Monday, February 1, 2010

Curried Vegetable Soup with Quinoa

Again yesterday it was bitterly cold here. When the weather is like that I crave a big hot bowl of soup or stew. I turned to my new soup book again and liked the sound of the curried corn soup. However, I didn’t have any corn in my freezer. But I did have a bag of organic frozen mixed veggies which contained corn, julienned carrots, peas and green beans. I decided that would work fine as a substitute. I did add a few other ingredients to the mix to make the soup my own.

Additionally I prepared the turmeric in a way to make it more bioavailable. To stabilize the turmeric so that it can be absorbed by the body it needs to be dissolved in a little oil. Also, by adding black pepper to the recipe you are increasing the turmeric that will be absorbed. I have read anywhere for 100 to 2000 times more turmeric will be absorbed in the presence of black pepper due to the piperine. In lab studies both the curcumin (from turmeric) and gingerol (from ginger) block the production of COX-2 (an enzyme that causes inflammation). Inflammation plays a role the development of cancer, so reducing inflammation should reduce the probability of the onset of the disease. Additionally both curcumin and gingerol possess the ability to interfere with the spread of cancer. We consume fresh ginger everyday in our green tea and other food. I also add turmeric whenever I can. Enough nutrition and disease talk, here is the soup we had last night.

Curried Vegetable Soup with Quinoa
Adapted from “Vegetable Soups from Deborah Madison’s Kitchen
Serves 6


8 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed (allow to stand 10 minutes before heating so the allicin can develop)
½ cup water
2 cups vegetable stock
1 leek, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, finely minced
6 corn cobs (optional but adds good body and flavor to the finished soup)
Water to cover
3 bay leaves
12 peppercorns
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon turmeric
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon coriander seed, toasted and ground
½ teaspoon black mustard seeds, toasted and ground
¼ teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon cardamom, ground
1 pinch red pepper flakes
14.5 ounces reduced fat coconut milk
6 cups frozen mixed vegetables (corn, julienned carrot, peas and green beans)
½ cup fresh cilantro, finely minced
Salt and pepper to taste
1 lime, cut into wedges – for finishing
1 cup quinoa, through rinsed in a fine wire sieve to remove any remaining saponin
2 cups water


Simmer the garlic in water until tender. Strain the garlic from the water and puree.

Combine the veg stock, leek and ginger and cook until tender. Add the corn cobs and water to cover. Make a sachet of bay leaves and peppercorns and add it to the broth and cook for at least 30 minutes (more time will add more flavor). Add the garlic puree from above to the stock.

In a separate skillet combine the olive oil, turmeric and black pepper and cook for a minute or until the turmeric is dissolved. Add the turmeric mixture to the soup pot. Dissolving the turmeric in the oil makes the turmeric more bioavailable so why not take a minute to make the soup healthier.  Normally I am not a advocate of adding oil to food, but when I am using turmeric I now always make an exception for the added nutrition.

Add the remaining ingredients to the soup pot (except the mixed veggies, cilantro, salt and pepper and lime) and simmer to allow the flavors to marry.

Combine the water and quinoa and bring the water to a boil. Cover the pot, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes.

About 5 minutes before you are ready to eat add the mixed veggies and cook until they are heated through. Add the cilantro just before serving. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper as desired.

Serve the soup with quinoa in the bottom of the bowl and a lime wedge to be squeezed over the soup just before eating. The acid in the lime will lift the flavor of the soup so that less salt is required.

Nutritional Information:

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 472.43
Calories From Fat (18%) - 83.5

Total Fat- 9.13g
Saturated Fat - 4.22g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 235.22mg
Potassium - 1236.14mg
Total Carbohydrates - 86.39g
Fiber - 21.23g
Sugar - 0.71g
Protein - 20.14g


This soup has a very light character. If you want a hot bowl of soup that doesn’t have an aggressive amount of heat this is good one. I think this soup is something that almost anyone would like. It would also be good with more heat if you wanted to add a Serrano chili or more crushed red pepper flakes that would also be good. Last night we had this soup with a spinach salad. Otherwise I would have julienned some of the spinach and placed it in the bottom of the bowl for more nutrition.

Unrelated note:

The raw Boursin cheese from early this weekend has been a big hit at our house. I packed the remainder of it in my husband’s lunch today with a big bowl of this soup. It looks like I will be making another variation of the quick cheese today. I was thinking sun-dried tomato would be good this time.

For now I need to go workout and get a few things accomplished around the house. I will be back later with another recipe or two. I also still have two recipes to post on the other site. Tonight I am thinking something with tofu for dinner. My husband loves my tofu lasagna so I may make a variation of that tonight.


  1. That soups sounds really good. I enjoy using the coconut milk in soups, even though I'm not a fan of coconut.

  2. Heather,

    Just like my hubby, he doesn't like coconut either but likes things made with coconut milk. I like them both. :)

    This soup had a nice mild flavor. It was a good on a cold night.


  3. I love soup recipes! Especially ones which include tumeric. Not only does it add just the right flavor, but so many studies are coming out right now stating the awesome health benefits! Can't wait to try this out!

  4. those are some great tips about how to maximize turmerics benefits. i love that kinda stuff:)

  5. Health and Happiness,

    We love soup too, which is perfect with the cold weather. I hope you like this as much as we did.


    I knew you would like the nutritional tid bits. Nice to hear from you.


  6. Hi Alicia,
    This curried vegetable soup looks absolutely amazing and it sounds so perfect with the cold weather. I really love great tips about turmeric and black pepper, this is the first time I've heard about it and I can't wait to give it a try. I'm so happy that you enjoy your new vegetable soups book. I need to dig mine out of the bookshelf because I've tried only one recipe so far (I love the book so much but I can't find time to cook).

  7. Oraphan,

    The soup book came at the perfect time of the year. We eat a lot of soup in the winter. And ... yes, I love the book. It is a great source of inspiration. Thank you again. You should definitely get your soup book out and make something. Can't wait to see what you choose!

    Thanks for letting me know you liked the turmeric and black pepper tips. These are things that I just do now (like letting the garlic sit after being crushed). It has become so automatic for me I don't think about it much now. I am glad you liked reading about the why I do it.

    talk to you later,

  8. Healthy and delicious soup..... Love the choice of ingredients you have used...

  9. The soup sounds good...that's interesting about the turmeric...I wonder whether ginger is the same for absorption? I think they are in the same family.

    Also, what is saponin? The link doesn't work for me.

  10. Rose,

    I have never read anything about ginger needing to be dissolved in fat. But they are in the same family so it is a reasonable guess. Just to be certain I will double check and let you know if I find anything like that.

    Sorry the link didn't work. I will try to fix tonight. Saponin is a natural pesticide. It is a bitter coating (that occurs naturally) that makes the grain unappealing to birds and bugs. Most quinoa that we get has had the coating removed, but I always rinse my quinoa well just in case. ;)


  11. Thanks for the interesting information and the delicious-looking soup recipe.

  12. Andrea,

    You are very welcome. I am glad you enjoyed both the recipe and the info.

    thank you for reading and commenting,


Related Posts with Thumbnails