When it comes to slaw, are you cabbage, or are you broccoli? In the house where I grew up, slaw meant cole slaw, made with cabbage and a token shredded carrot, drowning in mayonnaise and served alongside potato salad (also drowning in mayonnaise). In my own kitchen, I prefer broccoli slaw: the slivered stems of broccoli, with carrots and a bit of purple cabbage or radicchio, and a tangy or spicy dressing. To me, picnics, potlucks or barbecues feel incomplete without some sort of slaw on the table. Here are five of my favorites.
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True confession: I'm not wild about chickpeas. A bad dinner party entrée served to me more than thirty years ago left a permanent scar on my taste buds; the host, a newly-minted vegetarian, served undercooked chickpeas that felt like tiny pellets assaulting my stomach. To this day, I'm leery of recipes that call for dried chickpeas, and except when making hummus, I always give canned chickpeas a second cooking, if only for a few minutes. This recipe for roasted chickpeas with raisins, parsley and mint takes that approach: a quick roasting at high heat to give the chickpeas some depth of flavor, then a toss in a sweet vinaigrette with fresh herbs from the garden. Vegan and gluten-free, this would be perfect for a light lunch or potluck.
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Now that my husband Ted has declared kale pesto his favorite, I'm finding other ways to use the basil I planted in my herb garden to make a winter's worth of pesto for the freezer, and I'm also finding other ways to work this kale version into my summer cooking. Pasta with kale pesto, shrimp and tomato won our hearts, and I can't wait to make it again with cherry tomatoes from the garden in a month or so. The surprising thing about kale pesto is that it doesn't taste like a dark leafy green at all; it's redolent with garlic and cheese, just like pesto Genovese made with basil, but the flavor is a bit lighter and brighter. If you prefer, omit the shrimp in this recipe, or substitute shredded rotisserie chicken to make an easy dish even easier.
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Old-fashioned curried chicken salad, the kind you find in the supermarket deli case, seldom floats my boat. Too much curry powder makes it bitter; too much celery overpowers the curry. Too much mayonnaise drowns it all. If that sounds familiar, then this curried chicken pasta salad with apricots and cashews just might restore your faith. Start with big chunks of chicken, add your favorite small pasta (I love the mini penne and mini bow ties), some crunchy Granny Smith apple, plump dried apricots, and cashews. Use mango-studded Major Grey's chutney in the dressing. Make all of the components ahead, and combine at the last minute for a very fresh, fruity, un-gloppy chicken salad.
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