November 26, 2022

Traditional Thanksgiving feasts often come with a cornucopia of leftovers. Put those holiday dinner remnants to good use by reinventing them into delicious new recipes. There are endless creative spins for repurposing Thanksgiving staples into various versions of sandwiches, salads, quesadillas, casseroles, pastas and soups. Hy-Vee registered dietitians recommend looking for a recipe that combines carbohydrates with protein, fat and fiber.

If you’ve ever felt sleepy after eating a big Thanksgiving meal, that may be partly due to a big spike in blood sugar which can then result in an energy crash. You’ll feel better returning to balanced meals that promote more stable blood sugar by combining fiber, protein and fat alongside carbohydrates – such as in this Turkey-Cranberry Pad Thai Salad recipe that utilizes leftover turkey and leftover cranberry sauce.

This salad contains fiber from a variety of vegetables – Brussels sprouts, carrots and peppers – with protein and fat from edamame, turkey and peanut butter. This will help balance the carbohydrates found in the rice noodles and cranberry sauce. The combination of multiple food groups should feel very satiating, and the balanced energy will help avoid any additional post-meal dips in energy. Plus, the unique flavor profile of the dish will be unrecognizable from typical Thanksgiving leftovers!

Turkey-Cranberry Pad Thai Salads
Serves 4

All You Need:
For Salad:
2 tbsp Hy-Vee vegetable oil
2 tbsp seasoned rice vinegar
1 tsp Hy-Vee granulated sugar
¼ tsp Hy-Vee crushed red pepper
1½ cups thinly shaved Brussels sprouts
½ cup matchstick-cut carrots
½ cup frozen shelled edamame, cooked
2 mini sweet red or yellow peppers, seeded and cut into thin strips
For Pad Thai:
8 oz dry stir-fry rice noodles
1/3 cup leftover Hy-Vee canned whole berry cranberry sauce
3 tbsp water
2 tbsp Hy-Vee creamy peanut butter
2 tbsp Hy-Vee less-sodium soy sauce
2 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tsp refrigerated ginger paste
½ tsp refrigerated garlic paste
1 tbsp Hy-Vee vegetable oil
2 cups chopped leftover cooked turkey
½ cup sliced green onions
Desired garnishes – such as Hy-Vee dry roasted lightly salted peanuts, Hy-Vee dried cranberries, fresh cilantro, lime wedges for serving

All you do:

  1. For salad, whisk together vegetable oil, rice vinegar, sugar and crushed red pepper in a medium bowl. Add Brussels sprouts, carrots, edamame and mini peppers; toss to coat. Set aside.
  2. For pad Thai, cook noodles according to package directions for minimum amount of cook time; drain.
  3. Whisk together cranberry sauce, water, peanut butter, soy sauce, lime juice, ginger paste and garlic paste in a small bowl until combined; set aside.
  4. Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add turkey and green onions. Stir fry for 1-2 minutes or until heated through and turkey begins to brown. Stir in cooked noodles. Add cranberry sauce mixture; toss to coat. Cook for 1-2 minutes or until heated through.
  5. To serve, divide pad Thai mixture among 4 shallow serving bowls; top with salad mixture. Garnish as desired. Serve with lime wedges, if desired.

Recipe source: November 2022 Hy-Vee Seasons magazine. This is a fun and flavorful way to utilize holiday leftovers in a delicious and balanced dish. For more healthy recipe ideas, connect with Hy-Vee dietitians at The information is not intended as medical advice. Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.