Although the calendar says spring, it feels like Old Man Winter lost his keys and has decided to stay the weekend to liesurely look for them. In my book, that means it's soup weather.
I started making this Quinoa and Vegetable Soup last winter. One of the first times I made it, my mom happened to be over and we had some for lunch. Later that night, she asked for the recipe and has been making it ever since. I always want to freeze some for a quick lunch, to stash in my husband's lunch or for a fast dinner later, but every time I make this, I never have any to freeze for later. That's when you know something is good. Everyone gobbles it all up.
It's one of those recipes that is so simple, yet somehow turns out tasting so delicious and complex. I usually try to make this in the afternoon, so I don't have to spend my time chopping during the hub-bub rush of dinner.
I also like to give it a few hours to sit and stew in the refrigerator before serving. But it's just as wonderful right off of the stove into bowls. This is a hearty, naturally gluten-free soup. If you can't find quinoa, you can try substituting barley, but then of course, it would not be gluten-free (but it would still be hearty!).
Vegetable, Bean and Quinoa Soup
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion chopped finely
4 medium carrots, chopped finely
1 stalk celery, chopped finely
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can (19 ounce) dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (14.5 ounce) stewed tomatoes, undrained
5 cups chicken stock
2 cups water
1 cup quinoa
1/2 - 3/4 of 10 ounce bag of fresh spinach, torn
Salt to taste
Parmigiano-reggiano cheese, grated
Heat oil in a dutch oven over medium heat. Add onions, carrots and celery. Salt generously. Allow to cook until softened about 5 - 7 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
While that cooks, take one cup of beans and mash them with a fork. This will give the soup some body. Set the rest of the beans aside.
After the vegetables have had time to soften, add the chicken stock, water, mashed beans, whole beans, stewed tomatoes and quinoa. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and let simmer for 15 minutes. Break up the stewed tomatoes with a wooden spoon and add the spinach. Salt again to taste.
Cook for a few more minutes or until the quinoa is tender. Serve soup sprinkled with the parmigiano-reggiano cheese.
As I mentioned before, you can serve this right away or let it sit in the refrigerator to mature a bit. If you do put it in the refrigerator, reheat in a stock pot over a medium flame.
And because my youngest daughter has to be dairy-free, I was able to turn this soup into baby food so she could enjoy it as well.
I simply put it in my Babycook and processed it for a few second and voila: baby food!
My husband sometimes likes to add crushed oyster crackers or eat it with a crusty roll with butter. It would probably be equally good with a gluten-free roll of some sort, but I am just not that advanced in the world of gluten-free breads. Some day!
I hope you enjoy it!
P.S. This page has been linked to Simply Sugar & Gluten Free Slightly Indulgent Tuesday.