One of my absolute favorite things in this world is SOUP! Any season, any day, any hour – I will eat soup. We got married in May, and even though it wasn’t necessarily soup season, I still found a way to incorporate my favorite liquid meal into our special day. Cold tomato gazpacho served in shot classes, with mini grilled cheese bites perches on the edges…
Come on, is that not completely awesome? However, that’s not what we’re making today. Today, it’s 36 degrees outside in Virginia, which means it’s definitely chowder weather. But not just any chowder – this one is high in protein, incredibly healthy, and bursting with all the flavor and creaminess that you expect from a chowder…
Quinoa & Bean Corn Chowder
(Loosely adapted from Vegetarian Times)
- 1 cup dry red quinoa
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 3 medium carrots, diced
- 1 cup white corn kernels
- 1.5 cups roasted corn kernels
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 cup bell pepper, diced
- 1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 2 cups unsweetened almond milk
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
- salt to taste
To Prepare: If you prefer traditional white quinoa, that’s fine to use too, but I find the red quinoa to be a little nuttier and heartier, giving the soup a little more texture. Plus it makes it so much prettier! Start by toasting the quinoa and cumin seeds in a small skillet, stirring constantly for 4-5 minutes so that the seeds don’t burn.
Once the quinoa and cumin are toasted, set the pan aside while you prepare the rest of the ingredients. For the corn, I used a mixture of (frozen) white corn and roasted corn kernels (from Trader Joe’s). The roasted corn definitely gives a little extra flavor, but if you can’t find it just sub in traditional yellow corn.
In a large Dutch oven, add a drizzle of olive oil and turn to medium high heat. Then add the diced carrots and corn, and sauté for about 5 minutes until they begin to soften.
(Note: Dutch ovens are KEY for making soups, stews, chili, and more. The heavy bottom prevents food from burning, and the ceramic material conducts heat well for soup-type applications. Some of the fancier brand names can be insanely expensive, but I use a very moderately priced version by Mario Batali.)
Once the carrots and corn have cooked for 5 minutes, add the garlic and bell pepper (I used a frozen tri-blend of peppers). Cook peppers and garlic an additional 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
Time to turn it into SOUP! Add 4 cups vegetable broth and 2 cups unsweetened almond milk to the pot…
Bring the liquid up to a boil, and then add the quinoa, pinto beans, and nutritional yeast. Simmer on low heat for 20 minutes covered, or until quinoa is tender.
Stir occasionally while the soup simmers, and then season to taste with salt. Ladle and SERVE!
There is a distinct richness to this recipe that makes you think it’s probably not healthy (it is!). But unlike traditional chowders, this one is thickened with almond milk and beans, in lieu of heavy cream.
Perfect healthy comfort food that compliments both the cold temperatures and the new year’s resolutions.
And incredibly high in vegetarian protein – a triple play with quinoa, beans, and nutritional yeast.
For you slow-cookers – I see no reason why you couldn’t make this soup in a crockpot. Just add all the ingredients and set on low heat to cook all day while you’re out of the house. (You could probably even use dried beans if you are cooking long enough!)
It is very possible that there is nothing quite as satisfying as a big bowl of hearty chowder in January. (Except maybe gazpacho and grilled cheese in May. Just saying.)