Smoked Paprika Carrot and Quinoa Soup

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Hello there! I’m Lisa from Je suis alimentageuse and Samantha’s been generous enough to let me do a guest post for you folks while she’s away. I’ll just do a mini introduction before I go into how much I love this soup.

I started Je suis alimentageuse in my third year of university because I had just gotten a DSLR camera and I needed things to photograph (and I was intensely procrastinating. I started in March, which was midterm season). Now I had always liked cooking and baking, but I thought, hey, wouldn’t it be fun to take pictures of the stuff I bake? So fast forward a year and half and now here I am! Writing a guest post for Sam’s lovely readers.

Now let’s talk about quinoa. In the past year or so, quinoa has become the new “it” staple in the food blogging world. People love it because it’s gluten-free, it has a fun texture, and it’s actually chock-full of protein, because it’s actually a seed, not a grain. To be honest, the first time I even heard of this, I wanted to do some research about how to cook it.

When I first did my research, I saw posts upon posts about how difficult quinoa is to cook or how it’s so hard to cook perfectly fluffy quinoa. Also, I had a few foodie friends who were all “Blah blah people just like it because it’s the new, yuppie health food fad”. People had so many opinions about it that it really intimidated me. I decided to find out for myself what quinoa was like.

Well let me tell you from first-hand experience: quinoa is SO easy to cook. Even easier than rice! And I’m Vietnamese; I eat rice every day. Rice is a 2:1 ratio (two parts water, one part rice), while quinoa is a 3:2 (three parts water, to two parts quinoa) ratio. It’s tasty with some garlic or butter, and extra delicious when you add some Mexican flare by cooking it with black beans and garlic topped with a generous dollop of guacamole.

To cook quinoa, you just rinse the seeds by running some tap water over them in a sieve. Then you dump it in a pot with the right amount of water (or broth for extra flavour), then cover it with a lid, cook on medium low heat for about 20 minutes (no peeking!), and it’s done!

When you take off the lid, you’re rewarded with this lovely, fluffy quinoa that adds just the right amount of texture to a puréed soup.

Ingredients:
• 2/3 cup quinoa
• 1 cup vegetable broth + 6 cups vegetable broth
• 2 medium sized onions, diced (I used one yellow and one red)
• 3 cloves garlic, minced
• 3 tbsp of cooking oil (I used coconut oil, but olive or vegetable is fine)
• 1 tbsp of smoked paprika
• a dash of cayenne (or more if you like it spicy)
• 1 heaping tsp of garlic powder
• 1 heaping tsp of onion powder
• 4 medium carrots, diced
• 1 tbsp lemon juice
• Nutritional yeast flakes to garnish (optional)
• Chopped dill to garnish (optional)

Directions:
1. Rinse quinoa with cold tap water. Drain as much as possible with a sieve.
2. Simmer, covered, over medium-low heat in a small pot with 1 cup vegetable broth. No peeking! When it’s done, remove from heat, and fluff with a fork.

3. In a large pot, cook your onions and garlic in oil until translucent (about 3 minutes). 

4. Add the paprika, cayenne, garlic powder, and onion powder and stir until fragrant.
5. Add the first cup of broth to loosen the spices and stir, getting rid of any lumps. Add the rest of the vegetable broth.

6. Add the diced carrots and let simmer over medium heat for about 40 minutes. The carrots are ready when you can easily poke them with a fork.
7. Either using an immersion blender or a traditional blender, purée the soup until smooth.
8. Stir in the cooked quinoa and lemon juice. The lemon brightens this soup up so you have this happy and warming soup!
9. Serve with some nutritional yeast flakes (I’m vegetarian so I need to get my vitamins, plus it adds kind of a cheesy umami flavour) and some dill to complement the lemon.

I haven’t tried freezing this soup with quinoa before, but I’m sure it would be great for when you want to cook a large batch and save it for one of those lazy days. You can also purée the quinoa a bit so it blends a little better with the soup. Either way, it’s delicious!

Thank you for reading, and thank you Samantha for letting me do a guest post!
Please come visit me at my blog at http://www.alimentageuse.com =)

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