Brussels Sprouts Lasagna

brussels lasagna

I don't eat pasta all that often, and lasagna in particular is usually reserved for rare occasions as it tends to be rather rich and particularly filling. However, I am always open to new ideas for a good vegetable lasagna and when I happened across this recipe for cheesy brussels sprouts lasagna, I was sold. It wasn't long before I got around to making it for my usual Saturday night get together with my husband and best friend Basil.

When I told Basil what I was bringing over for dinner, there was a pause on the other end of the line. Yes, the idea might sound strange at first, but when you really think about it, why wouldn't it work? Brussels sprouts are always nicely complemented by a rich mornay sauce, so why not pair them with some mushrooms, add some noodles, and bake it all up into a delicious casserole? Since I rarely fail to disappoint with my Saturday feasts, Basil was up to the experience. And an experience it was and one that I highly recommend trying even if you aren't the biggest fan of brussels sprouts.

Earthy brussels sprouts cooked with balsamic vinegar and sun-dried tomatoes come together with mushrooms in a rich cream sauce with three types of cheeses. I like to add a bit of heat to pretty much everything I make, so I included some jalapeños and a dash of cayenne. My verdict is that this is one of the most interesting and satisfying vegetarian lasagnas I have ever enjoyed.

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No Croutons Required Vegetarian and Soup Roundup

Once again we have a spectacular number of fantastic soups and salads from fellow chefs. Since Jacqueline and I opened of up the event to vegetarian soups and salads rather than choose a particular theme, it has become more successful than ever. I warmly thank everyone who took the time to share a recipe with NCR.

Without further ado, pull up a chair and let's see what everyone is serving up in their kitchens around the world.

Recipe: Yet Another Side of Kale

Chef: Serendipity
Blog: Spicy Quirky Serendipitous
Location: USA

I think we all need more green in our diet and this lovely Kale Soup would certainly be welcomed on my table. It was a bit bitter the first time but the mighty potato came to the rescue. Not to hide the kale flavor but simply to subdue the somewhat strong flavor of the green. Throw in a bit of garlic, red chili flakes, cumin, chili powder and a bit of dried fenugreek and cozy up with this healthy bowl of goodness.

Recipe: Super Speedy Sweetcorn Soup

Chef: Jane
Blog: The Hedge Combers
Location: Southwest England

This creamy sweetcorn soup we are told was on the table in 10 minutes. It's pretty, warming, including onion, garlic, paprika and of course sweetcorn. I certainly wouldn't mind if someone made up a bowl of this for me in return for a favor I did for them.

Recipe: Tofu Salad

Chef: Mayuri
Blog: Mayuri's Jikoni
Location: Kenya

Next up we have a salad with tofu that certainly does absorbs flavors well. Mayuri marinates tofu with a dressing of sesame oil, ginger, garlic, soya sauce, rice vinegar and honey. Then grated carrot is tossed in, cucumber, spring onion and some lettuce leaves. Certainly a flavorful sounding Asian salad.

Recipe: Butternut Squash Soup

Chef: Nayna
Blog: Citrus Spice and All Things Nice
Location: UK

One of the most comforting soups, especially in the winter months, is a thick and creamy squash soup. So pretty, this one includes not only butternut squash, but also granny smith apple, white onion and some seasoning. I adore heathy soups like this and it's low in calories too.

Recipe: Parsnip and Leek Soup

Chef: Nanya
Blog: Simply Food
Location: UK

Parsnips are often an underrated vegetable but surely this soup will change your mind. Parsnips are featured here with carrots, potatoes, leeks and seasoning. Easy to make and low in fat. Warming and nourishing.

Recipe: Hearty Potato Soup With Leeks, Garlic and Parsley

Chef: Letty
Blog: Letty's Kitchen
Location: USA

Looking to use up an excess of garlic, a whole bulb went into this soup. But not to worry about garlic breath we are told because cooking helps reduce the sharp bite of the garlic. In the soup they go with potatoes, leeks, parsley and garnish with an over easy egg and more parsley if you please. Certainly hearty and no doubt your taste buds would be smiling.

