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September 6, 2010

Recipe for sopa de quinoa (quinoa soup)


From Latin Ladles: Fabulous Soups & Stews from the King of Nuevo Latino Cuisine, you chose this sopa de quinoa, and I'm so glad you did, because in addition to quinoa, chicken and spinach, it contains a melange of herbs from the garden. Quinoa and spinach are a natural combination; though it's considered an ancient grain, quinoa is actually a green, from the same family of leafy greens (goosefoot) as spinach and Swiss chard. The quinoa seed, which is the part we eat, has a mild, somewhat nutty taste and texture, more substantial than couscous; when cooked, it acts like rice and tastes like barley. Be sure to rinse quinoa in cold water before cooking, to remove any residue of the bitter outer coating.

Sopa de quinoa

Adapted from Latin Ladles by Douglas Rodriguez, this recipe serves 4.


2 quarts homemade or low-sodium store-bought chicken stock
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 bay leaf
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp salt (if using store-bought stock, do not add this)
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 large yellow onion, diced
1/2 lb fresh spinach leaves (I used a 6-oz bag of baby spinach)
3 sprigs flat-leaf parsley, leaves removed and chopped, stems discarded
1/4 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves
3 sprigs mint, leaves removed and chopped
1 large jalapeño chile, stem, seeds and ribs removed, diced (I used a ripe red jalapeño, for color)
3/4 cup quinoa
2 stalks celery, diced
3 scallions, white and green parts, finely diced


In a stockpot over high heat (I use my 4-quart Dutch oven), combine the stock, chicken, bay leaf, thyme, 2 of the garlic cloves, and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer, cover, and cook for 15 minutes. Remove the chicken from the post and set aside to cool. Strain the stock into a large measuring cup; discard the thyme, bay leaf and garlic, and set the stock aside.

In the same pot, heat the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and remaining garlic, and cook for 5 minutes. Add the spinach, parsley, cilantro, mint and jalapeño, and cook for 5 minutes. Add the strained stock, bring to a boil, and cook for 3 minutes. Lower the heat to simmer, add the quinoa, celery and scallions, and cover. Simmer for 35 minutes.

While the stock is simmering, use two forks to shred the chicken. When the soup has cooked for the full time, uncover, add the chicken, and adjust seasoning with salt if needed. Serve hot.

Print recipe only.


Posted by: ocdgirl2000 | September 7, 2010 at 08:43 AM

omg! this looks awesome! copied! looks good for when you have really cold rainy weather and feeling a sore throat coming on too!retweeted to all my friends..oh this looks so good!thank you!

Posted by: Kalynskitchen | September 7, 2010 at 10:32 AM

I don't think I would have thought of using quinoa in soup, but this sounds wonderful.

Posted by: Koek! | September 8, 2010 at 07:04 AM

A blog all about soup... Heaven! Soup Chick, I'm so glad I found you!
Roby x

Posted by: Norma Ruttan | September 9, 2010 at 06:55 PM

I'm not much of a cook, but I'm going to try the sopa de quinoa. I'll let you know how it goes.

Posted by: Stella | September 10, 2010 at 11:41 AM

Hi Lydia, this looks wonderful. And I have some organic quinoa in the cupboard that I keep meaning to make. Bookmarked! Thanks...

Posted by: Christine | February 20, 2011 at 03:22 PM

Made this last night. Really tasty.

I added another jalapeño and several good shakes of hot red pepper flakes for heat. I topped each bowl off with more fresh cilantro, parsley, and mint, and a generous squeeze of lime. The lime was excellent--really brought out the flavors.

Will definitely make this again.

Posted by: Lydia | February 21, 2011 at 11:16 PM

Christine, I love the idea of adding more heat; I usually do that when I cook for my own family. So glad you enjoyed the soup.

Posted by: Cindy P | October 12, 2011 at 01:22 PM

I'm definitely trying this! Traveled to Peru with my kids and had a soup with ground beef and quinoa - kids loved it! Any ideas on how to make this?

Posted by: Lucy | January 31, 2012 at 08:18 PM

Have been looking for a gluten-free substitute for chicken soup. OMG, this was delicious! Will incorporate Christine's recommendations re: lime and more heat next time. Was fab as is!

Soooo loving Soup Chick!

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  • I'm Lydia Walshin, a longtime food writer who lives and cooks in a real log house. If I could, I'd eat Chinese noodles, grapes, ice cream and soup every day.
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