Pink Bean, Quinoa, and Spinach Soup
An appetizing, mildly spiced mélange of nourishing beans, quinoa, and greens, this makes a stellar centerpiece for a soup-based meal, as it’s done in 30 minutes or less. Quinoa is an excellent source of protein, making this practically a meal in a bowl. Adapted from Vegan Express. Photos by Rachael Braun.
Serves: 6 or more
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 8 baby carrots, quartered lengthwise,
or 1/2 cup peeled and thinly sliced carrot
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 32-ounce carton low-sodium vegetable broth or 4 cups water
with 2 natural salt-free vegetable bouillon cubes
- 2/3 cup quinoa, rinsed
- 2 cups cooked or one 15-to 16-ounce can (drained and rinsed) pink beans
- 2 teaspoons salt-free all-purpose seasoning blend, like Frontier or Mrs. Dash
- 2 teaspoons good-quality curry powder
- 1 teaspoon sweet or smoked paprika, or more, to taste
- 2 cups diced ripe tomatoes or one 15-to 16-ounce can diced tomatoes
(try fire-roasted for extra flavor)
- 4 to 6 ounces baby spinach leaves, rinsed
- 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parley or dill
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Dried hot red pepper flakes or sriracha sauce to taste, optional
Heat the oil in a large soup pot. Add the onion and sauté over medium-low heat until translucent. Add the carrots and garlic, and continue to sauté until all are golden, about 5 minutes.
Add the vegetable broth or water with bouillon cubes, followed by the quinoa, beans, and spices. Bring to a slow boil, then turn down the heat, cover, and simmer gently for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the quinoa is tender.
Stir in the tomatoes and 2 cups additional water, more or less to give the soup a slightly dense consistency. If you like a thicker soup, add less; if you’d like it brothier, add more. Cook for 5 to 10 minutes longer, or until the tomatoes and other flavorings meld.
Add the spinach and dill or parsley. Cook for just a minute or two, until the spinach wilts, then stir it in. Adjust the consistency with yet a little more water if need be and season with salt and pepper. Adjust the other seasonings, and add a hot red pepper flakes or sriracha if you’d like a little heat. Serve at once.