No Croutons Required - The Winner for November

The votes are in and the winner of November's Root Vegetable Challenge is Soma with her elegant and creative Saffron and Honey Glazed Vegetables. Congratulations Soma! It was a tough challenge this month, with many tempting entries.

Jacqueline will be hosting the December edition of No Croutons Required. As December is a busy month, we have decided to change things up a bit again this time around and are asking for you to submit a festive photo. It doesn't have to involve food, but do try to send a photo along that captures the festive nature of the season.

No Croutons Required - Root Vegetables

The challenge for November was to make a vegetarian soup or salad with root vegetables. As usual we have received some tempting entries from across the globe. There are lots of nourishing ideas to warm a body on a chilly day. Though the choice is never an easy one, please vote for your favorite in the comment section or via email. Do note that my submission is not eligible for the vote.

Our very first entry is a hearty Butternut Chili from Joanne of Eats Well with Others. Squash, tomatoes, a whole glorious can of green chilies, vaquero beans, garlic, cumin, chili powder, ginger, red onion, red pepper and some rice vinegar come together in this especially warming bowl of goodness. Just perfect for a cold Winter day! (New York, USA)

Next up is A Happy Day Salad from Lata of Flavours and Tastes. This pretty salad is made up of cooked beet root, white radishes and carrot with some turmeric and ginger, along with mixed sprouts and some fresh coriander leaves. This delightful salad was then served with a yogurt and mint dip. So good for you and such a creative presentation too! (Accra, Ghana)

From Johanna of Green Gourmet Giraffe we have this unique and intriguing Chestnut, Carrot and Lentil Soup. Johanna was fortunate to find some lovely purple carrots which she combined with chestnuts, mushrooms, onion, garlic, puy lentils, brown rice and white wine. This thick and delightful soup is then topped with yogurt, parsley and black pepper. I'd love a bowl of this served with some crusty bread! (Melbourne, Australia)

Sadhana of A2Z Vegetarian Cuisine comes up with a refreshing and colourful Spinach, Chick Pea, Fruit & Vegetable Salad. Easy to prepare, this healthy salad consists of toasted beetroot, spinach, chickpeas, lettuce, carrots, cherry tomatoes, black grapes, radish, cucumber, orange, red pepper, walnuts and some shredded cheese. This flavourful salad is then dressed with olive oil, orange juice, lemon juice and a bit of salt and freshly ground black pepper. Serve with some almond milk for a most nourishing midday meal. (USA)

Next up is Claire of The Hungriest Hippo with a velvety Curried Parsnip & Apple Soup. This warming soup combines parsnips, apples, onion, garlic, curry powder and a splash of milk. Fruit and vegetables all in one delicious bowl of goodness! Serve with some croutons or some toasted pumpkin seeds or a swirl of creme fraiche for lunch of a light dinner. (Edinburgh, Scotland, UK)

Kirsten, who blogs at From Kirsten's Kitchen to Yours submits this unique and refreshing Shredded Jicama Salad. We are told that Jicama is indigenous to Mexico and has a texture like a water chestnut and a sweet, citrusy juice. Here it is combined with carrot, fennel, celery, lime, cayenne, salt and some olive oil. Sounds wonderful! (Los Angeles, California, USA)

Jassy of Gin and Crumpets enters the fray with this winter version of Parsnip and Apple Coleslaw. Jassy bans mayonnaise from her coleslaw and comes up with a refreshing combination of raw parsnips, red cabbage, carrots, apples and walnuts. Everything is tossed with a dressing of cider vinegar, olive oil, honey, and wholegrain mustard. For an especially filling meal, serve with crusty bread and blue cheese. (London, UK)

Rachel of Rachel's Ramblings celebrates a recovery from illness with this easy to prepare, but delightful Carrot, Split Pea & Coconut Soup. Onion, garlic, carrots, yellow split peas, creamed coconut, pepper and chili powder make for a delicious chunky soup, anytime of year. (Gloucestershire, UK)

My own submission this month is an earthy Indian-Style Beet Salad with a Yogurt Dressing. Roasted beets, with a hint of freshly ground coriander and salt are topped with yogurt, ginger and some roasted coconut. Beets are one of my favorite vegetables, and they are especially nice in salads. (London, Ontario, Canada)

Mangocheeks of Allotment 2 Kitchen submits this nourishing South Asian inspired Garam Masala Neep Soup that would be a very warming choice for frigid temperatures. Rich, creamy and filling, swede (also known as rutabaga) is simmered along with onion, garlic, red chili and garam masala. Mangocheeks suggests this belly warmer can be served with a side serving of swede crisps with some garam masala. No croutons required! (West of Scotland, UK)

Priya of Priya's Easy N Tasty Recipes is up next with her simple and creamy Onion and Leek Soup. This comforting soup is made up of sauted onions and leeks, vegetable broth, basil leaves, salt, pepper and served with cream. Sometimes quick and easy soups like this one are exactly what I crave. (Paris, France)

Sweatha of Tasty Curry Leaf enters this month with a pretty Carrot Kosumbari that is simple to make but certainly not lacking in flavour. This raw salad is made up of shredded carrots, onions, coconut, green chilies, lemon juice and coriander. It would be delightful on its own for lunch or could be served alongside rice. (Bangalore,India)

Soma of eCurry joins in again this month with some lovely Saffron and Honey Glazed Root Vegetables. This autumn dish consists of rutabaga, carrots, parsnips and onion glazed with honey and saffron and cooked further with fennel and lemon juice and garnished with parsley and thyme. This mouthwatering combination would be an ideal vegetable complement to any cold weather meal! (Texas, USA)

