No-Cook Puttanesca Chickpea Salad and One-Pot Sesame Salmon Rice Bowls

Hi, friends! Margaux Laskey here filling in for Emily Weinstein today (she’ll be back next week). I’ve missed this little corner of the internet! I hope you’ve been well.

I’m writing this from the passenger seat of a minivan that’s barreling down the highway to pick up my kids from summer camp. While I cannot wait to squeeze them and hear all about their adventures (Dramatic thunderstorms! Wildfire smoke! Tween breakouts!) I won’t lie: I’ve enjoyed the break. My husband was gone for part of the time, too, so I’ve been cooking and eating according to my whimsy and absolutely no one else’s. It was dreamy. (I ate Hetty McKinnon’s dumpling tomato salad with chile crisp vinaigrette for lunch almost every day.)

The recipes below are just the sort I enjoyed. Low effort — I had “Ted Lasso” episodes to binge-watch — easy enough to scale down for one, big on flavor and fun to eat.

Credit…Joe Lingeman for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Cyd Raftus McDowell.

1. Puttanesca Chickpea-Tomato Salad

Putting together a simple bean salad that I can nosh on all week makes me feel smart and pulled together — look at me, planning ahead! Ali Slagle’s vibrant salad combines creamy white beans with the flavors of pasta puttanesca: sweet tomatoes, briny capers and olives, pungent garlic. I like to eat it piled on good bread.

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Credit…David Malosh for The New York Times

2. Caramelized Corn and Asparagus Pasta With Ricotta

Alexa Weibel is beloved by vegetarians everywhere, and for good reason. (Have you tried her mushroom Wellington or her five-ingredient creamy miso pasta? They are legend.) This summery pasta highlights two warm-weather superstars: corn and asparagus. Vermouth adds a little acidity, but feel free to use white wine or lemon juice for a similar lift.

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Credit…Johnny Miller for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Susan Spungen.

3. Saag Paneer

Gosh, I love all things saag. (Saag refers to an Indian dish in which dark greens are stewed with ginger, garlic and spices until velvety.) Kay Chun’s version of the classic made with paneer, a firm Indian cheese, hits the spot and can be made with frozen chopped spinach for ease. Serve with naan and rice.

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Credit…Linda Xiao for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Judy Kim.

4. Sheet-Pan Chicken With Zucchini and Basil

Our basil plant from the hardware store is thriving, and the farmers’ market is just beginning to get zucchini, so I’m eager to make this super easy sheet-pan dinner from Melissa Clark. Bone-in chicken gets just a sprinkling of salt and pepper, while zucchini rounds are tossed with garlic, mint, coriander and red-pepper flakes. Everything roasts together on the same pan so the rich chicken fat flavors the zucchini, and cleanup is a snap.

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Credit…Linda Xiao for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Monica Pierini.

5. Sesame Salmon Bowls

Kay Chun’s brilliant one-pot meal is inspired by Japanese chirashi, in which cooked rice is tossed with vinegar and topped with raw fish. In this recipe, Kay calls for cooking the rice in a combination of water and vinegar to eliminate a step. Salmon pieces are placed on top during the last 12 minutes of cooking time, and then the rice and fish are served with cucumber and avocado slices and a handful of packaged coleslaw mix. It’s an oh-so-easy weeknight meal that feels weekend fancy.

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