Sunday, December 30, 2012

Andean Quinoa Soup (Vegan Veggie Soup From Peru)

Quinoa Soup is a treasure I found on a recent trip to Peru to add to my collection of fantastic soups. An Andean lady from Maras demonstrated how to prepare this simple but soulful soup; it is so easy and yet sustaining with all the essential ingredients for good health. Apparently on the cold highlands of the Andes, the day may start as well as end with a warming soup like this. Our hostess chopped and diced the veggies in the order she needed as the soup was bubbling along. She recommended eating quinoa soup twice a week for not only good health but great complexion :) - ladies take note! The first thing I cooked upon returning from the trip was ... any guesses? Absolutely Delicious!

I have given the recipe here as I witnessed to the best of my recall; for best results, add the vegetable ingredients in the order given. The soup we had in restaurants had local zucchini, red bell peppers, cilantro, and once, even finely diced tomatoes in addition to the other basic ingredients; so you may add/subtract ingredients to suit your preferences.  

Quinoa is a protein-rich Andean grain that grows on the highlands of Peru; Fava or broad beans are also grown there. If Fava beans and quinoa are unavailable, use a good handful each of red lentils (skinless Masoor dal) and/or cooked Lima beans, barley or brown rice; I have done so without changing the essential nature or taste of the soup. As usual, I add turmeric to the boiling water for all the health benefits it imparts. I substituted a sweet potato for the regular potato and also added a couple of little Peruvian blue potatoes that I had grown.  A few grinds of black pepper or a chile or two will not be amiss to add a little kick; if you are lucky to come by some Peruvian aji amarillo or yellow chile (fresh or dry), that would be even better.  Sumaq mihuna!

Quinoa Soup with blue potato
6 Servings


1/4 cup dry Quinoa
Sea Salt
1 large Carrot, diced
3 ribs Celery, diced
1 handful freshly shelled and peeled  Fava Beans
1 large Potato, cut in chunks
1 piece of Pumpkin/Winter Squash, diced (about 2 cups)
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Tbsp dried Oregano 


Rinse well and cook the quinoa in 1/2 cup of boiling water; simmer until soft.  Add a sprinkle or two of boiling water if it looks too dry.  Cover and set aside.

Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil; add sea salt to taste.

Add each of the ingredients one by one in the order given; wait for the soup to come to a full boil before adding the next ingredient.

Add the carrots to the boiling water first.

Stir in the celery next.

Fava beans go into the pot next.  If using red lentils, this is the time to add it.

Gently drop the potato chunks and let them cook for about five minutes.

This is the time to cook the onions:  heat a small pan and add the oil and onions.  Cook on medium heat stirring often until the onions are translucent.  Crush and add the oregano and cook for another minute or so and remove from heat.

Put in the pumpkin pieces into the soup.

Spoon the cooked quinoa, onions and herbs into the soup; deglace the onion pan with about 1/2 cup of boiling water and add to the soup.  Bring to a boil again; add a little more boiling water if necessary - this is a soup with lots of broth.

Let the soup simmer for about five more minutes or until the veggies are cooked and turn off the heat. Taste and add more salt if needed.

If using cilantro, stir in after turning off the heat and keep the soup covered until serving.

Ladle the soup into warm bowls and serve.  Enjoy!!

Quinoa Soup from Maras, Peru with eggs and cheese

Vegan Quinoa soup from Maras, Peru
Happy and Healthy New Year to Everyone!! May the world be cruelty free and peace and love reign in every heart!

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