Black beans, chicken, avocado, sour cream, salsa, tortillas, tomatoes, cheese, and lettuce

Delicious Grill Leftovers

Made a little too much grilled chicken or steak at that backyard barbecue? Lucky you! Here are leftovers you’ll love that are inspired by our own menu items.

Don’t toss those leftovers! Turning last night’s grill menu into an outstanding next-day meal is easier than you think.

“Anytime I fire up the grill, I’m deliberately cooking enough to have leftovers,” says Mark McDonough, a member of the Panera Bread® Food Team. “Whether it’s grilled chicken or steak or fish or vegetables, I know I will be able to create at least one or two virtually no-cook meals later in the week. And that’s a great advantage when you are working long hours or chauffeuring the kids to summer activities.”

Mark likes to keep his pantry stocked with a good supply of artisan breads and wraps, and his refrigerator filled with fresh greens and vegetables. “Almost anything can serve as the foundation for a leftover meal,” says Mark. “By stocking a few basic items, for example, you can turn grilled chicken leftovers into no-fuss tacos or a chicken Caesar salad.”

It’s no surprise that Mark’s top tips for leftovers are often inspired by Panera Bread’s menu: Salads and sandwiches are among his go-to ideas. So, next time you step up to the grill, think about all the creative meals you can make with your extras. Or, try one of Mark’s favorites:

Simple summer salads. Top micro greens, or the lettuce of your choice, with thinly sliced steak, shredded chicken, or grilled salmon. Dress with equal parts olive oil and lemon juice; season with salt and pepper. To spice it up, toss in grilled vegetables (zucchini and eggplant work well), chopped heirloom tomatoes, and sliced avocados. Or, for a salad of a different kind, swap out the lettuce for pasta or grains. Penne, orzo, and quinoa are all good choices.

Sandwich wraps. “Anything can go in a wrap,” says Mark. “Even leftover salad and sides!” Last night’s grilled chicken and coleslaw in a whole wheat wrap makes a quick lunch on the go. To infuse more flavor, add shaved fennel, thin slices of a Fuji apple, and fresh parsley and chives from the garden. Or take those same ingredients and layer them inside an artisan roll or on thick slices of country white bread.

Egg dishes. “Omelets and frittatas are not just for breakfast,” says Mark. In fact, egg dishes are a great way to make use of leftover Italian sausage, steak, or grilled vegetables. Whether you do a quick scramble or draw inspiration from one of our breakfast sandwiches or baked egg soufflés, there are lots of ways to pair eggs with leftovers from the grill for a next-day meal.

Tacos. Building off of leftover steak, chicken, or fish, tacos are a fun and easy second-night meal. Try setting up an at-home taco bar: Put out bowls of shredded cheese, lettuce, chopped tomatoes, sliced avocados, salsa, black beans, and tart coleslaw (a must for fish tacos!). Let everyone help themselves.