Garbage Salad: A Delicious Way to Clean Out the Refrigerator

When you’re overstocked with many ingredients in the refrigerator and it’s time to use them up, garbage salad might be a great solution! Garbage salad is a creative, flavorful dish that can be adjusted to fit whatever ingredients you have on hand. The basis of the salad is a combination of fresh vegetables and whatever fresh or canned ingredients you have. This makes it a great pantry meal option regardless of the time of year.

Ingredients (makes 2 sizable salads):

– 1 head of romaine lettuce, chopped
– 1 cup of cherry tomatoes, halved
– 1 stalk celery, chopped
– 1/4 red onion, diced
– 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
– 1 can of garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
– 1/2 cucumber, diced
– diced olives, to taste
– 1/4 cup croutons (or stale bread cut into small cubes)
– Optional: 1/4 cup of diced bacon
– For the dressing:
– 1/4 cup of olive oil
– 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
– 1 teaspoon honey
– 1/2 teaspoon salt
– 1/4 teaspoon of fresh ground black pepper


1. In a large bowl, combine the lettuce, tomatoes, celery, onion, feta, garbanzo beans, cucumber and olives. Mix until evenly combined.
2. If desired, heat a small skillet over medium heat and add the diced bacon. Cook the bacon until it’s crisp, then sprinkle the bacon over the salad.
3. Add the croutons or cubes of stale bread to the salad, then toss to combine.
4. In a separate, small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, red wine vinegar, honey, salt and pepper.
5. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and toss until evenly coated.
6. Serve the salad with extra olives, feta, and extra red wine vinegar or olive oil to taste.

Garbage salad is a delicious way to use up whatever ingredients you have in your refrigerator. The combination of fresh vegetables, feta cheese and garbanzo beans creates a robust, Mediterranean-inspired salad. The addition of bacon adds a pleasant crunch and smoky flavor, making it an ideal dinner option any night of the week. Feel free to also add cooked chicken breast, tuna, feta cheese or other ingredients that you have on hand.

Likewise, you can also try other variations of this salad, such as adding quinoa or fruit. Or try replacing the red wine vinegar with balsamic vinegar or a honey-lemon vinaigrette for a sweet, tangy flavor. Experiment and try different combinations to discover your signature garbage salad recipe. It’s perfect for cleaning out your refrigerator and enjoying tasty, wholesome meals.