January 25, 2015

Pressure cooker chickpea gremolata with green olives, pine nuts and raisins {vegan, gluten-free}

Chickpea gremolata with olives and raisins #vegan #glutenfree

Other than in hummus, chickpeas don't turn me on. Or they didn't, until I tried this chickpea gremolata and pumped it up with pine nuts and raisins and green olives. This dish was the kind of perfect storm that can occur when you have a perfect pantry: a long-forgotten gift package of dried chickpeas discovered on the back shelf of the cupboard; a bag of giant mixed raisins from Trader Joe's; and a pressure cooker standing empty. The best thing about this dish is the texture of the chickpeas. Without any presoaking, add the dry chickpeas to the pressure cooker, and what comes out is not in the least bit mushy or overcooked, without any canned-chickpea aftertaste. Then, toss those un-mushy chickpeas with robust fresh ingredients for a quick marriage of sweet and salty and olive oil and heat. Divine.

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January 7, 2015

Confetti spaghetti squash with peppers, zucchini, lemon and capers {vegan, gluten-free}

Scrape out strands of spaghetti squash topped with colorful vegetables. Fun for kids and adults! #vegan #glutenfree

When I first shared this recipe in a post about capers, in January 2008, I thought that, because I found it in a kids' cookbook, it would be typical kid food. Au contraire. Capers give the vegetable sauce a sophisticated profile, but honestly, I imagine my grandkids would take great pains to pick out each and every caper berry. Two changes I've made in the way I prepare this recipe now: I use smaller amounts of both capers and lemon juice, which tend to overwhelm the delicate vegetables, and I add a teaspoon of garlic. I like to serve the vegetable topping right in the spaghetti squash, so each person can scrape out his or her own squash as they go along. Sometimes, I grate some parmesan or asiago cheese on top. Not vegan, but delicious.

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December 17, 2014

Sweet and sour slow cooker red cabbage with apples and onions {vegan, gluten-free}

Slow cooker red cabbage, just as good on hot dogs as on the holiday table! #vegan #glutenfree #crockpot

Nothing revolutionary here, just a reliably delicious traditional side dish that you can serve hot or cold. In fact, my husband Ted's first reaction after taste testing was, "This would be great on a hot dog!" And so you see it, served at room temperature, piled on an organic beef hot dog. Ted was absolutely right; it's a great pairing. I'd love to see this sweet and sour cabbage on the holiday table, slightly warm and oh-so-holiday-red. The stunning color and tangy flavor, which comes from a mix of vinegars, compliment a range of menus, from Christmas goose to roast chicken to fish tacos. The recipe calls for pomegranate vinegar, which I buy at Trader Joe's (or online); if you can't find this, substitute a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar plus a teaspoon of red wine vinegar, or swap in pomegranate juice. Top a rice bowl with red cabbage and some chunks of cheese, for a quick vegetarian lunch. With five minutes of prep, you can set cabbage in the slow cooker to do its thing all day, while you are at work or running errands. Make it a few days ahead, and let it get happy in the refrigerator for up to a week.

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December 14, 2014

Shredded Brussels sprouts salad with dried blueberries, pecans, and maple-miso dressing {vegan}

Thinly shredded Brussels sprouts with dried blueberries get tenderized by maple dressing. A quick and easy salad! #vegan #salad

A huge stalk of Brussels sprouts, on sale at the local market for $4.99, caught my eye last week. Too large for the grocery bags I'd brought, the stalk nestled under my arm as I left the store. By the time I arrived home, I had lost the will to cook, but not the will to eat. This salad requires no cooking, save a brief toasting of the pecans while you're throwing everything else together. You can make the maple-miso dressing ahead of time, and store it in the refrigerator for a week or more. Trim the sprouts and toss them into a food processor fitted with a slicing blade, to save time. Or attack them one by one with a sharp knife; cut off the very bottom edge, slice each sprout in half lengthwise, and then make cross-wise cuts to get very thin pieces. The blueberries add extra antioxidant power to an already-powerful side dish, but if you can't find them, swap in dried cranberries, which are available in any grocery store. And to serve as a vegetarian main course or Meatless Monday entrée, add some crumbled feta or blue cheese.

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November 5, 2014

Curried butternut squash and apple soup {vegan, gluten-free}

Curried butternut squash and apple soup, with Thai flavors. #glutenfree #vegan

In our house, Fall doesn't begin officially until the first pot of butternut squash soup hits the stove. Most often, I combine butternut (my favorite, though buttercup, acorn or Hubbard are wonderful substitutes) with apples from our local orchards, and bind them together with Indian curry spices like cumin, coriander and turmeric. Lately, I've been craving the raw heat of Thai red curry paste, and that sent this year's butternut squash soup in a new direction. (The recipe calls for a tablespoon of curry paste, which won't make the soup very spicy, but please use half that amount if you're worried about too much heat. You can always add more.) The thick and creamy soup is vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free, thanks to coconut milk. A little bit of brown sugar and a hit of fresh lime juice add a light, bright finish. If you're doing a soup swap this winter, put this soup on your make-ahead-and-freeze list.

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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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