When I first saw this recipe in Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, I was intrigued. I wasn’t sure how this unusual combination of flavors would come together. But once I made it, I knew it would be a regular in my recipe canon.
I first made this soup probably seven or eight years ago, and I’ve made it many times since then. It’s my partner, Phillip’s, all-time favorite soup. It’s one of the few recipes I haven’t altered in some way. It’s perfectly balanced just as it’s written.
I’ve used white, red and black quinoa in this recipe. Using black quinoa made the soup look a bit muddy. It still tasted good, but just didn’t look as appetizing. But either red or white quinoa can make a soup that’s both tasty and beautiful.
Because of the eggs and feta, this soup is not vegan, but it is gluten free.
Quinoa Chowder with Spinach, Feta and Scallions
- 3/4 cup quinoa
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 jalapeño pepper, minced
- 1/2 pound potatoes, cut in 1/4-inch cubes (I use yellow potatoes)
- 1 bunch scallions including 1 inch of the greens, thinly sliced
- 1 t cumin
- 1 t salt
- 2 T olive oil
- 3 cups spinach, thinly sliced
- 1/3 cup cilantro, finely chopped
- 4 oz. feta cheese (I use goat feta)
- hard-boiled eggs for garnish (1/2 egg for each serving)
Bring 8 cups of water and quinoa to a boil. Simmer for 10 minutes. Drain, reserving the cooking water.
Heat the oil in a soup pot. Sauté the garlic and jalapeño in the oil for 30 seconds. Add the cumin, salt and potatoes and cook, stirring frequently for a few minutes more. Take care not to let the garlic brown.
Add the quinoa cooking water and half of the scallions. Bring to a boil and simmer for 15-20 minutes, until potatoes are soft.
Stir in the quinoa, spinach and the rest of the scallions. Cook 3 minutes.
Turn off the heat and add the cilantro and feta cheese.
Add half a chopped, hard-boiled egg to each bowl before serving.
Like most soups, this soup tastes even better after the flavors have integrated. In other words, enjoy the leftovers too!