Recipe: Leftovers Salad

by | Jan 5, 2013

The East Village is not exactly known for its spacious apartments. As a matter of fact, my building, much like many of the surrounding ones, is a renovated tenement, which once contained large, shared areas, often housing hundreds of residents at a time from the late 1860s through the early 1900s.

When the buildings were renovated, some of the new apartments inside couldn’t hold “normal”-sized items like stoves, refrigerators, and bathtubs, so, in ours, for example, we have a slim stove, an under-cabinet refrigerator and a stall shower.

All of this to say that, when we make a meal at home or order dinner in, we’d better eat everything right quick; otherwise, there’s not much room for us to store leftovers (our freezer is slightly larger than a shoebox). Unfortunately, sometimes we do end up with extras, but they don’t stay in the fridge for very long. When this happens, I clean out whatever leftovers have accumulated and incorporate them in some way into a second meal, usually in a salad, so I’ve named this post’s recipe “Leftovers Salad.”

For today’s salad (served 2), I had some leftover mujadara and string beans that I had made earlier in the week; you can use whatever dinner leftovers you have on hand, be it grilled chicken, shrimp, or even pasta salad.

Part 1

2 c Romaine lettuce, washed* and chopped
2 c kale, washed and chopped

Part 2


Part 3**

2 Tbsp sunflower seeds
1 tomato (plum/Roma, beefsteak, or whatever’s in season or your favorite), chopped
1/3 c pitted olives, any kind, drained, rinsed & chopped

Part 4***

juice of 1/2 lime (acid)
1 tsp Dijon mustard (emulsifier)
1 Tbsp olive oil (oil)
Salt & pepper to taste

Part 5

2 thick slices sourdough bread, grilled or toasted (a whole wheat baguette would work well, too)
4 Tbsp plain hummus

*the best way to wash lettuce/leafy greens is to peel the leaves from the bunch and drop them into a large bowl while running cold water on them, shaking them around and letting dirt fall to the bottom; then, lift out the leaves and place on a dry towel or paper towels

**the sprinkly part can be substituted by whatever goes best with your leftovers; for example, if you were using grilled chicken, you might want to use chopped walnuts and dried cranberries instead of the tomato and olives

***traditionally, a vinaigrette is made of one part acid, three parts oil, and an emulsifier like mustard, garlic, or egg yolk; so, if you’d rather use red wine vinegar instead of the lime juice or canola instead of olive oil, go right ahead

Toss together ingredients from Parts 1 and 2 in a large bowl; sprinkle with ingredients from Part 3.

For the dressing (Part 4), whisk the lime juice and mustard together in a small bowl, while you slowly drizzle in the oil until everything is emulsified (mixed well with no separation). Add salt & pepper to taste and whisk some more. Drizzle lightly over salad mixture. Serve salad up with the grilled bread, each slice topped with 2 Tbsp hummus (Part 5).



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I’m Dina R. D’Alessandro, MS, RDN, CDN. I am a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist based in New York City, and I provide nutrition counseling to women.

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