No Croutons Required - March 2015 Roundup of Vegetarian Soups and Salads

Welcome to the March edition of No Croutons Required, a monthly event alternately hosted by my dear friend Jacqueline and myself. We have a nice balance of soups and salads to share this month, so cozy up and see what some of our fellow bloggers served up. Thanks as always to all who shared their lovely dishes.

apple carpaccio
Recipe: Apple Carpaccio

Chef: Dena
Blog: Oh! You Cook
Location: USA

Our first submission is this lovely appetizer salad with thinly sliced apples dressed with pomegranate molasses, honey, lemon juice and black pepper. To serve, some greens are placed on a plate, topped with the apple and some blue cheese and then drizzled with some dressing. Delicious and unique.

broccoli soup
Recipe: Easy Broccoli Soup

Chef: Helen
Blog: Roast Chicken and a Country Walk
Location: UK

I would eat this for lunch anytime, or for dinner for that matter. Two whole heads of broccoli feature in this easy soup, along with onion, garlic, nutmeg and simple seasoning. Serve with some hummus and a salad for a most satisfying dairy-free experience.

Recipe: Herby Salad with Chickpeas and Olives

Chef: Lisa
Blog: We Don't Eat Anything With a Face
Location: UK

Chickpeas always get my attention, and they do feature so well in a salad. Here is a variation on tabbouleh without the bulgar wheat, with romaine lettuce, tomato, cucumber, green pepper, olives, fresh herbs, all dressed up with lemon juice, olive oil, a bit of garlic and some seasoning. Certainly a delicious side.

almond carrot soup
Recipe: Almond Carrot Soup with Garlic and Caramelized Onions

Chef: Lata
Blog: Flavours and Tastes
Location: West Africa

I'm certainly intrigued by this soup that surely will warm and nourish. This creamy delight features almonds, and like Lata, I always have a good bunch on hand. Carrots, garlic, red onion, ginger and simple seasoning also shine here. I'm craving a bowl just now. We must not forget the caramelized onions either.

tofu salad
Recipe: Smoky Tofu and Pomegranate Arugula Salad

Chef: Janet
Blog: The Taste Space
Location: Canada

Next up is Janet with a sandwich idea that got turned into an interesting salad. Tofu is marinated with liquid smoke, tamari and a wee bit of maple syrup. Then it is baked and dressed up with cashews, apple and plum vinegar. Add some arugula, cucumber and pomegranate seeds and you have a feast indeed.

pumpkin soup
Recipe: Phool Makhana Pumpkin Soup (Puffed Lotus Seeds Pumpkin Soup)

Chef: Padmajha
Blog: Seduce Your Tastebuds
Location: India

Spicy and a bit sweet, I am certainly glad PJ shared this recipe for this lovely soup. Puffed lotus seeds (that I yet to try), with pumpkin, tomato, garlic, chili powder, nigella seeds and some fresh herbs to garnish makes for one colourful and nourishing soup.

broccoli soup
Recipe: Broccoli Cheese Soup

Chef: Shaheen
Blog: Allotment2Kitchen
Location: UK

I think most of us in the Western hemisphere are tired of winter, but there is always soup, and this creamy broccoli soup topped with cheese is just the thing to comfort. Like Shaheen, I am rather more partial to broccoli stems, but the whole vegetable is something I can enjoy anytime of year, especially when buttered up and dressed up with some simple seasonings.

roasted red pepper soup with tomatoes and lentils
Recipe: Roasted Red Pepper, Tomato and Lentil Soup with Dates and Lime

Chef: Lisa
Blog: Lisa's Kitchen
Location: Ontario, Canada

My contribution this month is a heavenly rich and robust roasted red pepper soup with tomatoes, lentils and dates. Slightly sweet, with substance from lentils and vegetables, the layering of flavors and textures is an experience as a whole, yet each mouthful is slightly different making this soup all the more interesting and satisfying.

