I apologize for the long-winded name for this soup. I tried to come up with something snappy, but kept coming back to Spicy Quinoa, Tomato, Spinach and Chicken Sausage Soup. While it is an informative title it is not overly exciting! I also tried to shorten it by taking out some of the ingredients but kept putting them back because I think they are all equally important. This soup is light and tasty and full of healthy ingredients.
If you have not cooked with quinoa you should definitely give it a try. I have been eating quinoa for a few years and I am a huge fan. It is a true power food. Apparently it is a recently rediscovered grain that was once a staple for the Incas. It is a complete protein meaning it contains all nine essential amino acids. It is full of fiber, gluten free and delicious. I use it like rice or pasta, and cook it in reduced sodium chicken broth, which adds a lot of flavor. I will undoubtedly be posting more quinoa recipes in the future.
This recipe also features another one of my favorite ingredients, chicken sausage. For this soup I used the Amylu Andouille variety, which are all natural and pork free. They are just 100 calories each and full of flavor. There are so many different varieties available like apple and gouda, spinach and feta, sundried tomato and basil, etc. I keep these on hand in the freezer to add to soups, stir fry, or to heat on the grill.
The Perfect Pairing for this soup is a Simple Parmesan Pepper Herb Croissant. I used one container of reduced fat crescent rolls, some fresh herbs I had on hand, and freshly ground black pepper to make these. I unrolled the triangles of dough, cracked some pepper, topped it with 2 Tb freshly grated parmesan and ½ teaspoon of chopped fresh herbs. I used thyme and rosemary since I had them on hand. Roll up the dough, top them off with a little more pepper and bake according to the package instructions. The cheese and herbs add a ton of flavor and make them extra pretty. This used up all of my parmesan, and all I had left was the rind. I tossed the cheese rind into the soup pot to add some extra flavor.
Lindsay at Perfecting the Pairing
· 1 Tb olive oil
· 1 medium onion, chopped
· 3 ribs of celery, chopped
· 1 package andouille chicken sausage, sliced
· 1, 15 oz, can diced tomatoes, Italian flavored, undrained
· 1, 10 oz, can ro-tel diced tomatoes, original flavor, undrained
· 1, 15 oz, can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
· 48 oz reduced sodium chicken broth
· 1 tsp garlic salt
· Leaves of 4 thyme sprigs
· 1 Tb Vegeta No MSG all purpose seasoning
· ½ tsp red pepper flakes, more to taste
· ¾ cup quinoa, uncooked
· 10 oz spinach
· Salt and pepper to taste
Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat, add chopped onions and celery. Cook until onions are translucent, stirring occasionally. Add chicken sausage slices and cook until lightly browned. Add next eight ingredients, through pepper flakes, stir to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning. Add the uncooked quinoa and bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for approximately 15 minutes until quinoa is cooked. Stir in spinach and cook until lightly wilted. Season with salt and pepper.