Recipe: Taco Salad

Chef: Johanna
Blog: Green Gourmet Giraffe
Location: Australia

Johanna has been a long time supporter of NCR and this time she comes up with this colorful scrumptious Mexican-style salad. Black beans, corn, arugula, pumpkin, tomato, avocado and some corn chips are dressed with yogurt, soya milk, lime juice, garlic, paprika, cumin, oregano and a bit of cayenne. This intriguing salad we are told can be served in a variety of ways and a perfect summer salad. I'm jealous as the snow continues to pile up here in Canada.

Recipe: Minestrone Soup

Chef: Mamta
Blog: Light Food Desires
Location: USA

To celebrate her new stainless steel soup pot, Mamta simmers up this tempting classic soup consisting of onion, garlic, carrot, celery, zucchini, green beans, tomatoes, cannellini beans, macaroni, herbs, a bit of spice and Parmesan cheese for garnish if desired. Certainly a successful way to break in her new pot. Filling and nourishing.

Recipe: Roasted Broccoli and Quinoa Salad with Quick-Pickled Raisins

Chef: Janet
Blog: The Taste Space
Location: USA

Janet is another long time supporter of NCR and her recipes are always unique and tempting. I am sure this lovely dish was worth the effort. Stunned by the flavor of roasted broccoli, Janet features it here with curry powder, garlic, cherry tomatoes, carrot, quinoa, raw cashews, arugula leaves and interestingly, pickled raisins. What a fabulous and healthy blend of flavors. I would too double the recipe or maybe even quadruple it!

Recipe: Orzo Salad with Chili – Maple Dressing

Chef: Gayathri
Blog: Spices Galore
Location: USA

Here we have another lovely salad, this one featuring Orzo. Though her kitchen was a mess due to renovations, Gayathri wanted to make a dish to say thank you to a teacher but it had to be easy. Surely this was one a hit. Orzo, refreshing mint, red onion, cucumber, sweet cranberries, crunchy almonds, tangy apples are dressed with red wine vinegar, maple syrup, chili flakes and olive oil. A perfect salad as we move into spring.

Recipe: Tomato and Lentil Soupy Broth

Chef: Manjirichitnis
Blog: Slice of Me
Location: UK

If you need a delicious cleansing soup that also has the advantage of using up any tomatoes that are nearing the end of their shelf life, then this is the soup for you. Two types of lentils, tomatoes, onions, garlic, ginger and then a tarka of asafetida, coriander, cumin, red chili powder and cloves fill out the dish. Served with a nice crusty bread, you are in for a comforting lunch or light meal.

Recipe: Roasted Sweet Potato Salad

Chef: Jennifer
Blog: A Girl Eats World
Location: USA

This pretty salad was taken to a family dinner and Jennifer was not allowed to leave with the leftovers and I can see why. Roasted sweet potatoes sprinkled with chili flakes are mixed with black beans, garlic, red pepper, fresh cilantro, red onion and lemon juice. How is that for a hearty and comforting dish.

Recipe: Warm Potato and Pasta Salad in Sweet Onion Dressing

Chef: Pridhi
Blog: Drizzling Delicacies
Location: Unknown

Sweet and sour shine here in this gorgeous potato and pasta dish. Baby potatoes and fusilli pasta are dressed with garlic, red onions, cayenne, onion paste, lemon juice and then everything is garnished with fresh coriander and some freshly cracked black pepper. What a sunny dish to welcome the spring.

Recipe: Cashew Fennel and Apple Soup

Chef: Vicki
Blog (FB page): Vicki's Kitchen Rocks
Location: USA

This savory seasonal soup has my mouth watering. Leeks, thyme, fennel, apples, turmeric and cashews served with maple syrup, crème fraîche, fennel fronds and chopped nuts. Served alongside a side dish of mixed kale, swiss chard and spinach stir fried with soba noodles, this would be one fine meal that surely would impress your dinner guests.

