Filed under: Thanksgiving
Healthy Thanksgiving Makeover: Leftovers (+ Storage How-To)

It’s easy to overstock your pantry and refrigerator this time of year. The last thing you want to happen when you’re preparing Thanksgiving dinner is to run out of an ingredient. Since stores are usually closed or have limited hours on this holiday, you really stock up when you make that big shopping trip! But don’t worry about wasting food this season — or eating too much unhealthy junk. Here are some tasty, healthy ways to use all those fruits and veggies overloading your pantry and fridge. And if you do have any traditional Thanksgiving leftovers, check out our tips for safely storing and reheating those dishes.

Thanksgiving leftovers

Beet Spaghettini with Pistachio Thyme Pesto 

*Serves 2–4 people

The beet “pasta” is always a fun surprise. We love the way this looks. Beets are rich in the phytonutrient belatin, which supports detoxification and is rich in antioxidants. Although the nutritional benefit is slightly different for yellow beets, they would also be a lovely presentation. Pistachios are buttery and delicious but walnuts make a great substitution.

Beet Spaghettini

Ingredients

  • 2–3 medium beets, peeled and processed through thin a spiral slicer attachment on a mandolin (should yield 8 cups)
  • Juice of 1⁄2 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Pinch of sea salt

Directions: Toss beets with lemon juice, oil, and salt. Allow to marinate while making pesto.

Pistachio Thyme Pesto

Ingredients

  • 2 cups spinach
  • 4–5 tablespoons thyme
  • 1⁄4 cup olive oil
  • 1⁄2 cup pistachios
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon sea salt
  • Pepper, to taste

Directions: Pulse all ingredients in food processor and blend until well combined but still slightly chunky.

Assembly: Toss noodles with pesto. Garnish with chopped pistachios and a sprig of fresh thyme before serving.

 

Thanksgiving leftovers 3

Rainbow Chopped Salad

*Serves 4-6 people 

This recipe is by no means exact. This idea can be applied to almost any variety of fruits, vegetables, seaweed, herbs, nuts, and seeds, which makes it the perfect recipe for all of those leftover Thanksgiving tidbits. Think of it as the ultimate bowl of nutrient-dense goodness. Just toss with a simple vinaigrette and you have an amazing meal.

Ingredients

  • 1 large head romaine lettuce, cored and chopped
  • 1 head red cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 1 handful parsley, stemmed and finely chopped
  • 1⁄4 cup cilantro leaves, stemmed and finely chopped
  • 1 apple, cored and chopped in cubes
  • 1 Asian pear, cored and chopped in cubes
  • 1⁄4 cup wakame or hijiki soaked for 15 minutes, rinsed, and drained
  • 1 sheet nori, cut into thin strips
  • 2 tablespoons dulse flakes
  • 1⁄2 head cauliflower, chopped into small florets 1 cup hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup pomegranate seeds (optional)
  • 1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and sliced into cubes 1⁄2 cup dried apricots, finely diced
  • 1⁄4 cup sunflower seeds (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or hazelnut oil
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon sea salt
  • Pepper, to taste

Directions: Toss all ingredients together. Allow to marinate for at least 15 minutes before serving.

 

Thanksgiving leftovers 2

Shaved Celery Root Linguini, Mushrooms, Truffle Pumpkin Seeds, and Sage

*Serves 2-4 people

This dish is elegant, complex, and delicious. Celery root makes a great substitution for al dente pasta without all the white flour. We recommend tossing the mushrooms in immediately before serving because they will stain the color of the noodles.

Celery Root

Ingredients

  • 1 large celery root, peeled and shaved with julienne attachment on mandolin
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt

Directions: Toss all ingredients until well combined. Allow to marinate for 10 minutes. Drain before tossing with remaining ingredients.

Mushrooms

Ingredients

  • 3 cups cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons tamari or nama shoyu
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Directions: Toss together all ingredients and allow to marinate for a few minutes.

Truffle Pumpkin Seeds

Ingredients

  • 1 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon truffle oil
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt

Directions: Toss together all ingredients.

Garnish

  • 1 tablespoon minced sage
  • 1 tablespoon minced parsley

Assembly: Toss celery root, mushrooms, and pumpkin seeds together. Allow to marinate for 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with extra pumpkin seeds and minced herbs. Drizzle with additional truffle oil before serving.

Storage Tips

Sometimes Thanksgiving turkey and sides are better the next day. You can save your leftovers in the fridge for a few days and no more than four months in the freezer. To ensure your leftovers are safe to eat and stored properly, follow these helpful tips:

  • Cut turkey off the bone before you refrigerate it.
  • Put all sides in different containers. These items might have different expiration dates.
  • Refrigerate cooked side dishes within two hours of serving to ensure they’ll be safe to eat later.
  • If you have too many leftovers to eat within a few days, put some turkey and a little of each side in individual containers and stick them in the freezer for quick meals later.
  • Thaw leftovers in the refrigerator or microwave.
  • Cover leftovers when reheating them — this will help maintain moisture.

