Your Guide to Turning Leftovers Into a High-Protein Breakfast

Transform your leftovers into a nutritious, delicious start to the day.

By: Lexy Parsons

After the holidays, it’s hard to say which is more stuffed — our belly or our fridge! The surplus of holiday food is enough to last weeks (but hey, we’re not complaining). With that said, holiday ingredients will only stay fresh for so long. And, believe us — there will be no food waste in this kitchen. Not when we can repurpose all of our delicious holiday ingredients into nutritious leftover meals! While the classic loaded turkey sandwich will always remain a seasonal staple, there are endless leftover recipe ideas waiting to be whipped up! Don’t just limit yourself to a basic leftover lunch… dream big! Think: apple cinnamon oatmeal, turkey breakfast hash, and sweet potato toast. That’s right — breakfast made with leftovers.

Breakfast is one of those meals where anything goes, which is why breakfast made with leftovers is a no-brainer. You can transform just about any food — sweet or savory — into a nourishing meal. Leftover brussels sprouts? Make a breakfast hash! Have sweet potatoes to spare? Hello, sweet potato toast! The best part? These breakfast recipes made with leftovers check all the boxes: they’re tasty, simple to make, and protein-packed! While we’re big on flavor, we also want to start the day off feeling nourished (especially after a few too many holiday treats). Rest assured, these festive ideas are full of good-for-you nutrients that will put your leftover ingredients to great use. 

Let’s get cooking, shall we?

6 Ways to Turn Leftovers Into a Protein-Packed Breakfast

#1 Make Cinnamon Apple Protein Oatmeal with Leftover Apples

Imagine your favorite holiday apple pie, but protein-packed, full of nutrients, and light on calories and sugar. Sounds too good to be true, right? Well, you haven’t met our Apple Cinnamon Protein Oatmeal! This nourishing breakfast is made with leftover apples and is great any time of the year, holiday season or not!

Apple Cinnamon Protein Oatmeal

Serves: 1


  • ½ cup rolled oats 
  • 1 cup oat milk (or dairy-free milk of choice) 
  • 1 apple
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon 
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • ½ scoop protein powder 
  • 1 tbsp chopped pecans 
  • 1 tbsp chopped walnuts 
  • ½ – 1 tbsp pure maple syrup (or sweetener of choice)
  • Optional add-ins: almond butter


Step #1: Add all the ingredients minus the protein powder, apple, pecans, walnuts, and maple syrup to a pot over medium heat. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. 

Step #2: Simmer for about 5-7 minutes, stirring regularly. 

Step #3: While oats are simmering, melt 1 tsp of coconut oil into a frying pan over medium heat

Step #4: Add apple, chopped walnuts, chopped pecans, and a sprinkle of cinnamon to the pan, sauté over medium-low heat until browned, about 3-5 minutes.

Step #5: Remove from heat and set aside.

Step #6: Once oats are done cooking, remove from heat and stir in the protein powder. 

Step #7: If the consistency gets too thick, add a little more oat milk.

Step #8: Stir the sauteed apples and nut mixture into the pot.

Step #9: Pour into serving bowl.

Step #10: Drizzle with pure maple syrup (or sweetener of choice) and enjoy! 

*Note: Protein powder is optional in this recipe, but the addition amplifies the flavor profile and offers a healthy protein boost! If leaving out, consider adding 1 tablespoon of almond butter.

#2 Add Turkey or Ham to a Breakfast Hash

There’s a reason why turkey bacon, eggs, and ham are notorious breakfast staples — because they are delicious. Why ruin a good thing? When you have too much turkey or ham leftover from your holiday feast, throw it into a hash for a delicious breakfast made with leftovers. And, you really can’t go wrong here — so go ahead and toss in any other leftover ingredients while you’re at it (potatoes, veggies, even some leftover cranberries!). To be honest, you can make a breakfast hash out of everything but the kitchen sink, and it will still taste good!

Here’s how to build a breakfast skillet:

  • Start with a main protein source such as turkey, ham, sausage, or tofu 
  • Add a satiating clean carb like potatoes or yams (root veggies work great)
  • Toss in other veggies for a nutrient-dense boost, such as kale, spinach, onions, garlic, mushrooms, and peppers; apples work here too!
  • Top it with an egg (fried, hard, or soft boiled — chef’s preference)
  • To finish, add your toppings of choice! We love avocado, herbs, cheese, spices, salsa, or leftover dips and spreads. 

#3 Use Leftover Veggies to Make Veggie Egg Muffins

This crowd-pleasing breakfast made with leftovers requires just one bowl, minimal prep time, and is made with just eggs and veggies. Best of all, this morning meal is easily customizable for any diet plan or food preference. Try this simple recipe below, but feel free to make it your own! Add or remove any veggie you’d like, or incorporate any additional add-ins or toppings. 

Here are some ideas:

  • Add 1 cup of pre-cooked (and cooled) protein, such as diced ham or bacon bits.
  • Mix in ½ cup of bone broth to the mixture to add an additional boost of gut-supporting protein. 
  • Enjoy your veggie muffins with a side of sliced avocado or leftover dairy-free cream cheese dip. 
  • Give it an anti-inflammatory superfood boost with spices like turmeric or ginger. 

