We all know leftovers are one of the great things about Thanksgiving, and those of us enjoying a full vegan meal tomorrow are, if anything, more excited than most about the distinctive fall flavors we’ll get to savor throughout this holiday weekend.

But in order to do so, experienced vegans know to plan ahead.

“I make multiple batches of everything so that we can enjoy it for days after,” said Nancy Eaton of Bethel. Her vegan Thanksgiving menu includes a roast she makes with tofu and fills with stuffing, and serves alongside mashed potatoes, butternut squash, turnips and vegan gravy. She’s also hoping for leftover vegan cheesecake and pumpkin pie.

Making extra, as Eaton does, is key to having vegan leftovers. Otherwise, as Erika Ewers of Standish points out, “there’s no such thing as vegan leftovers, because they taste amazing” and get gobbled up during the holiday meal by “vegans and omnivores alike.”

Vegan dishes tend to be popular at my Thanksgiving, so I always roast a double batch of pumpkin seed croquettes to ensure leftovers. I also like to make extra cranberry sauce, vegan gravy, mashed potatoes and pie – all holiday foods I want to enjoy more than once.

Maine native Kelly Caiazzo, who grew up in Gorham and now lives in Wellesley, Massachusetts, told me one of the hurdles on the way to vegan leftovers is the small size of store-bought vegan roasts.

“My family of four will eat an entire Field Roast Celebration Roast on Thanksgiving,” Caiazzo said, leaving nothing for the next day if they only make one.

Anyone keen to make a vegan turkey sandwich after Thanksgiving must either cook an extra plant-based roast (or two) or stock the refrigerator with vegan turkey slices.

Kacie Simpson of Lewiston buys Tofurky deli slices ahead of the holiday, and then after Thanksgiving she uses the vegan lunch meat in submarine rolls along with leftover mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce and gravy. She warms the subs in the oven before serving the sandwiches.

At Bethany Mulkern’s house in Old Orchard Beach, it is slices of leftover lentil loaf that fill day-after-Thanksgiving sandwiches. She fries each slice in a skillet and then places it between sturdy bread with vegan mayo and cranberry sauce.

Chef Tony DiPhillipo takes a similar tack at his Portland home.

“We always make a big veggie roast and eat about half of it,” said DiPhillipo, who owns the Totally Awesome Vegan Food Truck. “For the next few days, we fry up thin slices of it to put on sandwiches with apples, craisins, spinach, and cranberry vinaigrette.”

Using vegan wonton wrappers, Heather Dexter of Windham makes mini Thanksgiving egg rolls.

“On a flat wonton wrapper,” Dexter said, “I put cold mashed potatoes, cold stuffing, cold vegan turkey” and cranberry sauce.

She shapes them to resemble tiny egg rolls, deep fries the rolls until golden brown and crispy, and serves them with warm vegan gravy for dipping. She puts the same filling in hand pies, made with pastry dough and baked rather than fried.

Ashley Carter of Franklin takes extra vegan stuffing, oils up her waffle iron and makes stuffing waffles. She warms leftover gravy and cranberry sauce to top the savory meal.

With multiple vegan family members, Mary Giknis of Kennebunkport has invented new plant-based customs to replace older animal-based traditions at the Thanksgiving she hosts. One of her favorite additions is a turkey she sculpts from fruits and vegetables. “I just copy something from Pinterest,” Giknis said of her inspiration.

She uses it to brighten the Thanksgiving table, then, the leftover fruit becomes the next day’s smoothie and the leftover vegetables are either roasted or turned into soup for an easy lunch or dinner.

Caiazzo, whose family eats all the vegan roast on Thanksgiving, looks forward to leftovers of her favorite vegan green bean casserole, made from the recipe in Isa Chandra Moskowitz’ “The Superfun Times Vegan Holiday Cookbook.” She also likes to transform leftover sweet potatoes and cranberry sauce into vegan cookbook author and blogger Kathy Patalsky’s recipe for Sweet’n Sassy sweet potato pockets.

Of all the Thanksgiving remains, Susan Harrison said the shepherd’s pie is always the first leftover to go at her home in Portland. (Shepherd’s pie is also a popular dish to make from other leftovers; extra mashed potatoes make up the top layer and leftover vegetables, stuffing or plant-based meat go underneath.)

Another one of Harrison’s favorites, and mine, is leftover mashed potatoes. “If the mashed potatoes are vegan,” Harrison said, “jazz them up with some onions, herbs or whatever. Make them into thickish pancakes and fry.”

I fry my mashed potato pancakes until they develop a golden brown crust on each side, which takes some careful watching, a spatula with a beveled edge and roughly 3 to 4 minutes per side. After I’ve put about 1 cup of mashed potatoes on a hot and lightly oiled cast iron frying pan, I add a spoonful or 2 of frozen peas to the top and then sprinkle generously with curry powder. I press both into the potatoes, and then when I flip the pancake the peas steam next to the heat source and I sprinkle more curry powder on the other side.

I serve the pancakes with a liberal drizzle of Thirty Acre Farm’s Red Riot hot sauce.

Carlie Knight of Friendship may use one of the simplest techniques for repurposing leftovers. She takes leftover vegetables such as roasted potatoes, carrots, squash and onions and sautés them into a Thanksgiving hash, which she serves with stuffing and cranberry sauce.

Prepared like this, Knight told me, “Really just any leftovers you have are great.”

Avery Yale Kamila is a food writer who lives in Portland. She can be reached at:

[email protected]

Twitter: AveryYaleKamila

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