In the past month I’ve started to be a bit more mindful about waste. I've always spent time thinking about things like what I’m throwing away, buying things I don’t really need, taking leftovers for lunch, etc. However, I’m not quite there when it comes to grocery shopping and trash accumulation. One day! Regardless, minimal food waste has always been a priority of mine.
My food and health “journey” always goes back to my college days and trying to eat well on a student’s budget. I became really good at repurposing food. Using greek yogurt in place of sour cream and mayo, buying bulk brown rice and making veggie bowls for a week, cooking for 2 and taking the rest for lunch, the list goes on and on.
In my freezer I have a bag full of leftover veggie scraps. The ends of onions, potato skins, pepper tops, carrot ends, and several scraps of herbs. I know there isn’t much you can repurpose with leftover veggie scraps, but I always felt bad tossing them. Even more so, I felt bad tossing veggies that had begun to wilt because I never got around to using them. Freezing them allows me to prep for an entire batch of veggie broth, something I always have on hand. I haven’t made my own before, but I’m (embarrassingly) excited to make my very first batch! I believe it’s so important to be mindful of what we’re throwing away on a consistent basis, not just from a budget standpoint (though that doesn’t hurt), but from a footprint standpoint.
In the spirit of repurposing food, this Crunchy Cabbage & Chicken Salad is one of my ultimate leftover favorites. It includes almost exclusively things I have on hand, and was created when I couldn’t dream up a new way to use the other half of the cabbage head I had. It includes shredded or chopped carrots, toasted almonds, shredded chicken, a handful of herbs, and a delicious dressing with ingredients like nut butter and fish sauce. Toss it together with the cabbage and chicken, and you have a wonderfully spicy, tangy, and slightly sweet re-take on a cabbage salad. Often, I will leave out the chicken and serve it as a side salad to fish, chicken, or pork. I even love it so much, that instead of treating it as my “leftover” salad, I’ll make a big batch of it for the week. Cabbage doesn’t wilt, so it keeps well for a few days.
Serving size: 1 large salad
1/4 head of cabbage, shredded
.5-1 cup shredded chicken
1 tbsp cilantro, chopped
1 tbsp green onion, diced
1 small carrot shredded, chopped or spiraled
For the dressing:
1 tsp nut butter (I used peanut, but almond is lovely too)
1.5 tsp soy sauce or coconut aminos
1.5 tsp rice vinegar
1/4 tsp fish sauce
1/2 tsp honey (optional)
For the spicy almonds:
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp Sriracha sauce
1/4 cup chopped almonds
1. Add the cabbage, chicken, carrot, and herbs to a bowl. Season lightly with salt and pepper, toss with tongs to combine.
2. Heat the tsp of sesame oil in a skillet over medium low heat. Add the almonds and Sriracha, stirring constantly until almonds are toasted and coated. About 2-3 minutes.
3. In a mixing bowl add all the ingredients for the dressing, whisk repeatedly to combine.
4. Pour the dressing over the cabbage, toss to combine. Top with almonds and any remaining herbs. Enjoy!