No Croutons Required - Raw Soups and Salads

The challenge for March was to come up with a raw soup or salad to inspire us to eat more cleansing foods after such a long winter oftentimes dominated by rich foods. Thanks to everyone who found time to share their recipe. The roundup is rather short this month but I am sure you will agree that all of the submissions are lovely and, in this case, quality more than makes up for quantity. Please vote for your favorite dish in the comment section or via email so we can crown a raw winner. Note that neither my contribution nor Jacqueline's is in the vote. Here's hoping spring will finally arrive though I would be proud to serve and enjoy any of these dishes year-round. And now onto the entries...

mango gazpacho

Our first entry is this gorgeous Mango Gazpacho from Janet of The Taste Space. This chilled soup with summer salsa flavors certainly has me craving warm weather months. A Thai-fusion twist on a classic, here mango is combined with tomato, onion, cilantro, red pepper, garlic, chili flakes, fresh lime juice, chili powder, cayenne and parsley. The delightful concoction is then partially whizzed up in a blender and chilled. Surely a cleansing and purifying soup. Do check out Janet's menu selections to go along with this dish. Heavenly.

Persimmon Salad

Next up is Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen with this stunning Persimmon and Paneer Salad with an Orange-Honey Dressing. Fuyu persimmon shines here along with ripe pear, tomato, orange, crumbled paneer, green onions, spinach, cranberries and cashews. Then to make the whole salad even more impressive, it is dressed with honey, orange juice, olive oil, red pepper flakes and fresh herbs. I never can resist paneer and adding it to a fresh fruit and vegetable salad would have made a fine birthday dinner - this a brilliant creation and from a woman who says she is not overly fond of raw salads. I feel healthier just looking at this dish.

tomato pomegranate vinaigrette

Johanna of Green Gourmet Giraffe is back again this month with a refreshing and tangy Tomato Pomegranate Vinaigratte made of red wine vinegar, basil infused olive oil, pomegranate molasses, tomato, spring onion and garlic. The first night, it was used to dress up corn, snow peas, red pepper, feta and carrot - the second night, spinach, red capsicum, mushroom, raw corn, carrot sticks. This is surely a fine way to encourage us to eat more raw salads and as with most dressings, a snap to whip up. I'd enjoy this anytime of year, but especially when blazing hot temperatures hit as they did where Johanna lives.

classic greek salad

My contribution this month is a Classic Greek Salad. Though it's been a rough and cold winter, I still require a frequent intake of fresh vegetables and this favorite of mine never fails to please. I've mixed things up here and loaded of the salad bowl with Belgian endives, radicchio, 3 kinds of peppers, leaf lettuce, cucumber, red onion, feta cheese and kalamata olives. All this goodness is then gently tossed and coated with a dressing of olive oil, red wine vinegar, white balsamic vinegar, fresh lemon juice and dried herbs. Greek salads from grocery stores and restaurants are always a disappointment as the vegetables never seem fresh enough and you get only a sprinkling of olives with pits and scant amounts of overly salty feta. Making your own at home truly takes this classic to a whole new level.

sprout mixed vegetable salad

Lata of Flavours and Tastes treats us to this nutrient packed Sprout and Mixed Vegetable Salad. I adore sprouts, especially when sprouted at home and here they mingle with papaya, carrot, Chinese cucumber, tomato and fresh herbs. This cheering and colourful salad is then dressed with home set yogurt, dried herbs and seasoning. This refreshing dish would not last long at my house and just look at that cute presentation and her menu suggestions to go along with it, though it indeed is a meal in itself.

carrot pomegranate salad

From Hetal who posts at Gujarati Zaika and specializes in Gujarati recipes, we have a colorful and refreshing Carrot and Pomegranate Salad. This raw delight will come together in no time at all especially if the seeds are already removed from the fruit. All you do is whisk together some olive oil, lemon juice, chili powder and then add some grated carrot, the pomegranate seeds, chopped tomato, toss well and garnish with some fresh cilantro. Seems like a fine way to enjoy the benefits of raw carrots and the goodness of pomegranate.

ajo blanco

Ingrid of Kitchen Tales of Sugar and Spice has my mouth watering with this elegant Ajo Blanco. This is a raw version of a Spanish classic. Inspired by the challenge and then inspired further by a raw cookbook, the soup is made up of peeled almonds, almond milk, garlic, olive oil and sherry vinegar. After these ingredients are blended and chilled, the soup is served garnished with some halved white grapes and fresh chives. I have a fondness for fruit in soups and with the menu suggestions, or even without, I'd be a happy and healthy diner indeed.

cabbage and carrot salad

Shruti of Part Time Chef enters this graceful Cabbage and Carrot Salad with Coconut Milk and a Chili Dressing. This inspired Indo-Asian dish is described as spicy, sweet, creamy, tangy and crunchy. An additional benefit is it's also easy to whip up and a pretty and healthy addition to your table. Julienne carrots and cabbage are dressed up with coconut milk, fresh lime juice, a bit of cane sugar and Thai red chilies and then garnished with roasted peanuts, fresh coriander, cherry tomatoes and some lime wedges. Now how refreshing and rejuvenating is that?

avocado, apple and hazelnut salad

From my dear friend Jacqueline and co-host of No Croutons Required we have this luscious Avocado, Apple and Hazelnut Salad. Mixed salad leaves are topped with grated courgette and apple dosed with a bit of lemon juice, then some avocado, red grapes and hazelnuts. This powerhouse of goodness is then drizzled with a dressing of olive oil, red wine vinegar, apple juice, dill and lots of freshly cracked black pepper. A gorgeous presentation and a fun contrast of flavours and textures that won't tax your waistline either.

And that concludes the March roundup. Jacqueline will be hosting the April edition of No Croutons Required. Check back at the beginning of the month for the theme.


Tamanna said...

mouth watering! i am going to come to your blog everyday for recipes now since i started following a raw food and veggie diet :)

janet @ the taste space said...

How could I not vote for the tomato pomegranate vinaigrette? :)

They all look great, though!

Aparna said...

My vote goes to the Mango Gazpacho. If there's mango in it, then my name's on it! :)

Jacqueline Meldrum said...

That is a good roundup Lisa, my mouth is watering. I love your greek salad, but then I love most of the entries. My vote goes to the Ajo Blanco. Something completely new to me.

Johanna GGG said...

it all looks luscious and just what I need - hard to vote but I think I join Jac in voting for the Ajo Bianoc for its novelty

And I agree that greek salad is often disappointing when eating it out - much better at home and yours looks lovely

MapMaster said...

Mango gazpacho for me, looks amazing

Jen Price said...

Great round up. I feel like I've been over doing it on the stodgy food lately and also eating far too many biscuits. Will be coming back here to follow the links to get some healthy inspiration to kick start me into spring! :)