No Croutons Required - Grains

The challenge for July was to make a soup or salad featuring grains. Always an important component of any diet, grains paired with or served alongside legumes provide a well-balanced meal for vegetarians. As usual, we received some fantastic submissions this month, and though the choice is never an easy one, please vote for your favorite in the comment section or via email. Please note that my submission is not eligible for voting.

Our very first submission is this tempting Japanese Asparagus and Shiitake Mushroom Teriyaki Quinoa Salad from Kevin of Closet Cooking. The mighty power of quinoa is here combined with steamed asparagus, sauted shiitake mushrooms, homemade teriyaki sauce, blanched edamame, green onion and toasted sesame seeds. This light, but highly flavourful salad would be an ideal component of any summer meal. (Toronto, Ontario, Canada)

Next up is Yasmeen of Health Nut with this colourful Grilled Vegetables Wild Rice Salad. Wild and brown rice is tossed with beet greens and grilled vegetables marinated in olive oil, garlic, herbs and chili powder. As if this combination wasn't delightful already, everything is dressed with more olive oil, herbs, spices and fresh lemon juice. Served with whole grain chocolate cherry berry muffins for dessert, you are in for a fine culinary experience. (Cleveland, Ohio, USA)

From Usha of Veg Inspirations we have this nourishing Indian inspired Barley and Vegetable Herb Soup. Barley, mung beans, celery, carrots and peas are simmered with methi leaves, mint, cilantro and spiced with roasted cumin seeds, coriander seeds and red chilies that are ground into a powder. A complete and balanced meal in one bowl, serve with oat pav (bread) for an especially satisfying dinner. (North Carolina, USA)

Up next on the menu is Karine of Food Gourmand serving up this naturally sweet and nutty Brown and Wild Rice Salad. Brown and wild rice, dried cranberries, pecans and almonds are dressed with olive oil, lemon juice, maple syrup and the zest from a few lemons and oranges. Earthy and tart, you can't go wrong serving this at a potluck with Peach Sour Cream Coffee Cake. (Toronto, Ontario, Canada)

Vidya gets Humming in the Kitchen and enters the competition with this elegant Quinoa, Peanuts and Beet Greens Pilaf. Nutty quinoa gets all mixed up with dry roasted peanuts ground into a powder, cumin, hot chilies, turmeric and beet greens. Vidya pairs this dish with a thirst quenching Sambharam. Pure bliss when served up with cauliflower dal with panch phoron and sweet potato roti. (Florida, USA)

Petra of FoodFreak raids the pantry with fond memories and comes up with this creamy Minnesota Wild Rice Soup for the challenge. This hearty concoction of wild rice, carrots, leeks, celery, veggie broth, cream, sherry, chives and parsley would for sure grace any autumn or winter table, but is a temptation on cooler summer evenings, and even more enjoyable with mascarpone and nutmeg ice cream on the menu. (Hamburg, Germany)

Johanna of Green Gourmet Giraffe is up next with this veggie packed Quinoa, Cabbage and Corn soup. Based on my recipe for Quinoa Soup with Corn, Johanna transforms the soup and fills it out with cabbage, fresh corn, onions, carrots, celery, potatoes, turnips and zucchini. The addition of herbs, cumin, paprika, garlic, Worcestershire sauce and chili paste make this one tempting meal. I can't wait to try this version, and for dessert, some of Johanna's Butterscotch Pudding. (Melbourne, Australia)

Lata of Flavours and Tastes offers up this elegant Carrot and Barley Soup. Carrots, barley, lots of shallots and fresh mint are served up in a pretty soup cup garnished with cream. This would be an enjoyable soup anytime of year, especially when served with Lata's baked cutlets. Yum yum! (Accra, Ghana)

My contribution for July is this Asian Spicy Azuki Bean and Brown Rice Salad. Azuki beans, brown rice, radishes, carrots and chilies are dressed with sesame oil, red wine vinegar, tamari, fresh lemon juice, garlic, ginger, cayenne and green onion. This flavourful salad is then garnished with toasted sesame seeds and the green part of the green onion. Serve with mushroom miso seaweed soup for a thoroughly enjoyable dinner. (London, Ontario, Canada)

Ashley of Eat Me, Delicious perfects a classic and enters her Tabbouleh salad. Part of a special meal she made for her mom, bulghur wheat, parsley and green onion are tossed with a dressing of olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, cumin, hot sauce and salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Such a simple recipe, but just packed full of taste. For an especially grain packed meal, serve with Ashley's mushroom pecan burgers. (Vancouver, BC, Canada)

Suzy of Strong Arms for Kids shares this colourful and fruity Mango and Avocado Quinoa Salad. This most healthy of salads consists not only of mango, quinoa and avocado, but also includes cucumber, tomatoes, almonds, pumpkin seeds, green onions, cumin, turmeric, lime and cilantro. So tasty and good for you too! This is Suzy's first food post on her blog, but she does have some other delightful recipes archived, so do have a peak. (Ishigaki, Japan)

Lucy of Nourish Me turns to an often unappreciated grain and submits this gorgeous Carrot, Yoghurt and Millet Soup. Millet, roasted onions and carrots come together with yogurt and eggs, tamari, lemon and dried mint, paprika and parsley. For dessert, how about some honey ice cream. Pure bliss. (Melbourne, Australia)

