Sunday, March 27, 2016

Slow Cooker: Mexican Vegetable and Quinoa Soup

I just have to brag about my latest kitchen item.  I shouldn't brag but I'm going to because it is my new favorite, my only favorite (for now) that I keep using over and over again.

MGG gave me a Breville Risotto Plus for Christmas last year and I been cooking in it non-stop for about 3 months.  I have been drooling over this baby for a couple of years now and I was so happy that he figured that out and purchased it for me.  It is a wonderful, smart, kitchen tool!  If you don't know about it you are in for a treat.

If makes risotto, fluffy steamed rice and family-sized slow-cooked meals—all in the same machine. It's a multitasker! It also sautes, and steams. I can't say enough good things about it, truly. This is definitely an item to consider if you are in the market for a multi-tasking slow cooker.  Here is the recipe for the Risotto with Mushrooms and Sage I made for date night.

The reason I mention this to you is that I used it in today's recipe. We are getting ready for a long (much needed) vacation and wouldn't you know I feel a tickle in my throat....geez! So I am refusing to be sick and I'm loading up on all kinds of preventatives while I'm trying to do the laundry and get us packed.

So tonight's dinner is a real soothing vegetable soup. Full of good for you ingredients that sound perfect for a scratchy throat. This really is a soup that you can use all your fresh vegetables up, throw in some pantry items and you have a hearty dinner. I made it with Mexican flavors to go along with my famous Taco Salad that I've also made. Soup and salad for dinner? Yes, please!

We have beans for protein, lots of vegetables, and oh yes, quinoa. Quinoa you say? Why yes, quinoa is great in soups. It lends more protein, and a nice texture to the soup. It would equate to adding rice to your soup.  If you would rather have rice add that instead but try the quinoa for a nice change. Since you are adding quinoa to the soup upfront I suggest that you cook this on high heat. Grains tend to absorb a lot of liquid and will cook better on high heat and not absorb as much. If you want to cook this on slow, I would cook the quinoa separately and add it to the slow cooker 30 minutes before eating to heat it up.

Enjoy some comforting soup soon. It may not cure a sore throat but it certainly soothes the soul!

Mexican Vegetable and Quinoa Soup


1 Tablespoon canola oil
1/2 cup carrots, sliced
1/2 cup celery, sliced
1/2 cup yellow onion, diced
1 14.5 oz can black beans, drained
1 15 oz can corn, drained
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes with green chiles
1 can tomato paste
2 teaspoons minced garlic
6 cups low sodium chicken broth
3/4 cup quinoa, rinsed
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon paprika
Salt and pepper

Additional toppings: avocado, tortilla chips, cilantro, shredded cheese, sour cream.

In a slow cooker on saute mode (or in a skillet if needed) add 1 tablespoon of canola oil and heat. Add carrots, celery, and onion. Saute for 5 minutes until slightly softened. Turn off saute mode on slow cooker, or add vegetables to the slow cooker from the skillet.

Add beans, corn, diced tomatoes with green chiles, tomato paste, garlic and chicken broth. Stir to combine. Add the rinsed quinoa oregano, cumin, paprika, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook on high heat 3-4 hours. Serve with additional toppings if desired.

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