Hearty Vegetable Quinoa Soup with Olive Tapenade

I am known to throw together a dish and forget what all I put in it if I don’t write it down! I often just create as I go along  and go with ingredients I have on hand!  So, story goes, I made this for my husband one time years ago as we sat by the fire drinking dirty martinis and slurping out of deep soup bowls, we dipped our crusty bread and he said as he ate, “Please write this down right now so I can actually request it again.” haha..  I wrote it on a little recipe card and added it to my recipe box at the time!  To be honest this website has made me much more organized with my own recipes and now my family and friends can request one of my recipes and I can actually look it up!!  This recipe has become a favorite of my kids as well.  it is packed with nutrition, protein and vitamins and is gluten-free. This can also be made vegetarian/vegan or with chicken.  I love olives in my martini and now in my soup! i prefer to use my dutch oven for this recipe. You can use a heavy-bottomed pot as well.

Ingredients

  • 8 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 head of broccoli cut into pieces (approx 3 cups florets and top part of stems are fine)
  • 2 cups zucchini diced
  • 2 carrots diced
  • 4 cups fresh spinach or 1 cup chopped frozen, defrosted and drained. You can replace with kale if you prefer
  • 1 onion diced
  • 2 garlic cloves crushed
  • 1.5 lbs chicken breasts cut into bite sized pieces (optional) or 1 can favorite beans such as Kidney beans or Great Northern
  • 3 Tbs Olive oil
  • 1 Tbs Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 3/4 cup dry quinoa
  • Olive Tapenade
  • fresh ground pepper to taste
  • Fresh grated or shaved parmesan cheese for garnish

Directions

  1. If opting for the vegan/vegetarian version skip this step: Heat 2 Tbs oil in your pot. Cook chicken pieces until browned a cooked through. Remove from pot and set aside in a dish
  2. Heat 1 Tbs olive oil in pot and sauté onion, crushed garlic, and quinoa for a few minutes, stirring, until onion and garlic are tender and near translucent.
  3. Add broccoli, carrot, zucchini, (beans if using) broth, salt and Italian seasoning.
  4. Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer for 20-25 min. Quinoa should be cooked and all vegetables tender.
  5. Stir in Spinach and chicken. Let spinach wilt.
  6. Spoon soup into bowls and top with about 3 Tbs olive tapenade and 1 Tbs parmesan each
  7. Serve with crusty bread if you like.