No Croutons Required - The Winner for November


The theme for November was to come up with a vegetarian soup or salad that would be especially suited to grace your holiday table. The entries came in and the winner this time around is Janet who submitted this Warm Balsamic Rosemary Cabbage Salad that is surely a pleaser anytime of year. Congrats and do check out her other offerings.


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

Stuffed Eggplant Poriyal


Visit the Indian Food Glossary for information on the ingredients in this recipe
stuffed South Indian Eggplant

It used to be that eggplant was something I hardly ever considered cooking with, but now that I have started, there is no stopping me. Even my family members who thought of eggplant as mushy and bland are willing to try my creations. Since I started playing around more, I have pretty much stuck with broiling or baking this versatile vegetable, but this time I wanted something spicy and went ahead with stuffing small eggplants with a spicy dry paste of coconut, cashews and lentils and simmering them in a tangy and fragrant tempering sauce. Certainly the most pleasing way I have prepared and enjoyed eggplant yet, and it is just perfect for dinner served with a steaming hot bed of buttered rice.

I adapted this recipe from one of my very favorite vegetarian cookbooks, Dakshin by Chandra Padmanabhan. If I could retain only a few of the books from my extensive collection, surely this would be one of them. Though I have cooked from this book on many occasions, each time I pick it up and glance through the beautiful illustrations, I am tempted again and again to keep exploring the authentic south Indian delights offered up. If you want to know about sambars, rasams, poriyals and kootus, beautiful rice dishes, aromatic spice blends that are an essential element of Indian cooking and just don't me started on the snack and appetizer section, this is the book you surely must have. The desserts and sweets are also too tempting, even for this savory girl.

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Refried Beans with Sun-Dried Tomatoes

It will not likely come as a surprise to my readers that I adore spicy dishes from many cuisines around the world. Though Indian creations and variations on traditional dishes from India are my passion, I like to explore the world from my humble kitchen. There is no requirement that my experiments and offerings *must* be spicy, but I always find myself gravitating toward the spice cupboard and the hot chilies.

vegetarian refried beans

I turned my sights toward Mexican cooking for one of my most recent cooking sessions. Refried beans have always been a favorite of mine. I have made several versions over the years, and when the craving hit I came up with another recipe. Certainly not the most traditional version of this classic dish, but I have perfected the technique over the years to suit my palate. This time I have included sun-dried tomatoes. Yes, regular readers have probably noticed that I use sun-dried tomatoes A LOT. Such an important staple ingredient in my kitchen. They add extra flare to your food without overpowering the other ingredients if you are sparing with the quantity that you include.

Certainly distinct from Indian cuisine, Mexican food is actually more similar than you might think. For example, most Mexican dishes are hot and spicy and include plenty of hot chilies. The depth of flavor and complexity of the dishes that are nonetheless prepared with relative ease, also make these two rather distinct regions a perfect match for fusion style cooking. As in India, tomatoes are widely used and beans and rice are a common feature of the meal. A rough equivalent to Indian flatbreads are tortillas. Quesadillas are commonly stuffed with a variety of beans and vegetables that I consider to be a Mexican version of an Indian paratha. The spicing and choice of flours and ingredients surely vary, but I bet if you enjoy Indian cuisine, you already enjoy or will enjoy offerings from Latin America.

Consider serving these refried beans rolled up in a flour or corn tortilla, topped with some sour cream and hot sauce along with a bed of rice for a complete and satisfying vegetarian meal. Even your carnivorous friends and family will be delighted and asking for seconds.

