It’s another rainy day here in Southern California. As much as I love the sun, the rain is always welcome. So what could better on a rainy day than a bowl of warm, nourishing soup brimming with an abundance of vegetables, quinoa and flavorful herbs!
The last few months have been pretty busy for me, trying to balance life and all its challanges. It is one of the reasons I haven’t been here on TSV as much as I would like to be. It is also the reason I have been using my crock pot almost non-stop. As you may have noticed, most of the recipes of late have been crock pot friendly. It has definitely been a life saver these past few months. Since I haven’t given myself time to do any intensive recipes, once again I am sharing another soup with you. And what a wonderful soup, it is!
Using cabbage left over from a previous post, A Very Good Split Pea Soup, and zucchini I had on hand gave me a good starting point. Add to that the usual mix of carrots, celery and onion, along with diced tomatoes, beans, quinoa and blend of herbs completes the medley of goodness. Not only is this soup super easy to make (whether in the crock pot or on the stove-top), but overall you will find the ingredients to be accessible, healthy and low-fat. It’s all the attributes I love!
I kept the vegetables on the chunky side for this soup by cutting my zucchini and carrot slices in half-moon shapes. If you prefer your vegetables on the smaller side, by all means quarter the zucchini and carrots.
Quinoa, one of my favorite grains of all time, adds another layer of bulk, fiber and protein. It is a perfect addition to soups. And, if you are one who doesn’t care for quinoa, as I’ve said before, you will love it in soups. I promise! It cooks up perfectly so you don’t have to worry about if you’ve cooked it right. I see quinoa much more readily available than ever before, and at lower prices which is an added bonus. It ranges anywhere from $3 to $6 dollars per pound. The lower priced quinoa can be found in stores with bulk bins, and the higher priced is typically pre-packaged. A pound of quinoa will be good for a couple meals. It will also typically be more nutritionally dense, adding more nutrition to your meals than rice or pasta. Get your quinoa on whenever you can!
Add everything to the bottom of the crock pot, set it, forget it, and soon enough you’ll have a nice, hearty soup to nourish your day.
Cheers to good food that encourages good health!
VEGETABLE QUINOA SOUP
- 2 large carrots, sliced or diced
- 2 stalks celery, sliced
- 1 onion, diced
- 1/4 head of cabbage, chopped
- 2 medium zucchini, cut in half & sliced
- 1 can (14 oz.) diced tomatoes with juices (pref. fire roasted)
- 2 cans (14 oz.) beans of choice, drained and rinsed (I used one can white beans & one can three bean medley)
- 1/3 cup dry quinoa
- 2 teaspoons herbes de provence or 1 teaspoon each thyme & rosemary
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- pinch of red pepper flakes, optional
- 6 cups water or vegetable broth
- mineral salt & fresh cracked pepper, to taste
Crock Pot: In 5 – 6 quart crock pot, place ingredients in the bottom starting with the carrots and ending with the liquids. Cook on low for 6 – 8 hours, or high for 3 – 5 hours. Taste for seasoning, adding salt and pepper to taste.
Stovetop: In a large pot or dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon oil (or 1/4 cup water for water saute), add onions, carrots and celery, saute for 5 minutes, add remaining ingredients, bring to a boil, cover, turn heat to low and simmer for 1 hour. Taste for seasoning, adding salt and pepper to taste.
Serve with your favorite artisan bread. Add diced avocado for another layer of flavor.
For the beans, use your favorite. I just happen to use what I had on hand. I used one can of great northern beans and one can three bean medley which included black beans, kidney beans and pinto beans. I was nice mix.
I use herbes de provence here (it is one of my favorite herb blends). If you don’t have any on hand, a mix of any of the following herbs will work just as well: thyme, rosemary, fennel seeds, basil, savory, and coriander. Use any combo of up to 2 heaping teaspoons. If you have a bay leaf on hand, by all means add one.