Thanksgiving Recap and Recipes for Leftovers

This year for thanksgiving, instead of flying back to New Jersey, my parents decided to take a trip to Nashville to spend the holiday here. When they booked this trip a couple months back, I’ll admit I immediately started searching for new recipes on Pinterest to try. I was so excited to cook my first thanksgiving meal and was determined to do it entirely from scratch. After spending (an amount I am far too embarrassed to disclosure) on groceries and unpacking 7 large bags from Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods only to find that even the ingredients didn’t all fit in my tiny apartment kitchen, I started to get cold feet about the enormous task that lied ahead. However, despite accidentally freezing my fresh bags of spinach for the salad, overheating my Vitamix, and learning the hard way that oven mitts don’t protect you if they get wet, I would say overall my first thanksgiving was a culinary success.

Now on to the good part…the recipes! The meal was a conglomeration of variations of recipes on blogs I frequent, family traditions, and my own creations.

Autumn Salad


1 roasted acorn squash, sliced into cubes
1 cup roasted grapes
Handful or more of goji berries
Handful or more of pumpkin seeds
1 standard bag spinach
1 standard bag arugula

Dressing: (ratio should be 2:1 vinegar to oil)
Apple cider vinegar
Olive Oil
Optional to taste: maple syrup or honey and salt/pepper

Assemble all ingredients in a large bowl, toss and serve hot or cold with dressing.

Butternut Squash Soup with Maple Chickpea “Croutons”

adapted from Two Peas and Their PodIMG_8140

For the soup:
1 medium shallot, chopped
Handful baby carrots
1 apple (I used honeycrisp)
1 medium butternut squash (or 5 cups cubed)
28oz vegetable broth (aim for low sodium!)
To taste: cinnamon, nutmeg, maple syrup, salt/pepper

For the “croutons”
1 can chickpeas
Coconut oil spray (or sub any nonstick spray or 1 tbsp oil)
1 tbsp coconut sugar (or sub brown sugar)
1 tbsp maple syrup
Lots of cinnamon

1. Heat all soup ingredients until the carrots, squash, and apple are soft.
2. Blend until smooth.
3. Season to taste.
4. Heat oven to 350.
5. Rinse, drain, and roll out chickpeas on a paper towel to remove most of the outer layer.
6. Mix chickpeas, sugar, cinnamon, and maple syrup in a large bowl
7. Spread out on greased cookie sheet and bake for 35-40min, being sure to rotate/shake the tray every 15min or so.
8. Serve chickpeas over warm soup.

Sweet Potato Tempeh “Meatballs”

adapted from Laura Lea Balanced


2 tbsp ground flax meal
12 oz tempeh (1.5 standard packages)
Cooking spray or olive oil for pan/baking sheet
1 shallot, chopped
1 baked sweet potato (no skin)
1/2 cup oats
1 cup loosely packed fresh parsley
To taste: paprika, cumin, ginger salt/pepper

1. Combine flax meal with 6 tablespoons of water and set aside.
2. Preheat oven to 375.
3. On a sprayed/oiled skillet, add crumbled tempeh and shallots and sauté for 5-6 minutes.
4. Add spices and heat for another 5 minutes or so (until tempeh is slightly browned).
5. Put the cooked tempeh and all remaining ingredients in a blender. Pulse until you are left with a sticky dough.
6. Scoop out approximately 1-2 tbsp at a time to form the “meatballs.” To prevent it from sticking to you, wet your hands with a bit of water.
7. Arrange the “meatballs” on a greased baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes, or until golden brown.
8. Enjoy with gravy or cranberry sauce!

Green Beans Almondine


1 package of green beans (or about 1lb)
1/2 cup slivered almonds
Optional: shallots, lemon juice, salt/(lemon) pepper, olive oil

1. Microwave green beans for a minute or two to soften.
2. Heat almonds in a large pan with oil to toast.
3. Add green beans and optional spices until the green beans are cooked to your likening (I like mine on the crunchier side!).

Apricot Carrots


This was one of my favorite dishes my mom used to make growing up – our Thanksgiving feast would not have been complete without it!

1 package baby carrots
About 1/2 cup apricot preserves (opt for reduced sugar or sugar-free)
Juice of half an orange
To taste: honey, cinnamon, nutmeg

1. Steam/boil baby carrots until soft but still slightly crunchy
2. Add cooked carrots, apricot preserves, orange juice, and spices to a large saucepan.
3. Cook with the lid off so that the liquid reduces and becomes more of a glaze over the carrots.

Roasted Vegetable Stuffing

adapted from Food52


1lb butternut squash, cubed
1lb brussels sprouts, halved
1 apple, chopped
2 shallots, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
10 thick slices of bread (I used challah #tbt to thanksgivingukkah)
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup dried walnuts
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth (opt for low sodium)
To taste: fresh rosemary, thyme, sage, chopped (about 1-3 tsp each)

1. Heat oven to 400.
2. Roast squash, brussels sprouts, apple, and 1 shallot until fork tender (about 40min).
3. Reduce oven 350.
4. In a large pot, sauté celery and other shallot for 5-7 min.
5. Cut bread slices into cubes and add to the pot until toasted.
6. Add roasted vegetables, cranberries, walnuts, and broth to the pot.
7. After the bread absorbs all the broth, transfer to a 9×13 pan and bake for 20 minutes.

