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April 24, 2014

The Perfect Pantry's best vegetarian asparagus recipes

Best vegetarian asparagus recipes!

When daffodils bloom in the Spring (tra la), I know asparagus season isn't far behind. For the six weeks each year that our local farm sells it cut fresh from the field, I will eat asparagus every day, every way: cooked, raw, shaved, chopped, steamed, sautéed, stir-fried. It's been a few years since I posted a top-ten asparagus recipe round-up here. And it's been two years since I shared 101 favorite asparagus recipes from food bloggers. So, this year I offer you my best vegetarian (meatless) asparagus recipes. Many are gluten-free, too. Let the season begin.

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April 3, 2014

Kale avocado breakfast smoothie recipe {vegetarian, gluten-free}

Kale avocado smoothie, a perfect start to the day. #vegetarian #glutenfree

Do you ever just crave kale? No, I don't, either. I know it's good for me, and I feel saintly when I tuck a portion of dark leafy greens into my breakfast, but I'm not a kale fanatic. I like it, but I don't crave it. So, for someone like me, a smoothie is the perfect vehicle for adding a serving of kale to my diet. Hide it behind something I love, like avocado, and toss in a few raisins to make it just sweet enough (you can add agave to taste, if you like your breakfast even sweeter). A smoothie meets all the requirements for breakfast on a busy day: you can make one in minutes, and eat it on the run. Don't forget to polish your halo before you run out the door.

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April 1, 2014

Recipe for spaghetti squash with cashew basil pesto and white beans {vegetarian, gluten-free}

Spaghetti squash with cashew basil pesto and white beans, from The Perfect Pantry.

If I had mad Photoshop skills, I could turn this dish bright green. Scary green, even. Fortunately, I don't have that ability, and anyway, I want you to see how this luscious spaghetti squash really looks once it's been tossed in pesto and sits for a few minutes. Not gorgeous, I admit, but the garlicky aroma and melty cheese and crunchy cashews and creamy beans, all together, more than make up for the color. I'm rediscovering spaghetti squash, a low-calorie alternative to pasta, and a vegetable plentiful in the market at least three seasons of the year. Although I've been cooking spaghetti squash in my new pressure cooker, you can bake it in the oven, and either method works perfectly in this dish. It's not yet fresh basil season here in New England, so you have my permission to substitute good quality store-bought pesto if necessary. If you're not vegetarian and want to tuck a bit of shredded cooked chicken or shrimp in here, you have my permission to do that, too.

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March 27, 2014

Recipe for iceberg lettuce (or green salad) with lighter Thousand Island dressing {vegetarian}

Iceberg lettuce wedge with lighter Thousand Island dressing (The Perfect Pantry).

As a child in the 1960s, I couldn't help but fall in love with bell bottom pants and tie-dyed T-shirts, Doris Day movies, the Beatles, and iceberg lettuce wedges. Going out for a fancy dinner meant starting with a perfect triangle of crispy, ice-cold iceberg topped with sweet Thousand Island dressing. I know it's hard to imagine now that this was a delicacy way back when, but it was a treat we always anticipated with glee when we went to the "fine dining" restaurants in the suburbs. Today, it's a retro salad that will bring smiles to the faces of everyone at your table, for the same reason we loved it when I was a child -- because it's good. I've lightened up the mix a bit with nonfat Greek yogurt and reduced-calorie mayonnaise, though the amount of mayo is small enough that it really doesn't make a huge difference if you use the real thing. If you don't have a bottle of sweet green relish in your fridge (it always comes in the picnic packs with ketchup and yellow mustard), chop some pickles and capers instead, and add a tiny bit of sugar. Now, does this salad bring back memories for you?

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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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