Cool Lassi(e) of Pan Gravy Kadai Curry serves up a Root-A-Rama Soup that was a huge hit and now a favorite. This thick soup is made up of celery root, sweet potato, ginger, garlic, a bay leaf, vegetable stock and milk and topped with caramelized red onions. Good for you and tasty too! (USA)

Swathi of Zesty South Indian Kitchen cooks up an earthy and elegant Beet, Carrot and Ginger Soup. Beets, carrot, red onion, ginger, veggie stock, pepper, Italian seasoning and cream are pureed together and then served with a dollop of yogurt and some toasted bread. Yet another example that easy to prepare doesn't mean you have to sacrifice good taste! (Texas, USA)

Our final submission is a crimson Beet Root Salad from Aqua of Served With Love. Sweet, spicy and tangy, lightly cooked beets are grated and tossed with roasted peanut powder, fresh lime juice, green chilies, coriander leaves and a wee bit of sugar. No wonder Aqua craves this one. A classic! Serve over fresh lettuce leave to impress your diners. (Singapore)

Update: Sarah of The Ordinary Vegetarian sent along her Roasted Beet and Garlic Soup in Acorn Squash Bowls but it didn't show up in in the inbox! Such a cute presentation, Sarah fills roasted squash with a soup of roasted beets and garlic, celery, carrots, onion, ginger, dill and coconut milk. This delightful creamy soup is not only impressive, but good for you too! (Aurora, Illinois, USA)

Jacqueline will be hosting the December edition of No Croutons Required. Check back at the beginning of the month for the theme.

Indian Chickpea and Pumpkin Soup

Visit the Indian Food Glossary for information on the ingredients in this recipe
Indian Chickpea and Pumpkin Soup

Winter squash soups are a healthy and economical way to comfort and nourish the body and soul during the long cold months ahead. Chickpeas add depth and protein to this colorful and delicious autumn pumpkin soup, enhanced with a zesty Indian seed and spice tempering that will warm and delight your guests. Serve with a whole grain for a complete and wholesome vegetarian meal.

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Indian-Style Beet Salad with a Yogurt Dressing

Visit the Indian Food Glossary for information on the ingredients in this recipe
Indian-Style Beet Salad with a Yogurt Dressing

Recently I purchased a copy of Modern Spice by Monica Bhide after reading a mini review at 101 cookbooks. I have now cooked a few recipes from this delightful cookbook and what a taste experience it was. I will be having more to say about this book in the future, but for now, I will note that it has many creative Indian-fusion style dishes for vegetarians and carnivores alike.

My first choice was this earthy and healthy beetroot salad with a creamy yogurt dressing. I served it with a wild mushroom and paneer pilaf which I will be sharing with my readers soon.

Indian-Style Beet Salad with a Yogurt DressingIndian-Style Beet Salad with a Yogurt Dressing
Recipe by
Adapted from Modern Spice: Inspired Indian Flavors for the Contemporary Kitchen
Cuisine: Indian
Published on November 12, 2009

A sweet and earthy simple roasted beet salad with a tangy Indian-style yogurt dressing

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  • 4 medium beets
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened dried grated coconut
  • 3/4 cup whole fat yogurt
  • 1/2-inch piece fresh ginger, minced or grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • Preheat an oven to 425°. Wash the beets and trim off the ends.

  • In a medium bowl, combine the olive oil, pepper, salt and coriander. Add the beets and toss well so the beets are coated. Wrap the beets in foil and arrange on a baking sheet. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until tender when pierced with a fork. Remove from the oven, let cool, and remove the skin. Cut into wedges and arrange in a serving bowl or plate.

  • While the beets are cooking, toast the coconut in a small frying pan over medium-low heat until it darkens a few shades. Set aside.

  • Make the dressing by whisking together the yogurt, ginger and salt in a small bowl. Spoon the dressing over the beets, toss a bit, and garnish with the toasted coconut.

Makes 4 servings

Indian-Style Beet Salad with a Yogurt Dressing

Other beet recipes from Lisa's Vegetarian Kitchen:
Roasted Beet and Coconut Curry
Haloumi, Beetroot and Greens Dressed with Tahini and Lemon
Beet and Feta Salad
Orange and Beet Soup

On the top of the reading stack: The Devil Tree by Jerzy Kosinski

Audio Accompaniment: Air Structures by Robert Fripp and Brian Eno

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Pumpkin Cheesecake

I haven't been spending much time in my kitchen of late, but the recent occasion of a friend's birthday was an inspiration to come up with a pumpkin dessert. Not too rich, this crustless pumpkin cheesecake will appeal to those who prefer savory treats, but also enjoy a hint of sweetness from time to time. I highly recommend using homemade pumpkin purée rather than the canned variety. Detailed instructions on how to make your own, along with photos, can be found here. Pumpkin purée also freezes well. I freeze it in 1 cup portions and let it thaw overnight when I plan to use it for a recipe.

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No Croutons Required - The Winners for October and the Challenge for November

The votes are in and we have two winners for October's Frugal Challenge. Congratulations to both Saranya who made a unique Hawaiian Style Mixed Vegetable Soup and Nic who cooked up this lovely Green Tomato Soup.

I will be hosting the November edition of No Croutons Required. The challenge this month is to make a soup or a salad containing root vegetables. Use your favorite root vegetable or mix and match to come up with some treasured comfort food.