Happy Thanksgiving! Chances are, if you live in America, right now you are either preparing the Thanksgiving turkey, eating it, or wrapping up the leftovers! There are so many great ways to use up leftover turkey, but if you are burned out on your old standbys and are looking for something different, I have the solution to your big bird blahs!
There are two ingredients you may not have in your fridge right now that you need for this salad: cilantro and chipotles in adobo. Cilantro, that green leafy herb that imparts a fantastic flavor to many south-of-the-border dishes, should be easy to find in your grocery store. Make sure you’re buying cilantro and not Italian parsley! (Trust me, I’ve made this mistake!) The chipotles in adobo will be in your “ethnic food” aisle at the grocery store. They come in a small can, a little larger than a can of tomato paste. These are smoked jalapeño peppers in a spicy red vinegar sauce. Their smoky, rich taste is incomparable and irreplaceable in many Mexican dishes. Once you taste them, you’ll never forget them! They are not too spicy, but provide the perfect kick to everything they touch. You only need one chipotle pepper in this recipe, so transfer the rest to a Tupperware container and stash them in your fridge – they last for a few months since they are already smoked and soaking in vinegar. Blend one up and add to your next batch of chili!
Everything else should be easy to procure. This recipe makes two large dinner salads, or 4 or 5 side salads. I serve this with chips and salsa, but feel free to supplement with whatever other Thanksgiving leftovers you have handy. Rolls or garlic bread would be welcome (but maybe save the pumpkin pie for later.)
Chicken (or Turkey!) Fajitas Salad
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce (and about a teaspoon of the sauce)
- 1 large clove garlic
- 1/2 bunch cilantro (use the upper stems too, but discard the lower, tougher stems)
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1/2 cup plain yogurt or sour cream
- juice of 1/2 lemon (or more … I like more!)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 large onion, sliced into thin strips
- 1/2 green bell pepper, sliced into thin strips
- 1/2 red, yellow, or orange bell pepper, sliced into thin strips
- 1 zucchini, sliced into thin strips
- 1 1/2 cups cooked chicken or turkey, shredded
- 1 avocado, sliced (optional)
- 2 tablespoons salsa (optional)
- large bag of salad greens – romaine is best, but regular old spring mix is fine too
- Toast the cumin seeds over medium heat for a few minutes until they get a little darker and start smelling delicious. When toasted, grind in food processor or pulverize in mortar and pestle. (You could use pre-ground cumin, but please look into buying the whole seeds!)
- With cumin in the food processor, add chipotle and a little adobo sauce, garlic, cilantro, mayonnaise, yogurt, lemon juice, salt and sugar. Buzz to combine. Taste for seasoning – too spicy? Add more mayo or yogurt. Too tart? Add a pinch more sugar. Put the dressing in the refrigerator while you cook the veggies.
- Add a little oil or butter to a large pan. Add the sliced onions and sauté until golden, then add the peppers and zucchini. Cook until hot and tasty (not for too long, don’t let them get mushy!) If you have any leftovers, these are amazing mixed with scrambled eggs and a little cheese.
- To serve: Lettuce on the bottom, top with hot veggies and shredded chicken or turkey, and dress liberally with the chipotle dressing. Scatter some avocado over the top, dot with salsa and dig in!
Explore, experiment, enjoy! — Dana
Please visit me at Frugal Girlmet for more unique recipes!