Recipe: Butternut Squash and Red Pepper Soup

Chef: Louisa
Blog: Eat Your Veg
Location: UK

This soup was actually part of a lovely family photo shoot. The blended soup consists of butternut squash, onion, garlic, carrot, red pepper, smoked paprika and some Greek Yogurt. While her kids don't usually enjoy spice, Louisa added a bit of heat and the family loved it, especially when served along with some cheesy toast.

Recipe: Pea, Asparagus and Pesto Soup

Chef: Antonia
Blog: A Little Bit Greedy
Location: UK

If you are considering giving up bread for lent, then this delightful green soup is just the choice for lunch. Think leeks, asparagus, peas and pesto. I'd gladly eat this for dinner too. Now I'm really craving asparagus season.

Recipe: Creamy Butternut Squash and Hazelnut Soup

Chef: Vohn
Blog: Vohn's Vittles
Location: UK

Usually Vohn is quite on top of the vegetable situation, but a squash had slipped behind the bread box and when found, the natural solution was to turn it into a delicious soup. The nearly forgotten squash is simmered with onion, garlic, hazelnut milk, hazelnut meal and garnished with some fresh herbs. Nutty, creamy and vegan too, I'm glad this squash didn't end up in the bin.

Recipe: Black Tea and Gingered Black-Eyed Peas

Chef: Lisa
Blog: Lisa's Kitchen
Location: Canada

This earthy dish is my contribution this month to NCR. I have only cooked with tea on a few occasions and I do believe this was the most successful attempt yet. Here black-eyed peas are simmered in black tea and seasoned with cumin and mustard seeds, ginger, garlic, chilies, cilantro, turmeric, mustard powder and fresh lime juice. Easy to prepare, smoky, tangy and slightly bitter, this is a new weekday favorite.

Recipe: Fridge Lentil Soup

Chef: Jacqueline
Blog: Tinned Tomatoes
Location: UK

My best buddy Jac and co-host of NCR contributes this gorgeous and warming lentil based soup. As might be surmised from the title, this soup uses up leftovers from the fridge. Soup is indeed a very good way to use up vegetables and here lentils feature with onion, celery, garlic, carrots, red pepper and some cumin, ground coriander and some seasoning. Served with some crusty bread, your are in for a frugal but delicious meal.

Recipe: Marbled Eggs

Chef: Galina
Blog: Chez Maximka
Location: UK

Though I don't eat eggs often, I have always wanted to try tea infused eggs and after seeing this stunning recipe, I must do so soon. The eggs are boiled and then "smacked" while in the shell. Then you place the eggs in a pan of cold water and add some tea, anise seed, a cinnamon stick, garlic cloves and ginger. The eggs are then boiled with the tea and simmered for about 3 hours. Galina added some other touches and served them in a noodle soup. How fancy is that?

That concludes the March 2014 edition of NCR. I am sure you will agree there are plenty of ideas here to keep you going for a good long time. Jacqueline will be hosting the April edition of NCR. Be sure to check in at the beginning of the month for the announcement.

Greek-Style Lemon Rice

Greek Lemon Rice

While it is true that Indian cuisine is my passion, I enjoy traveling around the world in my kitchen, whether I am making more traditional dishes or coming up with fusion-style creations. This time around, I was dreaming of an escape from the winter wonderland that officially is called spring currently.

This lemony Greek rice with olives and herbs proved to be a fine accompaniment to a Greek themed meal that I planned a while back. It's very easy to make but the flavor is rather bold and fancy. Next time you are planning a homage to Mediterranean cuisine, considering dishing this one up. I found it to be a fine accompaniment to gigantes aimmered in a garlicky tomato aauce. Serve a Greek salad to complete the meal and the Greek dining experience.

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French-Style Lentil Soup with Goat Cheese

french lentil soup with goat cheese

At first glance, this seems like an easy soup, and it is, but once you serve it up with a nice dollop of rich goat cheese, the experience is stepped up a few notches. The cheese fills out the lentils and basic seasonings and adds a delightful velvety texture and earthiness to the bowl. This is one soup that I won't soon forget. When I just want a fairly straightforward dinner, lentils often appear. It's an ideal mid-week meal with much flair despite the somewhat humble base.

