Pea and Quinoa Chowder

I found this recipe a while back on the “my food my health” website, only it was made with corn, which has next to no nutritional value.  So, I decided to swap out the corn for some protein packed sweet peas and garnish with olives instead of adding them directly to the soup as per the original recipe (feel free to do that, but I found the olive flavours infused the soup too much in leftovers).  Jason hasn’t stopped talking about this soup since.  As a lot of my recipes, this is quick and simple, yet packs good nutrition with balanced flavours.  If you love a hearty pea soup…this is for you.

Preparation Time:  15 minutes
Cook Time:  20 minutes
Servings:  6

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, or grapeseed oil
1 large finely chopped leek (white and light green parts)
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 lb red skinned potatoes scrubbed or peeled and cut into 1/2″ diced pieces
6 cups vegetable stock
3/4 cup uncooked quinoa
4 cups peas (fresh or frozen)
1 1/4 tsp salt (+ more to taste)
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions
1-2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2-4 green stuffed olives (with garlic or pimento)

In a heavy saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the leeks and oregano.  Sweat the leeks, stirring occasionally, until the leeks begin to soften, about 4 minutes.  Be careful not to brown the leeks as I did here!

Add 5 cups of vegetable stock and the potatoes.  Bring the liquid to a boil over high heat and add the quinoa. Turn down the heat to medium and cook uncovered for 10 minutes.

If you prefer to have a bit more of a creamy texture to your chowder, in a food processor or blender, you can process 2 cups of the peas with 1 cup of stock and add it to your soup with the whole peas.  Otherwise, after the quinoa has cooked for 10 minutes, all the peas can be added directly to the pot and the extra cup of stock (as I have done here).

Add the salt and lots of fresh ground pepper (make sure to taste so that you add enough or as little to your liking).

Continue cooking until the quinoa is done (the grains should be translucent and have no opaque white dot in the center), about 2 to 3 minutes more.  Stir in the cilantro, and scallion.  Taste and add more salt if necessary.  Add enough lime juice to sharpen the flavours.  Garnish with a stuffed olive.


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