This leftover roast chicken salad is made from the components of my roast chicken + paprika root vegetable recipe. Slices of leftover roast chicken, brussels sprouts, rutabaga, and beets tossed with julienned green apple, arugula, and a creamy tahini dressing.
Last week I posted a recipe for roasted chicken with paprika root vegetables. And it was easy and lovely. But the next day, I had a little less than half a chicken and a bunch of roasted vegetables leftover. I knew right away that I would reuse leftovers for lunch the next day in a salad. Because salads for lunch are easy and it’s just what I do everyday to get all my veg in. I find that if I eat a super healthy breakfast, lunch, and snack, then I don’t worry much about what I eat for dinner.
SPEAKING OF EATING HEALTHY
Only a handful of people I chat with regularly or begrudgingly share a living space with, know that I have been pretty hard core about health and fitness lately. And maybe I should just keep talking about salad, but I kind of want to talk about this right now. So I’m going to, because it’s my blog.
I have been hesitant to share my “health” journey because it’s something I feel very tied up about. Learning to love my body the way it is has been a very hard, healing course. I, like basically all other women in western culture and some of you men, lived my entire life hating my body. Like HATING it. And so, as a result, it has been rare for me to not be on a diet, or a new health kick, or trying a new workout plan.
HERE’S WHAT CHANGED
Within the past year, I decided that I didn’t want to hate my body anymore. I chose to see beauty in a different light and to embrace every nook and cranny of my body. I listened to a podcast featuring stories of women who “came out of the closet” as fat. As a non-fat person who always saw myself as fat, these stories were illuminating. One in particular that really changed my perspective was a story of a woman who lost a TON of weight, but longed and ached to be the person she was when she was fat. She was a better person, a kinder more compassionate person, but had built a life, a marriage and job on television, with this new body that she knew would not have happened in her old body. She sustained a drug addiction in order to maintain a trim figure.
These stories changed me. I tried to stop thinking about myself and people in terms of their body mass. The counting and the regimens went out the window. I even started eating meat. Eating healthy was still a priority and I still did my best to exercise (but mainly because I love endorphins). I ate whole foods, because in my opinion, when you maintain a diet of whole foods, you realized how much tastier they are than processed food.
LOVING YOUR BODY + WANTING TO CHANGE IT?
So now, I am in a weird space. A space where I love my body the way it is. I like wearing crop tops. Wearing a bikini to the beach and letting the pudge run free feels good. I am and have been a healthy person, but I also know that the extra pudge I carry in my stomach is a health risk. As I age, this pudge is just going to grow if I don’t stay on top of it. I want to be around and able to help my family as long as I can. How do you talk to people about wanting to lose weight when you are also ok with your body? And, I love other peoples bodies and don’t want them to change if it’s not what they want. It feels like a conflict of interest. It’s weird.
Despite my philosophical weariness, I began focusing on health and fitness. In the beginning, it sucked hard. Mainly, because it brought back a lot of my old feelings of self hatred and comparing myself to others (but also, I was kinda hungry). But I recalibrated my thoughts as I went. I decided to only count the number of servings of vegetables I eat in a day (4) and the number of glasses of water I drink (8) while making mindful, meaningful food decisions. That’s it.
Once a week, I indulge. I eat those tacos with chorizo. Order an extra glass of wine. I am kind to myself. I workout 5-6 times a week and I focus on how it makes me feel, how it balances my mind, and how it gives to my spirit. Also, ENDORPHINS!!! The feeling of growing stronger is a feeling I love. Chasing after these things and fostering the light that is inside me is what I want out of a healthful life, not a number on the scale.
BODY POSITIVITY + RECIPE DEVELOPMENT
The recipes I create for POP KITCHEN, like this leftover roast chicken salad, are designed for that feel good, whole-food satiation. Food that gives to your body. Yes, you will see a couple recipes that are indulgences. Because indulging once in a while is part of my personal health philosophy. And once again, this is my blog. I want to teach people the joy of eating real food and how cooking is actually fun, something you CAN do. Especially with some good music and a glass of wine. Loving your body means eating nourishing food and having fun doing it.
I hope that this rant was giving to you and not just a rant. If you have any questions or thoughts about body positivity, healthy eating, or your health journey, etc, I would love to chat with you. Write me a message in my contact page or leave a comment below.
AND NOW, LEFTOVER ROAST CHICKEN SALAD
So this recipe is obviously easy and needs little instruction because it’s made out of leftovers. The only work you need to do is cut up an apple and stir a couple ingredients together for the dressing. Leftover roast chicken salad is a great lunch to bring to the office because it will keep really well as long as you keep the dressing separate from your salad.
The tahini dressing is made up of some of the leftover roasted garlic from the roast chicken recipe that I mentioned saving (don’t worry if you forgot, you can just use garlic powder), tahini, apple cider vinegar, olive oil, dijon, maple syrup and cilantro or mint (optional). Just mix everything in a small bowl or shake it in a mason jar and you’re done! Another component that would go REALLY well in this leftover roast chicken salad that I only thought of later is a big hunk of goat cheese or feta. Omnomnomnom!
When you make this leftover roast chicken salad, let me know how it goes! Rate the recipe and share your thoughts and questions in the comments below. Use the hashtag #popkitchen when you post photos of recipes you’ve made to your Instagram and tag @pop_kitch. I’ll share my favorite photos on POP KITCHEN’s account.
- Leftover chicken and roasted brussels sprouts, rutabaga, and beets from my Roast Chicken recipe (link above)
- 4 cups arugula
- ½ granny smith apple, julienned or thinly sliced
- Optional: goat cheese or feta
- 2 cloves roasted garlic, mashed or 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp tahini paste
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
- ½ tsp dijon mustard
- 1 tsp maple syrup
- 1 tsp fresh mint or cilantro, minced (optional)
- pinch of sea salt and black pepper
- DRESSING: After you've mashed your leftover roasted garlic, add all the dressing ingredients to a small mixing bowl. Whisk together until smooth and creamy. Adjust salt and pepper to your liking.
- BUILD SALAD: Place a large handful or two of the arugula in two bowls. Top each bowl evenly with the leftover roasted veg, goat cheese, sliced apple and finally slices of leftover roast chicken. Divide the dressing between both salads and toss to coat. Devour.