Thursday, October 10, 2013

quinoa soup

first of all, i'm sure you've all missed josephine's cooking as much as i have! she just did her first local cooking class a couple weeks ago and it was a smash hit, filling up within hours of the announcement. naturally. 

i can't even show what we learned because it's top secret. if you would like to go to one of her classes and live in KC, she can put you on the email list.

 so here's josephine with this delicious fall soup!

Chicken, Mushroom and Quinoa Soup

I am a sucker for soup.
I literally could have soup every day. Now, this is one of my favorite soups and not only does it taste rich, hearty and delicious, but it's also super nutritious. I would even venture to say that this soup is one of the best remedies you can use if you're not feeling well. And to top it off, this recipe is dairy-free and gluten-free. Well, don’t roll your eyes and move on as soon as you see these two labels! Before you decide to go back to the good ‘ole chicken noodle soup, please hear me out:

  1. Why this soup? “Soup is hydrating and full of nutrients that might be hard to stomach in more solid form, like protein and electrolytes. But the temperature may also help: one study at the Common Cold Centre in the U.K. found that drinking a hot liquid (like broth) alleviated congestion better than the same liquid at room temperature.”

  1. Why mushrooms? Mushrooms have many health benefits, including: weight management, improved nutrition, increasing vitamin D levels, improved immune system function, etc. You can read more in this article here if you want to learn more about the health benefits of mushrooms.

  1. Why quinoa? Well, quinoa is a whole grain and has tons of fiber and protein. As long as you know how to prepare it properly, it is really one of the best alternatives to other carbohydrates, instead of pasta in most chicken noodle soup recipes. And of course, quinoa is also gluten-free. If you are gluten-intolerant or are making dinner for someone who is, look beyond rice or even brown rice. Quinoa has way more fiber and nutrients than brown rice. In fact, White rice is pretty nutrient deficient and your body reads it as sugar.

So, perhaps I have convinced you with all the facts. Now, let me convince you with flavors.


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
3 carrots, diced
3 stalks celery, diced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
8-10 ounces baby bella mushroom, cut into 1/2 -inch chunks
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme, or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed (Rinsing quinoa well can take away most of the bitter taste.)
5 cups chicken stock, store bought or homemade
1 tablespoon soy sauce, regular or gluten-free
3 cups diced roasted chicken
a handful fresh mint leaves or parsley, for garnish, optional

  1. In a large stock pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrot, celery, season with salt and pepper. Cook the aromatics until softened and caramelized, about 10 minutes. 

    Add the tomato paste; cook until it is dry and fragrant, about 2-3 minutes. Add the mushrooms, garlic and thyme, season with the salt and pepper. Cook until the mushrooms are lightly browned and the water is almost evaporated. Stir in the quinoa and let it cook for one minute. This extra step is to toast the grain and give it a nutty taste. 

    Add the chicken stock and soy sacue, bring to boil, reduce the heat, cover and simmer until the quinoa is al dente (like pasta al dente), about 12 minutes.
  2. Once the quinoa is cooked, add the diced chicken and stir to warm through. If the soup appears too dry, feel free to add a cup of water. Season with salt and pepper to taste, garnish with freshly chopped herbs if desired.

Cook’s Note:
I want to educate you about Umami. Umami is a word from Japanese and means the pleasant “savory” and “meaty” taste imparted by glutamate: a type of amino acid, which occurs naturally in many foods including meat, fish, vegetables (such as mushrooms and tomatoes), fermented soy products (such as soy sauce), and dairy products. That is why I added tomato paste and soy sauce as “enhancements” to pump up the “savory” and “meaty” volume of this soup when I was developing this recipe. And it's what really helps this soup become so hearty and rich naturally without all the unnecessary fat and calories.


  1. can't wait to make this soup! thanks for posting. did you notice in the picture of the finished product with steam rising all amazing-like...the steam forms a mushroom :) pretty neat!

  2. can't wait to make this soup! thanks for posting! did you notice in the picture of the finished product where the steam is rising from the bowl all amazing-like...the steam forms a mushroom...pretty neat! :)

  3. I'm totally making this for dinner tonight! Currently it's cold and rainy and I was thinking soup would sound so good. Thanks!

  4. This is currently simmering for supper tonight. It smells so good. Thanks for sharing!!

  5. Just made this but substituted Thai red curry paste for the tomato paste. It's so good, although a lot spicier than the original, I'm sure! Great recipe!

  6. Oh my goodness is this an amazing recipe. It's on the stove for the 2nd time!! Not only is it delicious but it's one of those few recipes that doesn't take 30 minutes just to prep all the ingredients and best of all you can pretty much clean up as you go. Thanks so much for this.


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