Cranberry Panna Cotta

© John Kernick
Cranberry Panna Cotta

Here are some healthy ways to repurpose Thanksgiving's most common dishes, including turkey, mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce.


Tacos: Instead of the typical turkey sandwich, wrap the shredded meat in corn tortillas for tacos and top with any leftover vegetables that make sense to you (like green beans and corn). For a little more flavor or heat, try making one of these salsas to go with them.

Vietnamese-style sandwiches: Banh mi are a great way to use up leftover meat—topped with quick pickles, cilantro and chiles, they’re always super-flavorful. For inspiration, here’s a version that uses chicken.

Lettuce wraps: If you’re trying to cut back on carbs, make an easy turkey salad with an herb-inflected mayonnaise dressing and use Bibb lettuce leaves for wrapping. Or, try a version of these spicy Asian lettuce cups with turkey instead of chicken.

Innovative soups: Use the leftover turkey bones and meat to make a warming Mexican-inspired stew known as posole. You can never go wrong with a classic turkey soup. To make it less straightforward, skip the noodles and add kimchi, tofu and ginger for a Korean flavor. Or make a variation of this soothing Colombian soup.


Make easy mashed potato cakes with olive oil, and top them with a healthy mushroom ragù. Or top a scoop of mashed potatoes with a runny egg and serve with a batch of garlicky braised kale.

Simple soup: Reheat the mashed potatoes gently while whisking in leftover turkey stock for an easy soup. Garnish with a quick herb salad.


Reinvented condiments: Whisk cranberry sauce with mustard to use as a spread for sandwiches, or blend the cranberry sauce with jalapeños, scallions, cilantro and lime juice to taste to make a salsa for your turkey tacos (see above).

Low-fat dessert: Use the sauce to make easy panna cottas. Instead of making cranberry sauce in Step 1, blend 1/2 cup of prepared cranberry sauce into the buttermilk.