Open Arms of Minnesota

Weekly Recipe #202: Quinoa Vegetable Soup

by Gwenda Hill, Open Arms Nutrition Specialist

This week kicks off our National Nutrition Month® Celebration! Every March, we shed additional light on the foods that nourish us.

This year, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics encourages everyone to “Bite into a Healthy Lifestyle” by consuming fewer calories, making informed food choices and getting daily exercise to maintain a healthy weight. To help you start this month in a nutritious way, I am going to share one of my all time favorite winter recipes: Quinoa Vegetable Soup.

The delicious blend of tomatoes, onions, carrots, cabbage and quinoa gives this soup a hearty texture. It also offers a substantial amount of protein, as quinoa is a complete protein, making it a vegetarian’s go-to grain.
Quick tip: Always use the low-sodium version of the ingredients, including canned broth, tomatoes and beans. Lowering the sodium in your diet decreases your risk for heart disease.

This soup can be prepared quickly, making it ideal for an after-work dinner. It pairs wonderfully with a multigrain bread and cheese, making it a lovely choice for a cold, snowy night. Added BONUS: if you have a smaller family like mine, you can freeze half of it for an easy dinner option at a later date!

Quinoa Vegetable Soup

Adapted from

(Serves: 6)


  • 3 tbsp. canola oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ½ cup carrot, diced
  • ½ cup celery, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. dried parsley
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • 1 bay leaf*
  • 1 pinch dried thyme
  • Two 32-oz cartons low-sodium chicken broth
  • One 28oz can low-sodium crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cups shredded cabbage
  • One 15-oz can low-sodium light red kidney beans, drained
  • ½ cup quinoa
  • ½ cup grated
  • Parmesan cheese


  1. Heat canola oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Cook and stir onion, garlic, carrot, and celery until softened (5-10 minutes).
  2. Add parsley, basil, bay leaf, thyme, chicken broth, and tomatoes; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until heated through, 10 minutes.
  3. Stir cabbage, kidney beans, and quinoa into the soup. Cover and simmer until quinoa is tender, 30 minutes.
  4. Garnish each serving with Parmesan cheese.
    *Don’t forget to take the bay leaf out before you serve the soup! Bay leaves become tough and leathery while cooking. It would be a very unpleasant surprise if someone ended up swallowing it by mistake. Have you ever heard that they are poisonous? Rest easy – they only become a problem if you eat quarts of them at a time.

Nutritional Information:

Per serving: 325 calories, 12 g fat (2 g saturated fat, 6 g monounsaturated fat, 3 g polyunsaturated fat), 41 g carbohydrates, 9 g fiber, 15 g protein, 350 mg sodium

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