Refried Beans with Sun-Dried TomatoesRefried Beans with Sun-Dried Tomatoes
Recipe by
Cuisine: Mexican
Published on November 25, 2012

Zesty and spicy hot homemade refried beans with sun-dried tomatoes

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Ingredients:
  • 1 1/4 cups dried pinto beans (3 cups cooked or 2 14 oz cans)
  • 4 to 5 sun-dried tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon oil or butter
  • 1/2-inch piece fresh ginger, minced, or a heaping 1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger
  • 2 to 3 jalapeños or fresh green chilies, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons chili powder, to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot paprika
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup fresh or frozen corn
Instructions:
  • Rinse the beans and soak in several inches of water for 8 hours or overnight. Drain and rinse, then transfer to a medium saucepan and cover with several inches of fresh water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer the beans for 1 hour or until very soft. Drain and transfer to a large bowl. Mash with a fork or potato masher and set aside.

  • Meanwhile, soak the sun-dried tomatoes in hot water for 20 to 30 minutes, then drain and chop.

  • Heat 1 teaspoon of oil or butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the ginger, jalapeños or chilies, tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, spices and salt, and simmer for 15 minutes or until the mixture begins to thicken.

  • Heat the remaining oil or butter in a cast-iron skillet or large frying pan over medium heat. When hot, toss in the onions and fry for a 3 to 5 minutes or until the onions turn translucent. Add the mashed beans and cook for 5 minutes, stirring every minute or so.

  • Now add the tomato mixture and corn. Cook, flipping portions of the bean mixture every few minutes, until the beans begin to dry out and brown a bit, about 10 to 15 minutes.

  • Serve hot or warm over a bed of hot cooked brown rice or wrapped in warmed tortillas, with a little sour cream and a sprinkle of chili powder or a few dashes of hot sauce if desired.

Makes 6 servings
refried beans

More Mexican dishes you are sure to enjoy from Lisa's Vegetarian Kitchen:
Black Bean and Goat Cheese Quesadillas
Huevos Rancheros Con Frijoles
Tomato Corn Chowder
Guacamole

On the top of the reading stack: browsing

Audio Accompaniment: Vic Chesnutt

Indian-Style Roasted Squash Curry


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

Making good use of seasonal vegetables is an important component of my culinary adventures. Squash is my latest fetish and for some reason, in the past, I have rather neglected this wholesome and versatile veggie. Funny that as my brother, who used to eat no more than about 5 or 6 different things as a child and would enjoy potatoes but hardly any other vegetable — quite literally — really took to squash when he expanded his repertoire of "edible" food. Myself, I was not really a picky eater except when it came to meat and fish, so I guess it is no wonder that I have been a vegetarian for over 20 years now.

Squash is not only good for you, but surprising filling too, more so than most vegetables that appear on my table. Most recently I have been making soups with squash but this time around I wanted a rather dry hot curry squash dish to serve with a bed of rice and green peas. The only thing lacking for this meal was some savory flatbreads that I did not get around to making. Do consider using sweet dumpling squash if you can find it. Now a favorite of mine, it tastes a lot like pumpkin, more than most squashes I have tried.

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No Croutons Required - Soups and Salads to Grace your Holiday Table

The challenge for November was to come up with a vegetarian soup or salad to adorn your holiday table. The roundup is short this month but surely lots of ideas to get you in the festive mood. Thanks to all who sent in a recipe. I will announce the most popular submission at the end of the month with input from friends and family. Please vote for your favorite via email or in the comment section to help us come up with the winner for this month's challenge. Neither my submission, nor Jacqueline's, is eligible for the vote.

cabbage salad

Our first entry is from Janet of the Taste Space with this heavenly Warm Balsamic Rosemary Cabbage Salad. Surely this warming and earthy salad consisting of red onion, garlic, cabbage, balsamic vinegar, fresh rosemary, raisins, green apples and nuts and or seeds would be a lovely dish to add to your holiday table on special occasions, or anytime for that matter. An additional bonus are Janet's reflections on the frustrations and joys of food blogging. (Toronto, Ontario, Canada)

