Turn leftover salmon into this simple Caesar salad with the addition of some crunchy croutons and a creamy avocado dressing. Great for a quick lunch.
Total Time Investment: 15 minutes
Serendipity: the making of fortunate discoveries by accident. Rummaging in the fridge for lunch, I uncovered a piece of leftover salmon, a small jar of avocado dressing, and a few salad leaves. Together with the scrap of bread on the bread board, I had all the makings of a great meal. I’m determined to become better at using my leftovers this year, so was quite proud of myself for thinking laterally and producing this tasty Leftover Salmon Caesar Salad.
My rummage through the fridge made me realise how easy it can be to make something good to eat with just a few staple ingredients. Any protein, such as cooked meat or beans, boiled eggs, or leftover grains, can form the basis of a quick meal. Add a few salad leaves and vegetables, pour over a tasty dressing, and lunch or dinner can be on the table in minutes.
A seemingly unwanted piece of bread can also be turned into something quite glorious, adding crunch and texture to a dish. Tear the stale bread into chunks and store them in the freezer. They can be quickly pan-fried until golden brown in a little olive oil, then tossed over salad greens. The crispy croutons take a dish to the next level.
Avocado dressing has become my favorite way of using up the avocados that always seem to ripen at the same time. The dressing keeps happily for a few days in the fridge, and I toss it over salads, stir it through cooked chickpeas and other legumes, or mix it with cooked chopped chicken for a quick sandwich filling.
For so many years Mr Grumpy has taken our leftovers for lunch, or they have been relegated to the chickens, or even worse the bin. Slowly though, my thinking is changing (much to Mr Grumpy’s disgust as it means fewer lunches for him) and I am working hard on reducing our food waste. I now find myself cooking extra portions of meat and vegetables with the intention of repurposing them for another meal, and look forward to many more fortunate discoveries. Here’s to serendipity.
As this salad is really all about what was in my fridge on the day, you can substitute anything for the salmon. Use eggs in place of the salmon for a vegetarian option, or use shreds of leftover roast chicken instead.
I have used hot smoked salmon in this salad with great success. Many supermarkets or fishmongers sell pre-cooked salmon fillet now if you don’t wish to cook your own.
You could use pre-made croutons rather than make your own, although you can read my thoughts on this idea here.
If you don’t have avocados for the dressing, use your favourite Caesar salad dressing instead.
Any green salad leaves will work well in this recipe, so use what you have on hand.
Use gluten free bread for the croutons to make this salad gluten free.
Tips to Get Ahead With Leftover Salmon Caesar Salad
Leftover salmon will last for 3 – 4 days in the fridge, so you could cook fish in advance on the weekend and easily pull this salad together for a quick evening meal during the week.
The avocado dressing can also be made in advance, and will last for about 3 days in the fridge. The dressing recipe makes more than you need for the salad, and also pairs well with chicken, legumes and grains.
15 Minute Leftover Salmon Caesar Salad
- 2 large handfuls Cos (Romaine) lettuce cut into wide ribbons
- 100 g (1/2 cup) leftover cooked salmon
- 100 g (1 cup) bread torn into chunks
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- Salt & pepper
- 1/4 cup creamy avocado dressing see below
- Place a medium sized fry pan over a moderate heat.
- Add the olive oil, wait for 30 seconds, then add the chunks of bread.
- Saute the bread for about 5 minutes, or until browned all over. Turn the bread as each side browns to ensure they are evenly cooked.
- Remove the toasted bread from the fry pan.
Season with salt and pepper, and allow to cool slightly.
- Whilst the croutons are cooling, scatter the lettuce over a dinner plate.
- Shred the salmon over the lettuce.
- Dollop the dressing over the salmon and the lettuce.
- Scatter over the croutons.
- Serve immediately.
Recipe NotesThis recipe feeds one person for lunch pr a light dinner. Adjust the quantities accordingly to feed more people.
Creamy Avocado Dressing
- 2 small (or 1 large) avocado cut into pieces
- 30 ml (2 Tablespoons) apple cider vinegar
- 45 ml (3 Tablespoons) olive oil
- 1 small clove garlic grated or crushed
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- Salt & pepper
- 60 ml (1/4 cup) water
Place the avocado, vinegar, oil, garlic and mustard into a small container.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Blitz with a handheld blender until smooth. It will be very thick at this point.
- Check the consistency of the dressing. If you would like it to be slightly thinner, add the water and blitz again.
- Use at will.