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Black Tea and Gingered Black-Eyed Peas

Visit the Indian Food Glossary for information on the ingredients in this recipe
gingered black-eyes

As much as I enjoy cooking, there are times when I just want a simple but delicious and nutritious solution for dinner. This dish is just the thing and especially suited to those times when you might be pressed for time and busy with other things. It is adapted from Raghavan Iyer's magnificent book 660 Curries. I've owned a copy for years but I never tire of it.

The original recipe called for chickpeas, but thanks to a suggestion from Siri, I used black-eyed peas instead as I had a craving for these lovely earthy beans. I was more than pleased with this dish and it will make a complete meal served with rice and a vegetable side if you like. It is fairly mildly spiced and the tea does add depth and a bit of complementary bitterness. The lime fills everything out with some tangy goodness. Smoky, peppery and earthy is how my husband described it.

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Easy Spicy Tomato Chutney

Visit the Indian Food Glossary for information on the ingredients in this recipe
spicy tomato chutney

I am a firm believer in making my own sauces and condiments at home rather than resort to store-bought versions. For the most part, they are trouble free and much superior in flavor and freshness. I made this one to go along with my chickpea quinoa vegetable burgers. If I was going to go to the trouble of coming up with a fabulous vegetable burger, the least I could do is to dress it up with something made with as much care, if a whole lot less time!

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Baked Mushroom Arancini

baked mushroom arancini

On the rare occasion that I eat out at an Italian restaurant, I never can resist ordering arancini, a delightfully cheesy fried rice ball. Recently, I was menu planning, and a craving hit. After the craving, the idea of making baked mushroom arancini. I do confess to having a bit of a weakness for fried savories, for arancini are commonly fried. However, I don't enjoy the mess of frying and baking the balls are a healthier alternative. Inspired by the success of my baked brown rice balls, I made up a pot of mushroom risotto and turned that into arancini.

baked mushroom arancini

The mushrooms add an addictive earthiness to the creamy balls oozing with cheese. There was a fair amount of prep involved, but the result was more than worth it and you can be sure these won't last long, despite the substantial nature of these savory balls of bliss. Because I wanted to serve them as a side instead of an appetizer for the occasion, I served them up with rich tomato braised gigantes bean dish to serve as a portion of the sauce, instead of simply the traditional marinara sauce. I'll be sharing that recipe soon, but in the meantime, you might want to consider serving them with Gigantes simmered in a garlicky tomato sauce. The meal was a smashing success.

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Roasted Vegetable Lasagna

roasted vegetable lasagna

Though I am not a vegan, many of my main meals are free of dairy. I do however have a weakness for cheese and from time to time I will indulge. I will also admit a weakness for lasagna on rare occasions — the occasion this time was a need to satisfy an urge after receiving a cookbook for possible review.

vegetarian lasagna

This delightfully cheesy Provençal roasted vegetable lasagna is adapted from Cooking Inspired by Estee Kafra. After leafing through a copy of her book, I was immediately seduced by the beautiful photos throughout. When I got to the lasagnas in the book, I was sold on the idea of a cheesy meal. Craving comfort food, I had a difficult time deciding which one I wanted to try first, but I went with this one because of the number of vegetables included and I happen to adore ricotta and goat cheese. The result was a very lush lasagna with complex and competing flavors.

Ms. Kafra's book is all about "bringing creativity and passion back into the kitchen". All of the recipes are kosher friendly, and selected from There are many gluten-free recipes and ones for Passover too that are easily identified. Over 200 recipes are beautifully presented, complete with photos, most of which are taken by the author. You certainly don't have to be Jewish to enjoy this book. Alas, it is not vegetarian, but there are plenty of offerings for vegetarians and some that vegans could enjoy too. It is a refreshing creative journey illustrating the connection between the senses, friends and family, healthy living and special occasions to food. Certainly I was inspired to get creative in my own kitchen.

