Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Quinoa Taco Soup

Quinoa Taco Soup

1 white or yellow onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, diced
1 lb. ground beef
¾ c quinoa
1 quart chicken broth
14.5 oz can black beans
14.5 oz can tomatoes with green chilies
14.5 oz can hominy
Mexican blend cheese, for garnish


1. Toss the onion, garlic, and ground beef into a soup pot, and cook until all the pink is gone from the ground beef, about 7 to 10 minutes. Add the pepper and any other spices you choose.

2. Pour in the entire quart of chicken broth. Add the beans, tomatoes, and hominy. Add the quinoa. Bring the mix to a boil, and then cover and simmer to cook the quinoa, 15 to 20 minutes.

3. Dish up the soup into bowls, and garnish with cheese. Enjoy!

Makes 4-6 servings.

I’m going to let all of you in on a little secret: I never have garlic scented fingertips anymore. Why? Well, my aunt bought me a garlic press and it is the best thing ever.

You simply stick a clove in and roll it, and the annoying garlic skin falls right off. It’s like magic. I’ll never cook without one again!

Hobbes won't, either.
The soup can easily be adapted for vegetarians: simply omit the ground beef and use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth. I would double the quinoa in that case. Quinoa is one of my favorite grains because it is a complete protein, meaning that it has all nine essential amino acids that the human body cannot produce by itself. Plus, you can eat quinoa for breakfast, lunch, and dinner; it’s just that fantastic. Quinoa is one of the staples in our house, and we buy it at Trader Joe’s (it can be expensive in a regular grocery store). This article includes some tasty ideas for quinoa as well as other meatless complete proteins.

Also, I didn't add many spices to this soup. I felt like tasting the natural flavors of the hominy and quinoa. However, if you are craving a little more pizzazz, you could add cumin, coriander, and oregano. If you’re looking for spice, you could use paprika, cayenne pepper, or crushed red pepper. I add the spices in as the meat is cooking, to add flavor to the meat. 

I generally don’t add salt to my soups, because carton broth generally has enough salt for my taste buds. However, it’s all up to your taste: if you prefer a saltier soup, add some salt! I actually tried making this soup with low sodium broth, and noticed a distinct taste difference from the regular broth. Next time I will use regular broth.

Another favorite ingredient of mine is hominy. I love tossing it into soups, but probably my all time favorite way to eat it is in the Sojourner Tostada at Sojourner Cafe in Santa Barbara.

We topped the soup with shredded cheese, and although I brought out tortilla chips for garnish, we both felt like the chips would have detracted from the essence of the soup. However, sliced avocados would be incredible in the soup. They've just been so expensive and small here. California friends, please go to the store right now and buy a bunch of avocados and eat them for me!

I bought nearly all of the ingredients at Trader Joe’s, except for the hominy; they don’t stock that yet. I really like their broths for soups. When I make a Trader Joe’s run, I usually buy chicken, beef, vegetable, and tomato broth cartons.

Hobbes thought it smelled delicious, and while I staged the photo shoot, she did her best to taste it! If you try out the soup too, let me know! I’d love to hear what you all think of it.

I can't get enough kitten pictures!

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