I have only recently discovered quinoa (pronounced ‘kin-wa’) and was excited to try it, as it is both economical and nutritious and is potentially being heralded as the new ‘superfood’, so I knew that if it was really tasty then it was a winner! It has a slightly nutty flavour and a sort of chewy texture. It can be used variously in a similar way to rice and millet. It isn’t something you would really eat it on its own but it is great as a low calorie, high fibre addition to stews and soups.
Growing in popularity, it is becoming available in supermarkets and it it is usually easy to find in a health food shop. After making this soup I am keen to find some more recipes for this economical grain. This quinoa recipe is really a ‘main course’ soup or could even be regarded as a light stew rather than a vegetable soup. You can adjust the amount of liquid by adding a little more stock. It is certainly a good soup for lunch on a winters day, particularly if you are having an active an busy time!
Origins Of Quinoa
Quinoa originated in the Andes,and is now grown mainly in Peru and Bolivia. High in protein, vitamins, amino acids and minerals it is very nutritious.
It is also gluten free. It is a fabulous addition to a vegetarian diet especially because of its protein content. It’s also great for those on a Wheat free diet as it can be a good substitute for couscous.
Although easy to cook, it is advisable to wash it before use to ensure there are no residues of saponins on it , which taste bitter. Just a good swirl in cold water will do it.
Easy To cook
I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect when I cooked it for the first time and was surprised to find that when it cooks it sort of splits and opens, which is one way you know it is ready. It expands into interesting shape.
I was also delighted with just how tasty this soup is, and how filling. It so happened that a friend came round unexpectedly and I was delighted to be able to give her some of my soup. She loved it and asked for the recipe – of course I was able to tell her that it was on my website!
Quinoa Soup With Bread
When you make home made soup, I always think that there is no better accompaniment to it than proper home made bread. So I just want to make a quick plug here for making your own bread – it’s low cost, easy, low on preparation time (yes it really is only about 15 minutes of your time – the rest of the time you can be doing something else!) and delicious. And most importantly you know exactly what has gone into it!
Quinoa And Vegetable Soup
Serves 4, generously
- 180g/6oz quinoa
- 1/2 litre cold water
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium leek, chopped
- 1 onion peeled and chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
- 1 medium carrot, finely chopped
- 1 litre vegetable stock
- 1 400g / 14oz tin chopped tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon chilli powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon mixed herbs
- Place the quinoa in a pan and wash in cold water
- Drain off the water. (This is to get rid of the saponin that coats the seeds and can cause them to taste bitter)
- over the quinoa with the cold water and bring to the boil
- Simmer for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally
- Meanwhile heat the olive oil in a saucepan and fry the onion and garlic for five minutes
- Add the leek and cook for a few more minutes
- Add the chopped tomatoes and stock along with the herbs and spices
- Drain the quinoa and add to the vegetables
- Bring back to the boil, stirring occasionally and simmer for a few minutes
- Adjust seasoning, and serve
Delicious with some (home made) crusty bread and a green salad
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