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

Welcome to the first edition of No Croutons Required for 2015. As always, I am in awe of the lovely creations that Jac and I receive each month. Soups and salads are staples on our vegetarian tables, and as far as I am concerned you can never have enough recipes. I think that my groaning bookshelves and bookmarked recipes will back up my statement. Without further ado, settle in and start planning your menus for the next while. Special thanks to everyone who shared their warming recipes this time around. We received 20 inspiring entries this month, so settle down with a warming cup of tea and see what has been cooking this past month.

kale salad
Recipe: Festive Kale and Quinoa Salad With Cranberry Orange Dressing

Chef: Erica
Blog: Healthy Life Lessons
Location: Ontario, Canada

Kale is always festive, especially when combined with quinoa, berries and pumpkin seeds and dressed with cranberries, orange juice, maple syrup, vinegar and oil. Certainly this would be a fine potluck dish to take along to nourish and please. It would also be a fine meal any day of the week.

spicy squash soup
Recipe: Spicy Butternut Squash Soup

Chef: Gingey
Blog: Gingey Bites
Location: UK

I enjoy squash year round, but there is something particularly satisfying about it during the winter months, especially when included in a warming soup. Here squash combines with potatoes, onion, tomatoes, garlic and some spice. I'm especially fond of soups that employ staples on hand, particularly when it's too cold to want to go out.

Lentil and kale soup
Recipe: Cozy Red Lentil and Kale Soup

Chef: Janet
Blog: The Taste Space
Location: Canada

Cozy and comforting for sure is this lovely soup featuring red lentils, carrots, spices, tomatoes and kale combined in a flavourful broth made with smoked paprika, Old Bay seasoning and Worcestershire sauce. I am certain I could eat this weekly, if not daily.

post holiday salad
Recipe: Post Holidays Salad

Chef: Marina
Blog: My Perfect Kitchen
Location: UK

This new year's creation is something to be enjoyed any time of year. A delicious use of leftovers, succulent mushrooms shine along with beets, pear, red pepper, blue cheese and nuts. This creative combination has me craving salad, even though it is cold outside.

beetroot salad with freekeh
Recipe: Beetroot Salad with Freekeh

Chef: Sarah
Blog: Maison Cupcake
Location: UK

I've yet to try freekeh, but I would be sure to enjoy it, especially when combined as it is here with beets, quinoa, kidney beans, red cabbage, pumpkin seeds, haloumi and a bit of balsamic vinegar. This a power house of a salad that would grace any table.

carrot and orange salad with goat cheese
Recipe: Orange, Carrot and Goats Cheese Salad with Pumpkin Seeds

Chef: Jacqueline
Blog: Tinned Tomatoes
Location: Scotland, UK

Our next tempting submission is from my dear friend and co-host of this event. How lovely is this citrusy and zesty salad featuring oranges, carrots, radish, pumpkin seeds and orange juice all served over lettuce leaves with a bit of sweetness from honey? Gorgeous indeed.

Vegetable and Quinoa Soup
Recipe: Vegetable, Quinoa and Chili Soup

Chef: Cate
Blog: A Travelling Cook
Location: Germany

Quinoa is always a fine addition to soups, especially when spiced up with adobo chilli flakes combined with potatoes, leek, onion, garlic, carrots, peas, corn and parsley. Surely a wonderful tasty soup with lots of veggie goodness. Serve along with some crusty bread and your meal is complete.

rainbow salad
Recipe: Rainbow Salad

Chef: Hayley
Blog: Chef Be Here
Location: UK

Colorful plates always stimulate the appetite, and this rainbow salad is sure to cheer us all up during the winter months as we dream of summer. Mixed greens, cucumber, radish, spring onion, cherry tomatoes and pepper shine here, topped with some crumbled feta. The possibilities are endless. Salads are always a good way to use up veggies from the fridge and why not enjoy them year round?

Sweet Corn Soup with Vegetables and Tofu
Recipe: Sweet Corn Soup with Vegetables and Tofu

Chef: Linsy
Blog: Home Cook Food
Location: USA

Next up is Linsy with this satisfying soup with sweet corn, broccoli, tofu, spring beans, carrot, chili, ginger, soya sauce and sriracha sauce. Lots of flavor going on here. If served with quesadillas or wraps, your meal is more than complete.

