We’ve been living in a winter wonderland lately. We’ve gotten so much snow that my dog, Cookie, can barely keep her head above it when we go outside (she’s smaller than you think). I’m thankful to have electricity and gearing up for more winter weather this weekend.
This hearty soup is exactly what I need. It’s brimming with fresh veggies and warms me right up. Soup to the rescue!
This homemade vegetable soup with quinoa is light but filling and packs great for lunch. Like most soups, it tastes even better the next day. Bonus? It freezes well, too. I love keeping my freezer stocked with hearty soups and defrosting one whenever I need a quick but nutritious meal.
This soup is vegan unless you want to top it with Parmesan cheese, which isn’t a bad idea if you ask me. The ingredients list, while a little on the long side, includes mostly pantry items. Every single one of them is nutritious!
Quinoa Vegetable Soup Recipe Development
Confession: the idea for this soup recipe came from Trader Joe’s. (You know what they say about grocery shopping while hungry.) A few years ago, their “vegetable soup with quinoa and kale” caught my eye in the refrigerated section right as my stomach grumbled.
I was initially skeptical about quinoa in soup (will it get mushy? does the flavor play nicely with the other ingredients?), but now I’m only wondering what took me so long to try it.
Quinoa was meant for soup. It lends some extra protein and hearty texture. Unlike most other vegetable soups, which are too light to count as a full meal, this is a true meal-in-a-bowl if you eat enough of it.
I adapted this recipe from my lentil soup, which has gotten quite a few raving reviews. I hope you enjoy this one just as much.
Recipe Notes & Tips
I wrote the recipe so it’s easily adapted to seasons. Winter squash would be lovely in place of the zucchini that I used.
This soup straddles the line between soup and stew, but whatever you call it, it’s delicious.
If you want more of a soup, use 3/4 cup quinoa and 1 cup seasonal veggies. If you want more of a stew, use a full cup of quinoa, two cups of seasonal vegetables and throw in some extra greens.
Watch How to Make Quinoa Soup
Please let me know how you like this soup in the comments! I love hearing from you.
If you enjoy this soup, be sure to check out my minestrone, lentil soup, Megan’s quinoa stew, and the hearty soup recipes in my cookbook.
Quinoa Vegetable Soup
- Prep Time: 15 mins
- Cook Time: 45 mins
- Total Time: 1 hour
- Yield: 4 to 6 servings 1x
- Category: Soup
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: American
This healthy homemade vegetable soup recipe is full of veggies, kale and quinoa. It’s easy to make and good for you, too! This soup makes great leftovers. It’s gluten free and vegan, as long as you don’t top it with optional Parmesan cheese. Recipe yields 4 to 6 servings of soup.
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium yellow or white onion, chopped
- 3 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 1 to 2 cups chopped seasonal vegetables, like zucchini, yellow squash, bell pepper, sweet potatoes or butternut squash
- 6 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 large can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes
- Scant 1 cup quinoa, rinsed well in a fine mesh colander (use less for a lighter, more broth-y soup)
- 4 cups (32 ounces) vegetable broth
- 2 cups water
- 1 teaspoon salt, more to taste
- 2 bay leaves
- Pinch red pepper flakes
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 can (15 ounces) great northern beans or chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 1 cup or more chopped fresh kale or collard greens, tough ribs removed
- 1 to 2 teaspoons lemon juice, to taste
- Optional garnish: freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Warm the olive oil in a large Dutch oven or soup pot over medium heat. Once the oil is shimmering, add the chopped onion, carrot, celery, seasonal vegetables and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring often, until the onion has softened and is turning translucent, about 6 to 8 minutes.
- Add the garlic and thyme. Cook until fragrant while stirring frequently, about 1 minute. Pour in the diced tomatoes with their juices and cook for a few more minutes, stirring often.
- Pour in the quinoa, broth and the water. Add 1 teaspoon salt, 2 bay leaves and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Season generously with freshly ground black pepper. Raise heat and bring the mixture to a boil, then partially cover the pot and reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer.
- Cook for 25 minutes, then remove the lid and add the beans and the chopped greens. Continue simmering for 5 minutes or more, until the greens have softened to your liking.
- Remove the pot from heat, then remove the bay leaves. Stir in 1 teaspoon lemon juice. Taste and season with more salt, pepper and/or lemon juice until the flavors really sing. (You might need up to ½ teaspoon more salt, depending on your vegetable broth and your personal preferences.) Divide into bowls and top with grated Parmesan if you’d like.
Recipe inspired by Trader Joe’s organic vegetable soup with quinoa and kale. Recipe adapted from my lentil soup recipe.
Seasonal vegetable preparation tips: If you’re using dense vegetables like butternut or sweet potato for your seasonal vegetables, be sure to chop them as small as you’re chopping your carrots so they cook in the same amount of time.
Slow cooker option: I haven’t tried, but Sarah reports that her soup turned out well after 8 hours on low heat.
Storage suggestions: This soup keeps well in the refrigerator for about 4 days. It freezes and defrosts well if you want to freeze extra portions for later!
Recommended equipment: I’m convinced that everything I cook in my Dutch oven (affiliate link) comes out extra delicious.
I made ratatouille and to my dismay I had added too much salt! Never one to waste, I added 32 oz vegetable broth and 32 oz water to make soup. I’ve never added quinoa to soup before, but searching for a gluten free ingredient to make it heartier, I googled quinoa in soup and came across your recipe. Done deal! I added 2 cups quinoa and some great northern beans for added protein and spinach vs kale. Marvelous! Thanks for the inspiration!