Lentil Salad with Tempeh, Dried Cherries, Spinach and Gorgonzola

I'm up next with this unique and flavorful Lentil Salad with Tempeh, Dried Cherries, Spinach and Gorgonzola. Marinated and salty fried spiced up tempeh strips fill out this multi-layered salad consisting of puy lentils dressed with shallots, a hint of natural sugar, dried cherries, red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar tossed with fresh spinach and garnished with creamy gorgonzola. My dining companions had no complaints whatsoever. Praise certainly encourages the cook to keep experimenting and offering up special dishes. (London, Ontario, Canada)

Italian veggies

Next up is Rita who cooks Italian food that is most appealing indeed. Her contribution this month is Vegetables Cooked the Italian way. I could not resist spinach, black cabbage and brussels dressed up with olive oil, garlic, chili, lemon juice and fresh parsley. I think you will agree that your table will be dressed up with this delightful side of goodness. (London, UK)

soya bean salad

More festive ideas for our dinner tables come from Nitu Didi. Check out this Soya Bean Salad with lots of different flavors and nutrients. Soya beans and veggies and even fruits, such as onions, tomatoes, cucumbers, avocado, peppers, radish, pineapple, apples, kiwi and parsley are dressed with olive oil, fresh lemon juice and a bit of salt. Take your pick when it comes to the produce you wish to include to make your own special holiday offering. (Spain)

sweet corn chowder

Janice dishes out delights from her Farmergirl Kitchen such as this Sweetcorn Chowder. Comfort in a bowl means shallots, potatoes, some flour to thicken up the mixture, sweetcorn, veggie stock, bay leaves, milk, herbed cheese and fresh parsley. So simple, but nourishing and no doubt a great idea to sweeten up your dinner. I'm totally smitten with the idea of the herbed cheese. (Scotland, UK)

spinach blue cheese pear soup

Finally, my dear friend Jac of Tinned Tomatoes and fellow partner for this ongoing event offers up a luscious Spinach, Pear & Blue Cheese Soup. Sauteed onions and garlic in olive oil with some potatoes added after and then spinach and pear, all dressed up with blue cheese, worcestershire sauce, seasoning, including nutmeg cannot fail to impress your guests. Of course, top with fresh herbs and a sprinkle of cayenne. This gal knows how to make a dish that is not only healthy but irresistible too. (Scotland, UK)

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

Lentil Salad with Tempeh, Dried Cherries, Spinach and Gorgonzola

The layering of flavors and textures in this dish is really quite unique and surprising. My best friend Basil had a few bites and asked, "what am I eating?" but surely not in a disapproving way — indeed, he wanted seconds. I have encountered more than a few vegetarians and vegans who have expressed their dislike of tempeh, but it just depends on how you prepare it, much like tofu, only tempeh is a healthier alternative because of the fermentation process it undergoes. It has a meaty texture that surely will appeal to your carnivorous friends too, especially when you salt it up like I have here.

Lentil Salad with Tempeh, Dried Cherries, Spinach and Gorgonzola

Notes: For this recipe, I used a fairly mild and creamy Gorgonzola so as not to overpower the rest of the flavors in this dish. If you want to make this vegan, omit the cheese and it will still be a tasty and unique addition to your table. You will likely have more tempeh than you need for this salad, but the strips are delightful to snack on just on their own, so I opted to fry up the whole package.

Precisely because this is such a unique and flavourful salad, this is my submission this month to No Croutons Required. For the November edition I have asked for soups or salads that would grace your holiday table. A kind reminder that it not too late yet to submit your lovely recipes.

Lentil Salad with Tempeh, Dried Cherries, Spinach and GorgonzolaLentil Salad with Tempeh, Dried Cherries, Spinach and Gorgonzola
Recipe by
Published on November 18, 2012

Rich, filling and flavorful lentil salad dressed with fried marinated tempeh, dried cherries, fresh spinach and creamy Gorgonzola cheese

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Tempeh:
  • 12 oz (340 g) tempeh, cut into thin strips
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons tamari (soy) sauce
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons chili or chipotle powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt, or to taste
  • 1/4 cup sesame oil
Other ingredients:
  • 2/3 cup Puy (French) lentils
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/3 cup dried cherries or dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
  • fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 - 3 cups fresh spinach, washed and trimmed
  • 4 1/2 oz (125 g) Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled or chopped
Instructions:
  • Begin by marinating the tempeh. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil and tamari. Transfer the tempeh strips to a large shallow pan and pour the olive oil and tamari mixture on top. Toss well to coat, sprinkle with chipotle and salt, toss again, and let sit for 30 minutes, turning occasionally.

