Sopa de Quinua Vegetariana – Vegetarian Quinoa Soup
Quinoa, or quinua in Spanish, is a pretty trendy foodstuff these days with it’s nutritional properties being made much of by trendy tv chefs and dinner party types. Being gluten free and a source of calcium is an excellent foodstuff for those with allergies as well as being rich in other nutrients. In terms of flavour this Andean pseudo-grain it is mild, soft, a little fluffy and pleasant, but not strong… and if served on its own, a little dry. It probably should not be the main flavour in your meal, but it makes an excellent compliment for a lot of foods and strong flavours, try pairing quinoa with foods in rich sauces, bbqs. In culinary terms quinoa is designed to follow, not lead, and when it follows it does things really well.
In Peru the most common ways I saw this served were in the form of broths and soup or with strong meats such as beef steak and the beefy tasting llama and alpaca. Generally I didn’t find typical Bolivian food to be particularly outstanding (apart from a couple of very nice dishes which I will talk more about some other time!), cold chips with a hunk of meat and rice got a bit monotonous, but always every time I had sopa de quinua it was fantastic! This recipe can be adapted by adding a few big chunks of beef at stage 3 and then boiling until they go soft before carrying on at stage 4 But really this is a great rich and filling soup with or without.
– Recipe –
1 teaspoon Vegetable Oil, 1 large Red Onion, 1 large carrot, 1 bell Pepper, 1 clove of Garlic, 2 bay Leaves, 1 teaspoon of Oregano, 1/2 a teaspoon of Ground Cumin, 200g Squash or Pumpkin, a handful of Parsley, 1 cube of vegetable stock, 2 tomatoes, 2 medium potatoes, 50-200g of Quinoa (less for a broth, more for a thick soup)
- Begin to heat the Oil on a medium temperature in a heavy bottomed saucepan. Finely chop the Red Onion and garlic and then cube the Carrot and Bell Pepper.
- Put them into the pan with the Bay Leaves and fry them for about 5 minutes stirring regularly.
- Add the Oregano, Cumin and the chopped stalks of the Parsley. Crumble the Stock Cube in then stir for 30 seconds before adding the tomatoes and the Squash, stir a bit more.
- Add in the Potatoes and Quinoa and then Water to cover by an inch or so. Bring to the boil on a high heat, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 25 minutes until the Potatoes are soft and the Quinoa has separated into the main bodies and smaller white bits (see the images).
- Chop in the Parsley leaves and then garnish with slices of Avocado and chilli powder to taste.