March 11, 2014

Traditional quinoa soup


It's amazing to me how good a long-forgotten favorite recipe can taste, when it's pulled from the archives and lovingly cooked. I'm referring to my recipe for quinoa soup, which I first tasted in Ecuador many years ago. It's a very easy soup to make, and so flexible as to ingredients. Traditionally, it would be made with cabbage, plantain and thin rounds of sweet corn cut from the cob. In Ecuador I had it topped with avocado, green onions and ahi — a home-made hot sauce served on virtually everything. Here, we used cauliflower and organic frozen corn, along with potatoes, and pan-browned tempeh. In Ecuador you probably won't find tempeh in your quinoa soup, but it tastes great and adds protein. The soup comes together quickly and tastes far more complex than it is. It's one of my favorites. The soup is gluten-free.

Quinoa soup
 Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion (it's good if half of it is green onion)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt (to your taste)
  • 1 cup floury potatoes cut into small cubes (peeled at your discretion)
  • 1 cup shredded cabbage (or cauliflower)
  • several "baby" carrots from the ready-to-eat bag, sliced into strips (or one whole medium carrot, sliced)
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn
  • 5 cups low-sodium stock or water
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons lemon juice
optional:
  • half of a tempeh block sliced crosswise into thin strips and browned
  • sliced ripe avocado for garnish
  • chopped green onion for garnish
  • hot sauce for adding at the table (this might not be optional!)
Directions:
  1. Rinse the quinoa well in a fine strainer under cold running water and set aside to drain. (The rinsing is important so it won't be bitter and bad-tasting) 
  2. Sauté the onion, garlic, cumin, paprika, oregano and tempeh (if using) in the oil until the onion is wilted and the tempeh brown. 
  3. Add the quinoa, salt, potato, cabbage, carrot and water and bring to a boil. Turn the heat to low, cover the pot and simmer for 20 minutes. 
  4. Add the frozen corn, stir, garnish as desired and eat.
     
note: In Ecuador, we had rounds of corn on the cob (yes, ON the cob) in the soup. It had been cut crosswise into one inch rounds. We picked it out and munched the corn kernels off, and there was a bowl on the table to discard the cob pieces. In the summer when fresh corn is available, I do this. But the rest of the year I reach for that handy bag of frozen corn that's always in my freezer. Also, you can substitute different veggies for the cabbage - you could use zucchini or kale or as you see in the photo, cauliflower. (Some recipes call for chopped tomatoes or you can add mushrooms if you want.)

19 comments:

  1. I know how comforting it can be to make an old recipe, just feeling yr way through and not worrying about following directions.
    This sounds really good - I don't eat quinoa nearly enough.
    I saw those corn cob rounds in one of the soups in Viva Vegan and thought they looked really cool but, yes, wondered how one went about eating them in the soup.

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    Replies
    1. I love quinoa, and I love this soup! As for the corncobs, you just grab-a-hold and munch the kernels off. It's messy and uncouth, but very satisfying. :)

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  2. Quinoa, tempeh, and avocado in the same soup? This is for me, yes?

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    Replies
    1. YES! How can you go wrong with a trio like that? And don't forget a few green onions.

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  3. I thought spring was on the horizon, but it's back down to 20 degrees today; I could use this soup! I've recently been adding quinoa to all of my broths and I love it; perhaps I need to make this recipe on purpose...

    Love the idea of the corn cob nibbling and special discard plate.

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    Replies
    1. You do need to make quinoa soup — so easy and delicious. And yes, the corn rounds are great munching — very satisfying and sweet.

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  4. I love cooking favorite recipes that I haven't made in a while, too! This soup looks so unusual! I bet it tastes good!

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    Replies
    1. You mean favorites like tuxedo cheesecake? : ) I have so many old favorites that I've forgotten about — it's time to bring them back.

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  5. I love finding new ways to eat quinoa, especially South American ones! I can definitely see the appeal of some extra avocado and tempeh on top. Go Ecuador!

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    Replies
    1. I really did eat the soup in the home of Ecuadorian friends in Quito, and it had plantains, corn rounds, cabage and avocado. It tastes great no matter what you put in it!

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  6. That looks amazing, and the rounds of corn on the cob sound like so much fun!

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    Replies
    1. Well, I have to admit that it really is fun to have permission to pick corn cobs from my soup bowl and eat off the corn. I can't wait until fresh corn is available at the farmers market so I can do justice to the quinoa soup. It really is cool to see the bright yellow rounds in the bowl.

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  7. It's fun to "re-discover" old favorites! I can't say I'm familiar with Ecuadoran food but the soup sure does look good! and it's almost time for corn-on-the-cob season. :-)

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    Replies
    1. I know what I'm going to make with our first corn-on-the-cob, though it will be awfully hard not to grill it! Or maybe I should grill the corn and add it to the quinoa soup after it's cooked.

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  8. What a tasty soup you’ve described - I would love to have plantain, cabbage and thin rounds of sweet corn! Such comforting quinoa soup, I would love to eat them with some crackers or a fresh bread slice!

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    1. We love the soup, though I think I prefer potatoes to plantain. Plantains are so much like potatoes in taste and texture that I can't really understand why I don't like them. Personal taste can be odd. :)

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  9. Wow I have never head quinoa soup and haven't even thought about making a soup with it. this is a must try.

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    1. This is one of my favorite soups, and quinoa is probably my favorite grain.

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  10. Andrea, quinoa is definitely my favorite grain!

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