Ginger-Scallion Chicken Salad with Cucumbers from SECRETS OF GREAT SECOND MEALS

ginger-scallion chicken salad with cucumbers

Why do leftovers get such a bad rap?

When it comes to leftovers, James Beard Award-winner Sara Dickerman believes that there is nothing better than figuring out the right way to reframe a good meal into another, potentially great meal. Second meals aren’t just reheating last night’s dinner. For Sara, there’s excitement in introducing new flavors and textures at the next meal—that eureka moment of fitting ingredients you have into a delicious new framework. In Secrets of Great Second Meals, she inspires us to create fresh, delicious meals using what’s in those containers in the refrigerator.

In this recipe, she turns a fridge staple – roasted chicken – into an easy, fresh, and delicious second meal.


Maybe no food points in the direction of future meals quite so generously as a roasted chicken, whether it was cooked at home or grabbed at the grocery. Though mayonnaise-based chicken salads can be wonderful, I more often lean toward a quick vinaigrette loaded with good green flavors, such as snappy-fresh scallions. This particular dressing only gets better overnight, though the shallots will dim a bit in color. If you’ve made it ahead of time, feel free to add some fresh bright green scallion slivers before serving.

Extra ingredient: roasted chicken

Time: 40 minutes (10 minutes active)

Makes 2 servings


  • 1/4 cup canola or other neutral oil
  • 1 tablespoon unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon light soy sauce
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced, white and dark green parts only
  • 1 cup shredded cooked chicken
  • 1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch diagonal slices
  • 1 cup mixed fresh green herbs: any combination of cilantro, mint, Thai basil, parsley, watercress, and/or perilla leaves
  • 2 tablespoons chopped toasted cashews
  • Aleppo pepper to taste


1. In a medium bowl, whisk the oil, vinegar, soy sauce, lime juice, fine sea salt, sesame oil, and ginger. Stir in the scallions. You can use the dressing right away, but it is most flavorful if it can sit around for 30 minutes or more before serving.

2. To make the salad, in a large bowl, combine the chicken, cucumber, herbs, and cashews with dressing to taste. Season with extra salt and Aleppo pepper to taste.


Make a noodle salad. The dressing is delicious with all kinds of cold noodles: buckwheat, vermicelli, and even plain spaghetti. Toss in herbs, shaved vegetables, or slices of cold grilled flank steak.

Make a no-chicken salad. Keep everything the same, but substitute roasted or fresh tofu for the chicken.

Snazz up some chicken wings. Toss the dressing with 1 pound hot roasted (or fried!) chicken wings.

Make a chicken salad with sage and mustard dressing (opposite). Toss the chicken with black olives, toasted pine nuts, arugula, a good squeeze of lemon, and enough dressing to taste.


Learn more about Secrets of Great Second Meals here:

2 Responses to “Ginger-Scallion Chicken Salad with Cucumbers from SECRETS OF GREAT SECOND MEALS”
  1. Leftovers are everyone’s friends!

  2. prawn1 says:

    The links lead nowhere

    On Wed, Feb 6, 2019 at 9:28 AM The Secret Ingredient wrote:


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