Anne asked me for ways to use up leftover roast chicken and let’s just say I do as people named Anne ask. Last week I wrote about Lemon Garlic Spinach Alfredo and this week I’m using leftover chicken the lazy way: in a salad.
Besides the obvious chicken salad, I love to use any chicken I have leftover from roasting chicken or supermarket rotisserie in a Chinese Chicken Salad. Of course, this salad is about as Chinese as Taco Bell is Mexican food, but I keep the moniker because so many people are familiar with this type of salad based on its names. You can find it in all sorts of restaurants up and down California, and I’m betting across America as well.
Salads like these always have some sort of delicious sesame dressing, and they are probably not all that hard to make, but once I tasted Feast From The East’s Sesame Dressing I’ve never been without some in my fridge. Chinese Chicken Salad is a quick dinner to put together on a busy night, so a bottled dressing has the ease I’m looking for anyway.
This salad can be completely customized to your tastes, and if I don’t have roast chicken on hand I often eat it with hard boiled eggs. It’s also a great way to encourage your household to eat more greens.
Greens and Vegetables:
- purple cabbage
- scallions, sliced
- snow peas
- bean sprouts
- red onion
- red bell pepper
- chili, if you prefer
- sliced or slivered toasted almonds
- Mandarin orange slices
- won ton strips
- sesame seeds
- crispy noodles
- Sesame dressing
- Cooked chicken
– Nuts can be dry toasted in a warm pan on the stove or on a try in the toaster oven or regular oven. Toasting them in the pan is the preferred method by far, as you can keep a close eye on them to prevent scorching and it’s easier to shake the pan around every once in awhile. Use medium heat and toast until golden brown and fragrant.
– Wash, dry and mix greens if necessary (for me it’s worth it to just use a pre-washed bag from the grocery store) and place in a large bowl. Slice vegetables as necessary and toss to mix with greens.
– At this point you need to decide if you want to dress your greens or leave that up to the individual. I tend to leave it plain so we can control how much dressing we want. This is also useful if you don’t eat the whole salad right away because your greens and veg will stay perky and fresh until its time for more.
– Leave the chicken separate and let each person add it to the salad themselves. As with the dressing it allows people to get exactly how much they want, but it also conserves the rest of the chicken should you want to make Lemon Spinach Garlic Alfredo, or some other dish, the next day. I don’t bother to heat my chicken up; I use it either cold, straight from the fridge, or brought to room temperature.
– Add as many optional extras as you like. I personally wouldn’t add both kinds of nuts at the same time, but really, you can’t go wrong. As is the case with dinner salads, I usually have to have two helpings to feel full, but this is so delicious, I don’t mind.