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Transform Your Thanksgiving Leftovers into Russian Treats!

Published: November 25, 2017

If the best thing about Thanksgiving is spending the day with loved ones, then the best thing about the day after Thanksgiving is left overs. Spice up your leftovers game by incorporating the ingredients into 5 traditional Russian recipes.

1. Mashed Potato Pelmeni

Pelmeni are small dumplings, usually filled with minced meat. For a vegetarian take, fill the pelmeni with mashed potatoes. Top with traditional smetana (sour cream) or dunk them in gravy! Here’s a good recipe for pelmeni.


2. Thanksgiving Olivye

Salat Olivye is a classic New Years salad. It’s a flexible recipe that every family makes their own way, which means Olivye could easily become a Thanksgiving leftovers salad. Mayonnaise is the only required ingredient. Finely chop any leftover vegetables, pickles, pieces of meat, think about hard-boiling some eggs to add in to the mix, and stir it all together with mayo. Check out this recipe for inspiration.

3. Cranberry Vareniki

Vareniki means “boiled things,” and these dumplings are a staple in Ukrainian cuisine. They’re a different shape than pelmeni, and are often stuffed with sour cherries. Put your leftover cranberry sauce to good use by filling some vareniki with it. This recipe gives a good overview of how to make vareniki.

4. Turkey Plov

Plov is a Central Asian classic. Traditionally, lamb or beef would be added to this dish made from rice, garlic, and vegetables, but why go get more meat when you have all that turkey in the fridge begging to be put to good use? Use this recipe for inspiration.

5. Blini

Blini are thin, crepe-like pancakes and a staple of Russian cuisine. They can be filled with just about everything – traditionally, they might be stuffed with sour cream, caviar, farmer’s cheese, smoked salmon, or jam. Any and all of your Thanksgiving leftovers can be wrapped up nicely in blini – maybe even a piece of pumpkin pie with whipped cream! Here’s a good recipe for making blini.


If all of this thinking about Russian cuisine has you hungry, think about registering for the Family Fun Weekend. From February 16-19 in Bemidji, in addition to enjoying outdoor activities, cultural classes, and relaxing in a cozy log cabin, you can feast on delicious Russian cuisine, prepared by our incredible kitchen staff. You can find more information about the program and registration on our site.