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This delicious Quinoa Soup is a traditional dish from Peru. It’s incredibly simple to make, protein-packed, and filled with flavor. The nutrient-dense ingredients will nourish your mind, body, and spirit!

I often make soup on Sunday during the fall and winter months. I love having something healthy to eat in my refrigerator to heat up instantly for lunch or a snack.  I often have soup for breakfast, it’s warmer than a green smoothie and just as nourishing.

History of Quinoa

Quinoa (pronounced keen-wa)is a grain that comes from the Andes Mountains of South America. Quinoa’s origins are truly ancient, cultivated and used by pre-Columbian civilizations. 

It was one of the most sacred foods of the ancient Incas, a plant so nourishing, delicious and vital, they called it chesiya mama; the ‘mother grain’. 

Quinoa is a high protein, low glycemic, gluten free grain which fills you up and gives you energy. Botanically speaking, it’s not a grain, it’s a seed but is eaten the same way as a grain.

Like many of the ancient grains, quinoa slipped into obscurity in 1532 with the arrival of the Spanish. That all changed in the 1970’s when quinoa was reintroduced to us in the modern world.

Since then, it has experienced a huge surge in popularity because of its high nutrient content and health benefits. It is also easy to grow in a range of conditions.

In fact, the year 2013 was named “The International Year of Quinoa” by the UN because of its valuable qualities and potential to fight world hunger.

Many varieties of quinoa exist in the Andes, but the most widely grown types are red, black and white. There is also a tricolor variety, which is a mixture of all three.

Ingredients and Substitutions for Peruvian Quinoa Soup

This is a hearty peasant soup made with simple nourishing ingredients.

Quinoa is a great source of protein and fiber. I use white quinoa but red is also good.

Leeks have a sweet, oniony flavor that adds depth to soups. If you don’t have a leek add more onion.

Onions and Garlic are packed with nutrients. They are potent nature-made antibiotics with strong anti-fungal and antibacterial qualities.

Celery and carrots are part of the mirepoix, the aromatic vegetable base that adds lots of flavor to the base of the soup.

Cabbage is a cruciferous vegetable high in glucosinolates which have strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, helping to protect our cells.

Sweet Potatoes are high in Vitamin A and fiber which helps keep your eyes healthy as well as your immune system. Butternut squash can be substituted

White Turnips have a delicate slightly peppery taste.  You can substitute parsnips or celery root or add more carrots. 

Cumin has a rich and hearty, earthy and warm taste that adds depth to the soup.

Chili Powder is a blend of ground dried chiles and other spices. It can be mild to moderately spicy. Ancho chili powder can be substituted.

Apple Cider Vinegar is used to balance and enhance the flavors. Lemon juice can be substituted.

I like to serve this Peruvian Quinoa Soup topped with parsley and fresh tomatoes (when in season) or roasted red peppers A sprinkle of red pepper flakes is a simple garnish.

This hearty soup makes a great lunch or breakfast. Like most soups, it tastes even better the next day. 

It’s perfect as a side dish for dinner with 3 Ingredient Honey Mustard Chicken or Easy Sautéed Tempeh

You can store this soup in the refrigerator for4 days, or freeze it for up to a month.

I hope you love this soup. It’s hearty, healthy, packed with flavor, high protein and comforting.

If you like this delicious recipe you may also like these soups

     Healing Cabbage Mushroom Soup

     Golden Red Lentil and Kale Soup

     Soothing Ginger Turmeric Carrot Soup

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Post and photos updated Oct 6, 2022

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Peruvian Quinoa Soup

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

5 from 3 reviews

  • Author: Ingrid DeHart -
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x


This soup is incredibly simple to make, protein-packed, and filled with flavor. The nutrient-dense ingredients will nourish your mind, body, and spirit!


  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 large leek, white and light green part only, washed well and thinly sliced
  • 1 large stalk celery, diced
  • 2 carrots, cut into medium chunks
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup sweet potatoes peeled, cut into ½” chunks
  • 1 1/2 cups cabbage, coarsely chopped
  • 1 white turnip peeled, cut into ½” chunks
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • ½1 teaspoon chili powder or ancho chili powder*
  • 4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • ¼ cup quinoa
  • ¼½ teaspoon Sea Salt
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, coarsely chopped
  • 12 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • chopped tomatoes or red peppers for garnish (optional)


  1. In a medium soup pot, heat oil on low heat. Add onions, carrots, leeks, and celery. Sauté for 5 minutes or until the vegetables begin to soften.
  2. Add in the garlic. Sauté 1 minute more.
  3. Add the sweet potatoes, turnips, cabbage, cumin and chili powder.  Stir to coat the vegetables with the spices.
  4. Sauté 1 minute until spices are fragrant.
  5. Add stock and quinoa. Bring to a boil. Turn down until just simmering and cook until quinoa is cooked about 15 minutes.
  6. Add salt the last 5 minutes of cooking.
  7. Add apple cider vinegar, to taste.
  8. Taste to adjust salt and chili powder.
  9. Add parsley and serve garnished with chopped tomatoes or red peppers.


Taste your chili powder for spiciness. Use less to start, you can add more at the end.

  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 20
  • Category: Vegan, Dairy Free, Gluten Free


  • Suzanne says:

    I made this for the second time tonight. I really enjoy it. I leave out the chili and add some turmeric. Yum!

  • Megan says:

    Great recipe! On my visit to Peru, they always served soup with a salsa, so I made a simple one of onion, tomato, jalapeno, and lime to accompany the soup. So good!

  • Bee 🐝 says:

    I sautéed vegetables in a habanero infused oil
    And added twice the garlic with chopped spinach and 1/4 of rice. Delicious!!
    Traveling 10 days in Peru this soup brings back great memories.
    Thank you 😊

  • Natalia says:

    Great soup! Tastes authentic. I didn’t use the turnips or cabbage out of availability and laziness but still came out great!

  • Kim says:

    I found this by Googling a few ingredients that I had to work with. I was very surprised with the results. Sweet Potato was one of the ingredients I was looking to use up (I used extra), but I didn’t have any carrots. I also added 1 Cup of extra broth. Instead of adding the diced tomato as a garnish, I added a can of diced tomatoes with peppers to the soup (tomatoes are not fresh or in season right now). This was a fast and easy comfort food for this long winter day. I thought about adding black beans instead of tempeh on the side but maybe next time.

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