If throwing out perfectly delicious leftover green salad were a crime, I’d be serving a life sentence. It kills me to do it, but until fairly recently, I hadn’t considered that leftover green salad could have a second life, dressed or not. Once tossed, passed, and partially consumed, that’s it, right? Wrong.
Mix the leftover salad in a blender with olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper, and some garlic or herb seasonings and you have the dressing for your next salad. I have done this several times now and the results are quite amazing. You have to try it. Just make sure you keep your seasonings handy.
Turn that leftover green salad into hot vegetable soup: Process the leftover salad in a blender or food processor with 1/2 cup chicken or vegetable stock. Pour into a saucepan, stir in another 1/2 cup stock or the amount needed to create a nice consistency. Heat thoroughly and season with salt and pepper as needed. Serve garnished with sour cream and a sprinkling of chopped fresh herbs like basil, chives, or parsley.
Put an egg on it
Sometimes, if the salad is robust enough to do so, you can quickly fry the leftovers in a little extra-virgin olive oil, then top the whole thing off with a fried egg. Just like that, you have a hearty lunch or light dinner.
When in doubt, put a fried egg on it.
Add to soup
Ina Garten, the popular TV cook, blends leftover green salad all together and adds it to her hot soups. The greens and vinegar add great flavor. Make sure you adjust the seasonings. And a dash of cream to finish can’t hurt, either!
Blend it with V8 Juice to create a thick gazpacho (a cold Spanish/Portuguese tomato-based raw vegetable soup). Add a little hot sauce and serve with chips for an appetizer. Extend it even further with the addition of red pepper and cucumber. Seriously tasty, however, it will vary depending on the contents of the leftover salad you start with.
Turning a salad into a frittata is perhaps my very favorite way of embracing leftovers—both salad and otherwise.
So how do you make a great frittata every time without always using a recipe? The answer is a specific ratio. For every six eggs, use 1/4 cup heavy cream, 1 cup cheese, and 2 cups total of vegetables (that green salad!) and or meat. This will get you a frittata with a hearty filling—especially if you’re using something like potatoes, bacon, and cheese. You’ll find a terrific “frittata how-to” at TheKitchn.
Don’t leave me now. This may sound gross, but you have to give it a try! Make a grilled cheese sandwich with your favorite kind of melty cheese. Load in some of that delicious leftover salad right there in the middle with the cheese! Yes, it’s going to get hot along with the cheese and that’s what makes it oh so good!
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If your leftover salad began with raw greens and you tossed it with oil and vinegar, you still have a great option for how to repurpose that salad the next day. Flash-fry those greens in a pan on the stovetop. Sauté until the greens just collapse a bit and whatever else was in the salad is heated through, and you’re good to go.
Or toss the sauteed vegetables with rice to create a beautiful side dish. You may want to adjust the seasonings, and even add a bit of lemon juice to brighten the flavors.