“Using Up What’s in the Fridge” : Leftovers Salad Recipe

Happy Meatless Monday everyone!


Due to a busy weekend, I didn’t really plan ahead for my meatless Monday like I usually do. So on Sunday when I went to pack myself a lunch for Monday at work, I was stuck staring in the fridge/pantry/freezer looking for answers. Then it came to me – I could make a good, old-fashioned leftovers salad! In the past, I didn’t eat a lot of salads and I never thought of a salad as much more than lettuce with a few other cold veggies – like cucumbers and tomatoes – with some dressing. But a salad can be so much more than that! I’ve started throwing roasted veggies (last week roasted broccoli and sweet potato), hummus, salsa, leftover tabbouleh and much more on top of a salad and it really turns it into a meal. Here’s the basic formula I use:

Start with a green base (i.e. spinach, lettuce, mixed greens, etc). For today’s salad I used leftover romaine.


Usually for the second step you could add some kind of grain, i.e. leftover rice, quinoa, pasta, or whatever you have on hand. But I wanted to pack this all in one container as a cold salad so I skipped this step.

Then add some veggies – and don’t stick to traditional ‘salad veggies’ – that was the rut I was stuck in. Today I went with cucumber because I had some to use up in the fridge (and it’s one of my favorite foods) as well as some leftover roasted sweet potato chunks.


Next add some form of protein – there is a wide variety to choose from here, you could go with beans, canned meat (tuna, salmon, chicken), leftover meat (chicken, steak, you get the idea), or anything else you like. Today, for meatless Monday I went with black beans (yum!) – and they’re so convenient because I always have about 5 different types of canned beans on hand.


Then add a dressing/topping. I was planning on doing a vinaigrette but once I got to this step adding salsa just seemed appropriate. Feel free to do both if the mood strikes you. For this step you can add any dressing you like (preferably homemade, see my post for homemade dressings here) or salsa, hummus, baba ghanoush, or any other dip you have on hand.


Looks delicious! I’m looking forward to lunch today to see how it turned out  And using up leftovers in the fridge is always a priority of mine. Especially since I live alone I always want to try to use up fresh foods in unique ways (so I don’t get bored) before they go bad. Also, I fly out to Orlando this Friday for a Disney vacation with some girlfriends 🙂 and don’t want to leave perfectly good food behind to go bad. So one of my priorities this week is going to be eating up all the available food in my fridge.

Sidebar: I went to X Sport Fitness in Alexandria this past Saturday and tried out a group fitness class called ‘Body Pump’ – wow! It was a weight-lifting class to music, and it was so much fun and an incredible workout. I’m still sore two days later – but that just means I got a good workout in. 🙂 And if it was easy – everyone would do it, right? I let myself have a rest day yesterday but today it’s back to the gym for another 3.1 miles! I did a total of 12.4 last week (over four workouts) so I’m feeling pretty proud of myself. And I signed up for another 5k in June – so I’m doing two that month!

Once again, Happy Monday everyone! Let’s all try to make one new healthy choice this week – because it starts with one small step! 


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