Salads are great vehicles for using up odds and ends; you rarely need exact volumes of foods, you usually don’t need heat and it’s easy to adjust based on what you have on hand.
To help your next kitchen-clear-out expedition, we’ve rounded up some highly flexible recipes from food bloggers across the saladsphere. Use them as jumping off points and customize at will! And remember that items lurking in your cabinets and fridge that might not immediately scream “salad” can be great add-ons. Think canned or dried fruit, nuts, olives, beans, pickles, cheese, dips, edamame and frozen veggies. You can also look to odds and end that you might not typically eat, like the greens from carrots, beets or radishes; or pickle juice, which is great in dressings.
Thanks to the featured blogs for sharing their photos!
Let quinoa be a bed for whatever fresh veggies you need to use up. Tomato, cucumber, onion and fresh herbs usually feature in this dish, but honestly, whatever veggies you have will be great. You could even top with an overeasy egg to make it a filling meal. While the flavor profile will change, you could also experiment with onion and garlic powder and dried herbs. Head over to Babaganosh.org for a recipe for a quick lemon dressing.
Whip up Be Brave and Bloom‘s peanut sauce and then drizzle it over whatever you need to use up. Recipe developer Cindy goes for zucchini noodles in this recipe, but any type of noodle, pasta or rice could work. Leftover chicken or scrambled eggs are at home in this salad, as are colorful veggies ranging from red peppers to broccoli. Even the sauce can help you use up some odds and ends — have ketchup or honey or extra ginger or the last drips of oil to use up? In they go!
“As long as you have the rice and dressing,” writes Abi of Very Veganish, “you can use all kinds of vegetables, fruit (mandarin oranges are delicious in poke bowls!), and proteins in this vegan poke bowl.” Abi goes for shredded cabbage, sautéed asparagus and shredded carrot, but the options are as varied as whatever might be in your fridge.
Sweet potatoes, mushrooms, avocado and canned chickpeas? They’re all welcome, along with any other fridge, freezer or pantry dwelling friends, to this Vegan Protein Bowl by Epic Vegan Eats. The recipe calls for a tofu sour cream dressing, but if you have sour cream or mayo on hand, we’re betting you could whip it with a little water and some garlic powder for a satisfying sauce.
Shelf stable items like tuna, pasta, olives and chick peas come together in this salad with a straightforward oil and vinegar dressing. Stray fresh veggies like bell pepper, tomato, and carrots help round things out. “This protein packed salad can be made exactly how you like or with what you have on hand,” writes Christina with Christina’s Cucina.