For information about how long each Thanksgiving side dish lasts, visit StillTasty’s Thanksgiving page. 

How do you prepare Thanksgiving leftovers? Tell us in the comments.  

Recipes by Meredith Baird. Meredith is a certified raw food chef and instructor. She is also the creative director at the Matthew Kenney Academy where chefs and health foodies can learn the art of making raw food. 

StillTasty, FoodSafety.gov

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving

Healthy Thanksgiving Makeover: Desserts

Thanksgiving desserts

Although the Thanksgiving meal is all about rich and decadent ingredients, that doesn’t mean you have to compromise on health or flavor. The art of raw food preparation is a unique way to create beautiful desserts without settling — raw food desserts are often more filling and flavorful than the originals! You might be surprised how rich and decadent raw desserts made with chocolate taste compared to baked ones, or the creaminess of a pie made with nuts. These recipes surpass any cooked treat you could bring to the Thanksgiving table, in both nutrition and taste.

 

Pumpkin Pie with Shortbread Crust 

This pie is a surprisingly authentic take on the classic without any of the refined or canned ingredients. We use carrot juice instead of pumpkin to mimic the flavor and color of pumpkin. It keeps well in the freezer so it can be made ahead — making it an ideal holiday treat!

Crust:

½ cup shredded coconut

2 cups cashew flour

2 Tbsp agave

2 Tbsp powered sucanat or maple sugar

1 tsp vanilla 1 tsp salt

Directions: In a dry Vitamix make a flour out of the coconut flakes. Process to make as fine as possible. Then, in a food processor combine cashew flour, coconut flour, and remaining ingredients. Do not over blend, you want the mixture to be light but to hold together when pressed between your fingers. Press into 9-inch tart pan and chill until ready for use.

Filling:

½ cup cashews

¾ cup agave

½ cup carrot juice

1 Tbsp lemon juice

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 vanilla bean scraped

1 ½ tsp cinnamon

1 tsp nutmeg

½ tsp ginger

pinch of cloves

¼ tsp salt

½ cup coconut oil liquefied

Directions: Blend all ingredients except for coconut oil until smooth. Slowly add coconut oil and continue to blend until well combined. Assembly: Pour filling into crust and refrigerate at least an hour before serving. Makes one 9” pie.

 

Thanksgiving desserts

Banana Cacao Pudding Tart (nut free)

Makes 1 12- inch tart

Crust:

¾ cup cacao powder

¾ cup fine oat flour, sifted

¼ cup  dry coconut nectar crystals, sifted

¼ cup maple syrup

2 Tbsps coconut oil

pinch salt

Directions: Combine everything in a food processor, adding a little more oil, if necessary to get it to come together. Press into a greased 12-inch tart pan and chill to set. Make sure shells are set before making fillings.

Banana Filling:

6 bananas

½ cup  coconut nectar crystals

1 Tbsp mesquite meal

¼ tsp cinnamon

¼ tsp salt

Directions: Combine everything in blender. Dehydrate in a big, shallow pan for 6-8 hours, until thick. Blend with ¼ cup coconut oil.

Chocolate Pudding Filling: 

2 cups coconut meat

1 banana

1/3 cup maple syrup

½ cup agave or coconut nectar

2 Tbsp vanilla extract

¼ tsp sea salt

½ cup cacao powder

Directions: In a Vitamix, blend the first five ingredients until totally smooth, stopping to scrape sides as necessary. Once smooth, add the cacao powder and blend until smooth.

Assembly: Take prepared shell and fill with a thin layer of banana filling. Freeze to set. Continue filling with chocolate pudding filling, making sure the top is totally smooth. Freeze to set, remove from metal shells. Serve chilled with banana chips or other garnish of you choice.

 

Meredith Baird is a certified raw food chef and instructor. She is also the creative director at the Matthew Kenney Academy where chefs and health foodies can learn the art of making raw food. 

Project Thanksgiving: An Honest Approach to the Traditional Canned Food Drive

The Mission

Collect enough non-perishable food to assemble 160 full Thanksgiving meals-in-a-box for local families in need this holiday season. In order to do this, the entire company was split into 10 teams and then randomly assigned to specific food groups. Each team was responsible for collecting 160 individual items of their assigned food (for example, Team Green Beans was responsible for collecting 160 cans of green beans). Teams were then required to present a full 160-count collection in order to participate in the main event.

***Why 160 boxes? That is one box per every one Honest employee!

The Main Event

Part I — The Contest 

Upon entering the contest, teams could earn “donation dollars” for winning different competitions in Project Thanksgiving. The winning team in each category could then donate those earnings to the non-profit of their own choosing. Categories for competition included: Best-In-Show, Best Team Spirit, Best Stacked Food Tower, Best Team Name, and many more.

