Top 3 Favorite Salads

Growing up if my mom announced that "must-go's" aka leftovers were for dinner, my sister and I usually groaned because variety is the spice life, right? Nowadays, I realize must-go's are a handy part of a your kitchen arsenal. Not to mention I’ve really come to dislike food waste. Must-go's can also refer to soon to expire items. In my case, must-go's inspired me to put together three different, easy to assemble salads with leftovers from my fridge. I'm going to list the combinations I used, but feel free to swap for whatever you have on hand. 

BLT Inspired Salad - My must-go item was bacon because I bought two packs a couple weeks prior and only used one for a brunch party. Side note: place bacon in a single layer, do not overlap, on foil covered pans and bake at 400 degrees for about 15-20 minutes. 

  • Greens: spinach
  • Veggies: chopped mini sweet peppers, diced cucumber, grape tomatoes, fire roasted corn (many brands make a frozen kind that I love to use when fresh corn on the cob isn't available)
  • Protein: bacon (cooled and broken into pieces) and quinoa (cooked in veggie or chicken broth and cooled)
  • Cheese: crumbled goat cheese
  • Other toppings: diced avocado, roasted and salted sunflower seed kernels
  • Dressing: poppyseed or basil vinaigrette 
Color + texture + sweet + savory = the best combo!

Color + texture + sweet + savory = the best combo!

Herb Tilapia Salad - I made the herb tilapia for another meal and served with our favorite sides of roasted sweet potatoes and roasted broccoli. I had a couple leftover pieces that I threw on this salad. Serve the fish cold, I promise. When I pack it for lunch, I put the dressing on the bottom with the cucumber then pile on the spinach and lay the fish on top. Shake it up when ready to eat!

  • Greens: spinach
  • Veggies: marinated cucumber, I like this recipe 
  • Protein: herb tilapia (or any flaky white fish; mix any fresh herbs - I used parsley and cilantro - with a little mayo, shredded Asiago cheese plus salt and pepper, and spread a thin layer of this mixture onto the fish. Bake at 450 degrees for 10-13 min or until cooked through.)
  • Dressing: poppyseed (can go lighter here because the cucumber marinade liquid serves as a dressing, too. Yum.) 
  • On the side: I love pairing this salad with Pepper Jack Nut Thins crackers
This is rockfish that I got on sale at the grocery store. Use any flaky white fish like cod or snapper.

This is rockfish that I got on sale at the grocery store. Use any flaky white fish like cod or snapper.

Pesto Salmon Salad - For this salad, I used three leftovers: pesto salmon - same deal as the tilapia, I made the salmon as a part of another meal with roasted zucchini, as well as the forbidden rice which I made a big batch for my Shrimp and Fruit Salsa Rice Bowl. I enjoy this salad with all of the components served cold.

  • Greens: baby kale
  • Veggies: grape tomatoes, roasted or grilled zucchini
  • Protein: pesto salmon (brush salmon with your favorite pesto; bake at 425 degrees for about 13 min)
  • Other toppings: roasted Marcona almonds (prefer these in salads for their softer texture) or roasted chopped almonds, forbidden rice (cooled) or seasoned wild rice
  • Dressing: pesto mixed with a little red wine vinaigrette (if desired, I found that the natural oil from the salmon mixed with the pesto already on the fish coats the salad a decent amount) 

I hope these three tasty salads give you a new way to make your salad more exciting and to encourage you to look in your fridge for leftover inspiration.