10 easy pasta dishes to make with your Thanksgiving leftovers

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  • Use your Thanksgiving leftovers in a pasta dish for a unique way to make sure they don't go to waste.
  • Thanksgiving turkey and sides are arguably even more delicious post-Thanksgiving Day.
  • But there are only so many turkey-and-cranberry-sauce sandwiches one can eat in the following days.
  • From mashed potato gnocchi to a cranberry cream sauce, you can jazz up how you use your Thanksgiving leftovers with these 10 pasta recipes.
  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

After spending hours — if not days — in the kitchen preparing for an elaborate Thanksgiving meal, the last thing anyone wants to do following the holiday is to cook more intricate meals.

That's one of the reasons why the Thanksgiving turkey sandwich is so popular. You just jam all the leftovers between two slices of bread and enjoy.

But there's another, perhaps unexpected, carb that serves as the perfect vessel for all your Thanksgiving leftovers: pasta.

Here are 10 pasta recipes to cook with Thanksgiving leftovers.

Forget piling your Thanksgiving leftovers in between two slices of bread — stuff them into empty pasta shells instead.

Taste of Home fills jumbo pasta shells with leftover stuffing, turkey, sweet potatoes, and mozzarella to make a delicious pasta dinner in under an hour. 

Top with leftover gravy, and you have a meal that doesn't let any leftovers go to waste. 

Find the recipe here. 

Use leftover sweet potatoes and turkey for a hearty orzo dish.

Cooking Chat has a recipe that uses both sweet potato and turkey leftovers. Using a skillet, the cooked sweet potatoes turn into a creamy sauce with the help of chicken broth.

Add spices, cooked orzo, turkey, and parmesan, and you're all set.

Find the recipe here.

Leftover mashed potatoes are the best shortcut for making gnocchi.

Making gnocchi can be a time-consuming process. You have to boil and cook potatoes, rice them, knead the dough, cut, and boil. 

Using leftover mashed potatoes is a shortcut to make a delicious gnocchi dish.

Recipes for mashed potato gnocchi vary, but most involve mixing leftover mashed potatoes with egg, salt, flour, and seasonings.

This creates a dough that can be kneaded and cut to your desired shape.

From there, boil the gnocchi in salted water for a few minutes and add your sauce of choice.

Use the gnocchi as a component in a stew with leftover gravy and turkey, like this recipe in Yummly. Or serve it simply, with butter, herbs, and parmesan, like this recipe calls for in Life as a Strawberry.

Pasta bakes, like turkey tetrazzini, are a simple but tasty way to enjoy Thanksgiving leftovers.

The internet is teeming with pasta bakes that use all the Thanksgiving leftovers, and a common one is turkey tetrazzini.

Tetrazzini is a popular American cream-based pasta dish that often calls for chicken or seafood and mushrooms.

Instead of chicken or seafood, swap in leftover turkey. 

Martha Stewart has a quick recipe for the creamy dish.

A cranberry cream pasta sauce is the perfect combination of savory and sweet.

Cranberry sauce is a must for any Thanksgiving meal since it adds elements of sweetness and tartness on a plate of savory goodness, so why not bring that same appeal to a pasta dish?

2 Cookin' Mamas has a one-skillet recipe that combines all the delicious Thanksgiving leftovers into one dish. 

Toss leftover vegetables, bacon, cream, cranberry sauce, cheese, and wine into the skillet for the sauce. Add cooked pasta, top with cheese, and throw in the broiler.

Find the recipe and ingredients here. 

Whip up some stuffing meatballs for a new spin on classic spaghetti and meatballs.

Spaghetti and meatballs take on a new twist with the help of leftover stuffing. 

Combine stuffing with egg, ground beef, and herbs. Form and cook the meatballs, and serve them with marinara sauce.

This Good Housekeeping recipe suggests serving the stuffing meatballs over toast, but you can easily sub toast for the pasta of your choice.

Combine leftover turkey, veggies, and sauces for a post-Thanksgiving lo mein.

Food blog The Woks of Life has a turkey lo mein recipe perfect for the day after Thanksgiving.

Leftover white meat turkey is the main protein in the dish. Add in vegetables, like cabbage and carrots, along with egg noodles, soy sauce, and sesame oil in a hot wok and enjoy. 

Find the full recipe and cooking instructions here.

Cozy up with some turkey noodle soup.

Sub turkey for chicken to create this classic comfort food. Turkey noodle soup is hard to mess up.

First, sauté any carrots, celery, and onion that didn't make it into your Thanksgiving stuffing.

From there, grab garlic and herbs, pour in broth, and add leftover turkey and the pasta noodles of your choice.

Averie Cooks and Taste of Home both have easy turkey noodle soup recipes.

Skip making macaroni and cheese on Thanksgiving day and cook it using leftovers.

Chef Michael Ferraro uses mac and cheese as the base for a delicious post-Thanksgiving recipe. 

The recipe calls for your leftover turkey, sweet potatoes, and cranberry sauce.

All that plus elbow macaroni and lots of cheese is combined to make an indulgent leftover pasta meal.

Find the recipe on Food Republic.

You can use leftover Brussels sprouts and dinner roll breadcrumbs in this comforting pasta dish.

With the help of lemon, this recipe from The Kitchn adds bright citrus flavors to Thanksgiving leftovers.

Wine, Brussels sprouts, lemon, and parmesan all come together in the delicious dinner recipe. The best part might be the dinner rolls that are transformed into crispy breadcrumbs that top the pasta dish.

And food might not be the only thing leftover from your holiday dinner — if you don't want to pop open a new bottle of wine, you can use leftover white wine from Thanksgiving in the dish.

Find the full recipe here. 

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