Whether you slow-cooked a pork shoulder or roasted a chicken on Sunday or you simply picked up rotisserie chicken on your weekly shopping trip, shredded pork and chicken are smart tools to have around. When weekday lunches all too often feel uninspiring and stale, both versatile proteins spice up the norm. Combine them with a few additional ingredients to make lunch something you actually look forward to. Here are 10 ideas to get you started.
How to Pull or Shred Meat
There are a number of ways to get to having a container full of shredded pork or chicken for your lunches. Our favorites rely on the oven or the slow cooker to cook up tender meat that will stay juicy all week long.
Get the Techniques
1. Assemble tacos.
Grab a few corn tortillas and then fill them with some of the warmed shredded meat and your toppings of choice, like diced avocado, shredded cabbage, and a spoonful of jarred salsa for quick tacos. If you're eating lunch at your desk, just pack up the fixings and assemble on the spot.
Get a Recipe: Pulled Pork Tacos
2. Make a burrito bowl.
Forget the pricey burrito bowl at your nearest lunch spot and assemble one yourself using leftover pulled pork or chicken. If you already have cooked rice on hand, you're even closer to digging into a hearty lunch.
Get a Recipe: One-Pan BBQ Chicken Burrito Bowl
3. Add to jarred pasta sauce for a quick ragu.
If you're craving a little red sauce for lunch, add pulled pork or chicken to jarred marinara while you heat it up for a quick ragu that's perfect over pasta or polenta.
4. Stuff a sandwich or wrap.
Toss that pulled pork with BBQ sauce and you've got an easy pulled pork sandwich at your fingertips. Shredded chicken makes for a quick chicken salad to add to sandwiches.
Get a Recipe: Pulled Pork Sandwiches
5. Top a salad.
Up the protein of any salad by topping it with pulled chicken or pork. It's the fastest way to give your lunch salad some staying power.
Get a Recipe: Sesame Chicken Celery Root Salad
No one ever said that scrambled eggs are only breakfast food. Make them extra savory and satisfying but adding the meat to the skillet while you scramble. Grated cheese and a handful of chopped fresh herbs wouldn't hurt, either.
Learn How: How to Make Soft, Creamy Scrambled Eggs
A cheesy quesadilla is lunchtime comfort food at its best. Stuff pulled pork or chicken inside before griddling it to make it even better.
Learn How: How To Make the Best Cheesy Quesadillas
8. Make a grilled cheese.
The same rule applies here: gooey cheese + warm shredded meat = a win. Up your grilled cheese game by adding that leftover meat.
Don't Mess Up: 5 Mistakes to Avoid When Making Grilled Cheese
9. Add it to a pasta or grain salad.
Pasta and grain salads are great make-ahead options for lunch — make one on Sunday and dig into it throughout the week. Toss pulled pork or chicken into your favorite recipe for a protein boost.
Get a Recipe: BBQ Chicken & Macaroni Salad
10. Stuff a baked potato.
You can really turn a baked potato into a meal by stuffing it with more than just butter or sour cream. Fill a split potato with the warmed shredded meat and anything else that you're craving like salsa, pesto, leftover roasted veggies, or cheese to make an extra-hearty lunch.
Learn How: How To Bake a Potato in the Microwave