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June 18, 2014

Couscous salad with chopped vegetables, basil, parsley and pomegranate vinaigrette {vegan}

Couscous salad with a rainbow of vegetables, and pomegranate vinaigrette. #salad #vegan

When nobody is home, I love to do the thing I hate to watch other people do: I open the refrigerator door, and stand and stare inside, searching for inspiration. My mother's voice echoes in my ears: "Don't leave the door open! Just take what you want!" My mother wasn't really a let-your-imagination-run-wild kind of cook, but somehow, I've become one. A bit of this, some leftover that, the fixings for a salad or stir-fry or stew: it's all in my fridge. That's how this fantastic couscous salad recipe came to life. It started with leftover cooked Israeli couscous, which could just as easily have been orzo or small pasta (always make extra to have some on hand for salads). I discovered a rainbow of vegetables -- tomatoes, cucumber, bell peppers -- snipped some herbs fresh from the garden, and tossed it all with a tangy pomegranate dressing. Mix things up with whatever you find in the refrigerator. Go ahead; stand and stare. It works for me.

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June 10, 2014

Greek shrimp, feta, lemon and basil couscous salad

Greek shrimp, feta, lemon and basil salad recipe: all the wonderful flavors of Greece. #salad #couscous #shrimp

The combination of flavors in this salad -- feta, lemon, basil, olives -- transports the armchair traveler in me to a taverna in Greece, where I imagine myself sitting at a round iron-legged café table overlooking the Mediterranean, sipping ouzo in the low afternoon sun. Luckily, this simple summer recipe tastes every bit as good if you're enjoying it on your own front porch. Israeli couscous -- not Greek, but from the other side of the Mediterranean -- is a small pasta that's toasted, which gives it a firm texture; if you can't find it in your market, use regular couscous, fregula sarda, or orzo or another small pasta. The lemon dressing gets its balance from Greek seasoning, a blend of oregano, lemon zest, salt and pepper I discovered a few years ago on a visit to The Spice House in Chicago. The basil in this salad came from my own herb garden, the first aromatic leaves of the season. Greece is lovely, but home can be quite tasty, too.

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May 20, 2014

Seven super salad recipes for holiday BBQ and potluck

Corn and black bean salad with sweet lime dressing. #salad #vegan #glutenfree

When I'm hosting a party, it's never a potluck. I guess this marks me as a control freak, but when I'm organizing a meal, I like to know what will be on the table. However, invite me to bring a dish to a barbecue or potluck, and I'll happily oblige. A few basic questions (main dish or side salad? food allergies or aversions?) help me select a recipe to make. This summer, if you invite me, you'll likely get one of these seven super salads (a few are sides, and a few are main dish salads) for your holiday meal.

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May 4, 2014

Quinoa rainbow salad with asparagus, feta and orange-tarragon vinaigrette {vegetarian, gluten-free}, and my brand new cookbook

Quinoa-rainbow-salad-recipe

I'm sorry, but I cannot wait one more minute. Asparagus, I must have you, even though it won't really be harvest season for another couple of weeks here in Rhode Island. This recipe for gluten-free quinoa rainbow salad, with pieces of lightly-blanched asparagus, bell pepper and feta cheese, wrapped in an orange-tarragon dressing, comes from my new book, Dress Up Your Salad. After making the salad a few times to test and photograph the recipe, I can't stop thinking about it.

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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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