No Croutons Required - Spicy Dishes and a Birthday Celebration

The theme for March was to come up with a spicy vegetarian soup or salad. March is my birthday month and my readers will know how much I crave spice at my dinner table. I also asked for suggestions from those who submitted a recipe to suggest what they would serve for me to go along with their dish. Certainly inspired creations here and thanks to everyone for their entries and best wishes. Please vote for your favorite dish in the comment section or via email. Do note that my submission is not in the vote.

First up is Janet of The Taste Space with this mouthwatering Ethiopian Split Pea and Kabocha Squash Stew with Collards. This is timely submission, as I have been planning an Ethiopian feast soon. Janet brings together traditional elements of Ethiopian cuisine and here we have coconut oil, red onion, garlic, ginger, berbere, squash, yellow split peas and collard greens. She would serve this along with Moroccan Vegetable Phyllo Rolls with Balsamic Maple Sauce and finish off the meal with Moroccan Cinnamon Orange Salad and Raw Mango Paradise Bars. I couldn't ask for a better birthday meal. (Toronto, Ontario, Canada)

Next up is Debby who posts at Cooking up a Storm in a Teacup. This inventive Mexican-style Green Lentil Chili Cocoa Soup is made up of celery, parsley, cabbage leaves, broccoli, carrot, green lentils, onion, garlic, harissa, chili flakes, some cocoa powder and served along with yogurt or creme fraiche or cream. This gorgeous dish would go along well with basmati rice and for dessert, Poached Pears with a Cinnamon, Cardamom and Rosemary Sauce. How's that for a special birthday meal? (Oxford, United Kingdom)

Sweatha of Tasty Curry Leaf submits this colorful Smoky Beet Tomato Soup that has me hungry right just now. I adore beets. Here they are combined with onions, tomatoes, roasted cumin powder, seasoning and topped with sour cream or creme fraiche or thick yogurt. Easy, tangy, smoky and slightly sweet, though Sweatha's menu suggestion is drafted with kids in mind, it sounds wonderful to me. To start with Caramelized Onion, Rosemary and Tomato Flatizza served with the soup and then for a main course, Peanut Butter Pasta and Tutti Frutti Bread and Strawberries and Cream for dessert. Yes please. (Bangalore, India)

Fuss Free Flavours is Helen Best-Shaw's motto and I agree. Just have a look at this Root Veg & Lentil Thai Coconut Soup that would surely please any birthday girl with a taste for spice. An adaptable soup that always is a great idea to make when you are focused on waste not want not, this satisfying soup consists of onion, carrots, parsnips, swede, Thai curry paste, red lentils, coconut milk and seasonings. Served with homemade butter on Root Vegetable Bread, I would not even need to ask for dessert. (West London, United Kingdom)

Janice is a Farmersgirl with much flare. She sends along this Curried Parsnip Soup that surely would be a good starter. Healthy parsnips, onion, curry paste and vegetable stock garnished with fresh parsley, this modest yet elegant soup is sure to delight your diners and stimulate their appetites. Followed with a Flemish Leek Tart and the meal finished with some Heavenly Meringues, certainly a happy birthday girl I would be.(Scotland, United Kingdom)

Next up is Karen of Lavender and Lovage with this gorgeous Spiced Red Lentil and Carrot Soup with Frazzled Onions. Spring is in the air, but such comforting soups are still in place for chilly evenings. Carrots are softened in rapeseed oil and then come together with red lentils, vegetable stock, cumin, Madras curry powder, frazzled onions and topped with creme fraiche. Served with Naan bread, this would be one delightful meal and a perfect way to celebrate a spicy girl's birthday. (France / England)

Johanna of Green Gourmet Giraffe has been a long time supporter of NCR. She never disappoints and for my spicy request, she submits this mouthwatering Oriental Fried Noodle Salad. Based on a famous recipe, cabbage, capsicum, tofu bacon, spring onion and fried noodles are dressed with rice wine vinegar, mirin, sesame oil, soy sauce, raw sugar and chili paste. Served with her Spinach and Chickpea Burgers, corn on the cob and for dessert, a Honey, Yogurt and Chocolate cake, I would be in birthday heaven. (Melbourne, Australia)

Indian Bean Stew
My contribution this month is an Indian Bean Stew with a selection of legumes and spices. Black chickpeas, yellow chickpeas, kidney beans, mung beans and urad dal come together with a paste made up of onion, garlic, ginger, jalapeno pepper, cloves, red chilies, cinnamon, turmeric, cumin and cayenne and simmered with tomatoes, curry leaves, asafoetida and coconut milk and garnished with fresh parsley. Serve with a bed of hot rice, some yogurt to cut the heat, Besan Roti and for dessert Goat Cheese Cheesecake with Mixed Berries. (London, Ontario, Canada)

Ruth of Makey-Cakey is now up. She cooked up this delicious Spicy Tomato and Lentil Soup. This blended soup is made up of onion, carrots, tomatoes, a mixture of barley, red lentils, puy lentils and yellow split peas, cumin, turmeric, chili powder and olive oil. The menu suggestions is just divine. Ruth suggests serving this soup with Marinated Feta, some crusty Quick Cider Bread, a zingy Fennel Chickpea and Chili Salad, a Roasted Carrot and Cumin Dip and for dessert this tempting Upside Down Pear and Chocolate Cake. What a feast! (UK)

Our final entry is from Lyndsy who posts at Lauf(-) und Leckerei. Her first time cooking with fresh leeks, we have here an interesting and flavorful Leek and Apple Soup. Leeks are fried in olive oil and then paprika, caraway, turmeric liquid, vegetable broth, chili pepper, seasoning, lemon juice and apple come together in this soup and then garnished with fried buttered apple and dry toasted sunflower seeds. Served with some Couscous Poppers, this would certainly be a pleasing meal. Yes, please and cheese. (Freiberg, Germany)

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


Jamie said...

I rather like that smoky tomato beet soup by Sweatha of Tasty Curry Leaf

janet @ the taste space said...

If only I had such the luxury of so many birthday feasts! Virtual feasts are great too! My vote goes for Spiced Red Lentil and Carrot Soup with Frazzled Onions. Frazzled onions, I love it! :)

bellini said...

As always so many delicious recipes to choose from. It makes a person want to become a vegetarian full time:D

Helen @ Fuss Free Flavours said...

Utterly intrigued by the leek and apple soup!

notyet100 said...

So many variety of soup,..:)

MapMaster said...

I really like the sound of the Ethiopian Split Pea and Kabocha Squash Stew with Collards!