The first rule of every Thanksgiving feast is that there WILL be leftovers. The second (at least for me) is that the day-after will have me jonesing for some cleaner eats that won’t weigh me down. After all, we need to be on our game for all those Black Friday sales, amiright? When you think about it, a lot of the items you traditionally find on the Thanksgiving table are healthy at heart: think protein-packed turkey and veggie powerhouses like butternut squash and brussels sprouts.
It’s only when you scoop on the sugary cranberry sauce, carb load with stuffing and rolls, and top your sweet potatoes with marshmallows that the meal becomes an indulgence worthy of once-a-year. So believe me when I say that I’m wholehearted in enjoying every single Thanksgiving dish on the table with no regrets. And this bowl is how I’ll be savoring those leftovers the next day without letting a food coma ruin my long holiday weekend.
Step 1: Get some greens in your life.
You’ll always find a head of kale in my fridge, and a handful of fresh greens is the foundation to building a bowl that’s on the lighter side. It adds bulk to the mix with minimal calories and maximal nutrients, plus the fiber content helps get your digestion moving after a day of indulgence. I like to slice my kale into ribbons, then use my hands to massage it with a bit of olive
Step 2: Sauté whatever random veggies you’ve still got hanging out in the fridge.
For me, this was a container of white button mushrooms that didn’t end up going into the wild rice stuffing. Mushrooms are packed full of potassium and B Vitamins and are super low in calories. Any vegetable works here, just sauté it in a teaspoon of olive oil with a pinch of salt and a few leftover woody herbs (if you have them) like rosemary or thyme.
Step 3: Bust out the leftover veggies.
I used roasted brussels sprouts and mashed sweet potatoes which are some of my personal faves. The best rule of thumb to follow here is to stick to the vibrantly colored veggies (think carrots, broccoli, green beans, butternut squash) and avoid the mashed potatoes. I mean, unless you really want the mashed potatoes, and then you can totally add those too. 😉
Step 4: Add turkey and crunchy garnishes.
I stuck with white meat turkey just ’cause it’s a little leaner, and then rustled up some pomegranate seeds and crunchy pumpkin seeds from the fridge. Those little finishing details add an extra punch of nutrients and make the bowl look (and taste) way more festive. It is still the holiday weekend, after all! A pinch of flaky sea salt and a sprinkling of herbs and this is a bowl I could almost get on board with for the actual Thanksgiving meal itself (and to my family that’s having a panic attack right now, don’t worry: I wouldn’t actually do that to you.)
What’s your favorite way to use up your Thanksgiving leftovers? I’d love to hear in the comments!