From Alex of A Brit's Dish a Day, we have this delightful Quinoa, Walnut and Parsley Salad. Nutrient packed quinoa cooked in marigold bouillon is complimented with walnut pieces, homemade paprika-preserved lemons and parsley and dressed with a crushed garlic clove infused in white wine vinegar and olive oil. Such simple elegance deserves to be served with lemon biscuits. (London, United Kingdom)

Pavani of Cook's Hideout is up next with this quick and easy Brown Rice Salad with Asian Dressing. This pretty little dish consists of brown rice, edamame, carrots, red pepper, green onions and tofu tossed with a dressing of ginger, garlic, rice vinegar, soy sauce, honey, hot sauce and toasted sesame oil. Make sure you save room for one or three fruit and nut cookies. (New Jersey, USA)

Soma of eCurry comes up with a Kisir (Turkish Tabbouleh) that few could refuse. This colourful side is made up of bulgur soaked in tomato paste and hot pepper paste and then fluffed up with crushed onion, parsley, scallions, cucumber, hot peppers, pomegranate syrup, tomato, lemon, cumin and mint. Ideal for the hot summer months, especially when followed with grilled peaches with lemon yogurt and honey. (Texas, USA)

Peter of When I'm Bored I Make Soup submits this restorative Leek and Oatmeal Soup that will cure all that ails you. Leeks are slowly fried in butter and olive oil and then mixed together with rolled oats and vegetable stock and then garnished with croutons and parsley. I'm sure this would pair nicely with cherry and cheshire cheese salad. (New Zealand)

Sweatha of Tasty Curry Leaf serves up a delicious bowl of Turkish Lentil and Bulgur Soup. This well balanced soup consists of red lentils, bulgur, onion, garlic, paprika and tomato paste and is topped with mint oil. Hearty and easy to prepare, and especially enjoyable with a cup of Moroccan mint tea. (India)

Next up is this tempting Kasha Salad from Abbhirami of Soulful Creations. Kasha and green lentils come together with shallots, garlic, ginger, oregano, tomato, olives, green onions, parsley, feta, fresh lemon juice and olive oil. May I suggest some fruit and coconut milk for dessert? (Cambridge, MA, USA)

Our final entry is this inspiring Mushroom and Spring Onion Rice Salad from Ivy of Kopiaste. This risotto style dish is made with mushrooms, rice, spring onions, vermicelli, garlic, cashews, white wine, lemon zest and parsley. This delightful side would pair well with some of Ivy's tasty fried bread. (Athens, Greece)

Jacqueline will be hosting the next edition of No Croutons Required. Check back at the beginning of the month for the theme for August.


Pooja said...

Wow all dishes are equally tempting! A tough choice indeed. Need to go through each of them before I vote :)

Ivy said...

All salads and soups sound perfect and all deserve a vote.

Soma said...

Lisa.. this has to be one of my favorite round ups! I need to try all of these, & My heart is tied between two.. I will go over them again & speak my favorite.

Lisa said...

Pooja, it is a tough choice, but there can only be one winner, so I hope you can settle on one of the lovely recipes here.

Ivy, yes, all the dishes are fantastic, but if you can narrow it down to one, it would be great to get a vote from you.

Thanks Soma! I had fun putting it together. Looking forward to your vote.

lata raja said...

Ha!! tough choice. I too am choosing between two, though I'm going to try all at some point of time.
Great round up. I will vote from my email.

Kevin said...

Great whole grain roundup with lots of good ideas!

Nupur said...

I'm getting hungry looking at the entries. The Grilled Vegetables Wild Rice Salad from Yasmeen gets my vote because I love the festive colors.

Lucy said...

Such diversity - fantastic round-up, Lisa.

Hard to choose - very - but, after some deliberation, Peter's Leek and Oatmeal soup gets my vote. Simple, restorative but I can't get the idea of leeks, golden butter and oats out of my head, now.

Soma said...

My vote goes to Suzy's Mango and Avocado Quinoa Salad... The mango & the almonds got me sold.

Juliana said...

Love them all...great recipes to try.

Pavani said...

Great round up. Difficult to pick one favorite. But my vote is for Abbhirami's Kasha Salad.

MapMaster said...

One of the best roundups yet. If I had to go for one — and I'd rather go for them all — I'd like to try Kevin's Asparagus and Shiitake Mushroom Teriyaki Quinoa Salad. Nothing but good stuff.

Ria said...

UH! Tough choice is not the word Liza!!It's my very first time here :) Love your blog!

Suparna said...

hi Lisa,
Wonderful round-up. All the entries are brilliant...since we have to choose only one, my vote goes to Soma's entry Kirish, the spiced up bulgur seems very promising in terms of colours n flavour :)

Curry Leaf said...

Wow,love the way you summed all the entries.Thanks and I will vote for Peter-Leek and oatmeal soup sound easy and oatmeal soups are next on my list.

Yasmeen said...

Yummy grains with interesting tasty combos,picking one is not going to be easy :P

Yasmeen said...

I pick the flavorful Kisir ,love all the ingredients :D

Usha said...

Wonderful roundup, Lisa...there are so many creative and healthy recipes here, need to try them all out one by one :-)

JennDZ - The Leftover Queen said...

There are a lot of beautiful entries here! Why oh why can't foodie events be tasting events too - wouldn't that be awesome?

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Nancy said...

Wow all dishes are equally tempting!...Nice Post..

eatme_delicious said...

Great roundup! My vote is for Kevin's Asparagus and Shiitake Mushroom Teriyaki Quinoa Salad.