No Croutons Required Soup and Salad Challenge - November 2014

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Once again, it's my turn to host NCR, a monthly event showcasing vegetarian soups and salads alternately hosted by myself and my dear friend Jacqueline of Tinned Tomatoes.

It is easy to participate. All you have to do is:

Make a soup or salad that is suitable for vegetarians and showcase it on your blog.

Link back to this announcement and my blog as I am the host for November, and also Jacqueline's blog.

Add your post using the linky tool at the end of this post by the 28th of this month. Only one entry per blogger please.

The roundup will be posted at the end of the month.

We very much look forward to your creations this time around.

Black-Eyed Pea Curry with Coconut and Tomato

Visit the Indian Food Glossary for information on the ingredients in this recipe
black-eyed pea curry with coconut milk

Humble preparations often steal much of the attention at the dinner table and black-eyed peas dishes certainly do just that. A particularly earthy legume, they just so happen to shine when served up for dinner with modest spicing, and in this case, some creamy coconut milk and robust tomatoes to fill everything out. Very easy to prepare, making it a good go-to recipe for days when there is little inclination or time to cook up something more elaborate, serve with some rice or other favored grain and a vegetable side and your mid-week meal turns into a veritable nourishing feast.

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Thai-Style Creamy Coconut Lentil Mushroom Soup

thai lentil soup

My experience cooking Thai food is relatively recent, but since I started experimenting a few years ago it has probably become my favorite cuisine — aside, of course, from Indian. I find the unique fragrances and flavors of Thai ingredients — coconut, lemongrass, galangal and, of course, chilies — quite irresistible, as well as being easy to combine with all sorts of vegetables to make healthy and delicious meals.

I've lately been making an effort to incorporate even more vegetables into my meals, and the presence of part of a head of cauliflower and some homemade Thai green curry paste in my refrigerator led naturally enough to a Thai-style vegetable soup. With the addition of earthy green lentils, tangy tomatoes, red peppers, bean sprouts, plump oyster mushrooms — also an essential of Thai cooking, in my humble opinion; coconut milk, tamari sauce and an assortment of spices, the result was a creamy, fragrant, hearty and nourishing soup that made the best of a blending of Thai and other south Asian cuisines. Each bowl — and in fact each spoonful — was a wonderful contrast in seasonings and textures that made it a big hit with me, my husband and my best friend Basil.

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Pumpkin Energy Bites

It is time to celebrate the pumpkin season once again. While I do not relish the onslaught of winter, the fall harvest is a treat to be savored. This year, I bought a larger pumpkin, in addition to two smaller ones, roasted them up, and what I didn't use right away, I froze in 1 cup bags for future use to keep me going year round, because pumpkin is just not about 2 months of the year.

Pumpkin Energy Bites

Pumpkin pie is coming soon, but energy bites keep me going throughout the day and they make for a fine quick breakfast. Yes, these do contain some chocolate, but it is fine quality dark chocolate and who says chocolate can't be enjoyed in moderation for breakfast? Certainly not me. Besides, with all of the other good nut, seed and dried fruit stuff in these little bites, you would have to be a strict purist without any real gain if you eschewed these delights. Just saying…

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