Using Leftovers: Healthy Chicken Salad

chicken-leftovers-fresh-saladI made roast chicken breasts last night for dinner and ended up with one and a half chicken breasts left over. I like to use my leftovers but there wasn’t quite enough chicken to make a full meal of chicken and veg again so I had to get my thinking cap on.

My first thought was just to make a creamy pasta sauce, chop up the leftover chicken into pieces and stick it in the sauce with some vegetables and that would be dinner sorted. But I’m trying to eat healthy after the festive period so no creamy pasta sauces for me. Then I thought I could make some chicken fajitas, but again I like to add sour cream and cheese to my fajitas, which isn’t very healthy either. So other than a boring chicken salad, was there anything else I could do with these leftover chicken breasts?

But why does a chicken salad have to be boring? I looked in my fridge to see what I had. I had some avocados, some lettuce, tomatoes, red and orange peppers, fresh mint, olives, cottage cheese and low fat yoghurt. Ok I think I can do something with this. So here’s what I made:

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 leftover chicken breasts (it goes without saying that any leftover meat will do)
  • 2 small ripe avocados
  • Lettuce (romaine and iceberg) 
  • 1/4 red & orange pepper
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Greek Kalamata Olives
  • Fresh mint

I first washed and chopped all my lettuce and put that in a large salad bowl. I then chopped up my leftover chicken breasts into bite-size pieces and added that to my bowl. I chopped the avocado into large pieces so it wouldn’t get too squashed mixed in with all the other ingredients in my salad. Before adding the avocado to my salad, I placed it in a bowl and squeezed some lemon juice over it- that stops the avocado from turning brown. I added this to the bowl and threw in about 8 black Kalamata olives. Chopped the peppers into small pieces and the cherry tomatoes in half and added those in too. It’s looking good so far…

Now for the dressing:

  • 5 tablespoons of low fat yoghurt
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon Mustard
  • 1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Lemon juice from half a large lemon
  • Salt & pepper to taste

This makes for quite a large batch of salad dressing so I put it all into a nice Tupperware beaker so I could store some for later use. Put all the ingredients in an air tight container and shake well until it’s a thick creamy consistency. Make sure to taste it and adjust the ingredients to your liking. I love mustard so the taste of it agrees with me, but if it’s too strong, just add some more yoghurt or olive oil.

I then chopped up some mint leaves and added those into my salad, added my salad dressing and VOILA! A really filling and healthy salad made with leftover chicken and whatever else was in my fridge at the time. I even had leftovers to take to work the next day- now that’s frugal living!

Obviously you can change this recipe depending on what’s in YOUR fridge, but sometimes it helps to get inspiration from others.

Enjoy!

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