Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Paleo Roasted Sweet Potato & Quinoa Soup

Yes, I know. Quinoa is not paleo. I'm not suggesting that it is, nor has it ever made an appearance on my blog. In fact, I'm a big enough geek that I can remember the last time I personally ate it (February, while training for a half marathon).

Quinoa is technically a seed, NOT a grain. It's a great source of protein and amino acids, not to mention inexpensive. While it can cause digestive problems for some, I've never personally had an issue with it. It's also pretty high in carbs (as are the sweet potatoes here), but again I'm not trying to lose weight so don't go crazy avoiding certain carbs.
You can certainly make this recipe without the quinoa, and it will be both nutritious and delicious. I cooked up a couple of chicken apple sausages to stir into the soup, and they certainly offer some protein that you'd be missing if you ditch the quinoa.

Roasted Sweet Potato Quinoa Soup

3 tbs. olive oil, divided
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 sliced carrots
salt & pepper
1/2 white onion, diced
2 minced garlic cloves
2 sliced stalks of celery
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
3 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup uncooked quinoa (rinsed)
1 cup coconut milk
cinnamon, nutmeg & maple syrup (to taste)
optional garnishes: minced green onion, crumbled bacon, sliced chicken sausage

Preheat oven to 350. Place sweet potatoes and carrot slices on a baking sheet and toss with 1 tbs. olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and roast for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat remaining 2 tbs. oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion and cook until soft. Add garlic and celery, cooking for another minute or two.

Remove carrots and sweet potatoes from oven and put in pot. Add chili powder and cumin, stirring to combine. Cook for a couple of minutes to allow spices to really mesh with vegetables.

Add vegetable broth and quinoa to pot, and bring mixture to a boil. Lower heat and allow to cook for 15 minutes.

Remove mixture to blender and process until smooth, returning to pot. Stir in coconut milk and cook for another minute or two over low heat. Season to taste with cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, pepper and maple syrup. For reference, I used 1 tbs. maple syrup, 1 tsp. cinnamon and a hefty dash of fresh grated nutmeg. I also gave the soup a generous hit of salt and pepper.

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