NCR - Soups & Salads using Antipasto

I think the challenge this month confused a few people. My thought was to use some of the jarred antipasto that lie waiting expectantly in my cupboard. Anyway, we still got a few rather great entries, so read on, enjoy and take note.

No Croutons Required - April 2012

1.  Pea and Artichoke Houmous 
Antipasto used in recipe : Artichokes
Ruth (Makey-Cakey)

This challenge came at a great time for Ruth. She had an unloved jar of artichokes just sitting there in her cupboard just hoping to be used. Ruth decided to use a Mary Cadogan recipe from BBC Good Food to make houmous, although saying it is a houmous is maybe stretching it a bit. There are no chickpeas in the recipe, but if you can get past that, then Ruth says it is fresh and spring-like. Artichoke hearts, frozen peas, cumin,  lemon juice, olive oil and mint.

2. Pesto and Antipasto Puff Pastry Tart
Antipasto used in recipe : Vegetable Antipasto & Olives
Lisa (We Don't Eat Anything With A Face)

Lisa made a gorgeous salad tart for the challenge, well when I say she made it for the challenge I am stretching the truth a little. Lisa made her tart to use up some jars of anitpasta and along I come and give her a nudge to enter it into NCR. The kind soul that she is, she agreed and so here it is. The tart looks lush doesn't it, but Lisa points out that if you aren't just using up jars that have already been opened, then this could be an expensive tart, so she also gives us some other options to keep it more affordable.


3. Vegetarian Solyanka
Antipasto used in recipe : Pickled Cucumbers & Olives
Greensleeves (Chez Maximka)

Greensleeves presents us with this rich Vegetarian Solyanka. Traditional solyanka is a meat-based Russian soup . For this challenge Greensleeves has made us a vegetarian alternative. The soup often has cabbage in it, but there was no cabbage in this pot, instead there was potatoes, pickled cucumbers, olives, capers, tomatoes, tomato paste, mushroom, garlic, onion, walnuts, fresh flat leaf parsely and soured cream. I have must have eaten my own body weight in soup over the years, but I can honestly say I have never tried a soup quite like this. I imagine it has a flavour all of it's own.


4. Frisée Salad with Artichoke Hearts, Membrillo, Manchego Cheese & Sun-Dried Tomatoes
Antipasto used in recipe : Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Artichoke Hearts, Pickled Onions, Olives, home-made Membrillo with slivers of Spanish Manchego Cheese.
Karen (Lavender and Lovage)

Karen really got into the spirit of this challenge. Most of the ingredients in her salad are antipasto.  It is a really original and colourful salad of frisée lettuce, artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes, pimento stuffed green olives, silverskin onions, Manchego cheese, membrillo (quince paste) and caper berries. Karen calls this a gourmet salad and it certainly is that and more. Such a fabulous contrast of colours, flavours and texture. Oh and not forgetting the sundried tomato dressing.

France & England

5. Macedonian Money Bags
Antipasto used in recipe :  Aubergine Meze & Pumpkin Jam
Fiona (London Unattached)

You might be wondering what money bags are, I certainly did. Fiona explains that they are actually little filo parcels she is serving as part of a salad, but  she thinks they actually look like little money bags and I can see where she is going with that. Helen learned how to make these little parcels at a recent visit to the Weber Barbecue Academy.  Fiona was sent jars of the Aubergine & Pumpkin Jam to review, so she decided to use her new skills, create a  recipe and have a dish ready for NCR all in one go. This girl is a serious multitasker. These temptng little parcels are filled with feta.pine nuts,pumpkin jam, aubergine, basil and cherry tomatoes. Mmmmmmmm!

London, UK

6. Green and Yellow Goats Cheese Salad with a Walnut, Wild Rocket and Watercress Pesto
Antipasto used in recipe : Black Olives, Walnuts & Goats Cheese
Debby (Cooking Up A Storm In A Teacup)

The story of this salad is really inspiring. Debby came across a short film about a young lady called Maia Helles and it really moved her. Maia is a 95 year old lady, who is young at heart and who would put most of us to shame. She really looks after herself in body and mind and lives a simple life, which she believes keeps her young. One of the things she says about food is to include "a few greens and a few yellows". I urge you to pop across and watch the film. It only lasts about 4 minutes, but is really heartwarming.

