I know what you’re thinking. This chick went to Peru and came back plumb-quinoa-crazy since she just posted a quinoa recipe 2 weeks ago. I feel you guys deserve an explanation, so I’m going to level with you. I was actually working on an exciting recipe for some black sesame Arabic donuts with date molasses (sounds pretty delicious, no?), but I had a yeast malfunction issue. TWICE. And after 2 trips to the store in the cold and a bit of heartache (I’m not a yeast novice. I blame the yeast!), I decided to warm myself up with this soup and share it with you guys. Donuts tbd…
I did, in fact, learn a version of quinoa soup in the Sacred Valley in Peru. And I’ve made this soup a few times. What I LOVE about it is that it gives you a chance to use up all of the random vegetables you might have sitting in your fridge. I like to save onion scraps, carrot halves, any little bits of a vegetable – and all of that works well in the soup. Not overcooking the veggies also adds a beautiful, textural crunch.
The soup I had in Peru was super rich, cooked with evaporated milk, egg, and luscious cubes of cheese. I omit the egg, leave the cheese optional here and opt for a bit of heavy cream to thicken instead, but I have to admit the cheese is an amaaaazing part of the soup. It’s so warm and comforting and really pops with flavor (while you get your protein punch from the quinoa). If you keep cooked quinoa in your fridge like I do, this takes no time to make – 15 minutes (half an hour if you have to make the quinoa). Either way, this is a perfect winter weeknight meal – enjoy!
Serves 4 to 6
2-3 tbsps olive oil
1 red onion, finely chopped
1 jalapeno, finely chopped
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 ½ cups finely chopped mixed vegetables (carrot, celery, zucchini, etc.)
4 to 6 garlic cloves, minced
4 cups cooked quinoa*
2 quarts vegetable or chicken stock
1 cup cubed Monterey jack cheese (optional)
½ cup heavy cream
Handful of fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat a medium-sized pot over medium heat. Add olive oil and throw in the red onion and jalapeno as well as a bit of salt to draw out the moisture. Cook for a few minutes until the red onions start to turn translucent. Add in the scallions and mixed vegetables. You want to cook for another few minutes but you want the vegetables to retain some crunch (so don’t overcook).
Add the garlic and sauté another 30 seconds and then throw in the quinoa and stock. Bring the mixture up to a boil and then lower to a simmer. Add in the cheese, if using, and the heavy cream and simmer for another 2 minutes so the flavors come together. Add the cilantro and season to taste.
*As a rule of thumb, I assume quinoa triples in size. So I made 1 1/3 cups of quinoa (in 2 2/3 cups water) for this recipe.