  • Heat the sesame oil over medium-high heat in a large frying pan. When hot, add the marinated tempeh strips and fry until they are nicely browned on both sides, turning every few minutes. This should take about 10 to 15 minutes. Drain on paper towels and set aside.

  • Pick through the lentils to remove any small stones and rinse thoroughly. Combine in a medium saucepan with the bay leaves and 3 1/2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes or until the lentils are tender but not falling apart. Drain and set aside.

  • While the lentils are cooking, prepare your dressing. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a medium-sized saucepan. When hot, add the shallots and stir until they soften and turn golden brown. Now pour in the water and add the sugar, dried berries, vinegars and salt. Simmer until the mixture thickens up, stirring often. Remove from heat and season with black pepper.

  • To serve, toss together half of the tempeh with lentils, spinach and dressing. Add more seasoning and olive oil as desired. Transfer to serving plates and serve at room temperature garnished with pieces of creamy Gorgonzola and the remaining tempeh.

Makes 4 servings
lentil salad with tempeh

More tempeh based recipes you are sure to enjoy from Lisa's Vegetarian Kitchen:
Tempeh Stuffed Mushroom Tapas
Thai Tempeh Patties with a Red Chili Dipping Sauce
Oseng Oseng Tempe
Tempeh Breakfast Hash-Up

On the top of the reading stack: Dakshin: Vegetarian Cuisine from South India by Chandra Padmanabhan

Audio Accompaniment: Lux by the master of sound, Brian Eno

Quinoa Flour Muffins with Roasted Red Peppers and Goat Cheese

Savory quick breads are one of my favorite ways to fill out a meal, especially the light sort of meals I usually like to prepare. The "quick" part is especially appealing, but the texture of a biscuit, muffin or flatbread also makes a satisfying contrast to the other components of the meal, while the flavors can be easily assembled in any combination that enhances the other foods being served. And of course the leftovers are great to have around for breakfasts or snacks.

goat cheese quinoa muffins

These gluten-free quinoa flour muffins combine some of my favorite ingredients: cornmeal, roasted red peppers and goat cheese. Easy-to-make, they're a soft and moist but slightly dense savory muffin with a little chewy crunch from the cornmeal — great to serve with soups or salads, but these muffins shine on their own too.

Note: sun-dried tomatoes can be substituted for the roasted red peppers with great success, and a handful of pitted and chopped black olives can be added if desired.

Quinoa Flour Muffins with Roasted Red Peppers and Goat Cheese (Gluten-Free)Quinoa Flour Muffins with Roasted Red Peppers and Goat Cheese (Gluten-Free)
Recipe by
Published on November 17, 2012

Easy, soft and moist gluten-free savory muffins made with quinoa flour, roasted red peppers and goat cheese

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Ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 cups quinoa flour
  • 1/2 cup blue or yellow cornmeal
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • pinch of cayenne (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 - 3 jalapeños, seeded and finely chopped (optional)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup roasted red peppers, chopped
  • 5 oz (140 g) soft goat cheese, crumbled
Instructions:
  • Preheat an oven to 375° and grease 12 standard size muffin cups.

  • In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, oregano, cayenne if using, and sea salt. Stir in the jalapeños if using.

  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk and olive oil until slightly frothy. If using roasted red peppers from a jar, drain and dry slightly with paper towels. Add the roasted red peppers and goat cheese, and gently stir a few times.

  • Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the egg and goat cheese mixture. Stir until just combined. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups and bake for 20 minutes or until the tops are golden brown and a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the middle of a muffin comes out clean.

