I always do enjoy experimenting with various ethnic cuisines and this month the challenge was to make a Mexican-style soup or salad. Thanks to everyone who submitted an entry this month. There are lots of mouthwatering dishes on the menu to try. Please do vote for your favorite in the comment section or via email. Of course, the choice won't be easy, but help us crown a winner for May. Please note that neither my entry nor Jacqueline's is eligible for the vote.
Our first entry is a crimson, spicy Red Chili from Birds Eye View of Food and Laughter. Adapted from Nigella Feasts, this smoky chili features kidney beans, cumin, cocoa powder, coriander, red chili powder, onions, garlic, tomatoes and is topped with cheddar cheese and served alongside salsa and sour cream. She served this for friends along with yoghurt-paneer dip with crudités and hummus with pita bread as appetizers, and a Spanish almond-grape chilled soup. What a delightful feast! (India)
Next up is Sarah from The Ordinary Vegetarian with a hearty Black Bean and Barley Soup that she made to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. This entree soup is made up of onions, garlic, serrano pepper, celery, vegetable stock, barley, thyme, paprika, collard greens, hominy, fire roasted tomatoes, black beans, tomato paste and lime juice. Such flavour in a bowl and certainly a meal all by itself, though I imagine some crusty bread would go along nicely with this lovely soup. (Chicago, Illinois, USA)
MangoCheeks of Allotment 2 Kitchen also celebrates Cinco de Mayo and submits this mouthwatering Jalapeños, Coriander and Avocado Pasta Salad. This inspired salad is indeed bursting with flavour. Macaroni, garlic, avocado, spring onions, marinated jalapenos, fresh coriander leaves, and lime juice are sure to please the palate. MangoCheeks served it with a corn and red pepper salsa. I did not know that pasta was a popular ingredient in Mexican cooking. How could I resist this dish? (West of Scotland)
Soma of eCurry graces our plates with Avocado and Mango with Chili, Lime and Pickled Ginger. This elegant and refreshing salad is perfect for warmer weather. Avocados, mangos, yellow tomato, cilantro and pickled ginger are lightly dressed with some fresh lime juice and a sprinkling of chili powder. So simple but a perfect summer meal. For something a little heartier, try adding some black beans or even nuts, as Soma suggests. (Texas, USA)
Barbara of Dish 'n' That enters this month for the first time with a tempting Roasted Mexican Potato Salad with Chipotle-Soy Dressing. Perfect for a picnic or get together, this salad is a mixture of regular and sweet potatoes. Roasted Huckleberry blue potatoes and garnet yams, spring onions and herbs, are sprinkled with fresh lime juice and then combined with a mayonnaise and chipotle adobe sauce. This refreshing salad is then served with fresh slices of avocado and sauteed tortilla strips. Such a impressive presentation too! (Hudson Valley, New York, USA)
Janet of Taste Space is up next with a stunning Mexican Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing. If you wish to impress dinner guests or wow your potluck friends, you will not fail if you serve this delightful combination of romaine lettuce, tomatoes, crushed corn chips, cheddar cheese, black beans and green onions, dressed with avocado, mayonnaise, fresh lemon juice, hot sauce, garlic and olive oil. Simply wonderful. (Toronto, Ontario, Canada)
For my submission this month, I also decided to make a salad. This Mexican-style Potato Salad is made up of red potatoes, jalapeno peppers, avocado and celery and dressed with sour cream, mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, fresh lime juice, chili powder and garnished with green onions and paprika. Add some cilantro if desired. No croutons required indeed. (London, Ontario, Canada)
Jacqueline, my dear friend and co-host of No Croutons Required whips up an easy but tasty Quinoa, Lentil & Bean Salad. Black beluga lentils, quinoa, kidney beans, tomatoes, avocados and fresh coriander are tossed with fresh lime juice, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, wholegrain mustard, chili flakes and black pepper. Certainly this is a perfectly balanced meal that would be ideal to serve during the summer months, though I would enjoy it anytime of year. (Scotland, UK)
Nithu enters the fray with this pretty Mexican Carrot Soup. Sauted garlic, cilantro, chili paste and onions, come together with carrots and potatoes and vegetable broth. This blended soup is easy to make, appetizing and good for you too. This soup would be an excellent way to incorporate some veggies with your meal. (New Jersey, USA)
Kirsten experiments with jicama again this month and submits this lovely Corn and Jicama Salad. Crunchy, with a sweet citrus flavour, here corn, jicama, red pepper and jalapeno pepper are marinated with lime juice and cilantro. This would be yet another perfect summer salad and it is so easy to prepare besides. (Los Angeles, California, USA)
From Sweatha of Tasty Curry Leaf we have this irresistible Mango Chipotle Salsa. Ripe mango, red onion and chopped walnuts are combined with cilantro, lemon juice, chipotles and adobo sauce. Perfect to serve as a side or with nacho chips. Sweatha tells us the first thing you experience is the heat and smokiness of the chilies, followed by the crunch of the walnuts and then the sweetness of the mango. Just yum! (Bangalore,India)
Last, but certainly not least, is this inspired and brilliant Pork-Free Pozole with Red Beans from Susan of The Well Seasoned Cook. Liquefied tomatillos and roasted and ground pepitas are featured with cumin, oregano, epazote, onion, garlic, green serrano chile peppers, red beans, pozole (hominy) and garnished with your choice of (or all) cilantro, shredded cabbage or lettuce, thinly sliced radishes, fried corn tortilla strips, roasted salted pepitas, white onion, avocado, grated cheese, and lime wedges. A beautiful and complete meal in one bowl. (New York, USA)
Jacqueline will be hosting the June edition of No Croutons Required. Check back at the beginning of the month for the theme.