Question! Thoughts on using rainbow chard?
Sure, you can try it. Let me know what you think, Em!
I’ve made this 3 times in the last week and a half; one batch went to a sick friend. I can’t get enough of it! I only use a 14 oz of tomatoes, I add more water, and I use a whole bunch of kale. Otherwise I make it as written; what a great recipe!
Such a simple and tasty recipe! I added some coriander, onion powder, paprika and chili powder bc I like my soups to have a little kick. Super delicious and healthy!
I’m glad you enjoyed it, Jen! I appreciate your review.
LOVE this recipe! So healthy and delicious…
I couldn’t wait for the season to change to put this back on the rotation. My family loves it too. It’s the perfect lunch to bring to work.
This soup is one of my absolute favorites! It’s sooooo good!
Great to hear, Makenna! I appreciate your review.
The garden yielded 20 cups of carrots….making soup to freeze and this will be one of them. thank you for sharing the crockpot option.
I made this today and it’s fantastic! It’s just me, so I’ll have some for the week and freeze some for later. Thanks for a great recipe!
I’m glad you loved it, Sonja! I appreciate your review.
kate, your recipes never disappoint! i had some leftover kale and looked up your blog for a soup recipe. this one was fantastic.
thank you for sharing your healthy vegetarian recipes; each one i have tried has been amazing
Love this recipe. I’ve made it many times already and it’s a huge hit to everyone that eats it. Do you think if I cook it the night before it would hold up on warm in a crockpot for a potluck the next day?
Hi! I find this is a great soup leftover. I hope it’s a hit!
sooooo good, easy, nutritious. A staple!
Thank you for your review, Katie! I appreciate your review.
I am curious, do you serve the soup alone or do you serve it with anything? Wondering if a meat-eater would be satisfied with this soup. Thank you
Hi Aj! You can serve it alone, or a crusty bread is nice. Or my Roasted Garlic Bread would be delicious!
This soup is delicious. I am Not a fan of quinoa all that much so this was a huge hit tonight. I made A batch to last me all weekend. Healthy, delicious, & I did Use canneloni beans because I was Out of great northern & prefer cannelloni over chickpeas in soups. Sadly, I’m also out of kale & spinach but have plenty of parsley that I dried From my patio garden. Thank you for this delicious & easy recipe.
You’re welcome, Mia!
Can I use rice or black rice instead of quinoa?
You can try it. Let me know what you think!
Can regular potatoes be added instead of sweet potatoes?
Sure, if you would prefer that. I hope you enjoy it, Belinda!
Carol R Salyers
Very good! I mixed both kale and rainbow chard into mine, maybe too much? Probably could have added a bit of plant-based sweetener to offset that. Used chickpeas and added chopped butternut squash. This recipe can totally be adapted to our personal preferences and still be great. Thanks you for yet another great recipe!
One of my favorite soup recipes. Easy to customize and change up which is nice, but the original recipe is so good! I share this recipe with everyone!
Love to hear that, VF! Thank you for your review.
This was absolutely delicious. Exceeded my expectations! Thank you for an excellent recipe.
You’re welcome, Zhanna! I appreciate your review.
So delicious! I added jalapenos and substituted the chickpeas with tofu which gave it a whole new dimension. Love this recipe. Will consider halving it next time because I added so many vegetables, it is a LOT.
Thank you for sharing how you changed it up, Maya!
I made this tonight. I added russet potatoes and zucchini for my vegetables. I didn’t have any kale to add so I substituted cilantro at the end. Topped it with vegan parmigiana and it was so tasty. My husband gave it a double thumbs up! There’s plenty leftover for us to have for lunch the next couple of days. I’m excited to add this to our list of soups to make again.
I love to hear that, Laurel! Thank you for your review.
I made this following all steps ,with chick peas and sweet potatoes, and it is delicious!
Love to hear you enjoyed it, Helena!
I made this yesterday using a full cup of quinoa and zucchini. Delicious! It will definitely be in my regular rotation like your Pinto Posole!
That’s great to hear, Katie!
Feeling a bit under the weather and have been clean eating for 3 weeks now, so I looked for a quinoa/kale soup to make homemade instead of the packaged dried soup. The ingredients were practically the same as the dried variety which I liked very much but since the veggies are fresh I was up to try. I added all the veggies I had in the fridge: sweet potato, onion, red potato, carrots, celery, bok choy, kale. It came out Yummmo! I’ll def. make again!
Can I use frozen kale
You can try it. Let me know what you think, Kayla!
I searched for a kale quinoa recipe and found this one. I had cooked quinoa so I added that at the end of the cook time. Didn’t have celery and not too many veggies. Almost omitted beans completely as I’ve been eating beans everyday. Was delicious and will try in the summer with more veggies. Thanks!
I made this with millet instead of quinoa and I used Ro Tel hot diced tomatoes for some spice.
My new favorite soup!
I only had a 14 oz can of tomatoes, so I went a different direction with seasoning; I did curry powder, coriander, cumin, some cinnamon, and red pepper flakes. It reminded me of your lentil soup! Very yummy, with a whole head of kale (I chop it in the food processor), a head of cauliflower, a zucchini, and the onion, carrots, and celery.
Thank you for sharing how you made it, Halle! I appreciate your review.