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Quinoa Peanut Soup (Sopa de Mani)

Quinoa Peanut Soup (Sopa de Mani)

From Chef Oonagh Williams of Royal Temptations Catering

Quinoa Peanut Soup

EatingWell said, “This spicy vegetable, quinoa and peanut soup recipe is a modern take on a traditional Bolivian soup recipe called Sopa de Mani. Serve this healthy quinoa soup recipe as a starter or make it a heartier meal by adding diced cooked chicken or turkey breast to the soup.”

I saw this on EatingWell.com in March/April 2013 as part of a series of quinoa recipes. It was similar to a recipe I make with brown rice, curry and peanut butter, so I married the recipes. They used hot sauce like Tabasco, but you can use whatever you like and can tolerate. This only has a slight bite of heat, not runny nose and tingling lips. They used just a regular potato, but I use frozen butternut squash since I like the way it disintegrates to a smooth and creamy soup base. I have also made it with sweet potato which is better nutritionally than a regular potato. Quinoa is a naturally gluten-free, usually also labeled organic and therefore non-gmo, and is a grain from South America known as a “super grain” or “mother of all grains.” It contains all the essential amino acids and is high in protein and fiber. I find it is cheapest at Costco’s. The price has rocketed in recent years. Do make sure to rinse it in a sieve with tiny holes before use even if the packet says pre-rinsed. It has a chemical smell from the naturally occurring insect repellent known as saponin that needs rinsing off. We happily eat this on its own for dinner just with some bread.

For Halloween, use the sweet potato and perhaps food coloring to make it orange-y colored. Think of adding some canned, solid pack pumpkin. Far too often in New Hampshire, Halloween is very cold or rainy so a bowl of spicy hot soup would be ideal. Serve it in a pumpkin ceramic tureen or hollow out small or large pumpkins. And remember garlic keeps the vampires away.


  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 medium onion peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 medium to large carrots, peeled and chopped into small dice
  • 2 stalks of celery, washed, quartered lengthwise and cut into ½ inch pieces.
  • ½ x 20 oz. bag of frozen, cubed butternut squash or 1 sweet potato peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes. (My local market in New Hampshire normally carries frozen butternut squash, but I know it’s not so easily available in warmer states all year.)
  • 1/2 cup quinoa (Rinse it well before using. I do this even if packaging says pre-washed.)
  • 1 tsp. Penzeys smoked paprika (has flavor and gives a slight bite. Cans of Szego paprika in the grocery store are almost tasteless.)
  • 1 tsp. Penzeys Arizona Dreaming, slightly spicy, tasty, salt-free seasoning (ancho, chipotle, jalapeňo, cocoa, smoke flavoring, onion, garlic, lemon, red pepper)
  • 6 cups gluten-free vegetable broth or reduced-sodium gluten-free chicken broth or water plus gluten-free chicken stock concentrate.
  • 1 cup Asian-style coconut milk or whole 15 oz can. (Do not use piňa colada coconut milk, it is full of sugar which tastes really strange with a soup.)
  • ½ red bell pepper, cut into small dice
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter (I like crunchy for texture. You can use another nut butter or you can leave out nut butter altogether. It’s still good.)
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley or cilantro
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste


  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in onion and cook, stirring, until softened, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in garlic, carrots, celery, sweet potato or squash, quinoa, smoked paprika, and Arizona dreaming, then add stock. Bring to a boil over high heat.
  2. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook until the quinoa is cooked and the vegetables are tender, about 25-30 minutes. Depending on how well the lid fits on saucepan, the soup might have evaporated more or still be runny after cooking for 25-30 minutes.
  3. Soup will be thick, stir in coconut milk.
  4. Stir in red bell pepper and cook, stirring, for about 3 minutes more. Stir in peanut butter until it is combined into the soup. Peanut butter will thicken soup more. Remove from heat.
  5. Taste and adjust seasoning. I normally don’t add extra salt, but do add ordinary pepper or more hot seasonings to your taste. I’ve also served this with some chopped cooked chicken on top, or some spicy sausage, turkey drumstick (but quinoa and peanut butter are protein rich anyway).
  6. I had leftover baby zucchini to use up so I added two of them cut into small dice with the coconut milk. Think of adding a handful of chopped (frozen) spinach.

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