftover Cranberry Sauce? Try these Cranberry Almond Swirl Muffins.
  • Got Extra Vegan Stuffing? Use it to fill portobello or button mushroom caps, then bake them in the oven for incredible stuffed mushrooms.
  • No Leftovers? I’m very sad for you. Make a Stuffed Thanksgiving Burger and feel like you’re eating Thanksgiving dinner all over again.


I’m all ears! Share your ideas in the comments below.


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