The Soup That Makes Me Warm and Happy

Peruvian Quinoa

Peruvian Quinoa

Last year, when I was in the jungle of Peru, I ate quinoa soup every day. Twice a day. As a vegetarian, quinoa soup was one of the only meat-free options available. And, I have to admit, I wasn't always excited about it. The outside temperatures were high, I was already hot and sweaty; the last thing I wanted was a bowl of hot soup. Despite this, the soup was delicious and filling; I was never hungry and it was packed full of local goodies (quinoa is a grain native to Peru!) 

When I returned home, I  missed Peru and I was deeply grateful for my experience. I decided to make a batch of quinoa soup to remind me of my trip and it turned out even more delicious than I remember! Made with fresh, in-season ingredients, this soup always makes me feel warm and happy. My family loves it too; my husband is always asking me to make a batch of "P - Soup" for dinner.  Whether you've experienced quinoa soup in Peru or not, this version will sure to be on heavy rotation in your dinner menu.

Me looking hot and sweaty in the jungle

Me looking hot and sweaty in the jungle

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 russet potato, chopped into 1" cubes
  • 1/2 sweet potato, chopped into 1" cubes
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped into 1/4" pieces
  • 3 carrots, chopped into 1/4" thick rounds
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced 
  • 3 tomatoes, cored (I prefer organic roma tomatoes, but you can use any kind you like)
  • 1/2 Cup quinoa
  • 16oz Vegetable broth (or bone broth)
  • 1/2 Tsp Vegetable bullion (I like jarred "better than bullion" - you may use 1 bullion cube instead)
  • 16 oz (1 clamshell) baby kale
  • 1 bunch cilantro, tied into bundle
  • olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
Me doing acupuncture in Peru

Me doing acupuncture in Peru

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Spread sweet potatoes on even layer on roasting pan; drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast in 425 degree oven for 20-30 mins until slightly browned. 
  • In a large stockpot over medium heat, add 2 TBS olive oil, chopped onion, celery, carrots, and season with salt and pepper.  Close pot lid and cook over medium-low heat until onion is translucent; do not sauté, brown, or add any color to the vegetables (this is called a "sweat" and it's technically a mirepoix, if you're keeping count of that sort of thing).
  • Once the onion, celery, and carrots have softened, add tomatoes, core-side down and close lid. Continue to cook over gentle heat until tomato skins have "burst" and are easy to peel off - remove skins and discard. Gently break down tomato flesh with the back of a spoon. 
  • To the onion/celery/carrot/tomato mixture, add the browned potatoes, bullion, quinoa, and cover with vegetable stock (or bone broth) until soup level is approximately 2" away from the top of your stockpot. You may need to add additional water (or reduce amount of broth) depending on the size of your pot.
  • Close the lid, turn the heat to medium, and simmer soup for 30 mins, until quinoa have become 'unravelled' and look like little spirals. 
  • Add baby kale and mix thoroughly; gently place the bundle of cilantro on top of the soup. Simmer uncovered for an additional 10 mins.
  • Remove cilantro bundle and discard before serving. 
Using the ambulance as a makeshift drying rack. The nearest hospital was a 9 hour drive!

Using the ambulance as a makeshift drying rack. The nearest hospital was a 9 hour drive!