Sweet and Spicy Mexican Quinoa Soup

IMG_4805Gretchen Dusseau, the brains and body behind System of Strength (SOS) — the gym/studio/lifestyle that has taken Columbus by storm in the past few years, brought me this soup the other week.  I was so pleasantly surprised by the combination of flavors.  I’m usually a little picky about sweetness in my soups but this one was subtle enough and paired nicely with the spiciness of the cayenne and cumin.  In true Gretchen form, I asked her for the recipe and she glady gave it to me and said she’s working on a name — Sweet Potato Tortilla Soup, Textured Tortilla Soup (this one gave me the giggles), or Sweet and Spicy Tortilla Soup.  I thought the “sweet and spicy” was the best description of this tasty concoction.  Although I changed the tortilla part because personally, I consider tortilla soup kind of thick, indulgent and topped with crunchy tortilla strips (the kind I used to get at Max and Erma’s in the 90s).  This soup is quite different.  The quinoa adds a nice nutty depth to the earthy sweet potatoes but still the soup feels light and clean.  Clean eaters — this is one for you!  All the deliciousness of a traditional tortilla soup but with a twist and without tortilla strips on top — unless you are cheating on the “System.”  And I don’t recommend that — Gretchen’s wrath can be debilitating.  Instead top it with plain greek yogurt and avocado for a guilt-free meal!

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3 Tbsp oil

1 medium sweet potato, peeled and diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 red pepper, diced

1 jalapeño, deseeded and diced

1 Tbsp garlic salt

1 Tbsp cumin

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

48 oz chicken broth

1 can fire roasted tomatoes, with juice

1 cup uncooked quinoa

1 14 oz can corn, drained and rinsed (or equivalent of frozen corn)

2 cooked chicken breasts (previously grilled, boiled or use prepared rotisserie chicken)

a few large leaves of kale (center ribs removed), roughly chopped (optional)

toppings: plain greek yogurt, avocado, shredded cheddar cheese


IMG_4807In soup pot or dutch oven, heat 3 Tbsp oil.  Add diced sweet potatoes and cook for about 5 minutes.  Add garlic, red peppers and jalapeño peppers and cook for another 2 minutes to soften.  Add garlic salt, cumin and cayenne pepper.  Mix into the vegetables and cook for 1 minute.  Add chicken broth, tomatoes, quinoa, corn and chicken (and kale if using).  Bring to a boil, then turn down to simmer over medium-low heat until sweet potatoes are tender and quinoa is cooked (about 10-15 minutes).  Serve immediately with a dollop of plain greek yogurt, shredded cheddar cheese and sliced avocado.



4 thoughts on “Sweet and Spicy Mexican Quinoa Soup

    1. Carolyn Barger Post author

      Enjoy Reagan! Let me know what you think or if you alter it in anyway that is worth sharing.

    1. Carolyn Barger Post author

      Awesome, Lisa. I love sweet potatoes too but don’t often put them in soups so this is a new one for me too. Hope you enjoy!

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