Here were the entries:

Jack and the GREEN BEANstalk

Project Thanksgiving 1

The Hoover Yam, presented by We Be YAMmin’

Project Thanksgiving 2

Cranberry BOSS

Project Thanksgiving 3

The Honest PUMPKIN ship

Project thanksgiving 4

This is gooooood STUFF

Project Thanksgiving 5

Best of SPUDS

Project Thanksgiving 6

Groovy GRAVY

Project Thanksgiving 7

TGI “Pie” Day

Project thanksgiving 8

Sweet CORNucopia

Project Thanksgiving 9

Peach Gobblers

Project Thanksgiving 10

In the end, the following winners were announced:

  • Best In Show - Jack and the GREEN BEANstalk (playing for Make a Wish LA)
  • Best Team Spirit - Team Cranberry BOSS (playing for Save the Children, Philippines Disaster Relief Efforts)
  • Best Tower - The Hoover Yam, presented by We Be Yammin’ (playing for the Westside Food Bank)
  • Best Name – The Honest Pumpkinship (playing for Operation USA, Philippines Disaster Relief Efforts)

Several other fun awards like, “Best Use of Honest Packing Materials” and “Best Potato Sack Style” were also awarded so that all non-profit beneficiaries would receive a donation by the end of the event.

Part II — The Meal Boxes

After the competition, and with all of these food towers ready to go, Honest employees assembled full Thanksgiving meals in boxes (Honest box decorations courtesy of our Warehouse Team!) for local families in need. In total, 160 full meals were assembled for pick-up by our Thanksgiving non-profit partner, St. Joseph’s Center.

Project thanksgiving 11

The Meal Box Beneficiary

The St. Joseph Center, located in Venice, CA, serves working poor families, as well as homeless men, women and children of all ages residing on the Westside of Los Angeles. The families served by the St. Joseph Center are literally our neighbors here in Santa Monica so this partnership was the perfect way for us to be able to give back in our own neighborhood. St. Joseph’s hopes to provide 800 Thanksgiving meals this holiday season and we are proud to be able to assist in making that happen. Learn more about how you can get involved here.

Healthy Thanksgiving Makeover: Vegetable Appetizer

Thanksgiving appetizers Jane 2013 600

Say the word “Thanksgiving” and what comes to mind? Turkey, of course, and probably sweet potatoes, stuffing, and cranberries, too. And don’t forget the pumpkin pie! The thing about Thanksgiving is that you’re bound to eat a lot and that’s fine, but there are areas you can cut back on so you can save yourself for the big show. Try making a healthy Thanksgiving appetizer that’s fresh and seasonal.

A large plate of raw vegetables with dips are the perfect appetizer for this time of year. They’re healthy, beautiful, and great for snacking. I happened to find some really beautiful baby vegetables, but you can use any vegetable and cut them into bite-sized pieces. However, it’s getting easier and easier to find baby vegetables at supermarkets these days. And don’t bother cutting off the leaves, they add to the presentation.

Dips are incredibly easy to make and you can prepare them far in advance.

Here are the recipes for the dips below (use organic ingredients when possible):

Haydari

This little sauce really stood out for me when I went to Istanbul, and it’s been a favorite of mine ever since — I love anything that’s so simple but so full of flavor.

Makes 1.5 cups

Ingredients:

  • 6 ounces plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh dill, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon agave nectar
  • Maldon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

Mix all the ingredients together in a glass bowl and serve chilled.

Guacamole

I know you’ve probably made guacamole before, but I really think you should give this a try. Guacamole is good, but add ginger and it’s incredible! Really, give it a go. It’s so quick and easy, and totally worth the effort. It’ll be the first thing gone from the table.

Makes about 3-4 cups

Ingredients:

  • 4 ripe avocados
  • 1 heaped tbsp of minced ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 squeeze of agave nectar
  • 1/2 red chili (preferably Serrano), seeds removed, chopped
  • Maldon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Juice of about 2 limes
  • 1 large handful of cilantro leaves and stems, roughly chopped

Directions:

Place all ingredients in a blender. I like this slightly chunky, but you can make it as smooth as you’d like it.

Hummus

Why not make your own hummus? It’s so quick, and so much better than anything you’ll buy.

Makes about 1 cup

Ingredients:

  • 1 tin chickpeas
  • 1-2 (depends on how garlicky you like it) cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1.5 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 lemon
  • Maldon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

1. Drain about 2/3 of the liquid from the chickpea tin and reserve the rest.

2. Add the chickpeas and their remaining juices to a food processor. Add the minced garlic (you really want this minced — if it’s any bigger you’ll get chunks and that’s not great), cumin, and tahini. Pulse until it’s combined. Season and add a good squeeze of lemon juice. Pulse again, and taste.

How smooth you make the hummus is your choice. I don’t like it too smooth, but go with what you like. The most important thing is that you like the way it tastes so just make sure the seasoning is good and enough, then add more lemon if you like.

Tell us about your healthy Thanksgiving appetizer ideas in the comments. 

Chef Jane Coxwell 

Image credit: Brookelyn Photography