What better way to deal with an especially cold and harsh winter than to hover over a warming and nourishing bowl of vegetable soup. If you are looking for healthy and cleansing ideas, settle in and enjoy the varied entries for this month's edition of No Croutons Required. Help us crown the winner for January by voting for your favorite in comments or by email. Please note that neither my soup nor Holler's is eligible for voting.
Our first entry is a classic Cream of Broccoli Soup from Alexandra of Chefspiration. As part of her new year's resolution, Alexandra intends to eat veggie soup once a week. I'd have no trouble sticking to that resolution! 2 heads of healthy broccoli are simmered with celery, onion and garlic in vegetable stock and then pureed in a food processor with some cream. Serve with some crusty bread for a most satisfying meal. (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)
Next up is Lysy of Munchkin Mail with this creamy Sweet Potato, Fennel and Carrot Soup with Alfalfa Sprouts. This pretty soup might not have detox properties, but it is certainly filled with vitamins and flavour and an ideal way to beat the winter chills. (Warwickshire, United Kingdom)
Wendy from A Wee Bit of Cooking comes up with a unique Lemongrass and Cabbage Soup that sounds every bit as good as it looks. The wholesome flavour of cabbage is combined with onion, chilies, ginger, lemongrass, coconut milk, lime and coriander. Truly, elegance in a bowl. (Inverness, Scotland, United Kingdom)
Andrea of Cooking Books takes some inspiration from Molly Katzen and serves up this hearty Gypsy Soup. Onion, garlic, sweet potatoes, celery, tomatoes, green pepper and chickpeas are seasoned with spices and tamari. This chunky soup will not fail to satisfy vegetarians and carnivores alike. Andrea suggests increasing the cayenne and I couldn't agree more. (New York, New York, United States)
From Astra Libris of Food for Laughter we have this colourful and cleansing Borscht that was inspired by one of her professors. The goodness of beets are here combined with sweet vidalia onion, potatoes and served with a dollop of sour cream. You just can't go wrong with a classic like this. (The Deep South, United States)
My submission for this month is this thick and filling Provençal Bean and Vegetable Soupe au Pistou. Red and white kidney beans are simmered with onion, green beans, zucchini, potatoes, carrots and tomatoes and served with pistou, a pesto like blend of garlic, basil, parsley, tomato, Parmesan cheese and olive oil. Serve with crusty bread and you have one tasty and satisfying meal. (London, Ontario, Canada)
Anna of Morsels and Musings comes up with a soup that will have mushroom lovers drooling with delight. Her Mushroom and Barley Soup includes 4 types of mushrooms, pearl barley, sherry and is seasoned with garlic, rosemary, thyme and parsley. This soup is 100% vegetarian though it has a very meaty texture. This is a perfect dish to enjoy anytime of year. (Sydney, Australia)
Soma from eCurry serves up a vegetarian version of Harira, a traditional soup from Morocco. This hearty soup is a meal in itself as it contains not only an assortment of vegetables, but also lentils, chickpeas, pasta and dried fruit. The delicious concoction is seasoned with lots of spices, herbs and some harissa paste. Flavorful, filling and good for you too. (Texas, United States)
Our next entry is from Saranya. She doesn't include a picture but her Hot Tomato Soup with Bread Toasts certainly sounds nourishing and pleasing to the palate. A favorite from childhood, tomatoes are combined with cornflour and seasoned with salt and pepper and served with croutons. Simple, but delightful and warming. (Chennai, India)
Priya's entry for this month is a simple but nourishing Creamy Vegetable Soup. Onion, carrots, french beans, corn kernels, mushrooms, and capsicum are simmered in vegetable broth and then filled out with milk and corn flour. Yet another perfect choice to cleanse the body and warm the soul. (Paris, France)
My co-host Holler of Tinned Tomatoes submits a powerfully healthy Curly Kale, Watercress & Potato Soup with Peas. This gorgeous soup was garnished with watercress, and a bit of sun-dried tomato dressing and served with cheddar and dill beer rolls. Clearly, a meal fit for royalty! (Scotland, United Kingdom)
Ivy of Kopiaste has resolved to eat healthier to cleanse her body of rich foods consumed over the holidays and submits this lovely Fakes Soupa. Ivy tells us this tempting Greek Lentil soup, that includes onion, garlic, carrots, tomatoes, celery, olive oil and balsamic vinegar, is enjoyed on cold days. Serve with some olives and some crusty bread for a most satisfying dinner. (Athens, Greece)
Johanna of Green Gourmet Giraffe took advantage of some cooler weather to make this flavourful Potato and Corn Chowder with Basil and Mustard. This creamy soup also includes carrot, celery, onion, garlic, milk, lime juice and some Parmesan cheese. Johanna served this tasty soup with bread, but tells us it is filling enough on it's own. (Melbourne, Australia)
Rachana from The Gourmet Launchpad cooks up a Mushroom Soup that she says is one of her mother's best recipes. We don't have a picture of this soup, but it certainly sounds easy and yummy. Mushrooms are pureed with sauteed onion, seasonings and milk and then gently heated. Certainly this would make for a nice lunch or accompaniment for dinner. (United States)
From Meeta of What's For Lunch Honey, we have this stunning Spicy Roasted Tomatoes and Red Bell Pepper Soup. Easy to make but full of flavour, tomatoes, peppers, red onions, chillies and garlic are roasted together in the oven and then pureed with some vegetable stock. The whole delightful creation is then seasoned with salt and pepper and smoked paprika. Meeta suggests serving this pretty soup with some grilled cheese sandwiches and a salad. Just perfect! (Weimar, Germany)
Manda who blogs at Asparagus Thin enters the fray with this thick and colourful Ranch Roasted Corn Chowder. Roasted corn kernels come together with tomatoes, potatoes, leeks, bell pepper, milk and mushroom stock. Manda used the seasonings that are usually used in ranch dressing to flavour this tempting chowder. (Concord, Virginia, United States)
From Nicisme of Cherrapeno, we have an Easy Vegetable Soup. Her mom used to make this nourishing combination of onions, leeks, carrots, potatoes, seasonings and Parmesan cheese. If you need some healing, or just want a simple and comforting soup, this is the soup you are looking for. (Kent, United Kingdom).
Sweatha of Tasty Curry Leaf shares her version of Provencal Vegetable Soup with Pistou. Saffron meets pasta, and mingles with onion, carrots, leeks, potatoes and green beans. The meeting is completed with a pistou of tomato paste, fresh basil, Parmesan cheese, garlic and olive oil. Your taste buds will thank you. (New Jersey, United States)
From Aqua of Served With Love, we have this gorgeous Tomato Basil Soup. The goodness of pumpkin, beetroot, tomatoes, onion, garlic, perhaps filled out with some fresh cream, will not fail to tempt us vegetarians. Serve with garlic bread and salad for a complete dinner. (Singapore)
Our final entry is from Bird's Eye View who posts at Food and Laughter. She has access to plenty of plump fresh peas, so she cooked up a batch of warming Pea Soup. Peas come together with onions and garlic, veggie stock, sage, rosemary, thyme and marjoram and some wilted spinach. Nourishing, healthy and tasty! (Gurgaon, India)
Holler will be hosting February's edition of No Croutons Required. Check back at the beginning of the month for the theme.