cabbage soup
Recipe: Sweet and Sour Cabbage Soup with Tomatoes and Rice

Chef: Helen
Blog: Family Friends Food
Location: UK

Feeling nostalgic, Helen came up with this chunky soup that sounds delicious, especially if you want to serve it with some toast to dunk into your bowl. Nicely seasoned with onion and some fresh lemon juice, surely this is a fulfilling treat for lunch or dinner.

taco salad
Recipe: Taco Salad

Chef: Cindy
Blog: Seasonal and Holiday Recipe Exchange
Location: USA

Next up is a spicy salad to get us ready for spring temperatures. Cindy tells us it's easy for kids to help out in the kitchen too. Lettuce, cheese, beans, avocado, tomatoes, jalapenos, black olives and tortilla chips are complimented with a homemade Pico de Gallo. No doubt this is famous with the family. I am sure it is worth the price of admission.

chickpea fennel soup
Recipe: Leek, Chickpea Fennel Soup

Chef: Jen
Blog: Chardonnay & Samphire
Location: UK

This lovely soup features leeks, garlic, onions, carrots, fennel, chickpeas, lemon and some paprika and coriander for garnish. Surely an earthly and substantial bowl of goodness to serve up year round. Now I am certainly hungry.

orzo salad
Recipe: Orzo Salad

Chef: Linsy
Blog: Home Cook Food
Location: USA

Pasta always does feature well as a salad ingredient, especially when you combine it with shallots, red pepper, tomatoes, cucumber, chickpeas, black olives and pine nuts. Dress it up with some olive oil, balsamic vinegar and some herbs and you are in for a fine meal. The possibilities are endless but I am surely craving the combination of ingredients just as Linsy presents them.

broccoli salad with almond
Recipe: Warm Broccoli and Almond Salad

Chef: Pallavi
Blog: Thou Shalt Cook
Location: India

Our final submission is this healthy and satisfying broccoli salad with almonds. Certainly ideal for a date night, this warming delight is dressed with toasted sesame seeds, almonds and olive oil. Share the love while you enjoy good nourishment.

That concludes the roundup for this month. Jacqueline will be hosting the April 2015 edition of No Croutons Required. Be sure to stop by her space for details.

Brussels Sprouts Kulambu (Brussels in a Spicy Tomato Sauce)

Visit the Indian Food Glossary for information on the ingredients in this recipe
brussels sprouts curry

Brussels sprouts might not be native to India, or that commonly used there to this day, but their rather strong and earthy flavor is perfectly complemented by Indian spicing. I had some brussels on hand in the fridge that originally I was simply going to steam and slather with some butter and salt and pepper, but when I got to thinking about a side that would compliment some fried dal cakes, I couldn't resist dressing them up with some tomato, tamarind and spices. This dish is ideal served over rice, along with appetizers and a legume main.

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Guacamole Omelette

Guacamole Omelette

I asked my husband to cook me a nice breakfast for my birthday a few weeks ago. He doesn't ordinarily have to cook at all as I take care of pretty much all the food around the house. I don't mind — in fact, I enjoy cooking and frequently find myself looking at recipes when there's no cooking to be done — but I thought that it would be nice to have someone cooking for me for a change.

While he doesn't have a grand imagination in the kitchen, he did come up with the idea of this guacamole omelette and cooked it for me too. So this is actually his dish, but I'm claiming it for my own because he did use my own homemade guacamole recipe. Spicy, tangy and creamy fresh guacamole snuggled up in eggs is absolutely delicious, and easy enough for my husband's talents in the kitchen. Best of all, making a batch of guacamole ahead of time left plenty over after the omelette to snack on.

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Portobellos Stuffed with Spinach and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Portobellos Stuffed with Spinach and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

This succulent mushroom-centered presentation could easily be classified as a salad I suppose. A side dish perhaps, but honestly, the mushroom and spinach steal the show and deserve to serve as the centerpiece of a meal. Nutritional yeast lends a cheesy element to this dish and then there are the robust flavors of sun-dried tomatoes and black olives, complete with the meaty texture of the portobellos. Serve with a creamy vegetable lentil soup and a side of brown rice for a completely satisfying meal.

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