  • Remove from heat and leave to cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature. If you aren't serving the same day, they will keep in the fridge for a few days in a sealed container.

Makes 12 muffins
goat cheese quinoa muffins

More savory muffins ideal for filling out a meal:
Quick and Easy Cornbread Muffins
Poppy Seed Muffins
Cracked Black Pepper Cheddar Muffins
Savory Dill Ricotta Muffins

On the top of the reading stack: stacks and stacks of cookbooks

Audio Accompaniment: silence

Pasta and Goat Cheese Casserole with Black Olives

My rich and robust pasta and Feta cheese casserole always leaves an impression with my dinner guests who never seem to tire of this classic. I don't make it very often precisely because it is a bit too rich for frequent fare. However, as winter descends on us cold subjects, comfort food is in order. I made a few changes to my original recipe, specifically using creamy and tangy goat cheese instead of Feta and adding some sun-dried tomatoes and dried mixed mushrooms with a bit of spice. This version is just as decadent as my original recipe.

pasta goat cheese and feta casserole

I was thinking of serving the casserole with some buttered crusty bread but I thought that would be carb overload, so instead I served it with some fresh salad greens dressed with lemon olive oil, champagne vinegar, white balsamic vinegar, grainy Dijon mustard and some fresh cracked black pepper.


Pasta and Goat Cheese Casserole with Black OlivesPasta and Goat Cheese Casserole with Black Olives
Recipe by
Published on November 14, 2012

A rich, creamy and flavorful pasta casserole loaded with tangy goat cheese, olives, tomatoes and mushrooms and seasoned with spices and herbs

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Ingredients:
  • 1/2 pound dried shell pasta (4 1/2 cups)
  • 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1/2 oz (14 g) dried mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed or minced
  • 1 roasted red pepper, chopped
  • 2 - 3 fresh green chillies or jalapeños, seeded and sliced
  • 1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup yogurt
  • 1 medium tomato, seeded
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper, or to taste
  • 15 oz (420 g) soft goat cheese, chopped or crumbled
  • 1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3/4 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and halved
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped (or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh oregano, chopped (or 1 teaspoon dried)
Instructions:
  • Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water to al dente according to package instructions. Rinse with cold water, toss with olive oil and set aside.

  • Meanwhile, soak the sun-dried tomatoes and dried mushrooms in hot water for 20 minutes, then drain and chop..

  • Heat the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. When hot, add the onion, garlic, roasted red pepper and chillies or jalapeños. Cook and stir for a few minutes. Next, add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for a few minutes more.

  • Whisk the milk and yogurt together and add to the pan along with the sun-dried tomatoes, mushrooms, tomato, chili powder, cayenne and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring often.

  • Add the cooked pasta to the sauce, along with the goat cheese, 1/4 cup of the Parmesan, the olives and fresh or dried herbs. Stir to combine, adding more milk if the sauce is too thick, and transfer the mixture to a 9 × 13 baking dish. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup of Parmesan over the top of the casserole. Bake in a preheated 350° oven for about 25 to 30 minutes or until the casserole is hot and the top is browned and bubbling. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Makes 6 to 8 servings
pasta and goat cheese olive casserole

More satisfying pasta dishes you are sure to enjoy from Lisa's Vegetarian Kitchen:
Indian-Style Macaroni and Paneer Cheese with Spinach
Rye Pasta with a Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce and Goat Cheese
Spinach Pesto Pasta
Greek Macaroni and Cheese

On the top of the reading stack: Dakshin: Vegetarian Cuisine from South India by Chandra Padmanabhan

Audio Accompaniment: ambient bliss

Portobello Quinoa Stuffed "Sandwich"

portobello mushrooms

Or salad if you prefer, these marinated portobello mushrooms filled with a dressed-up quinoa stuffing make for a relatively easy and healthy dinner idea. On the plate are a few of my favorite things. I've never met a mushroom I could resist, and broiling the mushrooms really bring out their "meaty" texture. Quinoa adds extra goodness and texture to the sandwich and I had to restrain myself from eating more than one of these filling delights because I adore mushrooms and quinoa that much.

