However, the salads I made do bring up the problem of how to handle leftover salad, so that’s the topic of today’s post, after the grocery list.
Canning jar lids, $1.78
Steel-cut oats, $2.79
Orange juice, $2.00
Total with tax: $17.53
Coffee beans, $9.99
red onion, $1.21
Sweet potatoes, $6.25
Kale and chard, $6.00
aged cheddar, $4.03
Total with tax: $37.03
Grand Total: $54.56
Are there sadder words in the English language? Let’s face it, leftover salad is just depressing. It’s one thing when the greens are all crisp and newly dressed, and another thing to be pulling a soggy mess out of the fridge the next day. I pretty much used to just throw away any salad that couldn’t be eaten immediately (which is why I rarely had it except at dinner parties.) But one of the cool things about this challenge for me is that I’ve been getting more creative in the kitchen, repurposing things I once would have thrown out in ways I wouldn’t necessarily have thought of before.
One way to success — and by far the best way if you’re using delicate greens like young lettuces — is to only dress individual portions of greens, and not to put anything in the salad that is too liquid-y (leave the cut tomatoes out of it, that kind of thing.) Then you can seal up the leftovers in a heavy ziploc bag and dress the rest on the next day or three.
However, my favorite new way to deal with leftover salad is to cook it. Yup.
So crazy it just might work: sauteeing your salad
It turns out this works really well with sturdier greens: kale, chard, even the arugula I bought. That’s one key. The other is to use an olive-oil based dressing. I don’t know for sure that this wouldn’t work with a creamy dressing, but I haven’t tried it and I’m skeptical. Anyway, if your salad begins with raw greens that have been shredded, and you then toss them with oil and vinegar or lemon juice, then the next evening, it is beyond simple to flash-cook them in a pan on the stovetop — the oil base is all ready to go, after all! Just saute until the greens collapse a bit and whatever else was in the salad is heated through, and you’re good to go. You can either eat it as a side dish, or toss the now-cooked greens with pasta or rice and maybe a protein source to make a main dish. If you used lemon juice in your dressing and want that flavor back, you’ll probably want to squeeze a bit more on at the end because citrus doesn’t hold up well to cooking.
The mention of protein reminds me that I should say: this also works best if you haven’t put cheese in your salad 🙂 It has a tendency to melt and stick to the pan rather than to your salad. That said, if you have cheese crumbles tossed in your salad already, if you use a nonstick pan, the cheese will still melt and crisp, but it’ll be easy to get off the pan and onto your plate where it belongs. Mmmmmmm.
Any other awesome ideas for leftover salad? Please comment with them!