29 May 2012

Quinoa & Vegetable Soup

My initial attempt was to make a Minestrone Soup which swiftly derailed once I wanted to add bok choy, quinoa seeds, leek and red bell pepper.  It turned out into a lovely and filling Quinoa & Vegetable Soup. 

I love making soups because they truly are food for the soul.  If you don't feel well, have a soup.  If you want a lightweight meal, indulge in soup.  If you have a bunch of vegies that need to be used, make a soup.

On this occasion I wanted to add some bok choy.  They are readily available in my downstairs mini-mart and they are a rich source of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

The quinoa seeds I used are an alternative to rice, barley or couscous.  A native of South America it was once considered the 'Inca's gold'.  Cultivated in Peru, Chile and Bolivia for 5000 years, the quinoa was a staple food for the native Indians.  The Spanish Conquistadors destroyed all the quinoa fields as a way to control the natives.  It became illegal to cultivate quinoa and it was punishable by death.  As you can imagine the cultivation of quinoa all but disappeared until the 1980s when a couple of Americans discovered the concentrated health benefits of quinoa and began cultivating it in Colorado.  Not sure if they are available in supermarkets but I found mine in the health food store.

Are you wondering what is so great about the quinoa?  Firstly, it is high in protein as opposed to rice which is high in carbohydrates.  The quinoa includes all nine essential amino acids which play important roles in metabolism and serve as the building blocks for proteins.  

Whilst possibly thought of as a grain, the quinoa is actually the seed of a plant related to spinach and beets.

Following several research studies it was concluded that a regular intake of quinoa can aid with migraines, prevention of heart attacks, reduce the risk of childhood asthma and reduce risk of type-2 diabetes, to name a few.  For more detailed information: Quinoa Seeds Profile.

The best part about this soup is its cooking simplicity.

Quinoa & Vegetable Soup

1 red onion, peeled and chopped
1 small leek, chopped
0.5 punnet red cherry tomatoes, halved
2 sticks celery, halved lengthways and sliced (I cut them smaller so my little girl can eat them easier)
2 carrots, peeled, halved lengthways and sliced
1 large potato, peeled and chopped into small squares
3 frozen spinach nuggets (or a handful of fresh spinach thinly sliced)
1 small bok choy, sliced (leaves included)
0.5 red bell pepper, sliced and diced
0.25 bunch of parsley, finely chopped
0.5 C quinoa seeds
1.2L stock


Toss all the ingredients in a large soup pot.  Bring to boil, then reduce to simmer for 25 minutes.  Serve with a slice of toast.  Enjoy.

Toss it all in a pot...

...add the stock, boil, simmer and....