Meal Plan

This Make-Ahead Tactic Stretches 1 Salad into a Week of Non-Salad Meals

October 24, 2016

When you're making a recipe with a lot of components—like this salad, which has quick-pickled grapes and raw grapes; roasted, cheese-coated cauliflower and raw cauliflower; plus a creamy vinaigrette—you can approach leftovers in one of two ways:

  1. You can go all in—since you've committed anyhow—and double or triple the recipe to eat throughout the week.
  2. Or, you can make a big batch of the component parts without mixing them together. Double the pickled grapes and double the roasted cauliflower, for example, but only make a one-times batch of the actual salad.

With the second choice, you won't be overwhelmed with a mountain of leftovers from complex dish that's tricky to repurpose. Instead, you'll have the already-prepped building blocks that can easily spin off into other, entirely different meals.

In this particular salad, if you want tap into the versatility of the pickled grapes and the roasted cauliflower, you can hold back on adding the spices to the pickling liquid and throwing in cheddar cheese with the roasting florets. That way, your fruit and veg will be closer to blank canvases—and it'll be easier to adjust the seasonings later on depending on what you're cooking.

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Here's the plan: Make a single batch of the salad, but double the pickled grapes and the roasted cauliflower...

...then use your leftovers—both composed and waiting-to-be—these ways:

With the leftover salad:

  • Toss it with chunks of roasted sweet potato or squash.
  • Mix it into a pot of warm grains, like farro or barley.
  • Use it as a socca-topper.
  • Swaddle it in a tortilla with sautéed kale and additional shredded cheddar cheese.
  • Fold in shredded poached (or roasted) chicken breast, along with a creamy-tangy yogurt dressing. Balance atop toasted rye bread.
  • Make it even more of "salad's salad" by tossing it into crunchy romaine, Bibb, or massaged kale.

With the extra roasted cauliflower:

And with all those pickled grapes...

What sorts of recipe components are best for doubling and tripling? Lentils, beans, grains? Tell us in the comments.

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A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).

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