15 Post-Holiday Meals to Get You Back on Track

chicken with red peppers and tomatoes served over quinoa
Photo: Buckwheat Queen

After counting down the days to a holiday meal, eating your fill of food, and sleeping it off, the unexpected happens: You wake up ready to swear off rich food for good (or until the next holiday). Before you even think about depriving yourself, take a minute to browse this list of lighter, fresher but still-filling recipes to enjoy after you indulge. Our post-holiday recipe picks include shrimp pasta, chicken curry, chicken cacciatore, soups, and stuffed bell peppers.

01 of 16

Indian Chicken Curry (Murgh Kari)

chicken with curry seasoning and sauce over rice with naan bread on an orange plate

Cooked in a tomato-yogurt sauce full of warming spices, our Indian Chicken Curry (Murgh Kari) tastes comforting on cold nights, but you'll want to make it all year.

02 of 16

Spaghetti Diablo with Shrimp

shrimp with whole grain spaghetti and vegetables

A subtly tangy tomato sauce with bell peppers, white wine, and herbs coats shrimp and whole-wheat spaghetti in this healthy pasta recipe. Though the sauce calls for two hours on the stove, it's mostly hands-off time and totally worth it for the homemade taste.

03 of 16

Bratwurst Soup

soup with vegetables and Bratwurst sausage in a pot on the stove

This hearty Bratwurst Soup packs in carrots, celery, canned diced tomatoes, spinach, and cannellini beans. If the weather doesn't permit you to char the sausage on the outdoor grill first, reviewers say you can cook them on the skillet as well.

04 of 16

Spicy Italian Pork Cutlets

pork cutlet with spicy red sauce on top served with green peas and sweet potatoes

"This was amazing. The pork chops were so tender and the sauce had such an amazing flavor," says home cook Mandy L. "I was hesitant on adding the red pepper flakes because my boys are so young but I added them anyway and they do not overpower the dish at all. Every flavor compliments one another nicely without any being overpowering."

05 of 16

Chicken Sweet Potato Skillet

Chicken Sweet Potato Skillet on the stove

This one-skillet dinner of chicken breast, sweet potatoes, pears, spinach, toasted hazelnuts, and sage boasts an excellent balance of flavors and nutrients.

06 of 16

Beef and Rice Stuffed Bell Peppers

Beef and Rice Stuffed Bell Peppers on a white plate

When you're pressed for time, you can prep these peppers the night before you're ready to eat them. Reviewers have made them their own with substitutions like brown rice, ground turkey, and pepper jack cheese.

07 of 16

Carrot, Tomato, and Spinach Quinoa Pilaf with Ground Turkey

quinoa, black bean, and ground turkey dish with tomatoes and sour cream on a turquoise color plate
Linda T

With ground turkey, black beans, and quinoa, this skillet dinner tastes hearty but not heavy. Double the carrots and spinach for a more veggie-forward meal, says Allrecipes Allstar Linda T.

08 of 16

Grilled Peanut Chicken

Grilled Peanut Chicken
chibi chef

This simple 30-minute meal calls for a few pantry staples—peanut butter, soy sauce, curry powder, and cayenne pepper—as well as fresh lime and garlic.

09 of 16

Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie II

shepherds pie with lentils

Comforting shepherd's pie gets a meatless makeover with lentils, barley, and walnuts, which give the dish a nice chew. Reviewers say meat eaters enjoy it, too.

10 of 16

Healthy Turmeric Chicken Stew

colorful chicken stew with vegetables
Buckwheat Queen

"This is so, so, so, good. Even the people in my house who don't like sweet potatoes liked this. It's so easy to throw together, it's a perfect work night meal. Leftovers heat up beautifully the next day. I would suggest using a bit more broth than written, as it incorporates quickly and you'll want that liquid later, especially if you serve it over rice or couscous," Allrecipes Allstar Buckwheat Queen says of this one-skillet stew. "I served it over cauliflower couscous."

11 of 16

Orange Ginger Shrimp Stir-Fry

Orange Ginger Shrimp Stir-Fry
Mark Ewing Du Plessis

Orange zest, orange juice, and minced fresh ginger give this stir-fry a zippy flavor that's a welcome change from indulgent holiday fare. "You can substitute the vegetables for your preference and seasons," recipe contributor Starrett72 says. Serve it over rice or noodles.

12 of 16

Moroccan Lentil Soup with Veggies

pot of soup on the stove
Dawna Dean Countryman

"My family and I have been trying to eat healthy, so I started adding veggies to all my soups. This recipe is easy to make, fun, and delicious," recipe contributor Sassy Moroccan says. "You can modify it in many ways; add your own favorite cooking oil, as well as your own greens. Serve with toasted rosemary bread."

13 of 16

Easy Chicken Cacciatore

chicken in tomato sauce with vegetables in a pot

Tomatoes, green bell pepper, onion, and green beans bulk up this Italian-inspired chicken dish, which takes just five minutes to prep and 15 minutes to cook in a large skillet.

14 of 16

Whole-Family Pasta with Broccoli and Cauliflower


Cannellini beans add protein and fiber to this family-friendly veggie pasta. "Picky kids loved this, especially with cheese on top," home cook nycmom says. "Easy midweek dinner!"

15 of 16

Kadai Chicken

chicken with red peppers and tomatoes served over quinoa
Buckwheat Queen

You just need four ingredients and 30 minutes to have this Indian-inspired chicken dish on the table. "This is as good as it is easy. I served it over some quinoa," Allrecipes Allstar Buckwheat Queen says.

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