By Eileen Goltz

This time of year there is always plenty of food to go around; what kind of party would it be if there weren’t leftovers? Slices of turkey, chicken, and even a bit of roast are sure to end up in everyone’s refrigerator. Turning leftovers into “planned-overs” is a specialty of mine, and since I had a fair amount of catering to do these past few months, I had plenty of leftovers–specifically chicken, and more specifically, “soup chicken.”

Soup chicken is different from roasted or baked chicken as it’s used to make chicken broth and then removed. This chicken is a little less “chickeny” in taste, as it’s been cooked in broth, but it is nonetheless perfect for chicken salad. Shredded or diced, it’s great for absorbing all the flavors it’s mixed with.

The following chicken-salad recipes are incredibly versatile; they can be tweaked and ingredients substituted as your tastes and pantry allow. All are delicious and can be whipped up in less than 20 minutes for a quick dinner or lunch and are hearty enough to serve to company.

Avocado—Chicken Salad

Serves 4—6


2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice

1 tsp. lime zest

½ tsp. kosher salt

â…› tsp. ground black pepper

2 Tbsp. olive oil

2 cups cooked chicken, cut into bite-size pieces

¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro or parsley

¾ cup salsa

2 tomatoes, seeded and chopped

3 stalks of celery, diced

2 ripe avocados, peeled and chopped (½ of 1 avocado set aside)

1 head romaine lettuce, shredded

½ cup crushed tortilla chips


In a salad bowl, combine the lime juice, lime zest, salt, pepper and half of an avocado. Mash the avocado and mix to combine. Add chicken, cilantro, tomatoes, celery, and lettuce and mix to combine. Gently fold in the remaining avocado pieces and salsa. Mix to combine and coat. Top with crushed tortilla chips and serve.

Quick Curried-Chicken Salad

Serves 4—6


½ cup mayonnaise

1½ tsp. curry powder

2 tsp. water

3 cups cooked chicken cut into bite-size pieces

2 tart apples, chopped

3 stalks celery, diced

¼ cup golden raisins

½ cup honey-roasted peanuts

shredded lettuce

1 tart apple, sliced thin, dipped in lemon juice (optional)


Combine mayonnaise, curry powder, and water in a medium bowl and whisk to combine. Add the chicken, chopped apple, celery, and raisins. Mix to combine and then cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour. To serve, place some shredded lettuce on a salad plate, place ¾ cup of salad on top, and then garnish with apple slices and honey-roasted peanuts.

Modified from

Oriental Chicken Salad

Serves 6—8


1 tsp. minced fresh ginger

â…“ cup rice vinegar

¼ cup orange juice

¼ cup oil

1 tsp. sesame oil

2 Tbsp. dry onion-soup mix

2 tsp. brown sugar

1 tsp. minced garlic

½ lb. bowtie pasta cooked according to the package directions, rinsed

½ cucumber, diced

1 red bell pepper, diced

½ red onion, diced

1 large tomato, seeded and diced

1 carrot, shredded

8 oz. fresh spinach

2 large cans mandarin-orange segments, drained

3 cups diced cooked chicken

1 cup sliced almonds, toasted


In a bowl, combine the ginger, rice vinegar, orange juice, oil, sesame oil, soup mix, sugar, and garlic and whisk until combined. Cover and refrigerate.

In a bowl, combine the cooked pasta, cucumber, bell pepper, onion, tomatoes, carrot, spinach, mandarin oranges, and chicken. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to coat. Garnish with the toasted almonds and serve.

Modified from

Cashew Chicken Salad

Serves 6—8


3 cups cooked chicken, cut into bite-size pieces

4—6 pieces pastrami, chopped

¼ cup mayonnaise

2 tsp. rice vinegar

2 tsp. sugar

1 tsp. sesame oil

1 tsp. Dijon mustard

1 cup chopped salted cashews

4 green onions, sliced

2 oranges, peeled, sectioned, and cut in half

2 cups shredded red cabbage

salt and pepper, to taste

rice noodles


In a large bowl, combine the mayonnaise, rice vinegar, sugar, sesame oil, orange sections, and Dijon mustard and mix to combine. Add the chicken, cashews, green onions, and red cabbage. Mix to combine. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour, then season with salt and pepper to taste. To serve, sprinkle the rice noodles and chopped pastrami on top and serve.

Modified from submission by Rachel Carpello, Chicago, IL

Spicy Chicken Cobb

Serves 6—8


3 cups cooked chicken, diced

½ cup hickory-smoked brown-sugar barbecue sauce

2 cups shredded lettuce

6 strips turkey pastrami, chopped

3 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and chopped

2 tomatoes, seeded and chopped

2 ripe avocados, cubed

1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained

1½ cups fresh or frozen corn

1 cup sliced black olives, drained and chopped

½ to ¾ cup pareve ranch dressing

½ cup barbecue sauce (optional)


In a bowl, combine the chicken and barbecue sauce, toss to coat, and set aside. Line a platter with the shredded lettuce. Arrange the chicken, pastrami, eggs, tomatoes, avocado, beans, and corn in rows on top of the lettuce. Sprinkle the chopped olives over the top. In a bowl, combine the ranch dressing and barbecue sauce, whisk to combine, and serve.

© Eileen Goltz

Eileen Goltz is a freelance kosher foods writer. She graduated from Indiana University and the Cordon Bleu Cooking School in Paris. She lectures on various food-related topics across the U.S. and Canada and writes columns for the CJN in Chicago,, and the OU Shabbat Shalom website, She also wrote the Perfectly Pareve Cookbook (Feldheim).


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