London, UK

7. Asparagus and Sun Dried Tomato Pasta Salad

Antipasto used in recipe: Sun Dried Tomatoes
Nicola (Cookies, Cakes & Bakes)

Now this is my kind of salad. I do love a pasta salad, they are so filling and satisfying. This one has a great combination of flavours. Asparagus, red pesto, sun dried tomatoes and fresh basil mixed into fuslii pasta. Like me Nicola always has a jar of sun dried tomatoes in her cupboard and she put it to great use here. I just want to reach a fork into the computer and chomp away.  I hope this is the first of many entries for NCR Nicola.

8. Warm Mediterranean Chickpea & Spinach Salad
Antipasto used in recipe: Sun Dried Tomatoes
Janet (Taste Space)

Janet is planning to focus on Indian food for the rest of the month, but for us she has made a Mediterranean salad. One that would bring sunshine to any table. Onion, garlic, chickpeas, artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes, fresh rosemary, dried basil and dried oregano. Janet serves this salad warm over baby spinach leaves. It is a thing of delicious beauty.

Toronto, Canada

9. Artichoke, Red Pepper & Goats Cheese Salad
Antipasto used in recipe: Artichokes
Jacqueline (Tinned Tomatoes)

For my entry I bring you an Artichoke, Red Pepper & Goats Cheese Salad. I have had this for lunch twice in the last week. I started with a bed of baby spinach, rocket and watercress, then topped it with some jarred artichoke, some strips of pepper and wedges of red onion, I roasted, then I added avocado and goats cheese. I drizzled it with some homemade artichoke and mustard dressing. This salad is such a blast of colour and flavour. I savoured every little bite and was a little remorseful when it was finished.

Dundee, Scotland

10. Antipasti Bruschetta & Pesto Salad Dressing
Antipasto used in recipe: Feta Stuffed Peppers, Olives and Artichokes
Helen (Fuss Free Flavours)

Helen calls this delicious, fast, fuss free and adaptable. She is planning on enjoying it regularly now that she has discovered it's joys. I do enjoy a good bruschetta myself, but after bashing my grill elements once too often with a pan, they are now not working, so I don't think I will be enjoying this salad anytime soon, mind you I may be able to grill the bread on my Foreman Grill, now there is an idea. Toasted ciabatta bread topped with mixed antipasto and drizzled with a pesto dressing. Great entry Helen and a good one for us to end with.

London, UK

The end of another great roundup of No Croutons Required. Please take the time to visit our entrants, but before you head off please remember to vote for your favourite. The winning entrant will receive a winner's  badge for their blog. The voting poll will be open until the end of the month, when I will announce the winner. You can find past roundups and all the rules here.


  1. They all look good, I don't think I could pick a favorite!

  2. I love this sort of antipasto salad but just couldn't find one or the time this month - but would eat up every one of these

    1. That's ok Johanna, I know exactly what that is like :)

  3. Mmmm lovely photos and inspired recipes. Difficult to choose, but I think my favourite must be the money bags, love the idea of the pumpkin jam in filo. :)

  4. Oh bugger. Totally ran out of time and I was going to make my own anti pasti! They all look so lovely and fresh don't they? Off to read...

  5. I didn't know how diverse the entries would be - this is great! My vote goes for the Vegetarian Solyanka!

  6. My vote goes to Pesto and Antipasto Puff Pastry Tart

    1. Thanks Jen, don't know why that poll isn't working :(

  7. Oh no, I forgot to blog mine lol! I made it took the photos and then forgot all about it! Sorry :-(

  8. I like so many but am most tempted to try #1 so it gets my vote!


I love reading comments, so thank you for taking the time to leave one. Unfortunately, I'm bombarded with spam, so I've turned on comment moderation. I'll publish your comments as soon as I can and respond to them. Don't panic, they will disappear when you hit publish. Jac x