Chicken Pesto Salad with Roasted Red Pepper and Peas
posted by Kalyn Denny on May 26, 2008
I think the most creative way of cooking is when you use leftovers that have been hanging out in the fridge and turn them into a new dish you really enjoy. Maybe this love of a leftover challenge is one reason I’m also prone to reinventing my favorite recipes, with slight variations based on the things I have on hand. This salad is a reincarnation of the Leftover Chicken Pesto Salad I made last year, but this time I added a jar of roasted red peppers and a bit of lemon juice to brighten the flavor. Both these salads were a great way to use rotisserie chicken, especially if you also have leftover pesto or homemade pesto in the freezer.Speaking of creativity, thanks to my brother Rand for the new blog header, celebrating the arrival of summer. I do realize how blessed I am to have a talented designer for a brother (not to mention, Rand is a pretty great brother in lots of other ways!) It’s not quite summer for me; I have four more school days and then I’m looking forward to having time to catch up. I always have a long list of blog-related projects I can’t get to during the school year, but this weekend I finally added a button for Food Blog Search as part of my recipe index over in the left sidebar. Thanks to my friend Elise from Simply Recipes for creating the search engine, which makes it so convenient to search for recipes on food blogs.
Definitely the salad is more photogenic before adding the creamy dressing! You can adjust the amounts of chicken, peas, and roasted red peppper depending on what leftovers you have.
Then mix together a bit of mayo, pesto, and a spash of lemon juice and gently fold it into the salad. This will keep for a day or two in the refrigerator, but it probably won’t last that long.
Pesto Chicken Salad with Roasted Red Pepper and Peas
(Makes about 4 servings, recipe created by Kalyn as a new version of Leftover Chicken Pesto Salad.)
3 cups leftover cooked chicken, diced into 3/4 inch pieces
2 cups frozen peas, thawed
1 jar (12 oz.) roasted red peppers, diced into 3/4 inch pieces
1/3 cup mayo (can use light mayo, but don’t use fat free)
3 T basil pesto (other types of pesto also might be fun)
1-2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
salt to taste (I used Vege-sal)
Drain roasted peppers into a colander while you cut up the chicken. Cut chicken into 3/4 inch pieces and place in plastic bowl.Remove drained peppers, rinse out the colander, then put frozen peas into colander. Rinse peas with cold water and let them thaw and drain while you cut up peppers into 3/4 inch pieces and add them to the bowl.
If peas still seem wet, blot dry with paper towel, then add to bowl. Mix together mayo, pesto, lemon juice, and salt. (You might want to put half the lemon juice, then taste to see if you want to use the larger amount.) Gently combine dressing with salad ingredients. (You may not want all the dressing, depending on how wet you prefer your salads and how much you like mayo.) Serve immediately or chill for an hour or two. This will keep in the refrigerator for a day or two, but not longer.
This is a great lunch salad for any phase phase two or three of the South Beach Diet or any low-glycemic eating plan. (Edit: The newest South Beach Diet book says peas are forbidden on phase one, so I’m updating this recommendation.) For the South Beach Diet, it’s probably a “once in a while treat” due to the amount of fat, although mayo and pesto are both made with “good fats.”