20 Fresh Winter Meals to Make When the Thanksgiving Leftovers Run Out

20 Fresh Winter Meals to Make When the Thanksgiving Leftovers Run Out

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Sheela Prakash
Nov 22, 2016
(Image credit: Karen Biton-Cohen)

You've diligently worked your way through your Thanksgiving leftovers and now you've finally hit the end of the road — you just can't take one more bite of stuffing anymore. We hear you. Soon December holidays will be rolling around and there will be more festive food to be had.

So in the lull between lavish meals, we all need some lighter, brighter food in our lives. Here are 20 recipes that qualify.

(Image credit: Katie Webster)

1. Kohlrabi Bistro Salad

Raw kohlrabi is a crunchy substitute for frisée lettuce in this refreshing twist on a French bistro-style salad. Top it with a poached egg and a few crumbles of bacon and the salad is a meal in itself.

(Image credit: Faith Durand)

2. Radicchio Salad with Green Olives & Parmesan

This colorful salad is exactly what you need to kick your tastebuds back into shape after all that rich, savory Thanksgiving fare. The bitterness of the radicchio plays off the salty cheese and briny olives.

(Image credit: Kelli Foster)

3. Swiss Chard Slaw with Creamy Avocado Dressing

Roasted pumpkin seeds give extra crunch to this raw Swiss chard slaw that's topped with a creamy avocado-cilantro dressing.

(Image credit: Katie Webster)

4. Sesame Chicken Celery Root Salad

Swapping out the noodles in this sesame chicken salad with shredded celery root makes for a dish that's light and refreshing, but still plenty satisfying.

(Image credit: Sarah E Crowder)

5. Green Salad with Orange, Avocado, and Red Onion

A simple green salad or two should definitely be on the books post-Thanksgiving. This one's got juicy orange segments, creamy avocado, and sharp red onions to keep things interesting.

(Image credit: Katie Webster)

6. Roasted Delicata Squash Salad with Warm Pickled Onion Dressing

This unique salad has all the flavors of fall — squash, cabbage, apples, and walnuts — but ties them together with a pickled onion and caraway dressing that's a welcomed change.

7. Baked Red Lentil Falafel Salad

Red lentils take the place of chickpeas in this easy baked falafel recipe. Any leftovers would be great stuffed into pita or enjoyed on their own, simply dunked into the tahini dressing.

(Image credit: Emma Christensen)

8. Chopped Brown Rice Salad with Grapes and Pecans

Since it's made with sturdy hearts of romaine lettuce, this crisp salad can actually be tossed together at the start of the week and enjoyed over a few days.

(Image credit: Kimberley Hasselbrink)

9. Chicken Soup with Fennel and Farro

Turn to this nourishing chicken soup to fill you up after a few days of Thanksgiving leftovers. We love farro for its heartiness, but just about any grain will work.

(Image credit: Faith Durand)

10. Kabocha Squash Soup with Pomegranate and Pepitas

This colorful squash soup has just a splash of coconut milk in it for creaminess. It's contrasted by a generous sprinkle of crunchy pepitas and pomegranate seeds.

(Image credit: Chronicle Books)

11. Roasted Fall Vegetable Soup

This is a great recipe to make if you have any leftover roasted vegetables from Thanksgiving kicking around. The vegetables are simply tossed in a pot of stock and simmered into a chunky soup.

(Image credit: Jerrelle Guy)

12. Roasted Tomato Soup

Roasting canned tomatoes before adding them to the soup pot generates incredible flavor without much hassle at all. And once you've fully recovered from the holiday, a side of a grilled cheese sandwich would be welcomed here.

(Image credit: Emma Christensen)

13. Golden Beet & Barley Salad with Rainbow Chard

This grain salad is a great recipe to use when you find yourself with beets with the greens still attached. Otherwise, the chard (or even kale) is a sure bet.

(Image credit: Erin Alderson)

14. Orzo with Butternut Squash, Spinach & Blue Cheese

This seasonal orzo salad can be enjoyed warm, room temperature, or cold — it's a smart idea to make a big batch so you can enjoy it for days.

(Image credit: Emily Han)

15. Kale and Black Bean Tacos with Chimichurri

While veggie tacos always tend to be wholesome, they often don't have enough staying power. These do, though, thanks to the addition of fiber- and protein-rich black beans.

(Image credit: Maria Siriano)

16. Stir-Fried Chile-Lemon Shrimp and Rice Noodles

Rice noodles help keep this spicy stir-fry light while still giving it enough bulk to call it dinner.

(Image credit: Emma Christensen)

17. Polenta Bowl with Garlicky Spinach, Chicken Sausage & Poached Egg

This hearty bowl will warm you up without weighing you down, thanks to the heaps of sautéed spinach and cherry tomatoes it packs in.

(Image credit: Kelli Foster)

18. Roasted Sweet Potato Wraps with Caramelized Onions and Pesto

This extra-savory vegetarian sweet potato wrap is a nice change after all those marshmallow-laden sweet potatoes you may have consumed.

(Image credit: Melissa Ryan)

19. Collard Green Chicken Salad Wraps

Collard green leaves are substantial enough to make a great replacement for bread in these creamy curry chicken salad wraps.

(Image credit: Andrea Bemis)

20. Mediterranean Veggie Pita Sandwich

These pita sandwiches — packed with baby spinach, chickpeas, sun-dried tomatoes, olives, and feta — not only taste good, but they also just so happen to be good for you too.

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