February 2, 2012

Simple Tomato Basil Quinoa Soup {Powernap}

Tomato Basil Quinoa Soup | The Naptime Chef

This is the latest installment of my Powernap column. The series where I share quick, easy food that can be made for all kinds of situations. Powernaps are short and sweet, and so are these recipes. These are the things I make in a jiffy when I need a quick snack, am in the mood for a recipe experiment, or simply need to clean out the pantry.

My friend Kirsten and I are always exchanging recipe tips on Facebook. We would prefer to chat about cooking in person, but she presently lives in Tokyo so Facebook and email are our best bet for direct communication at the moment! Last week she shared her new favorite method for making clean-eating chicken chili: adding a healthy scoop of quinoa for texture. Genius! I thought. Having recently begun to work with quinoa myself, I was excited to give her idea a shot.

I didn’t have time to run out a grab the ingredients for a chili base, so I decided to first test her idea on a basic favorite tomato soup recipe. With all the ingredients for our favorite Tomato Florentine on hand, I whipped up the base will my daughter was at school then added a cup of quinoa and extra water. It simmered on the stovetop while I worked on book stuff, then I turned off the heat and added freshly chopped basil in lieu of spinach.

By the time the soup was ready that evening the quinoa had softened and the whole soup had developed a hearty meaty-like texture from the grain. We eagerly topped our bowls with a pinch of Parmesan and dug in. All the rich tomato flavor we love was present, and the quinoa made it more substantial and, ultimately, an even more satisfying weeknight meal than we’d imagined.


 Simple Tomato Basil Quinoa Soup


½ cup onion, finely chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 pinch red pepper flakes
¼ cup white wine
2 28-ounce whole tomatoes with juice
2 cups vegetable broth
½ cup fresh basil leaves, torn
1 cup uncooked quinoa
1 ½ cups water
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Parmesan cheese for garnish



1. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions and stir until soft. About 4-5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and pepper flakes, cook for 1 minute.

2. Carefully pour in white wine, simmer until almost completely evaporated. Pour in the cans of tomatoes with their juices, vegetable broth and basil. Increase heat to medium-high and bring soup to a boil for 1 minute. Then, reduce heat and simmer soup for 10 minutes.

3. Working carefully, puree soup with a hand blender until completely smooth. Or, scoop it into a blender and puree until smooth. When all of the soup is completed return it to the pot and bring it to a simmer. Add the quinoa and water and all the soup to simmer for about 30 minutes. Then stir in the sugar and vinegar and serve with a garnish of Parmesan cheese

4. Allow soup to simmer for a few minutes, then stir in the sugar and vinegar. Serve hot with a garnish of cheese.


Naptime Notes

Naptime Recipe Serving ideas

This was substantial enough for us to serve as the main meal. I served it with some roasted vegetables alongside.

Naptime Stopwatch

30 minutes cook time

Naptime Reviews

My husband and I loved the hearty texture and sweet tomato flavor.

More Naptime Recipes

15 Responses to “Simple Tomato Basil Quinoa Soup {Powernap}”

  1. That sounds really good. Have been looking for more tomato based soups. Would make some slight changes, but it’s on the list to make.

  2. Julie says:

    I just found your blog and was immediately drawn to the freezer-friendly section.  I don’t have children, but I cook some meals for my parents so that they eat less processed food.  I love quinoa, so this is a great recipe to add to my collection!  Thanks so much!

    • Anonymous says:

      Welcome, Julie. Enjoy the site and always feel free to let me know if you have questions! 🙂

  3. Maxine says:

    tried this recipe and really loved it! we substituted the sugar for more balsamic, and it was great.

    you might want to adjust the cook time in the notes at the bottom, as it’s really about an hour from start to finish.

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  5. Emily C says:

    I made this today and it was delicious! Definitely a thick soup, but that actually worked in my favor because my 2.5 year old ate it without making nearly as much mess. She gobbled it down and asked for more. I love quinoa, and it’s addition to tomato soup (a favorite in my house) gives me an option for adding more protein to the meal.

    One note about the recipe — it definitely took me longer than 30 minutes to make this. I don’t have an immersion blender though, so that certainly contributed to my increased time. However, from how the steps are written it looks like your cook time will be 47 minutes plus the time it takes to blend the soup. I still managed to complete it all during my daughers’ naps though! I’ll definitely make this again and freeze some portions for later use.

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  10. Sue says:

    This has become our favourite soup! Started by making it for friends who are vegan…and sharing with many others who are not! Have used fresh basil, spinach or kale and they all work fine. Am getting ready to make it for lunch guests tomorrow, will serve with home made bread and cheese. Since I have this bookmarked on my tablet I thought I should at least say thank you for sharing this!

    • KelseyTheNaptimeChef says:

      Hi Sue – thank you SO much for this nice note. I am so glad it is such a favorite. It definitely feeds a family! Your variations sound delish! Enjoy!

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