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October 8, 2013

Strawberry, kale and toasted almond Caesar salad recipe {vegetarian, gluten-free}

Strawberry, kale and toasted almond Caesar salad.

Whether the idea for this salad originated with a neighbor's gift of some kale stalks, a few gorgeous strawberries in the refrigerator, or a bag of sliced almonds I found in the freezer when I was searching for walnuts, I really can't remember. What I do know is that the combination is magical: sweet strawberry, bitter kale and crunchy almonds, bound together with a yogurt-based vegetarian Caesar salad dressing. For the longest time, I never added fruit into green salads. I can't imagine why not, as the sweet bite of fruit really makes a salad pop. Strawberries are available year-round in my local markets. While they're not the same as garden-fresh berries, they're fine here, and the color brightens up my cold weather salads.

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October 3, 2013

Recipe for chicken and cabbage salad with buttermilk blue cheese dressing {gluten-free}

Chicken and red cabbage salad with buttermilk blue cheese dressing.

What's the difference between green cabbage and red cabbage? It's not only color that sets them apart; though both are super low-calorie, red cabbage packs more than ten times the amount of Vitamin A, beneficial for vision and immune system health. Red and green cabbage taste exactly the same, and that's what matters when it comes to swapping one for the other in dishes like this chicken and cabbage salad with buttermilk blue cheese dressing. If chicken isn't your thing, use leftover cooked roast beef or stir-fried tofu. If blue cheese isn't your thing, I urge you to give it another chance, or you can substitute feta cheese. The tangy dressing really makes this dish something special. Make the salad a little bit ahead, and the cabbage will soften and mellow.

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September 19, 2013

Vegetarian Caesar salad recipe {gluten-free}

Vegetarian Caesar salad.

You'll never miss the anchovies in this vegetarian Caesar salad. (Wait, you knew about the fish in the salad dressing, didn't you?) I love to use anchovy paste in traditional Caesar salad dressing, but in this recipe, plain Greek yogurt and sharp, salty Romano cheese stand in for the sharp, salty bite from the fish. Plenty of garlic, giant crunchy croutons made fresh in a frying pan, and crisp, sturdy lettuce combine for a simple salad that relies on big flavor from every ingredient. Add some grilled chicken or shrimp, as restaurants often do, or pile on tomatoes, or bell pepper, or asparagus... well, you get the idea. I always blend some extra dressing, which keeps in the refrigerator for a week, so I have the basic salad for several lunches in a row, with different add-ons every day.

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September 10, 2013

Recipe for barley, artichoke, sun-dried tomato and feta salad with zahtar dressing {vegetarian}

Barley, artichoke, sun-dried tomato and feta salad.

For years -- well, for decades -- I cooked barley only one way: in soup, with mushrooms and carrots and rich beef or chicken stock. So I missed out on decades of amazing warm and cold barley salads, and now I'm making up for lost time. Or for lost tastes. This barley, artichoke, sun-dried tomato and feta salad came together after a quick pantry raid and a short hop to the herb garden for some of the curly parsley I'm growing this year for the first time. The strong, salty flavors of the artichokes, tomato and cheese, plus the lemony flavor of a zahtar-based dressing, provide just the right counterpoint to the creamy barley. For a vegan salad, omit the cheese, and add some kalamata olives.

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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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