It’s that time of year when, inevitably, you will be asked to bring a salad to a gathering. You could hardly do better than this reader-favorite vegan Caesar salad with crispy chickpeas, a brilliant recipe by Becky Hughes. (For anyone who thinks it’s not a real Caesar without the egg yolks and anchovies, don’t worry, we have a salad for you, too.) Becky’s creamy dressing is built on a base of blended raw cashews, punched up with plenty of garlic, miso and caper brine. It’s bound to win fans, vegan or not: “Forget best vegan Caesar dressing — this is the best Caesar dressing I’ve tasted. Ever,” wrote Sarah, a reader.
Keeping with the crispy theme, here’s Ali Slagle’s crisp gnocchi with sausage and peas. It’s a quick one-pan dinner. You don’t need to boil the gnocchi separately, as they’ll plump up and cook along with your (frozen) peas and sausage after a brief browning. Add a splash of cream if you’d like to alfredo-fy things a little.
More speedy meals, because it’s the weekend and you have people to see and errands to run: Zainab Shah’s quick chicken karahi, a deeply spiced Pakistani dish with tomatoes and chiles. Or slide out the sheet pan for this shrimp scampi recipe from Melissa Clark; the high-heat roasting gives the shrimp a condensed, sweet flavor and caramelizes the lemon slices. Either recipe would add a welcome dose of brightness to a gray, blustery day.
If there are sniffles in your home, a batch of Yewande Komolafe’s brothy Thai curry with silken tofu and herbs will revitalize and restore. It’s a great recipe to keep up your sleeve, as it leans on pantry staples (canned coconut milk and red curry paste) and countertop standbys (ginger, garlic and shallots). For more soup-in-a-snap ideas, be sure to poke through our collection of easy weeknight soups.
And if you’re not bringing a salad to that aforementioned dinner party, you’re probably bringing a dessert, and everyone loves brownies. Lidey Heuck’s no-frills recipe is perfect as is, but it’s also prime for tailoring to your specific crowd. Use semisweet chocolate for sweeter (read: kid-approved) brownies; dark chocolate for a grown-up treat; or stir in nuts, chopped Halloween candy, peanut butter chips or crushed toffee. These brownies are basic in the best way.