Beetroot Salad with Lentils
Recipe: Beetroot and Lentil Salad

Chef: Johanna
Blog: Green Gourmet Giraffe
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Up next we have a gorgeous salad from a long time participant of NCR. Feast your eyes on this salad with beets, lentils, baby spinach leaves, capers, all dressed up with yogurt, lemon juice, olive oil, mustard and seasoning. I do envy Johanna's hot weather. It's quite cold here in Canada.

cauliflower soup
Recipe: Roasted Cauliflower & (leftover) Cheese Soup

Chef: Jen
Blog: Chardonnay and Samphire
Location: UK

Jen had lots of leftover cheese from Christmas and she certainly put it to good use in this roasted cauliflower soup with onion, garlic, lemon juice, nutmeg, and of course cheese. Nourishing and warming, this is a soup to enjoy anytime of year with your favorite cheeses.

celeriac soup
Recipe: Skinny Creamy Celeriac & Apple Soup

Chef: Elizabeth
Blog: Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary
Location: UK

This lovely soup may be low on calories but it's still hearty and filling. Wanting to use up a celeriac from the fridge, it was incorporated into a creamy soup with onion, garlic, apple, soy milk and some cornflour to thicken it up a bit. All whizzed up and you certainly have a fine lunch.

artichoke soup
Recipe: Jerusalem Artichoke Chestnut & Mushroom Soup

Chef: Laura
Blog: How To Cook Good Food
Location: UK

Indeed a perfect soup for the winter months, here we have Jerusalem artichokes, onion, chestnuts, mushrooms sautéed with a generous amount of rosemary and Marsala wine. This earthy and "woodsy" soup would make for a fine lunch of dinner. What's not to love here?

pea soup
Recipe: Vitamix Pea Soup with Cheese and Chives

Chef: Sarah
Blog: Maison Cupcake
Location: UK

If you are lacking ingredients, here is a lovely garlicky soup that comes together in hardly anytime at all. Frozen peas and garlic are quickly blended together and then garnished with cheese and chives. Easy and delicious.

spicy root soup
Recipe: Spicy Roots Soup

Chef: Linzi
Blog: Lancashire Food
Location: UK

This is surely a classic winter warmer and there is nothing like homemade soup. Gently spiced, onion, parsnip, potato, swede are combined here, nicely blended and finished off with a dollop of yogurt.

mango lentil soup
Recipe: Tropical Red Lentil and Raw Green Mango Soup

Chef: Flynthings
Blog: Fly 'n Cook
Location: Unknown

Yes, wouldn't the Bahamas be just lovely right now. Instead though, we can enjoy this tropically inspired soup as we dream of warmer weather that includes red lentils, raw green mango, coconut milk, carrot, celery, onion all nicely spiced up. Nourishing and just right.

Recipe: Uplifting Spinach, Mint and Lemon Soup

Chef: Katie
Blog: Feeding Boys and a Firefighter
Location: UK

This cleansing, soothing and warming soup is easy to prepare but certainly not lacking in flavor. Delightfully green and zesty, spinach is featured here with garlic, mint, lemon and a mix of seeds. All whizzed up and ready to eat in hardly any time at all.

lentil tomato soup
Recipe: Spiced Lentil, Carrot and Roasted Tomato Soup

Chef: Choclette
Blog: Chocolate Log Blog
Location: UK

Soups are surely just the thing for winter months and here we have a beauty with lentils, carrots, roasted onion, garlic and tomato with spices and herbs, some tamari, lemon and just a wee bit of chocolate. This soup has a lovely smoky flavor, especially when paired with bread made with oat smoked flour.

kale soup
Recipe: Creamy Kale and Potato Soup with Salt N Sauce Kale Crisps

Chef: Kellie
Blog: Food to Glow
Location: UK

To celebrate Burns Day in Scotland, Kellie made this gorgeous soup with kale, potatoes and leeks hinted with nutmeg. If that doesn't sound good enough, try serving it up with some homemade kale crisps.

cucumber noodle salad
Recipe: Cucumber and Noodle Salad with Peanut Butter Dressing

Chef: Corina
Blog: Searching for Spice
Location: UK

We finish up this month's challenge with a mouthwatering salad with rice noodles, cucumber, carrot, spring onion and chili flakes all dressed up a creamy peanut butter and lime dressing. I'm craving spring just like I am craving this salad.

My dear friend Jacqueline of Tinned Tomatoes and co-host of this event will be hosting the February 2015 edition of NCR. Make sure to check her blog at the beginning of the month for the announcement.

Mexican Tomato and Jalapeño Salsa

tomato and jalapeno salsa

For the most part, I make all of my own sauces, salsas and chutneys. Preservative laden store-bought varieties usually pale in comparison to the ones made in our own kitchens with fresh ingredients. Most of the ones I make are relatively easy to prepare too, requiring little time or fuss. This fiery salsa is a fine example and can be made as spicy or as mild as you please, simply by adding more or fewer jalapeños and some spices.

Read this recipe »

Goat Cheese Biscuits

goat cheese biscuits

I'm certain one of the reasons I am not vegan is creamy goat cheese, and oh yes, paneer cheese too. I adore buttery biscuits with cheese in the mix. Surely an indulgence, once in a while comforting biscuits are in order. Darkness has engulfed the city I reside in, as usual. My oven shines despite it all.

Read this recipe »

Millet and Chickpea Flour Crêpes with Spinach


Visit the Indian Food Glossary for information on the ingredients in this recipe
millet chickpea flour crepes

I've often noted that millet is an under-appreciated grain. And that's strange, because it has a unique and nutty texture that is a bit lighter than rice and a fine accompaniment to any meal requiring a grain side. In addition, it works well as part of a main entrée too.

Read this recipe »