This Saturday (around lunchtime), I desperately needed a fridge cleanup. We had veggies in the refrigerator that I knew would not last the entire week, and we also had bits of leftovers from dinners this last week. For example, my spouse and I had grilled up some chicken and eggplant earlier in the week, but there simply wasn’t much left for us to split.
I thought—you know what? I’ll throw some Mediterranean veggies in with these two base ingredients. The resulting salad not only ended up being delicious, but these leftovers transformed into two pretty satisfying salads for a Saturday lunch.
Here’s what I did. I looked through the fridge. We had a little bit of salad mix, a cucumber, tomatoes, leftover grilled chicken (like a ¾ of a breast), and some grilled eggplant. I also found some Kalamata olives, almond slivers, basil, raisins, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar in my pantry. These ingredients make a really nice, mayo-free chicken salad!
A quick note: this became a “chicken” salad, but really the stars of the salad were the veggies. Their flavors really brought out the Mediterranean feel of the dish. You don’t need that much meat to enjoy lunch—a little can go a long way if you add flavorful veggies.
First, I took the sliced almonds and started slowly roasting them in my toaster oven at 250 degrees.
While the almonds were toasting, I chopped up the veggies and chicken into bite-sized pieces. This made the salad more interesting and fun when each bite has a little bit of a different flavor. Once the veggies were chopped, I turned off the toaster oven (my almonds were a light golden brown).
Then, I whisked together my simple dressing ingredients: olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
I moved all of the chopped ingredients in a mixing bowl and gently mixed with a big wooden spoon. Then, I added the dressing to the mixture. I topped it with those crunchy, toasted almond slivers and chopped basil.
Then, I put the little bit of salad greens I had left in the fridge to the bottom of a salad bowl. I topped the greens with the veggies (tossed in dressing) and added this mixture to it to some salad mix. Here’s what it ended up looking like:
Cleanup (also very important on a busy Saturday) was minimal. I just sprayed the area with a homemade green cleaner, and loaded the rest of the dishes in the dishwasher. And, I got a two-fer out of this salad—it helped me clean out the fridge without having to throw food away!
Here’s the final recipe:
For the salad:
¼ cup Kalamata olives
½ cup grilled eggplant, chopped into ½ inch chunks
1 cup chopped chicken
1 medium cucumber, sliced into quarters
¼ cup sliced almonds, toasted at 250 degrees for 5-7 minutes or until golden brown
1 tablespoon basil, chopped
¼ cup raisins
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
For the dressing:
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
¼ cup olive oil
Mix all salad ingredients together in a medium mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk the balsamic vinegar and olive oil together. Add the dressing to the medium mixing bowl.
In a salad bowl, add greens. Top greens with the chicken salad mixture and enjoy!
Have you ever made the best of a fridge cleanup? Let me know by commenting below! And, try this salad and let me know what you think!
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