Food Mains

Quinoa soup

27 June 2012

Peru for me brings back a soothing nostalgia for me. It is, after all, where I met my husband. When I travelled through Peru some years ago, I was delighted by their many vegetarian meal options. I’m not exactly a vegetarian, but I wasn’t planning to spend my time in Peru eating cuy and alpaca.

The first delightful veggie dish I found everywhere in Peru was sopa de espárrago/asparagus soup. Obviously this dish is not truly Peruvian; however it was my first asparagus experience ever (I was an overly fussy child). And I truly loved the asparagus soup I found throughout Peru. I couldn’t get enough.

My other favourite Peruvian dish was a classic quinoa soup. I can’t even remember the taste well, but I recall eating it often and loving it. Furthermore, during a homestay on Isla Taquile we also enjoyed some delicious quinoa bread, which had the spongey texture of a donut. With a sprinkling of sugar, this bread was rather lovely.

Although I didn’t photograph the lovely soup, here is a picture I found:

Actually, now that I look at this photo, it makes me wonder, that maybe this is the closest recipe…

What recipe? Well, I have been searching for this recipe for many years. A few months ago I found one that required achiote, a spice generally found throughout Latin America. I went to the local Latin grocery store the other day, bought it, and thus, I was ready to prepare the soup!

Now, from what I recall, the soup I had in Peru did not have potato or cheese. However… oh my. These two additions make the soup even more hearty and even more wonderful.

I used feta instead of queso fresco, and my husband often substitutes paprika for achiote if there’s none around.

¡Buen provecho!

Quinoa soup
Serves 8
  1. 2 tbsp olive oil
  2. 1 large onion, diced
  3. 4 garlic cloves, minced
  4. 1 tomato, peeled, seeded, chopped finely
  5. ½ tsp dried cumin
  6. ¼ tsp achiote paste or paprika
  7. 1 tsp dried oregano
  8. ¼ tsp ground coriander
  9. 5 potatoes, peeled and diced
  10. 1 cup dried quinoa, washed
  11. 8 cups stock
  12. 1 cup milk (can be omitted)
  13. 2 cups feta, crumbled (can be omitted)
  14. salt and pepper, to taste
  15. 1 avocado, sliced, to garnish
  1. Heat oil over medium heat in large saucepan. Add onions, garlic, tomato, cumin, achiote/paprika, oregano, coriander, salt and pepper. Mix well and cook for about 8 minutes, or until onions are soft.
  2. Add chopped potatoes and stir well to coat. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add stock and bring to boil.
  4. Add dry quinoa. Reduce to low heat and simmer for about 25 minutes, or until quinoa and potatoes are tender.
  5. Add milk and cheese at this stage (optional). Stir and cook for about 5 minutes.
  6. Serve topped with sliced avocado.
Adapted from The Cooking Adventures of Chef Paz
niveous moon

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1 Comment

  • Reply pazcooks 2 August 2012 at 3:11 pm

    Oh, I’m so glad you enjoyed Laylita’s recipe for Quinoa Soup. I enjoy this soup very much. It is good to know about the substitutes — feta cheese and paprika — that you used and I will try them in the future.

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