Five Chicken Lunches

What do you do with the leftover chicken? The National Co+op Grocers came up with five different ways to think about those chicken leftovers. You’ll need 2 1/2 cups of chicken (a good rule of thumb is that for every pound of bone-in whole chicken, you’ll get approximately 1 cup of pulled meat). Shred it and try one (or all) of the recipes below!

Banh Mi

Toss pulled chicken with a few sprinkles of fish sauce or soy sauce and some five spice powder, if you have it. Shred about a thumb-sized piece of daikon radish and a carrot, mix the two and sprinkle with rice vinegar, a pinch of sugar and a pinch of salt. Pack this radish carrot mixture separately in a small jar. To make the sandwich, slice a small baguette in half lengthwise, and pull out a bit of the soft bread. Spread with mayo and sriracha sauce to taste, add a few leaves of lettuce, some sliced jalapenos and cilantro and the shredded chicken. Wrap in foil or plastic wrap and keep cold until lunchtime. Drain the (quick-pickled) daikon radish mixture and add it to your sandwich just before eating.

Pan Bagnat

The classic French pan bagnat is a tuna salad sandwich, but this version, made with chicken, is equally delicious. Take a baguette, slice it in half, and pluck out some of the center to make room for the filling. In a bowl, mix shredded chicken, some of your favorite vinaigrette, a handful of sliced olives, sliced roasted red peppers, chopped fresh parsley or basil and slivered red onion. Stuff the baguette and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. The vinaigrette marinates the ingredients and soaks into the bread, melding the sandwich into a delicious whole.

Fruity Chicken Lettuce Cups

A seasonal fruit is a perfect complement to chicken; use strawberries in spring, peaches in summer, apples in fall. First, wash a head of butter lettuce and separate the leaves. Dry with a spinner or paper towels. In a large bowl, combine pulled chicken, chopped or sliced fruit, chopped celery and scallions and just enough mayo or yogurt to moisten. Pack the lettuce, loosely wrapped with a paper towel, in a large zip-top bag for later use. To serve, spoon the chicken mixture into the lettuce cups. Top with a handful of walnuts, if desired.

Curry Chicken Salad

Just put a few tablespoons of plain yogurt in a bowl, add a few pinches of curry powder, salt and a spoonful of your favorite jam (apricot is nice). Add scallions, raisins and shredded carrots, mix in the chicken and stuff into pitas, or serve with chapati.

Lemon-Olive Pasta

Set off the flavor of roast chicken with a kick of lemon and some salty olives in this simple pasta salad. Cook some spiral pasta (use about 4 ounces) and toss with olive oil, finely-grated lemon zest and a squeeze of juice, a handful of chopped parsley, pitted green or black olives and some frozen peas (the peas will thaw in time for lunch). Complete your salad with salt, pepper, and shredded parmesan.

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