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July 25, 2013

Zucchini pie recipe {vegetarian}

Zucchini pie, picnic and potluck perfect!

While testing zucchini recipes for my new e-book, 23 Zucchini: Fast, fun, easy recipes from The Perfect Pantry® kitchen, I tried some dishes that, although successful, didn't make the final cut, often because they were similar to other recipes in the book. My friend Ann first suggested I include a zucchini pie, and I read through many recipes before I stepped into the kitchen. I decided to make a pie that would hold up well for picnics and potlucks -- something a bit more sturdy than a traditional frittata or egg casserole -- and this version passes the test. It's important to squeeze as much water as you can out of the shredded zucchini before adding it to the egg batter (this short video I made for 23 Zucchini shows you an easy way to do it). If you don't, you'll end up with something more like pudding than pie. You can make this up to a day or two ahead.

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June 23, 2013

Recipe for chicken and egg salad with tarragon mustard vinaigrette

Chicken and egg salad with fresh tarragon, mayo-free, perfect for picnics.

Does it really matter which came first? What's important is that the chicken and the egg came together in this summery salad, tossed with a tarragon mustard vinaigrette that loves them equally. On the day I took these photographs, I made the salad with celery, the stalk plus the leaves. Had I waited a few days, I would have swapped in lovage from my herb garden. The young tarragon leaves, also from my garden, added a nice undertone of licorice; if the flavor isn't your thing, substitute fresh parsley or dill. Serve on toasted bread with some lettuce leaves, or use the leaves as a wrap for a lovely presentation with fewer carbs. This salad contains no mayonnaise, and that makes it a perfect candidate for the picnic basket.

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June 18, 2013

Recipe for spinach salad with bell pepper, olives, feta, and pine nuts {vegetarian, gluten-free}

Spinach salad with pepper, olives and pine nuts, and a pesto dressing.

Remember when spinach salad meant warm bacon dressing and chopped hard-cooked eggs, and we all loved it and felt oh-so-sophisticated when we ordered it at a café? Did you know (I didn't) that spinach salad, an adaptation of a German dish of dandelion greens with a bacon-vinegar dressing, probably originated in Pennsylvania Dutch country, and not in the kitchen of a French chef? These days, when it comes to spinach salad, there are no rules, as this version with bell pepper, olives, feta cheese and pine nuts proves. There are a few secrets to making great salads that draw on ingredients in your pantry, and they all come down to this: be fearless! Combine unlikely ingredients, using whatever's in season. Take a sauce you'd made for pasta, or a chutney, and thin it with some water to make a salad dressing. Don't be afraid of color. If you don't have baby spinach for this salad, pluck a few lettuce leaves from your garden. And if you don't have good feta, try ricotta salata or another salty cheese.

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June 6, 2013

Recipe for vegan brown rice salad with asparagus, avocado, pecans, and pesto dressing {vegan, gluten-free}

Vegan brown rice salad with asparagus, avocado, pecans, and pesto dressing.

Have you had your fill of asparagus yet? Neither have I. However, I am a little bit over asparagus soup, asparagus frittata, and asparagus stir-fry, which is why this vegan brown rice salad with asparagus, avocado, pecans and basil pesto is such a welcome addition to the Spring repertoire. If you have pesto in your freezer from last summer -- any kind of pesto will do -- please use it here. I've tried kale pesto I froze last September, and red pepper pesto (which, I admit, improved the color of the finished dish), made from a jar of roasted peppers. And if you don't have your own pesto and don't want to make it from scratch, take some help from the grocery store and buy a good-quality pesto to make the dressing for this salad. There's no mayonnaise to spoil in the heat, which makes this salad perfect for picnics and summer potlucks.

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About The Perfect Pantry®

  • My name is Lydia Walshin. From my log house kitchen in rural northwest Rhode Island, I share recipes that use what we keep in our pantries, the usual and not-so-usual ingredients that spice up our lives.

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