Hearty Vegetable Quinoa Soup

On Friday, I made this wonderful soup that tasted so yummy. An added bonus? It’s vegan! This soup is a wonderful soup to make because its essentially a one-pot meal. It has veggies, grains, and proteins all in one recipe! It will definitely save you some time in the kitchen while also ticking off some nutrient requirements.

I got the idea for this recipe after making Ina’s Winter Minestrone last week. I wanted something with a little more body than that, but I wanted to preserve the flavorings. I also wanted to make it completely plant-based. Instead of pasta, I added quinoa for a grain. I swapped out spinach for the kale to add more nutrients and little “bite” to the soup. Since I wanted to remove all semblance of animal product, I switched to vegetable broth.

Another thing I love about this recipe? It’s flexible to the seasons! Making this soup in the late summer? Use bell peppers and eggplant. Making it in the fall? Use butternut squash. There are endless combinations here.

Quinoa is used in this soup to give it some heartiness (aka “body). I love using quinoa because it’s a grain that is packed with nutrients. It’s also pretty easy to cook it when made in a soup. Just, measure, rinse, and pop it in the pot and let the soup cook away! No second pot to watch or dirty….makes clean-up so much easier. If you are not a fan of quinoa as a side dish or in something like a salad, then I implore you to reconsider your thoughts on this grain. Adding it to a soup makes me think that soup and quinoa were always meant to be together. The high cooking temperature and the long cook time make the quinoa much softer than it would be if it was by itself. It takes a little bit of firmness out of it.

The Recipe

Hearty Vegetable Quinoa Soup

Servings: About 6 Prep Time: 18 minutes Cook Time: 50 minutes Difficulty: Intermediate

This homemade vegetable soup is a wonderful one-pot meal that can be made at any time of year. The addition of quinoa and beans means there is enough protein to make even the most hungry feel full! Don’t be intimidated by the long list of ingredients. This soup really is simple.

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup yellow onion, finely diced (about half of a large onion)
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 3 medium celery stalks (if they have the leaves, that’s fine! Chop and add them in!)
  • 1 medium zucchini, chopped
  • 2 cups sweet potato (about one medium), chopped
  • 6 gloves of garlic, pressed
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 (28 ounce) can of diced tomatoes (unseasoned)
  • 1/3 cup white wine
  • 1 cup of tricolor quinoa, rinsed well in a fine mesh colander
  • 6 cups of organic, low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon salt, more to taste
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 can (15 ounces) cannellini beans (I used organic, low sodium)
  • 1 1/2 cups of chopped fresh kale, tough ribs removed
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

Directions

  1. Warm the olive oil in a large Dutch oven or pot over medium heat. Add the chopped onion, carrots, celery stalks, zucchini, sweet potatoes, and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring often, until the onion has softened and becomes translucent, about 8 minutes.
  2. Add the garlic, thyme, and oregano. Cook until fragrant while stirring frequently, about 1 minute. Add the diced tomatoes and their juices and cook for a few more minutes, stirring often. Remove from heat briefly while adding the wine. Cook for one minute before returning to heat.
  3. Add the rinsed quinoa and pour in the broth. Add 1 teaspoon salt, the bay leaves, and a pinch of red pepper flakes (if desired). Season well with black pepper (3/4 teaspoon is what I start with). Raise the heat and bring the pot to a boil, then partially cover the pot and reduce the heat to maintain a gentle but consistent simmer.
  4. Cook for 25 to 30 minutes, then remove the lid and add the beans and the chopped kale. Continue simmering for another 5 minutes, until the greens have softened to your liking.
  5. Remove the pot from the heat, then fish out the bay leaves and discard. Stir in 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice. Taste and season with more salt, pepper until the flavors are really profound. Serve hot.

Notes

  • If making this soup in the summer, switch out the zucchini and sweet potato for red bell pepper and eggplant, or really any vegetables you can find.
  • If you are using dense veggies like butternut squash or sweet potatoes, make sure to chop these vegetables to be about the same size as the carrots. This will ensure everything cooks in around the same amount of time.
  • This soup can easily be doubled to make extra servings, it’ll keep well in the fridge for about 5 days. It freezes and defrosts perfectly, if you rather save some portions for a later date!

Recipe Photos!

The beginnings of the soup, cooking away!

Cook’s Tips

This soup is a little labor intensive, especially at the beginning. There’s a lot of vegetable chopping to be done. But, vegetables keep really well even after they’re cut. I had some extra time early in the day and I decided to prep all the vegetables in the first step then. I simply stored them in a zippered bag in the fridge until I needed them.

It saved a lot of time when it was getting near dinner time.


Did you make this soup? Let me know in the comments below how you liked it!

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