YOU CAN DO IT: Thai-Inspired Carrot Quinoa Soup

Did you see this headline a few days ago: Harvard University has determined A Daily Bowl of Quinoa Could Save Your Life. See! Just ONE bowl… so, imagine what a quinoa habit does for your health 🙂

Today I want to share a recipe for a soup I made a couple of nights ago: a thai-inspired carrot quinoa soup. Traditional carrot soups are usually creamy – and we’re not a creamy soup kinda family. We like bulk. We like texture. We want to eat a bowl of soup and feel like we’ve eaten… not be left with feelings of ‘what else is comin’.” THIS soup did just that – satisfy.

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Here’s what you’ll need:

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8-10 large carrots, peeled and sliced into 1/4″ rounds
1 medium onion, diced
3 large garlic cloves, diced and smashed
1 large stalk of lemongrass, quartered and pounded (or three pre-cut stalks)*
2 TBSP fresh parsley, finely diced
1 quart of chicken broth
1 cup of water
3/4 dry quinoa (OR, 3 cups precooked quinoa)
1 TBSP fish sauce
1 TBSP fresh squeeze lime juice
1 tsp fresh grated ginger
the zest of 1 lime
salt & pepper to taste

(*Find lemongrass in the herb section of your grocery store. It’s very tough; use the back of a heavy knife and hit the stalk several times to release the oils that will flavor your soup.)

DIRECTIONS:

In a soup pot, add a little olive oil to coat the bottom. When the pan is hot, add in your diced onions, garlic, lemongrass, and parsley, and sauté on medium high for a couple of minutes.

When onions are translucent and your mixture is fragrant, add in your carrots and ginger. Stir everything together and continue to sauté for another couple of minutes.

Add in the chicken stock, water, DRY quinoa, fish sauce, and lime juice. Bring to a boil; then, reduce heat to simmer, cover, and allow to cook for 15-20 minutes.

When quinoa is cooked and carrots are soft, remove lemongrass stalks; add in the lime zest, and salt and pepper to taste.
This is what you get:
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It was DELICIOUS.

Now, notice I did something I’ve never told you to do before: use DRY quinoa. When you’re making a brothy soup like this one that has adequate liquid, you CAN add dry quinoa right into the pot. The key is remembering that quinoa sucks up water and expands to almost 4x its original size. So, just keep that in mind when you choose to go the DRY route… otherwise, you’ll end up with an overly thick bowl of porridge-style soup versus a brothy one. (If this turns out too thick for your liking, just add an additional 1/2 cup of water or broth towards the end. Not a big deal.)

Before I go, if you haven’t picked up my quinoa e-book, The Quinoa Habit, don’t forget it’s available here.

And hey, if you’re in the Portland area, join me on Monday, March 30th at the Bridgeport Whole Foods for The Quinoa Habit class! You can sign up HERE… I’d love to meet you and encourage you into a healthier food lifestyle with quinoa as a foundation. Here’s the flyer:

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Thanks for being here with me!

Who Couldn’t Use Some Quinoa Love Soup…

There is something about soup that warms your bones – isn’t there? I think that’s why I’ve been on such a soup kick lately – because that’s what we all seem to need these days: warmth.

…and comfort.

…and coziness.

…and rest.

…and simplicity.

…and love.

Life gets so busy and so fast – and then a cold, or a heartache, or our spirit simply says, “Since you won’t choose to slow down, I’ll choose it for you…” and rest is graciously forced upon us.

Well, the other night my sweet Kenna was in her ‘resting’ period. A low grade fever and cough had taken away her basketball practice and her gymnastics class. She was on the couch with a good book and a kitten curled up at her neck… and I filled up her belly with this beautiful “Love Soup”.

Quinoa Love Soup

Why “Quinoa Love Soup”? Because it’s a spin on a traditional italian wedding soup – but without bread crumbs and pasta, and with the addition of quinoa. (I also don’t go through the step of pre-cooking the meatballs or adding egg to the soup. My recipe is quicker and simpler, but doesn’t compromise on flavor.) And, can I just tell you: it’s light, savory, and chalk full of nourishing and healing ingredients. Your bones will love you for it.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 3/4 pound of ground hamburger (NOTE: I buy hamburger with 20% fat because it has better flavor than the lower fat options.)
  • 3/4 pound of seasoned italian sausage
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced and smashed with a fork
  • 8 cups of chicken broth
  • 1 head of escarole, washed and chopped into 1″ strips (NOTE: You’ll have to find this at a local grocery store that offers a greater produce variety)
  • 3 large carrots, washed and peeled
  • 4 cups of pre-cooked quinoa
  • fresh grated parmesan (for garnish) (NOTE: The taste of fresh grated parmesan is totally different that parmesan out of a can. Do yourself a favor and ditch the canned parmesan… your taste buds will thank you)
  1. Make meatballs: Blend together the hamburger and the italian sausage and form into small 1″ balls. Place finished meatballs in a single layer on a plate. Set aside.
  2. Heat a large soup pot and add 1/4 cup EVOO to pan. SautĂ© your onions and garlic until onions are translucent, stirring constantly so that garlic doesn’t burn.
  3. With your stove on high, add broth to the pot and slowly drop uncooked meatballs in. Once broth comes to a rapid boil, reduce heat, cover pot, and cook for 6-8 minutes.
  4. Add in chopped escarole and, with a large spoon, push all greens down into the broth so they begin to wilt. Then, take your carrots and create carrot ribbons by peeling the carrots directly into the soup. Cover and cook another 3-5 minutes on medium high.
  5. Turn off heat. Add in your cooked quinoa.
  6. (NOTE: If you need more “soupiness”, you can add additional water one cup at a time.)
  7. Ladle finished soup into bowls and top with fresh grated parmesan and black pepper.

Warmth for your bones… and your spirit

It’s an easy winner. I promise…

Rebel on,
Elisha