Saturday, January 4, 2014

Clean-Out-Yo-Cupboard Salad

There are easily recipes that could act as an excuse to get rid of the excess of condiments in your refrigerator and canned goods in your cupboard. The following example is a themed and dressed-up example of such a ritual.

It is often after executing Woman's Day recipes (and I don't mean killing them) I find myself with half a box of pasta, an almost-full jar of mint jelly, a dozen capers, and half a can of sardines. What to do, what to do? Even worse--when you have some exotic vegetable just waiting to grow fur, fuzzy and smiling as it reminds you on it's way to the trash can that it cost you $6 and you only used a quarter of it for garnish.

I'll tell you exactly what to do. You make one of three things:

1. A pasta/bean salad or slaw

2. A salad dressing or dip

3. Relish or salsa

You can throw virtually anything into a pasta salad: canned beans, tuna, shredded cheese, olives, dressings, frozen vegetables, fruit (yes, fruit), bacon bits--you name it.

Likewise you can make a salsa or dip if you have a vegetable or dairy base. The foundation of salsas and dips are tomatoes, citrus fruits, cilantro, dill, fresh herbs, beans, olive oil, sour cream, pickle juice, yogurt, cottage cheese, parsley, and other raw or grilled vegetables.

Now here's the big difference: the only distinguishing factor between a dip/dressing and a relish/salsa is how much you blend it. Cucumber with cilantro, lime, mint, and yogurt can be a dip if you hand mix them but one trip to the blender and you have a fancy Indian dressing for your lamb salad.

All you have to do is take inventory after you cook. A few sprigs of mint for that Mediterranean dish and you threw the rest away a few days later? Throw it in the blender with the other leftovers and you're a gosh darn gourmet chef.


  • 1 pound(s) large peeled and deveined shrimp
  • 1 can(s) (about 15 oz) cannellini beans, rinsed
  • 1 pint(s) cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 6 ounce(s) green beans, halved
  • 1/4 cup(s) Kalamata olives, sliced
  • 2 tablespoon(s) olive oil
  • 2 teaspoon(s) grated lemon zest
  • 1 clove(s) garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon(s) dried oregano
  • Black pepper
  • Crumbled feta cheese and lemon wedges, for serving


  1. Heat oven to 500ºF. On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss the shrimp, cannellini beans, tomatoes, green beans and olives with the oil, lemon zest, garlic, oregano and ¼ tsp black pepper.
  2. Roast until the shrimp are opaque throughout, 15 minutes. Sprinkle with the feta and serve with lemon wedges, if desired.

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