I think many of us can agree that the best part of Thanksgiving (or any holiday meal) is actually the leftovers. Whenever we host, I always make extras of everything; then we happily enjoy Thanksgiving food for at least several evenings afterward! Especially for dishes that take a while to cook (e.g., roasted squash) or dishes that are special things I mostly save for holidays (e.g., wild rice stuffing), being able to cook once and eat three or four or five times is a major win.
This year, my mind was blown by an awesome idea that came from my friends (and neighbors!) at Vermont Tortilla Company. They asked me to design a taco stuffed with Thanksgiving leftovers, and I was immediately intrigued. I love that a taco shows off the leftovers in an entirely new way, which could keep them exciting for people who aren't leftover-lovers (or on the fourth night in a row of leftovers!). I also love any recipe that minimizes food waste, and this one certainly encourages you to enjoy every last bit of your holiday dishes!
The Sky is the Limit!
Although you'll find an official recipe card at the bottom of this post, it's really more of a concept than a set recipe. We all have different family meal traditions for the holidays, so I expect everyone who reads this will have a different set of leftovers available to them on the day after a holiday gathering. The best part about the "leftover taco" is that you can use whatever you love and be creative!
My biggest suggestion is to spread some mashed sweet potatoes (or sweet potato casserole) into your tortilla first; it helps everything stick together and provides some nice moisture. After that, cram in whatever you have on-hand. Top it off with cranberry sauce (of course!!) and perhaps a drizzle of hot sauce if you like the sweet/spicy combo. You can use as few or as many dishes as you like, and because everyone can create their own leftover taco this one is definitely a crowd-pleaser.
Can you believe that some of the best corn tortillas I've ever had are made right down the road from us, in our own little town? I feel thankful to live so close to Vermont Tortilla Company, and I'm amazed at the quality of their tortillas. As you all know, Mexican-inspired food is my primary focus, so needless to say I've had a lot of good corn tortillas and am picky about them. The ones from Vermont Tortilla rock!
There are a lot of things about these tortillas that are special and unique. They're made with organic corn, and that corn is sourced locally (just across the lake from us, in the Adirondacks in New York). The tortillas are made the traditional way, using a process called nixtamalization, which has been used for thousands of years by native people in Central America. During this process, the corn is soaked and then cooked in an alkaline solution (meaning, high pH), making it softer, easier to work with, more flavorful, and also more nutritious.
Who would have thought... traditional tortillas made in Vermont! Isn't that awesome? Their tortillas have become really popular and are now carried quite widely around the US, so keep an eye out for them.
Whether you're a leftover lover or a leftover skeptic, these tacos are for you. They'll give all your special holiday meal leftovers a whole new life, making for meals that are easy, quick, fun, and that minimize food waste. They're an all-around win! Especially the day after Thanksgiving, when everyone has been cooking for several straight days, an easy meal seems like the perfect idea.
One final thought. Although I designed these tacos for leftovers, there's no reason you can't enjoy them any time! Just cook up a few of your favorite holiday-worthy or fall dishes expressly for the purpose of making these tacos. They're too fun to save for just once a year, and putting holiday flavors in a taco is so different and fresh.
It makes me so happy to hear from you and see your creations! Please leave a comment below and let me know what you think about this recipe. If you post a photo on Instagram, hashtag #TheRogueBrusselSprout and tag me (@TheRogueBrusselSprout) in the post text so that I'm sure to see it.
Disclosure: This recipe has been developed through a paid partnership with Vermont Tortilla Company. However, all opinions and thoughts are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that keep The Rogue Brussel Sprout running.
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Other holiday leftovers of choice (shown here: roasted delicata squash, seared green beans, and wild rice stuffing)
Roasted salted pepitas
Drizzle of hot sauce, optional
Heat the corn tortillas directly over a gas burner or in a microwave wrapped in a barely-damp towel.
Spread each tortilla with a generous smear of sweet potato mash or sweet potato casserole; this will help your other ingredients stay in place and will give your taco some moisture. (Hint: if you’re working with a sweet rather than savory potato dish, mix a pinch of cayenne into the potatoes to offset the sweetness).
Load the taco up with all your favorite Thanksgiving leftovers.
Top each taco with a spoonful of cranberry sauce, then garnish with a sprinkle of roasted salted pepitas. Serve with hot sauce if desired.