Vegetarian, SoupMalia Howe

Quinoa Vegetable Soup

Vegetarian, SoupMalia Howe
Quinoa Vegetable Soup

Suddenly, I need soup. Like really need it. The weather not only snapped a chill into the air, but it flipped a switch in my soul.  One of my favorite simple pleasures is being able to grab some homemade soup out of the freezer and thaw it in the microwave for a quick, wholesome, comforting lunch on a cold (and busy!) day. I am always looking for soups to add to my rotation, and I've found another (historically, my favorite freezer soup is lentil vegetable). If you have any rogue veggies to use up in the fridge, here is where you clean house--it is so flexible and adaptable. This soup was so easy and fast to make (I chopped veggies in the morning as my kids were eating breakfast, then made it midday after the morning errands and workout), and I ate off it for 3 days straight and still put about 6 bowls in the freezer. Happy, happy, happy.

Quinoa Vegetable Soup

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  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow or white onion, chopped
  • 3 small or 2 medium/large carrots, peeled and chopped (I probably used double this amount)
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped (I used at least 4)
  • 1 to 2 cups chopped seasonal vegetables, like zucchini, yellow squash, bell pepper, sweet potatoes or butternut squash (again, no measuring here--just adding. The only thing I had were red bell peppers, and I used two of them--this is also why I used up more celery and carrots as mentioned above)
  • 6 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 can (28 ounce) diced tomatoes, drained (I used 1 small can of regular diced tomatoes, and 1 small can of diced fire roasted tomatoes, because that's what I had. See? Flexible soup!)
  • 1/2-3/4 cup quinoa, rinsed well in a fine mesh colander (depends how thick you want your soup and how much you like quinoa
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt, more to taste
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 can (15 ounces) great northern beans or chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup or more chopped fresh kale or collard greens, tough ribs removed (I used a whole bunch of kale)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice

Warm the olive oil in a large Dutch oven or pot over medium heat. Add the chopped onion, carrot, celery, seasonal vegetables and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring often, until the onion has softened and is turning translucent, about 6 to 8 minutes. Add the garlic and thyme. Cook until fragrant while stirring frequently, about 1 minute. Pour in the drained diced tomatoes and cook for a few more minutes, stirring often.

Pour in the quinoa, broth and the water. Add 1 teaspoon salt, 2 bay leaves and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Season generously with freshly ground black pepper. Raise heat and bring the mixture to a boil, then partially cover the pot and reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer.

Cook for 25 minutes, then remove the lid and add the beans and the chopped greens. Continue simmering for 5 minutes or more, until the greens have softened to your liking.

Remove the pot from heat, then remove the bay leaves. Stir in 1 teaspoon lemon juice (this is important, and should come from a real lemon). Taste and season with more salt and pepper--I like to add seasoned salt to my soups.  Divide into bowls and top with grated Parmesan (the bummer is that I didn't have any).