Quinoa is a true superfood. Most people consider it a grain, like rice or oatmeal, but in actuality it’s a protein – and a very high-quality one at that. Not only is quinoa high in protein, but it is also high in fiber, so it has nutritional properties similar to many whole grains. This makes it a smart choice for both vegetarians and vegans (since it’s one of the only two plant-based complete proteins – the other being soy – that contain all 9 essential amino acids our bodies can’t produce on their own and must obtain from food sources) and those with celiac disease or a gluten sensitivity (since it is naturally gluten-free). Quinoa is also a good source of iron, calcium, and phosphorus, making it a nutrient-packed part of a healthy, balanced diet. Quinoa comes in many different colors and can be cooked in a variety of ways – its versatility allows it to substitute for grains like rice, couscous, and oats.
A few months ago, my sister made me a delicious soup that spotlighted quinoa as its main ingredient, and I thought this recipe was too good not to share.
Quinoa Coconut Soup
1 cup red quinoa
2 cans light coconut milk
1 tablespoon allspice
1 tablespoon Creole or jerk salt-free seasoning
1 can low-sodium beans (such as black, kidney, or black eyed peas)
salt, to taste
1-1 ½ cups frozen mixed vegetables (such as California mix with broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots)
1. Cook quinoa according to directions on package. If preferred, cook in vegetable broth for added flavor.
2. In separate pot, simmer beans in coconut milk, allspice, seasoning, and salt until tender.
3. Once quinoa is cooked, drain and add to pot with beans.
4. Bring to a light boil then add frozen mixed vegetables. Simmer until vegetables are tender but still full of color. Add more spices to taste as needed. (Total cook time: 30-45 minutes.)
5. Ladle in bowl and serve with a multigrain roll or small salad.