This is my FAVORITE restaurant salad–well, my rendition of it, anyway! I usually make it when I have leftover chicken, but leftover turkey works well, too. Packed with flavor and various textures, it is a satisfying yet healthy meal, especially perfect amidst the overindulgences of the holidays!
This meal is also an excellent example of how I stretch and repurpose leftovers. As much as I like to cook, life gets busy and this approach helps me get a meal on the table most nights. With this recipe, I often start with a Slow Roasted Whole Chicken or Slow Cooker Turkey Breast. A rotisserie chicken works well, too. Enjoy the quesadillas one evening with a simple green veggie; make extras and warm in the oven or toaster oven to serve with the Southwestern Quesadilla Salad the next night. The black bean salsa may also be made ahead and used another night as a topping on Baked Tilapia or your favorite fish, even grilled chicken or steak. (Delicious as a dip for my homemade version of ” Hint of Lime” tortilla chips, too!) The ranch dressing is perfect on a basic green salad, as a dip for your favorite veggies, and even in my Baked Cheddar Broccoli Rice Cups. You get the idea!
All these recipes might sound like a lot of time in the kitchen, but the components may be prepared ahead, will last for several days or more in your fridge, and incorporate basic pantry ingredients. The actual meals are hands-off slow cooking options or quick throw-together dishes that are wholesome, taste great and might even reward you with more leftovers!
For all the recipes I mention above, simply click on the highlighted words to see them.
- Mixed greens, romaine or lettuce of choice
- Grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
- Black bean salsa
- Ranch dressing (your favorite store-bought or my healthier homemade)
- Whole Wheat Cheddar Chicken Quesadillas (may sub gluten-free tortillas if needed)
- Optional garnishes: avocado, chopped cilantro, salsa, black olives
Lightly toss lettuce with ranch dressing.
Top with black bean salsa, tomatoes and optional garnishes.
Place a few wedges of quesadilla around the edges and enjoy!