Welcome to the July 2015 edition of No Croutons Required, a monthly roundup of vegetarian and vegan soups and salads, alternately hosted by myself and Jacqueline of Tinned Tomatoes. It's been astonishingly hot this year in the Northern hemisphere and accordingly, the majority of the contributions this month are salads. I do enjoy soup anytime of year, but salads are cooling and refreshing and, for the most part, the oven and the elements are not needed. A special thanks as always to everyone who contributed a dish this month. I'm pleased to share 16 recipes this month from participants around the world.
Warm Spinach Salad with Sauteed Mushrooms, Red Onion and Blue Cheese
Blog: Healthy Life Lessons
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Our first submission is this lovely salad bursting with energy and flavor. Earthy mushrooms and red onion are simmered with sherry and balsamic vinegars along with tomato paste and topped with spinach and a bit of blue cheese. I'd be happy to eat this salad year round too.
Spicy Papaya Salad
Blog: I'll be There with a Fork
Papaya is not something I use very often in the kitchen and I'm not sure why, especially after seeing this salad that is open to so many interpretations. Here we have papaya combined with green beans, carrot, cherry tomatoes dressed with garlic, chilies, lime and topped with peanuts. The longer it sits the more flavor is has once the ingredients mingle and marinate.
Aubergine & Pickled Lemon Farro
Blog: Chardonnay and Samphire
Ancient grains are always a treat and here grilled eggplant, green onion, rocket and coriander shines along with farro. This beauty is dressed up with pickled lemons, garlic, olive oil and cider vinegar. Certainly a delightful contrast of flavors and textures.
Strawberry, Nectarine and Quinoa Salad
Blog: Where is my Spoon?
Some of the treats of summer are fresh strawberries and herbs, and this salad is sure to meet all of those cravings. Quinoa as always been one of my favorites and this medley of flavors and contrasts surely stimulates the taste buds. So much goodness here. Nutty quinoa, almonds, shallots, strawberries, nectarine, mint, parsley and coriander dressed with olive oil, white wine vinegar, lemon and topped with feta.
Smoked Paprika Potato Salad
Blog: The Taste Space
Surely potato salads are a favorite, especially during the summer months. And now that I am especially smitten with vegan meals, this vegan version has my mouth watering. The potatoes are roasted with paprika, tarragon, onion and garlic and then dressed with olive oil, white balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, dill, marjoram and scallions. This salad sounds and looks fabulous indeed and no mayo is needed.
Roasted Cauliflower & Cumin Soup with Puy Lentils
Blog: The Veg Space
Now it is time for a lovely soup and it is surely a main meal in its own right. Roasted cauliflower, onion and garlic, tossed with cumin and garam masala are then turned into soup with puy lentils and garnished with chilies, a dollop of yogurt and lemon zest. Serve it up with crusty bread if you please, but this soup is satisfying just as is.
Freekeh Salad with Fresh Garden Peas, Barbeque Flavoured Peppers and Mature Cheddar
Chef: The Veg Hog
Blog: The Veg Hog
This is certainly a salad that would fill you up and is well suited to weekday meals. Smoky freekeh with some onion and garlic are plated with roasted peppers brushed with barbeque sauce. Added to this colorful plate are some cubes of Cheddar cheese and some garden peas. Yes please, because I do like a salad with some substance.
Blog: Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary
Elizabeth got an opportunity to try out a new kitchen gadget, and to put it to the test she came up with a refreshing vinaigrette to dress up some seasonal lettuce leaves. This easy dressing is made with olive oil, red wine vinegar, some fresh raspberries, a wee bit of garlic and seasoning. I'll be keeping this easy vinaigrette in mind.
Chilled Avocado Watercress and Cucumber Soup
Blog: How to Cook Good Food
Next up is a perfect summer soup made with rich avocado, cucumber, shallots, fresh dill and mint, watercress, lemon juice, yogurt and coconut milk. All you need to do is blitz everything up in your trusty blender, chill for a few hours, and then enjoy this green bowl of goodness.
Green Goddess Farfalle with Dairy Free Pesto
Blog: Tinned Tomatoes
From my good friend Jac and also my co-host for this event, we have a pasta salad that surely would be fit for a goddess. It also happens to be dairy-free. The pasta is cooked, broccoli, spinach and peas are added, and then everything is dressed with a lovely pesto made up of nuts, basil and garlic and pepper. That is surely one pasta salad I wouldn't pass up.
Tomato, Courgette and Sweet Potato Soup
Blog: Lancashire Food
I am in total agreement that there is nothing quite like homemade soup to nourish and comfort. This is also a fine way to use up veggies nearing their expiry date. Onion, courgette, squash (or sweet potato if you prefer), tomatoes and stock are all whizzed up and served with crusty bread. Summer or winter, this would be welcomed on my table.
Mexican Style Rice, Achiote Tempeh 'Steaks' and Guacamole
Blog: Allotment 2 Kitchen
Here we have an inspiring creation with a Mexican twist. Tempeh is marinated overnight in an achiote sauce with orange juice, garlic and a bit of lime. Then the tempheh is baked. Then the cooked rice is adorned with onion, garlic, black beans, sweet corn, jalapeños and lots of fresh coriander. All of this goodness is then served with homemade guacamole. Wow.
Courgette, Lemon Thyme and Gem Lettuce Summer Soup
Blog: Belleau Kitchen
I happen to enjoy soups in the summer, especially when the seasonal produce is ripe for the picking. This gorgeous green soup is another chilled one, and featured are spring onions, courgette, purple sprouting broccoli, spinach, peas, gem lettuce and lemon thyme. I do believe I will be growing lemon thyme next year — Dominic has intrigued me with his description.
Western African Vegetarian Peanut Soup
Blog: Flavours and Tastes
Location: Lomé, Togo
I'm a big fan of peanut butter, and that includes in savory dishes, not just treats. This one is extra special because the soup was inspired by Lata's daughter and Lata even made homemade peanut butter for her soup and a homemade chili paste. Combined are those delights, along with spinach, tomatoes and fresh coriander. Served with rice balls, you have a complete but still light meal.
Black Bean Salad with Fresh Mango and a Chaat Masala Dressing
Blog: Lisa's Kitchen
Location: Ontario, Canada
My own contribution this month is this refreshing and vibrant salad with black beans, juicy red mango, red onion, red pepper from my garden, jalapeños and fresh coriander, also from my garden. I dressed this up with lime juice, olive oil, red wine vinegar and, for a bit of an Indian twist, cumin and homemade chaat masala.
Broccoli Stem Soup
Blog: Healthy and Tasty Vegetarian Recipes
The broccoli stems might have been difficult to chop but was well worth the effort. This soup is nice and warming for those days when it is cool outside. The stems are combined with onion, cloves, cinnamon, bay leaf and some garlic flakes. Slurp. No doubt another soup that would pair well with crusty bread.
And that concludes the July 2015 edition of No Croutons Required. Jacqueline will be hosting the August 2015 edition. Check her site soon for the announcement.