Serves: 6


  • 12 eggs
  • 2 cups baby spinach, chopped
  • ½ cup cherry tomatoes, chopped
  • ¼ cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • ¼ cup pesto
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Sea salt & black pepper, to taste


Step #1: Start by preheating the oven to 350°F and grease a muffin tin with oil.

Step #2:Add the eggs to a large mixing bowl and whisk well. Season with salt and pepper and add the chopped spinach, cherry tomatoes, and parmesan cheese.

Step #3:Pour the egg mixture into the muffin tins, filling halfway.

Step #4: Add 1 teaspoon of pesto to each egg muffin.

Step #5: Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the muffins are set and cooked through.

Step #6: Enjoy as an easy on the go breakfast!

#4 Ditch The Bread and Use Leftover Sweet Potato to Upgrade Your Toast

Got leftover sweet potatoes? Turn them into sweet potato toast! Skipping the bread transforms this recipe into a plant-based, gluten-free, and paleo-friendly option. Plus, it’s full of nutrients like Vitamin A and fiber! Whether you are team savory or team sweet, you’ll love this healthy breakfast made with leftovers.

To make sweet potato toasts, simply cut sweet potatoes lengthwise and toast them. Yes, they go right in the toaster oven in place of bread! Once you have your base, add your favorite toppings! 

For toppings we love:

  • Nut Butters such as almond, cashew, peanut, or sunflower seed butter
  • Mashed avocado (because avocado toast will always be the MVP) 
  • Dairy-free spreads like nut-based cream cheese or hummus
  • Fresh fruit such as berries, sauteed apple,
  • Unsweetened Yogurt (typically greek style such as Siggi’s for a dairy option or Kite Hill for a dairy-free alternative)

Here are some tasty, protein-rich ways to customize your sweet potato toast:

  • Make a protein-packed avocado toast by topping your sweet potato with avocado, soft-boiled eggs, and drizzle with olive oil.
  • Amp up the protein with seeds and eggs by spreading your favorite nut butter topped with berries and a sprinkle of hemp or chia seeds. 
  • Top your toast with yogurt (Greek yogurt or coconut) and a drizzle of honey.

#5 Use Leftover Carrots to Make Carrot Cake Overnight Oats 

With just nine wholesome ingredients in this recipe, breakfast made with leftovers has never been easier. A recipe that requires little prep time, little cleanup, and uses leftovers? Sign us up! If you have leftover carrots and want a seasonal (but healthy) morning treat, try this yummy carrot cake overnight recipe. This breakfast is free from refined sugars, dairy-free, and delicious. 

Carrot Cake Overnight Oats 

Want to boost the protein content of your leftover breakfast even more? Try these ideas:

  • Add a dollop of greek or dairy-free greek-style yogurt.
  • Drizzle it with creamy nut or seed butter such as walnut, almond, or sunflower seed
  • Sprinkle it with a tablespoon of hemp seeds.

And while you’re prepping, why not make mornings that much easier and prep a few more? Spice up your morning with these overnight oats made 5 ways!  

Serves: 1


  • ½ cup gluten-free rolled oats
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 cup oat milk 
  • 1 scoop of vanilla protein powder 
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 pinch nutmeg
  • Drizzle of pure maple syrup 
  • ½ carrot, grated
  • Chopped walnuts 


Step #1: In a jar, add the oats, chia seeds, oat milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, protein powder, and pure maple syrup. Stir and place in the fridge overnight. 

Step #2: In the morning, add the grated carrot and top with walnuts. Enjoy! 

#6 Greek Yogurt to Make a Parfait

If you incorporated healthy holiday swaps into your holiday recipes, chances are you have Greek yogurt on hand. With about 20g of protein per cup, Greek yogurt makes a healthy meal any time of the day. Of course, breakfast is our favorite! Smear it on your bagel in place of cream cheese, add it to your smoothie or bowl of oats, use it as a baking replacement for high-fat foods, or make a parfait. You really can’t go wrong with this protein-packed breakfast canvas.

If you have leftover cranberry sauce from your holiday feast, try this Greek yogurt cranberry parfait for a delicious breakfast made with leftovers. And if you want to keep it dairy-free, this recipe can be easily modified! Simply swap the Greek yogurt for a creamy plant-based alternative like Kite Hill Greek-style yogurt, or a thicker coconut-based yogurt such as Culina or Cocojune.

Greek Yogurt Cranberry Parfait

Serves: 1


  • 1 cup plain or vanilla nonfat Greek yogurt
  • ½ cup low-sugar granola*
  • 1 cup berries
  • 1-2 tbsp cranberry sauce
  • 1-2 tbsp of raw honey
  • ½ tsp of cinnamon

*Can substitute roasted nuts or hemp seeds in place of granola. 


Step #1: In a glass jar or bowl, add ½ a cup of yogurt.

Step #2: Next, layer yogurt with ¼ cup granola, ½ cup of berries, 1 tablespoon of cranberry sauce, a drizzle of honey, and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

Step #3: Repeat Steps 1 and 2.

Step #4: Enjoy!

Turn Breakfast Into Your Favorite Meal Of The Season!

Don’t settle for another year of traditional leftover recipes. Get creative in the kitchen and try these nourishing breakfast ideas! With lots of flavor and just a little prep work, breakfast made with leftovers will be a holiday tradition the whole family will love.

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