On the topic of Ms. Kafra's gorgeous book, my readers will have a chance to win a copy. The chapters are divided into categories of inspiration to keep you cooking all year round. Everything from starters, soups and sides, breads, mains and desserts and treats are covered.

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Mung Bean and Urad Dal Curry

Visit the Indian Food Glossary for information on the ingredients in this recipe
mung bean urad dal curry

Despite the length of the ingredient list here, this dish is really easy to make and very nourishing too. Most well stocked kitchens presided over by cooks that enjoy Indian cooking will likely have everything on hand needed to prepare this curry. I recommend serving this with some hot fresh cooked white rice and a flat bread along with your favorite chutney and some homemade pickles. Shhhhh, your family won't know how little time this meal took when they taste just how good it is and will thank you for your hard efforts in the kitchen.

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My Legume Love Affair - #68

I am here with 68th edition of My Legume Love Affair. I was the host last month. As many readers will know, this event has been going since 2008. Started by lovely Susan of The Well Seasoned Cook, I have now been the administrator of this event for over a year. Thanks to everyone who took the time to share a recipe. In my opinion, you can never get enough ideas for legumes. So onto the entries.



courtesy of Chef Mireille of East West Realm. This is Egypt's National Dish and a popular street food. This one pot dish was new to Mireille and it's a new one to me too. Pasta, lentils, chickpeas, brown rice, tomatoes, onions and spices come together here. This is certainly one powerhouse of a meal.

tortilla soup

South of the Border Tortilla Soup
entered by Janet of The Taste Space. This delicious bowl of bliss features black beans, corn, green chiles, tomatoes, cumin and corn tortillas topped with avocado. A wonderful way to use up tortillas that are nearing the end of their shelf life. Intriguing too is that the tortillas are blended inside the soup rather than used as a topping.

kala chana
Black Chana (Kala Chana)
submitted by Mamta of Light Food Desires. This recipe is her mom's and features black chickpeas, onion, tomato, garlic and plenty of my favorite Indian spices. Just my kind of dish. Certainly a classic.


Gigantes Simmered in a Garlicky Tomato Sauce (Fassoulia)
is my contribution this month. A classic Greek dish, plump gigantes are simmered in a rich and zesty tomato sauce, along with some dried herbs and paprika. This is a new favorite in my kitchen.

chickpea patties

Cauliflower and Chickpea Patties with Chia Seeds
shared by Terry of Crumpets & co. I couldn't resist these little bites made up of chickpeas, cauliflower, chia seeds, oats and some curry powder. These patties that are quickly fried so they are crispy on the outside but soft inside are certainly packed with nutrition.

black-eyed peas

Easy Tea and Ginger Simmered Black-Eyed Peas
shared by Siri of Cooking With Siri. A delightful, easy healthy dish, black-eyed peas shine here simmered with black tea leaves, ginger, garlic, chilies and spices. Black-eyed peas are commonly thought to bring good luck if eaten on New Years, and for certain they are a lovely earthy and healthy legume.

chana pulao

Channa Pulao
made by Tayna of Easy and Simple Foods. Channa comes together here with rice, tomato, onion, garlic, chilies, ginger and spices. This was served with an onion raitha making it a complete and tasty meal. It's easy and straight forward to prepare too.

And now for the winner of both the Hurst bean prize and Susan's gift. Congratulations to Mireille of East West Realm.

Our guest host for MLLA #69 is Cinzia of Cindystar. For all things MLLA, visit the ongoing archive.

No Croutons Required - Vegetarian Soups and Salads

ncr logo

It is my turn to host No Croutons Required this month. As announced back in January, we are asking for your favorite vegetarian soup or salad rather than coming up with a theme each month to make it easier for readers to participate. Thanks to everyone who has helped to make this long running event a success.

To participate:

Make a soup or salad that is suitable for vegetarians and showcase it on your blog.

Link back to this announcement and my blog as I am the host this month.

Add your post using the linky tool at the end of this post by the 20th of this month. Only one entry per blogger please.

The roundup will be posted at the end of the month.