I've had this recipe in my three-ring recipe binder since 2009, but just made it for the first time last week. I have so many recipes waiting in the queue; it's fun to pull out my book from time to time and try something new.
I'm sure you've heard of quinoa, but may not know much about it. It's pronounced "keen-wa" and is a good source of protein, containing all 9 essential amino acids. Did you know that quinoa is a seed, not a grain, though it is frequently referred to as a whole grain? It is actually in the same food family as spinach, Swiss chard and beets! It is gluten free, cholesterol free, and very easy to prepare. Learn more about it here, here and here.
I altered this soup recipe from the original, omitting the zucchini (which my husband appreciated), increasing the amount of carrot and celery, reducing the amount of veggie stock and substituting water to make up the balance, and not using the cilantro (again, my hubby appreciated this). This soup is heavy on cumin, a spice that has a very distinctive flavor and aroma. If you're not keen on cumin, lessen the amount or omit it. I happen to love it, but my husband thought it was overpowering in this soup.
If you wish to use the zucchini, dice two small zucchinis and add along with the corn, pepper and garlic. If you like cilantro, add 1/3 cup chopped cilantro at the end of step 4 when you season with salt and pepper.
Quinoa Vegetable Soup
1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained in a fine seive
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, finely diced
4 carrots, peeled and finely diced
4 stalks celery, finely diced
1 cup frozen yellow corn kernels
1 red or green bell pepper, finely diced
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 teaspoons coarse salt
8 cups vegetable stock
4 cups water
1 28-ounce can whole, peeled tomatoes, chopped, liquid reserved
1 tablespoon ground cumin (less, if you wish)
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1. Heat a large, heavy skilled over medium heat. Add rinsed and drained quinoa and stir constantly for 10 minutes, until moisture evaporates and quinoa becomes golden. Set aside.
2. Heat oil in a large, heavy stockpot over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrot and celery. Saute for 12 minutes. Add corn, red or green bell pepper, garlic and salt. Saute 3 minutes longer, or until vegetables begin to release their juices.
3. Add stock and water, cover, and bring to a boil over high heat. Stir in the toasted quinoa and simmer over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally for 10 minutes or until quinoa is almost tender.
4. Add tomatoes and their juice. Stir in cumin and coriander. Simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes or until quinoa is tender. Season to taste with freshly ground pepper and more salt, if desired.