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March 17, 2013

Recipe for vegan root vegetable soup {gluten-free}

Root vegetable soup, vegan and gluten-free, perfect for Meatless Monday.

If you've been hanging around The Perfect Pantry for a while, you've heard me rail against recipes that require you to make twelve other things -- sauces, spice blends, stock -- in order to have the components for one recipe. So it wouldn't be fair to ask you to make an entire beef stew so you'll have leftover already-diced rutabaga, parsnips and carrots that won't quite fit into the stew pot, but which will fit quite nicely into your soup pot. (And it would be especially unfair if you don't eat meat!) This root vegetable soup, vegan and and gluten-free, carries its own sweetness; add some fruit and warm spices like cumin, coriander and garam masala, and whip everything together with your immersion blender. If you love cilantro, garnish individual servings with a few chopped leaves.

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March 7, 2013

Smoky shrimp, corn and bacon chowder recipe

Smoky shrimp, corn and bacon chowder. So easy!

What makes a chowder a chowder, and not just a fish soup? The name comes from the French word chaudiere, a three-legged cauldron. When ships returned from the sea, every village had a large chaudiere waiting at the dock; each fisherman added a portion of his catch, big pieces of fish cleaned and cut right on the boat, to be served later as a communal meal. It's a shame that most of us no longer get our fish directly from the docks, and that we make chowder in our own kitchens instead of a communal pot. While our way of life has changed, the basic chowder remains the same: a fish-based soup, thick with big chunks of fish or shellfish. This shrimp, corn and bacon chowder gets a double whammy of smoky flavor from pimentón (smoked paprika) and the bacon. I call it a pantry chowder, because I always have shrimp and corn in the freezer, and a combination of clam and chicken broths from the pantry makes a fine substitute for fresh fish stock.

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January 29, 2013

Creamy Indian-spiced vegan sweet potato soup recipe {gluten-free}

Creamy Indian-spiced vegan sweet potato soup, a hearty Meatless Monday entree (gluten-free).

Once upon a time, I didn't need a scorecard to remember my family's culinary preferences. Now that I'm firmly entrenched in middle age, I forget who loves olives, who hates mushrooms, who likes tomatoes on their pizza and who won't eat anything green. So, it was inevitable that, when I cooked a big holiday dinner for my stepson and grandkids, I would get something wrong, and I came home with three pounds of leftover mashed sweet potatoes that none of the kids would touch. Lucky me: I turned those already-mashed potatoes into this rich and creamy Indian-spiced sweet potato soup. It's vegan and gluten-free, and you can make it even if you don't have leftovers. Top each individual bowl with traditional curry garnishes (cashews, raisins, chopped apple or shredded coconut) to create a hearty one-dish meal.

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December 16, 2012

Recipe for butternut squash, peanut and chipotle soup {gluten-free}

Butternut squash, peanut and chipotle soup: African flavors with a hint of Mexico.

Yes, I know, in just a few days the solstice will signal the arrival of infinitessimally more daylight, a few seconds a day, though it won't be obvious to... well, to anyone except my optimistic husband Ted, at least for a few more months. I do not get through the longest, darkest nights of winter with a camping lamp plastered to my forehead. I cook my way through, with soup: rich, thick, sweet and almost always a bit spicy. This butternut squash, peanut and chipotle soup hits all the marks. It's creamy, yet dairy-free, and gluten-free, too. Most important, this African-inspired soup will make you forget all about the darkness and the cold. You'll be too busy licking your lips.

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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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