Cauliflower Mash

adapted from Nutrition Stripped

1 large head of cauliflower
1/2 russet potato
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 tbsp earth balance
To taste: salt/pepper

1. Steam or boil cauliflower and potato until fork tender
2. Use a potato masher (or back of a fork/spoon) to mash ingredients with milk and earth balance

Mushroom Gravy

adapted from Nutrition Stripped

1-10oz carton baby portobello mushrooms (or assorted)
1.5 cups low sodium vegetable broth
1/2 cup red wine (any kind you like to drink)
1/2 shallot, chopped
2 tbsp flour (I used Bob Mills GF flour)
1 tbsp fresh rosemary, thyme, and sage
1 tbsp earth balance

1. With cooking spray or a little bit of olive oil, heat diced shallot and mushrooms until tender (about 5-7 minutes)
2. Add red wine and cook until the liquid is mostly evaporated.
3. Puree this mixture and then return it to the pan.
4. Stir in vegetable broth, spices, earth balance, and flour, and whisk until well combined.
5. Bring to a boil and then simmer until thickened.

Cranberry Pomegranate Sauce

adapted from Nutrition Stripped


2 cup fresh cranberries
1 cup pomegrante seeds
1 large apple, diced
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp chia seeds
1 tsp fresh orange zest
2 tbsp orange juice
Cinnamon/nutmeg to taste

1. Combine all ingredients except pom seeds and orange juice into a sauce pan and heat on high heat.
2. Once it is brought to a boil, cook for 5 minutes and then let simmer for another 15 minutes.
3. Once everything is soft and the sauce thickens, remove from heat.
4. Stir in orange juice and pom seeds.
5. Chill for several hours before serving.

Sweet Potato Pecan Pie

adapted from Nutrition Stripped


For the crust:
1 cup almonds
1 cup oat flour (throw oats in a food processor until fine)
1/4 cup hemp seeds
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
6 dates, pitted
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg

For the filling:
1 cup pecans
1 egg white
1/4 cup water
1/3 cup coconut oil
7 dates, pitted
1 large sweet potato, baked and mashed without skin
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ginger

1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. For the crust, in a high speed blender, grind almonds and hemp seeds.
3. Add oat flour, dates, coconut oil, and spices until combined in a sticky mixture.
4. In a greased pie dish, spread the crust and press it down to coat the bottom (I used a mini pie pan but a standard pie dish would work too!)
5. Bake for 5 minutes or until golden brown
6. For the filling, grind the pecans in a food processor or blender.
7. Add sweet potato, egg white, water, coconut oil, dates, and spices until thick, smooth, and creamy.
8. Fill the baked pie crusts with the filling and bake for 20-25 or until firm.

Raw Caramel Sauce

adapted from Nutrition Stripped


1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/3 cup + 2 tbsp almond butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 dates

Blend until smooth and creamy. The mixture will be very thick. You will need to reheat the leftovers because if left in the fridge or room temperature the coconut oil will solidify.

This was by far my favorite thing I made!

Pumpkin (White) Chocolate Oat Bars

adapted from Tone it Up


1 cup oats
1 cup pumpkin puree*
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 overripe banana
1/4 cup almond butter
1 scoop Perfect Fit Vanilla Protein
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp pumpkin spice
2 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp coconut sugar
Handful of white chocolate and dark chocolate chips (optional)

1. In a food processor or blender, combine the pumpkin, applesauce, banana, almond butter, protein powder, sugar, and spices until smooth.
2. Stir creamed mixture with the oats in a large bowl.
3. If using the chocolate chips, stir them in now. I did half and half.
4. Bake for 35 min at 350.

*side note: If you have time to spare, making pumpkin puree is surprisingly easy. Roast a sugar pumpkin for 45 minutes and then scrap out the middle. Soooo much better than canned pumpkin!

Cranberry Pumpkin Seed Bites


 3/4 cup cashews
1/2 cup oats
1 scoop protein powder (I used vanilla Perfect Fit)
1/4 cup dried cranberries
2 dates
2 tbsp pumpkin seeds (or pistachios)
1 tbsp maple syrup (optional to make it sweeter)

1. In a blender, combine cashews, oats, protein powder, dates, and maple syrup until smooth.
2. Next, add in the cranberries and continue to blend.
3. Finally, fold in in the pumpkin seeds or pistachios in a large mixing bowl.
4. Roll into balls and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. And store the leftovers there as well in an airtight container.

Given that my thanksgiving consisted of three people including myself and a dog, we had a ton of leftovers to say the least. Below are some of my favorites!

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie


1/4 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 frozen banana
1 scoop protein powder
1 cup almond milk
Pumpkin pie spice to taste

Blend until smooth. Optionally, you can top it with the raw caramel sauce.

Cranberry Pomegranate Smoothie


1/4 cup fresh cranberries
Spoonful of pom seeds
Spoonful or two of cranberry sauce
1 cup coconut water
Splash of orange juice

Blend until smooth.

Green Beans Almondine Omelet


Handful of leftover green beans almondine
2-3 egg whites or 1-2 whole eggs
Optional: avocado, lemon pepper, crushed red pepper

Cook in a skillet until the eggs are set and browned. Top with avocado, lemon pepper, and crushed red pepper if desired.

Stuffed Sweet Potato


I have an addiction to sweet potatoes and find any excuse to eat them for any meal of the day. So naturally, I took my leftovers and stuffed them into a baked sweet potato. For this one, I used my maple roasted chickpeas, butternut squash, and cranberry sauce. Trust me, it was delicious 🙂

Cranberry Pomegranate Brussels Sprouts


Combine roasted brussels sprouts with cranberries, pomegranate seeds, and crushed pecans. Top with a squeeze of orange.

Some other things to try might be to add a poached egg to the stuffing like a “hash” type dish, a wrap with the sweet potato tempeh “meatballs” and either gravy or cranberry sauce, or a stew with all the leftover veggies! Post in the comments any other creative ways you’ve used your leftover Thanksgiving dishes or spare ingredients 🙂

Hope everyone had a relaxing and delicious holiday season! Happy 2015!