No Croutons Required Soup and Salad Challenge - March 2015

It's time once again for No Croutons Required, a monthly event celebrating vegetarian soups and salads. You never can have enough ideas for soups and salads as they are staples on most menus. It's been a bitterly cold winter and warming soups have been gracing our tables, but also nourishing salads. Now that March is here, hopefully warmer weather is on the way and we might be seeing more salads taking the center stage.

It's my turn to host this month. It's easy to participate.

All you have to do is:

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 for March, and also Jacqueline's blog, as she is my partner in arms for this venture.

Add your recipe using the linky tool at the end of this post by the 28th of this month. Only one entry per blogger please.

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

We very much look forward to your inspired creations this time around, as always.

For some inspiration, check out last month's edition of NCR.

South Indian-Style Quinoa with Potato, Pumpkin and Tamarind

Visit the Indian Food Glossary for information on the ingredients in this recipe
quinoa, potato and pumpkin

I've been eating quinoa longer than most people I know knew how to pronounce it. Now that it's trendy, it's more expensive, but I still enjoy eating and sharing ideas for it. It really is almost the perfect grain for both taste and nutrition.

And while quinoa is not a staple of south Indian cooking, that's no reason not to pair its light nutty taste with the hot and tangy tamarind, coconut and spice flavors of the region. I will try almost anything with south Indian ingredients, for that matter! This dish combines quinoa, pumpkin, potato and peas with some of the classic south Indian flavors as well as some not-so-classic ingredients for a rich, hearty, zesty and flavorful side dish that nourishes not only the body but delights the soul.

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Gluten-Free Applesauce Raisin Muffins

vegan applesauce raisin muffins

I tend to eat small amounts throughout the day as opposed to large meals, so it's important for me to have quick solutions for breakfast and snacks. Muffins are always ideal to have on hand, especially when they are packed with protein and fiber like these cinnamon applesauce muffins with plump raisins. Eggless and made with chickpea flour, the muffins are suitable for those following gluten-free and vegan diets. Not that you have to be either vegan nor gluten-free to enjoy one or two. I could hardly wait for them to cool before I started to nibble. A little denser than muffins made with gluten flours, they are nonetheless soft and moist, with a bit of chewiness from the raisins and a slightly crisp exterior. Filling and satisfying if the urge to overindulge is resisted. My husband had two as part of his breakfast.
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Eggplant in a Tahini Mustard Sauce

Visit the Indian Food Glossary for information on the ingredients in this recipe
eggplant in a tahini mustard sauce

Eggplant has recently become an treasured component of my meals, especially when they feature in a curry. Though eggplant doesn't have a lot of flavor on its own, it is a remarkable vegetable that not only adds texture but soaks up all of the goodness of the seasonings present in the dish it stars in.

I also happen to be a mustard fan, and I was immediately enchanted when I came across this idea for an eggplant side from Soma. As usual, I have adapted things to my own preferences, but the nod goes to Soma nonetheless.

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