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Seasonal Recipe: Kale and Quinoa Soup

Seasonal Recipe

Kale and Quinoa Soup

By Maria Alamo, RD, member of Edible Evanston and board member of The Talking Farm

This recipe was adapted from a version that my Ecuadorian friend, Maria Kijac, author of the award-winning cookbook, The South American Table, shared with me. It is a favorite of mine during our very chilly Chicago winter days. I hope this hearty nutritious soup keeps you warm too! Maria, a resident of Vernon Hills, is working on another cookbook on ancient grains and seeds and their impact on health due out next fall. You can’t go wrong with the combination of greens, vegetables and quinoa. Enjoy!

  • 2 tablespoons canola oil or butter
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed to a paste with 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 6 cups chicken or vegetable broth or boiling water
  • ½ cup dry quinoa, rinsed
  • 1 pound Yukon yellow potatoes, peeled and cut up in 1-inch pieces
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
  • 4 cups (about 4 ounces) coarsely chopped kale or Swiss chard leaves
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Peeled and diced avocado
Minced cilantro, parsley or mint leaves

In a 4-quart saucepan, melt oil over low heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, without letting it color. Stir in garlic paste, cumin, paprika and red pepper flakes; cook for 1 minute.

Add chicken stock, quinoa and potatoes. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Lower heat to low and simmer, partially covered, for 20 minutes or until quinoa is done and potatoes are tender. Add corn and kale; simmer for an additional 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve soup hot garnished with avocado and choice of cilantro, parsley or mint leaves.

Cooking Know How: Rinse quinoa well using a fine-mesh strainer. Rinsing washes away the bitter coating on the tiny seeds. Quinoa increases 4 times in size when cooked; 1/2 cup of dry quinoa will make 2 cups cooked.

Variation: You can make a chowder by adding milk and cheese. Add 2 cups milk when you add the corn and kale. Then, add 4 oz. (1 cup) of your favorite shredded cheddar or white cheese after simmering these ingredients for 5 minutes. Cook and stir until cheese is melted. Proceed as directed.

Cook’s Tip: I like to mix kale and Swiss chard. I make this soup with 2 cups chopped kale and 2 cups chopped Swiss chard. Spinach also works well.