Sneaky Vegetable Soup

My children are fussy about eating cooked vegetables and unfamiliar grains, so I end up making them into soup. Yesterday, I introduced quinoa into my soup, and they ate it without realising it was there. For those who have similar issues, here is a (sort of) recipe.

Chop and boil in water any vegetables until cooked but not limp. I used coarsely chopped sweet potato, potato, carrots, orange beets, green beans, peas, spinach and pre-soaked red kidney beans. I do the bulk of my cooking in the pressure cooker, so I pressure cook these with no water in the holding container and water only in the base of my pressure cooker. I pressure cook for 7 minutes on low after the first whistle.

Separately stir fry in a bit of cooking oil (I use Olive or Canola) coarsely chopped onions, garlic, a bit of ginger, zucchini and squash until they just start to brown. If it starts to stick at the bottom, add a teaspoonful or so of water to prevent the sticking. Replenish with more water (or add some oil if you prefer).

Also cook a handful each of pearled barley and quinoa until softened. I pressure cooked both with some water in the holding container for about 2 minutes on low after the first whistle.

Put all of the ingredients (boiled vegetables, stir fried vegetables and the grains) into a blender and blend till almost smooth. Adjust salt, pepper and add any seasonings (like broth or bouillon) and water or broth to get to a consistency you like. Our soups tend to be thick and hearty. Bring to a boil and adjust seasonings and fluids.

I sometimes add tiny alphabet pasta that has been separately cooked during the final heating stage.

Serve with tortilla chips, homemade croutons (slices of bread with a light layer of butter on or both sides, cooked for 15-20 minutes at 200-250 degrees F until browned), baked tortillas, bread and butter, pretzels or even Indian namkeen (fried snacks from an Indian store).


5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Mona
    Oct 08, 2010 @ 11:10:05

    Yum! Ginger is a great addition to soup, no? And orange beets… I’ve never tasted them. Do they taste different from red ones?
    I’ve watched my husband make soup and he makes it with fewer steps. For example, he starts off with broth or a mix of broth and water and adds stuff into it according to their cooking time. Nothing gets cooked separately. If pasta is to be added, he adds that according to the cooking time on the package (8 mins or whatever before the end). Makes it simpler, I think.
    Also, I think as long as your kids aren’t averse to a few leaves of spinach, you might want to try substituting kale or swiss chard for a different mix of nutrients.
    Nice blog -keep posting! And please keep posting the link to Facebook!


  2. discreteblogger
    Oct 08, 2010 @ 11:16:51

    I don’t think orange beets taste particulalry different from the usual red ones. They are easier to sneak into food as they don’t have the telltale red color leaching into everything!
    I pressure cook a lot, so I don’t have to stand over the stove as much. I also have a smaller pressure cooker than I’d like, ergo the many steps. If making smaller quantities of soup, then I do it all in one large pot (or crock pot).
    I’ve never actually tried kale or swiss chard – they look like they might have a bitter taste. Do they?


  3. discreteblogger
    Oct 08, 2010 @ 11:19:25


    Though not technically a grain, quinoa can substitute for nearly any grain in cooking. Actually the seed of a leafy plant, quinoa’s relatives include spinach, beets and Swiss chard. Due to its delicate taste and rich amounts of protein, iron, potassium and other vitamins and minerals, it is quite popular. It is also a good source of dietary fiber and is easily digested.

    Quinoa is an ancient crop that grows in poor soil, dry climates and even mountain altitudes. It is native to the Andes, but is also grown in South America and the Colorado Rocky Mountains. Although it can grow in arid conditions, it thrives best in well-drained soil. You should be able to find quinoa in health food stores and larger supermarkets.


  4. Mona
    Oct 08, 2010 @ 11:22:55

    No, they don’t have a bitter taste, esp. not in soup. But I guess that’s relative –kids are more sensitive to bitter tastes, no? I personally like a bit of bitterness in leafy greens. I forgot to add that another very tasty substitution is beet greens.


  5. flowergirl
    Oct 08, 2010 @ 23:48:04

    Thanks for the explanation on quinoa!


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