I am a big fan of Mexican food and making healthy, vegan versions of traditional favorites is super easy to do. I’m always making healthy quesadillas, tacos, salsas, guacamole – the list goes on – and these recipes will appear here eventually don’t worry folks. I can’t wait to share all our family favorites and the new ones I create here.
I thought I would start with this one because who doesn’t love a spicy Mexican soup to warm your spirit. I’ve been dreaming up this healthy soup over the past week to add to my recipe collection. I based this soup on traditional Tortilla Soup which I have had plenty of times at some of my favorite restaurants. I know what I love about it – it’s kind of like the soup version of an enchilada – and I knew exactly what I could do to it to make it even better. In planning this, I knew I did not want to add crisp tortilla strips to the recipe until I purchase my tortilla press so I can make sodium-free fresh tortillas. You can make tortillas without a press and I thought about doing that, but I had a fantastic idea while planning this recipe and decided to go with it.
I added toasted quinoa for the crunch instead of tortilla strips. This was such an exciting and delicious addition to this soup and I like it even better this way. Toasted quinoa adds a wonderful nuttiness that deepens the flavor of this soup, it’s unbelievable.
My husband loves to roast poblano peppers and we use them in several recipes like his homemade salsa, so I knew they were going in this soup. I also added roasted red peppers and caramelized red onions for natural sweetness, flavor and color. This blends incredibly well with the fire-roasted tomatoes, avocado, cilantro and fresh lime juice.
This soup is smoky, spicy, creamy and unbelievably fresh tasting with layers upon layers of flavors. This soup is so delish and is also loaded with healthy nutrients so you can’t go wrong with this one. Try this soup out and you will not be disappointed.
Since this soup might be considered slightly time-consuming, I suggest making a double or triple batch and freezing some – it freezes amazingly well. That way when you crave it again soon after devouring it all – and you will – all you have to do is reheat, roast some peppers and toast some quinoa. Voilà!
I am proud to say that this soup was Made Just Right Spring to Life Recipe Contest Side-Dish Winner here check it out Toasted Quinoa Mexican Soup. It’s that good. =)
Toasted Quinoa Mexican Soup
Author: Jennifer Strohmeyer - Virtually Vegan Mama
Recipe type: Entree
This soup is smoky, spicy, creamy and unbelievably fresh tasting with layers upon layers of flavors. Toasted quinoa adds a wonderful nuttiness. Roasted peppers and caramelized red onions give the soup a natural sweetness that deepens the flavor of this soup.
- 4 cups sodium-free or reduced sodium vegetable stock
- 1 (28) oz can no or low-sodium fire roasted crushed tomatoes
- 1 medium red onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 poblano pepper, roasted
- 1 red pepper, roasted
- 1 jalapeno, ½ of seeds removed and diced (you can remove all the seeds to reduce spice)
- 1 cup quinoa
- 1 tbsp paprika
- ½ tsp chipotle powder, you can substitute Mexican chili powder if you don’t have it. (reduce amount if you want a less spicey soup)
- ½ tsp ground coriander
- ½ tsp ground cumin
- 2 bay leaves
- Pinch ground cinnamon
- 1 avocado, cut into ½ inch cubes
- Lime wedges, for serving
- Roast peppers over a gas flame on your stove, turning with tongs until skin is evenly charred. Transfer to a plastic bag, close and allow to steam until cool to the touch. Peel the charred skin by hand. Once peeled cut away the stems, seeds and veins. (this can be done the day before to save time)
- Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add diced onions and stir. Keep stirring until the onions start to stick and add 1 tablespoon of vegetable stock. Repeat this step, stirring often for 30 minutes, deglazing pan every so often with a small amount of vegetable stock. Cook onions for 30 minutes or until onions are a dark in color with the desired caramelized flavor.
- While onions are caramelizing, cook quinoa according to package instructions and set aside. (this can also be done the day before if you want)
- In a stock pot, add vegetable stock, fire roasted tomatoes, garlic, jalapeno, paprika, coriander, cumin, bay leaves, cinnamon, chipotle powder and stir. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in caramelized onions and continue to cook uncovered for 5 more minutes, remove bay leaves.
- Add cooked quinoa to non-stick skillet (I love my Cuisinart Green Gourmet Cookware) and cook over medium heat stirring occasionally for 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from heat.
- To serve ladle soup into bowls and top with toasted quinoa, diced roasted peppers, diced avocado and fresh chopped cilantro. Serve with lime wedges.
Alternatively, if you do not have a gas flame to roast the peppers, this can be done in the oven. Set your oven to broil. Place peppers on a baking sheet. Spray lightly with cooking spray on all sides. Roast for 5-10 minutes on each side or until charred and black. Keep a close eye on peppers so they do not burn. Follow directions I have provided in recipe to remove skin. You also do not have to toast the quinoa if you want to skip this step, but it does add a nice crunchy bite to the soup. Cook quinoa according to package instructions and add desired amount to finished soup.
It’s nutrient-rich and delish. Enjoy!