The challenge for September was to made a Mediterranean soup or salad. Mediterranean cuisine is rich in flavour and just plain good for you too. As usual, we received some tempting entries. A very special thanks to all who contributed this month. Please vote for your favorite in the comment section or via email. Do note that Jacqueline's entry is not eligible for the vote.
Our very first entry is this colourful Shepherd's Salad from Soma of eCurry. Very easy to make but packed full of flavour and goodness, tomatoes, cucumbers, hot chillies, red onion, fresh parsley and mint are tossed with olive oil and lemon juice and then topped with gorgeous chunks of feta and a sprinkling of sesame seeds. Serve with some flat bread for a most satisfying meal. (Texas, USA)
Next up we have this lovely fusion-style Roasted Beet and Couscous Salad with Spice Feta from Mangocheeks. Homegrown runner beans, green beans, shallots, baby onions and rosemary are combined with cooked couscous, chickpeas, garlic, turmeric, cumin, lemon zest, chilies, fennel and coriander. This delightful dish is then topped with marinated feta cheese. It's certainly easy to see why this is a favorite dish! (Scotland, UK)
From Lysy of Munchkin Mail we have this delightful Italian Chickpea Salad. The mighty chickpea, along with sun-dried tomatoes, green pepper and olives comes together with some sauteed garlic, capers, parsley, red chili flakes and lemon zest. This wonderful creation is then served over some salad leaves. Some of my very favorite flavours are in this highly satisfying salad. (Warwickshire, UK)
Rachel of The Crispy Cook also comes up with a salad for this month's challenge. Inspired by a recipe she found in Food and Wine, Rachel uses some of her homegrown fennel for this Chickpea and Fennel Salad a la Mediterranee. Chickpeas, fennel and celery are dressed with garlic, red wine vinegar, olive oil, thyme and parsley. Varied textures here make for a very pleasing salad that can be served cold or at room temperature. (Saratoga County, New York, USA)
Joanne from Eats Well With Others enters the challenge with this substantial Tortellini Pesto Pasta Salad. Inspired by the fresh basil her Dad has been nurturing, this easy to prepare salad consists of tortellini tossed with a pesto of basil, garlic, pine nuts, Parmesan and olive oil. Robust and comforting! (New York City, New York, USA)
Johanna of Green Gourmet Giraffe serves up this sunny Lemony Mediterranean Salad. A salad that would appeal to me anytime of year, lucky Johanna is celebrating Spring. Rocket, artichokes, kalamata olives, sun-dried tomatoes and grilled asparagus are tossed with lemon, garlic and olive oil. This would be an ideal salad indeed to enjoy with friends and family. (Melbourne, Australia)
Our first soup submission comes from Priya. She made a truly tempting Harira (a traditional Moroccan Soup). A meal in itself and often served at traditional ceremonies, this bowl of nourishment consists of tomatoes, onion, coriander, parsley, celery, ginger, chickpeas, lentils and some small pasta. Warming and wholesome and definitely a fine addition to any menu. (Paris, France)
Jessica of Fearless Kitchen gets creative and comes up with this Apple, Honeyed Walnut and Paneer Salad. Paneer might not be traditionally Mediterranean, but it's my favorite cheese and it goes so well with everything. This unique salad is made up of apples, toasted walnuts, cardamom, honey, rosewater, shao xing wine, grilled paneer, leafy greens, olives, lemon juice, red onion and olives. (Braintree, MA, USA)
Next up is Allie of Yum in the Tum. In an attempt to use up an excess of produce from the fridge, Allie came up with this refreshing Mediterranean Chopped Salad. Cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, celery, red onion, snap peas, feta and olives are tossed with a dressing of lime, red wine vinegar, pomegranate molasses, honey, oregano and olive oil. Allie tells us this is great with left over pizza and I have no doubt about that. (Houston, Texas, USA)
Parita enters the fray with this easy but fulfilling Mediterranean Tomato Soup. The goodness of tomatoes are combined with zucchini, bell pepper, onion, olive oil, paprika, a wee bit of sugar, oregano, basil and some fresh cream. Just the soup to cheer up the tummy and the soul. (Switzerland)
Anshika of Cooking Pleasures offers up this easy but nourishing Taboule Salad that would be a fine addition to any meal. This classic salad is made up of bulgar wheat, lemon juice, fresh mint, parsley, scallions, tomatoes, chickpea sprouts, olive oil and balsamic vinegar. The possibilities are endless for this fine creation. (India)
Muskaan of A2Z Vegetarian Cuisine simmers up this pretty and healthy bowl of Carrot, Tomato and Celery Soup. Tomatoes, carrots, celery, coconut milk, fresh basil, asafoetida and cumin make for a tasty meal, especially when served with bread and a salad.
Sweatha of Tasty Curry Leaf serves up this delightful Carrot Macharmal-Moroccan Spiced Carrot Salad. Cooked carrots and garlic are sauteed with olive oil, paprika, cumin and pepper. This tempting salad can be served hot or cold, along with bread, or rolled in some lettuce or cabbage leaves. (Bangalore,India)
Our second last entry is this delicious Greek Salad from Shri of Tasty Touch. A true Mediterranean classic, this version is made up of mixed greens, red onion, tomato, cucumber, olives, feta cheese, pepperoncini and dressed with a vinaigrette of olive oil, lemon juice and oregano. This refreshing salad was served with chana masala with plain rice and mango lassi. (PA, USA)
Our very last submission is from my dear friend and co-host of No Croutons Required, Jacqueline of Tinned Tomatoes. She submits this gorgeous Halloumi Salad with Balsamic Tomatoes. What's not to love about this combination of fried halloumi, potatoes, tomatoes fried in balsamic vinegar dressed with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and whole grain mustard? Served on a bed of lettuce leaves this is one hearty salad indeed. (Scotland, UK)
Jacqueline will be hosting the next edition of No Croutons Required. Check back at the beginning of the month for the theme for October.