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Quick and Easy Healthy Peanut Butter Balls

peanut butter balls

These no-bake little peanut balls are so easy to prepare that surely you will want to keep them in mind when that craving for peanut butter hits. Though I am the first to admit that there is nothing quite like the combination of chocolate and peanut butter, I wanted something somewhat healthier and this late night snack satisfied my craving in hardly anytime at all.

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Paneer Mushroom Egg Muffins


Visit the Indian Food Glossary for information on the ingredients in this recipe
paneer egg muffins

These substantial yet light and fluffy baked quiche cups are all the more satisfying as they contain an abundance of creamy paneer cheese and some spicy goodness. I must not forget to mention the mushrooms that are nestled in with the other delights. Bossy, no, but paneer makes its presence known here, as do the mushrooms, but they know their place and assert it modestly.

So easy to prepare and they make for a lovely appetizer or side for dinner especially when served with a salsa or chutney, an Indian dal soup and some savory flatbreads. They also happen to be an excellent brunch or breakfast choice. Feel free to adjust the spicing according to your preference and by all means include more chilies or jalapenos because when you bake them in the oven, considering the egg and cheese component, the heat is really rather tempered.

I was in a hurry, so for a quick topping for the muffins, I pulled some of my trusty "fire paste" out of the fridge, put about a teaspoon of the blend into a small sauce pan with a chopped tomato and a bit of salt and simmered that mixture until thickened because I wanted a bit more of a kick as an option for my dinner guests. No complaints from dining companions nor the cook for that matter.

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Spicy Kidney Bean and Chickpea Stew


Visit the Indian Food Glossary for information on the ingredients in this recipe
kidney bean chickpea curry

As cooler temperatures begin to prevail and thoughts turn toward the upcoming winter months, a steaming bowl of this thick, hearty and nourishing kidney bean and chickpea stew brings warmth and comfort to body and mind. Seasoned with a wonderful array of Indian seeds and spices, the aromas of this easy-to-make stew as it simmers on the stove will help you forget the chill of the wind outside your kitchen window. This is a special treat for legume fans as both chickpeas and meaty kidney beans are featured here.

Panch phoran — or panch phoron or Bengali five-spice as it is also known — is a bittersweet and fragrant blend of seeds commonly used in east India and Bangladesh where it is fried in hot oil until it "pops" and used to season dals like this one. You can easily find it at any Indian grocer, but it is so easy to make at home as it consists of only fenugreek seeds, fennel seeds, nigella seeds, cumin seeds and black mustard seeds in equal amounts, without requiring any roasting or grinding. Make a small batch of panch phoran for this stew and store the remaining portion for months in an airtight container. Bring it out again whenever you want to a quick, simple and delicious seasoning for potatoes.

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No Croutons Required - The winner for October and the Theme for November


The challenge for October was to come up with a tempting sandwich to go along with your favorite soup or salad. We surely did receive some lovely entries and the choice was a tough one, but a winner we have. Congratulations to Kellie of Food to Glow who was declared the winner. Just feast your eyes on these Japanese Butternut Squash and Black Bean Tacos. Such a creative idea that transforms the often humble sandwich into something unique and exciting.

Japanese Butternut Squash and Black Bean Tacos

I am hosting the November edition of NCR. As the winter holidays are soon upon us, this month I want you to come up with a vegetarian soup or salad that you would serve as part of a special holiday meal. It can be simple or elaborate - the choice is up to you. All you need to do is come up with your soup or salad, post about it mentioning I am the host this month with a link to this announcement, and submit your recipe via the linky tool at the end of this post by the 20th of the month. Note that only one entry per blogger can be accepted. Very much looking forward to your creative ideas. More details can be found here.