10 Minute Leftover Lunch Salad Recipe Idea

By on 3/12/2013 12:06:00 PM

What do I serve for lunch on Saturdays (and sometimes Meatless Mondays) here in our corner of the world?  I clean out our refrigerator’s vegetable drawers and raid the pantry to toss together a leftover lunch salad that serves triple duty:  it uses up odds and ends of fresh veggies so that they don’t go to waste, it lets my girls build their own, unique, lunchtime salad creations from random leftovers and it is healthy!  Let me share my tips and a few ideas for a 10 minute leftover lunch salad recipe.

Ingredients for a quick salad from leftovers:
Salad Greens

  • 2 c. Salad Greens
I mix up all of my leftover greens for this!  Fresh spinach, head lettuce, spring mix, romaine leaves--anything green and leafy finds itself trimmed chopped and tossed together!

Fruit & Fresh Veggie Add-Ins   
This is where I clean out the veggie crisper!  Everything goes unless it’s been marked for another meal!

  • Chopped onions (Green, red, yellow, or white)
  • Chopped Bell Peppers (Any color)
  • Celery or Bok Choy
  • Carrots
  • Mushrooms
  • Radishes
  • Tomatoes (any size, color, type)
  • Veggie Randomness (Chopped asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, snow peas, corn, etc.)
  • Dried Fruit (Raisins, Dried Apricots, Craisins, etc.)
  • Fresh Fruit Randomness (Grapes, Pomegranate seeds, Mango, etc.)
Remember--two to three large mushrooms, one stalk of bok choy, 2 Tablespoons of Pomegranate seeds, or one radish work well in 4-5 lunch salads as add-ins!  Chop it up, set it out and see what goes!

A Protein

  • Leftover Meat (Grilled chicken, grilled fish, deli sliced turkey or ham, etc.)
  • Shredded Cheese 
  • Garbanzo Beans, Black Beans
  • Boiled Eggs (I actually boil extras during the week just for this purpose!)
  • Avocado slices
  • Tofu
  • Nuts
Pantry Add-Ins

  • Banana Peppers
  • Jalapenos
  • Black Olives
  • Salsa
  • Croutons (either homemade from old bread or packaged)
  • Salad Dressing
Instructions for a 10 Minute Leftover Lunch Salad:
Chop the ingredients to bite sized pieces.  Chop up leftover ingredients so that everyone can toss them into an individual salad--or chop up enough to add into one large salad bowl.

Build the lunch salads from leftovers.  I typically build a salad base of leftover greens--and put out bowls and cutting boards of add-ins so that everyone can build an individual salad.  As always, my younger daughters are more likely to eat a veggie based lunch if they are able to pick and choose their own ingredients for the lunch.  If your family is easier to please--you may choose to build the salads yourself in one large salad bowl.

Serve.  We serve with breadsticks or garlic bread and a selection of both store bought and homemade salad dressings.

Sometimes this is the perfect mom-lunch as well!  I can pick and choose my ingredients and use up "stray" veggies throughout the week--and eat healthier without a lot of time and effort.  And--it makes a great Meatless Monday Lunch too since you can choose the protein from non-meat items on hand!

About Angela

Angela is a freelance travel writer and lifestyle blogger, blessed with 3 beautiful daughters, 5 moody cats, 1 spoiled dog, and 1 very supportive husband.


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  3. What a great idea. i love having salads at work because they're light & they don't make me want to pass out at my desk on a pile of files. I'm a new follower through Twitter & Pinterest. Have a great weekend!