No Croutons Required - Spicy!

This Month's No Croutons Required theme is spicy - we were tasked with cooking up a spicy vegetarian soup or salad, and since it's is our lovely host Lisa's birthday, she has also challenged us to come up with a birthday menu from other recipes we've blogged about in the past.

I'm a big fan of soup with assorted nibbles as a main meal, leaving more room for pudding! So that's my menu.

For the challenge I made Spicy Tomato and Lentil Soup (recipe at the end of the post) which is delicious -  and some has gone with Mini-M to nursery today for lunch, so hopefully she thinks so too! She's currently a fan on all things tomato soup related, but the lentils, spilt peas and barley in this one make it a bit more substantial and nutritious than the tomato a basil variety she's been polishing of by the bowlful. Fingers crossed!

I'd serve it with some Marinated Feta flavoured with fresh herbs, honey, garlic and lemon

Some crusty Quick Cider Bread to mop up the bowl

Some zingy and crunchy Fennel, Chickpea and Chili Salad

And some vibrant and very very orange Roasted Carrot and Cumin Dip

Then for some decadent birthday afters, warm and gooey Upside Down Pear and Chocolate Cake

Happy Birthday Lisa!!!!

Spicy Tomato Soup (Serves 6-8)

  • 1 large onion
  • 3 medium carrots
  • 1 tin of plum tomatoes in juice
  • 1.5 litres of vegetable stock
  • 2 large handfuls of soup pulses - I have a jar in my cupboard containing a mix of red lentils, pearl barley, puy lentils and yellow split peas - but use whatever combination you like!
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder (add more or less depending on how spicy you like it)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

Heat the olive oil in a large pan.
Whilst it is warming, roughly peel and chop the onion and carrots.
Add to the hot oil and sauté for a minute or two, then add the spices and allow to cook, stirring frequently for a few minutes more.
Add the stock, pulses and tomatoes and then simmer over a very low heat for 2-3hours until the pulses are soft.
Blitz with a magic wand, or in a food processor, and season to taste.
Hot, hearty and healthy :o)