Quinoa Vegetable Soup with Kale

We’ve recently been residing in a winter wonderland. Our area has received so much snow that my dog, Cookie, who is actually smaller than you may imagine, can hardly keep her head above it when we go outside. Having electricity makes me grateful, and this weekend, I’ll be preparing for more wintry weather.

Just what I need is this warming soup. It fills me up immediately and is bursting with fresh vegetables. The solution is soup!

This homemade vegetable soup contains quinoa and is nourishing yet light, making it a terrific lunch option. It tastes even better the second day, like most soups do. Bonus? It also freezes wonderfully. I enjoy maintaining a supply of hearty soups in my freezer so that I can defrost one anytime I need a quick but filling supper.

Unless you wish to top this soup with Parmesan cheese, which I think is a good idea, it is vegan. Despite being somewhat lengthy, the ingredients list consists mainly of goods found in a pantry. Each and every one of them is nourishing!

Development of a Quinoa Vegetable Soup Recipe

Confession: Trader Joe’s provided the inspiration for this soup recipe. (You are aware of the adage against food shopping while famished.) A few years back, while my hunger growled in the chilled department, I noticed their “vegetable soup with quinoa and kale.”

Initially, I had my doubts about whether quinoa in soup would go mushy. Whether or if the flavor blends well with the other elements. but now all I can think about is why I waited so long to give it a shot.

Quinoa was created for use in soup. It adds more protein and has a meaty texture. If you eat enough of it, this vegetable soup can serve as a complete meal, unlike the majority of other vegetable soups that are too light to qualify.

This recipe was derived from my lentil soup, which has received a lot of positive feedback. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Recipe Tips & Notes

  • I created the dish to be readily season-adapted. The zucchini I used might easily be replaced with winter squash.
  • Whatever you choose to call this soup—which blurs the lines between soup and stew—it is excellent.
  • Use 3/4 cup quinoa and 1 cup seasonal vegetables for a soupier result. Use a full cup of quinoa, two cups of seasonal veggies, and more greens if you prefer a stew-like dish.

Also read: How to Make Crispy Baked Tofu


  • 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


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.