Recipe and photos contributed to Hispanic Kitchen by Carolyn Swaney
The Bolivian highlanders must have been the most energetic people, if they were noshing on quinoa, the most energy producing grain. Who needs noodles, when you have these flavorful nuggets of whole grain, bringing hearty flavor and meat free filling to an otherwise delicious soup.
I just spent the week in Chicago, during one of the most severe snowstorms that I have ever seen. That snow made me feel two things: 1) I’m so glad that I moved to Southern California and 2) I need soup. Mmmmmm, soup. Warm and hearty, perfect for winter, and chock full of vegetables, which is essentially the only way to get my kids to eat them. So, my good friend from the Windy City pulled out her soup recipes and handed on this South American wonder.
This particular soup is easy to make — the only prep is the veggie chopping — and as an added bonus, is vegetarian AND gluten free, but certainly doesn’t seem like it. The substantial, protien packed quinoa is filling and gives a bite that noodle based soups generally are lacking. However, throw in a little chicken (leftovers from enchiladas?) for a meatier flavor if you are not into the whole meat-free-eating thing.
Sopa de Verdura y Quinoa
Yields 8-10 servings
3 carrots, peeled
3 celery stalks
1 red bell pepper
4 cloves garlic minced
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup corn kernels (fresh, canned or frozen)
2 tsp sea salt
2 large boxes vegetable stock
1 large can diced tomatoes
3/4 cup quinoa
1 tbsp ground cumin
1/2 bunch cilantro, washed and chopped
Black pepper and salt to taste
- Rinse quinoa in a sieve*, and drain well. Heat a large soup pot over medium heat. Add quinoa to the dry pan and stir constantly for about 10 minutes to dry. Remove quinoa and set aside. In the meantime, chop vegetables, carrots through red bell pepper, into a fine dice.
- Raise heat to medium high and add oil. Add onions, carrots and celery. Sauté for about 10 minutes, or until onions are translucent. Add zucchini, corn, bell pepper, garlic and salt, sautéing for a few minutes longer, or until the vegetables begin to release their juices.
- Add stock, cover the pot, and raise the heat to high. Bring to a boil, then stir in the quinoa. Reduce heat to simmer for 10 minutes. Stir the soup occasionally.
- Add the tomatoes, and cumin to the pot and continue simmering for another 10 minutes, or until the quinoa is tender.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the chopped cilantro. Season with salt and pepper. Serve in soup bowls with cilantro to garnish.
* Alternatively, place the quinoa in a bowl and fill with water, then drain the water out.