I love soup. The funny thing is, I didn’t realize how much I love soup until I started raising a family. Soups are hearty, easy meals or sides or bases for bigger dishes. Plus, homemade soups often translate into a busy mom’s favorite word: leftovers.
I can make a pot of soup on Sunday and have a dinner accompaniment for a few nights. I can knock out a quick soup for dinner and be sure my kids have hot thermoses ready for school lunch. Soup reheats easily and seems to grow its flavors the longer it sits. What’s not to love?
As I embark on this clean journey and my husband even embraces our fresh-food lifestyle, I have had to let go of an old stand by. You all know what I am talking about: canned soup. While my pantry isn’t bare of it entirely, I am working my way to a canned-soup free home. This easy recipe will make that a possibility.
My husband shuttered when I first said “quinoa” as if I used a four-letter word during a family game of Frozen Trouble. I assure you, though, any person who has enjoyed a barley soup in his or her lifetime will enjoy this soup. It is flavorful, filling, and full of nutrients–and my five-year old daughter returns from kindergarten with an empty Hello Kitty thermos!
This recipe can easily be adapted to fit a vegetarian diet by substituting veggie broth for the chicken broth, and you can easily doctor it up with grilled chicken breast or tofu for even more protein.
4 cups organic low sodium chicken broth, plus an additional cup for reheating**
1 cup dry quinoa (I upped the ante and used Super Grains from Whole Food’s 365 brand)
1 small yellow onion, diced
2 small tomatoes, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 pinch red pepper flakes (to taste)
2 handfuls of fresh spinach leaves, roughly chopped
1/2 cup organic cannellini beans – no salt added
In a medium sauce pan, add the broth and quinoa. (If your quinoa requires a pre-rinse, be sure you do that as well!) Bring to a boil, then add the next four ingredients. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer about 15-20 min, or according to the quinoa directions. During the last five minutes, slowly add in the spinach. Drain the beans and add those when the quinoa is cooked through. Serve immediately.
**Quinoa absorbs liquid as it sits. I keep an additional cup or so of broth on hand in case I need to add it to the soup when reheating leftovers. Water will work as well, but it will dilute the overall flavor.
This soup alone is packed with protein, but it can be used as a side for grilled chicken or even grilled fish. Share in the comments below how you have played around with the recipe.