Quinoa Chowder with Spinach, Feta and Scallions

Cider food pairings quinoa

This is the most satisfying soup. When I told Olaiya that I wanted to include this with the fall selections, she said, “I want to make this soup just to see how it tastes. I can’t imagine what it will taste like.” That was my reaction also. Try it. You will be so happy eating this soup: the creaminess of the melting feta with the earthiness of the quinoa – divine. Don’t forget the egg. It really is the essential flavor that the soup needs to come together.

Yield: 4 Servings

3/4 cup quinoa, rinsed well in a fine sieve (can be any color quinoa, but red or black make for a prettier soup)

1 1/2 cups water

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 garlic clove, minced

1 jalapeno chile, seeded and finely diced (leave in seeds if you like heat)

1 teaspoon ground cumin, or to taste

1 large Yukon gold potato, cut into ½-inch cubes

1 ½ cups butternut squash, cut into ½-inch cubes

4 cups of vegetable or chicken broth (I like Imagine brand Organic “No Chicken” Broth)

1 bunch scallions, white and 1 inch of green sliced into thin rounds

Salt and freshly-ground pepper

3 cups finely sliced spinach leaves

1/3 cup chopped cilantro

2 hard-cooked eggs, chopped

Bring the water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the quinoa. Cover; reduce heat to a simmer and cook until most of the water has been absorbed and the quinoa is cooked but still firm, about 15 minutes. Remove pan from the heat and let the quinoa steam for an additional 5 minutes. Remove lid and fluff with fork.

Heat the oil in large, heavy-bottomed stock pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Add the garlic and chile. Cook until tender about 1 minute, stirring occasionally. Add the cumin and 1 teaspoon salt and stir for 30 seconds; add the potatoes and squash, cook for a few minutes, stirring frequently to coat the vegetables with the spice. Add the broth and half the scallions and simmer until the potatoes and squash are tender, about 15 minutes.

Add the quinoa, spinach, and remaining scallions and simmer for 3 minutes more. Add in the feta and cilantro and gently stir the soup for 30 – 60 seconds while the feta starts to soften. Remove from heat. Season the soup with salt and pepper to taste. Serve in soup bowls with ½ chopped egg for each serving.

This recipe is adapted from Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone.