Home ยป Meatless Monday: Quinoa Mexican Soup {vegan}

Meatless Monday: Quinoa Mexican Soup {vegan}

Can I be brutally honest?

I made this soup thinking I wouldn’t enjoy it. And Mr. P? Forgetaboutit.

But as it ends up, I was very, very wrong.

It’s no secret that I’m still warming up to quinoa, especially in savory dishes. And seeing as I love all things dairy (mmm…cheese), vegan meals aren’t usually my style — my cholesterol levels can confirm this, unfortunately for me. And naturally, I want to resolve this — heart disease and high cholesterol run very strongly in my paternal side.

That said, I kind of refuse to eat food that I don’t enjoy. And by kind of I mean, no way. There are far too few calories in the course of a day to waste them on anything sub-par.

But when you can have a totally satisfying meal for under 250 calories and a filling 10 grams of fiber with negligible amounts of saturated fat….well, that’s success. Huge success. (Success that can’t be reached with cheese.)

Why does this nutrient-packed meal pack so much flavor? Thank the peppers. Between a jalapeno, a poblano, and a red pepper that have all been roasted and charred…the flavor is all there. Bold and rich. Plus some of my favorite spices — chipotle chili powder, paprika, cumin, and coriander. Vegan masterpiece.


Quinoa Mexican Soup adapted from Virtually Vegan Mama

4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
2 (14.5 oz) cans low-sodium fire roasted diced tomatoes
2 tsp olive oil
1 medium red onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 poblano pepper
1 red bell pepper
1 jalapeno, seeds and ribs removed for less spic
1 cup dry quinoa (I used red quinoa)
1 Tbsp paprika
1/2 tsp chipotle chili powder
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground cumin
2 bay leaves
pinch ground cinnamon
1 avocado, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 lime, cut into wedges


Set your oven to broil at 550 F.

Cut the poblano, red bell pepper, and jalapeno in half, removing the stem and seeds. Place peppers on a baking sheet cut side down and roast 2-3 minutes or until charred and black. Check frequently to avoid over-burning. Once charred, place peppers in plastic baggie, close, and allow to steam. Peel the charred skin by hand and dice the peppers.

Heat a dutch over over medium heat and add olive oil. Add diced onions and stir. Keep stirring until the onions start to stick and add 1 tablespoon of the vegetable stock. Repeat this step, stirring often for 30 minutes, deglazing pan every so often with a small amount of vegetable stock. Cook onions for 30 minutes or until onions are a dark in color with the desired caramelized flavor.

While onions are caramelizing, combine the quinoa and 2 cups of water in a sauce pan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for ~30 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed.

To the dutch oven, add remaining vegetable stock, fire roasted tomatoes, garlic, jalapeno, poblano, red bell pepper, paprika, coriander, cumin, bay leaves, cinnamon, and chipotle chili powder. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove bay leaves. Add cooked quinoa and stir to combine.

Ladle soup into bowls and top with diced avocado. Serve with lime wedges. Yield: 6 servings (about 1 1/3 cup each).

Nutrition Information (per serving): 244 calories; 7.7 g. fat; 0 mg. cholesterol; 452 mg. sodium; 38.2 g. carbohydrate; 10 g. fiber; 6.7 g. protein

Result: This had amazing flavor – and Mr. Prevention-approved! I was very hesitant about this soup as I was 90% sure he would hate it. But nope…loved it! It takes a bit of babysitting (for all of 5 minutes), but the roasted peppers make this soup. I skipped a few steps from the original recipe to make things a bit easier, and it worked. This soup is uber healthy and truly delicious…plus it’s vegetarian, vegan, and under 300 calories per serving! Enjoy!


I need to get my rear in gear. I haven’t worked out since Friday morning and I have no excuse. The quarter ends this week and while things have been busy with grading, exam-making, holiday shopping, and so on…there’s just no excuse for not getting in a workout both Saturday and Sunday. Grrr, self. At least I have a weekly menu packed with healthy eats!

Be well,

Share With Your Friends!


  1. Joy
    December 5, 2011 / 6:04 am

    ThIs looks amazing but holy cow the ingredient list is enough to scare this add and fearful cook off! Maybe I’ll print it and ask my sister to make it for me ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Nicole
      December 5, 2011 / 6:24 am

      Joy – I promise it’s very doable ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Gina (The Candid RD)
    December 5, 2011 / 6:47 am

    This sounds so good Nicole!! I wish Nick would eat soup, damnit. I think I will just make this and freeze any that’s leftover, for another night. Instead of garlic I could use garlic olive oil.
    Oh, BTW, next time you are in our neck of the woods text me instead of e-mail. I never check my e-mail on my phone because I get so much junk.

    Enjoy your week Nicole!

    • Nicole
      December 5, 2011 / 2:00 pm

      I will next time, for sure ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Amy B @ Second City Randomness
    December 5, 2011 / 7:02 am

    The avocado makes me hungry! I wanted to buy some the other day, but the only few that were left at the store were hard as bricks. Not cool!

  4. Caitlin
    December 5, 2011 / 7:36 am

    This is going on my make-for-lunches list; it’s perfect to hang out in a thermos for a morning! And I hear you on the weekend workouts- why are they always the first thing to fall off the to-do list?

    • Nicole
      December 5, 2011 / 2:00 pm

      I know, I’m so with you. Shame on us ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Melinda
    December 5, 2011 / 8:12 am

    I must make this! I love quinoa, and of course vegan works well for me. Yum! I am glad that you were wrong and did actually like this.

  6. Grace@ FoodFitnessFreshair
    December 5, 2011 / 10:06 am

    I’ve got to try this. I love Mexican tortilla soup and have never had it with quinoa. Great, hearty nutrition boost! If it’s approved by both Prevention’s, I’m sure its good!

  7. Virtually Vegan Mama
    December 5, 2011 / 11:08 am

    Glad you enjoyed this soup…yes, it does have a lot of ingredients, but very easy to make…just takes some time…this soup freezes very well…so double, even triple it and when you crave it..and you will…all you have to do is roast some peppers and toast some quinoa =) I love this soup…it’s even an award-winning soup =) thanks for sharing! your pics are beautiful too!

    Virtually Vegan Mama

    • Nicole
      December 5, 2011 / 2:01 pm

      I didn’t find the ingredient list to be taunting – it’s just a little bit of a lot that I have around much of the time. Thanks for a great recipe!

  8. Cara
    December 5, 2011 / 11:18 am

    Love the idea of roasted peppers in the soup! And, I can’t imagine making something I didn’t think either of us would like so I give you props ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. 'drea
    December 5, 2011 / 11:19 am

    I’ve been looking for a few good soup recipes and this looks really good. Don’t know about the charring and dutch oven but everything is tweakable, I suppose.

    • Nicole
      December 5, 2011 / 2:05 pm

      Any big pot is just fine and as long as your oven has a broiler setting, it’s just a matter of babysitting it for a few…3-4 minutes, tops ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Anne Marie@New Weigh of Life
    December 5, 2011 / 11:38 am

    I’m such a slacker on the workout front. I need to get my rear end in gear too!

  11. Jessica
    December 5, 2011 / 12:25 pm

    I’m pretty sure I would love this. I’m also pretty sure that I would quickly de-veganize it by adding a sprinkle of cheese and little spoonful of sour cream. Don’t hate me. It’s that midwest comfort food thing. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Nicole
      December 5, 2011 / 2:06 pm

      Of course you would…jk jk! I was tempted ๐Ÿ˜‰

      • Jessica
        January 16, 2012 / 7:54 pm

        Guess what – I was wrong. I didn’t need to add cheese and sour cream (don’t get me wrong, I added a little cheese to one bowl, but the bowl without cheese was probably even better!) I feel full and content. ๐Ÿ™‚ (And my sinuses are clearing up ;))

  12. Jessie
    December 5, 2011 / 12:27 pm

    I’m so impressed with this dish, Nicole – especially as you said you didn’t think you’d like it, and you went ahead and made it anyway – that’s real courage in the kitchen ๐Ÿ™‚ Peter and I have been recently discovering the joys of what peppers can do in cooking, and how much incredible flavor they can add. This dish looks right up our street!

    Good luck with the craziness that lies ahead! Try to make time for yourself when you can, Nicole!

    • Nicole
      December 5, 2011 / 2:07 pm

      You’re a doll…thanks, Jessie ๐Ÿ™‚ I hope all is well with you! ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. Heidi @ Food Doodles
    December 5, 2011 / 1:18 pm

    Mmm, that looks so delicious. I love the poblano pepper, the flavor must be so yummy ๐Ÿ™‚ Isn’t it awesome when you’re not sure about a recipe and it turns out awesome! The avocado on top looks especially delicious, and so pretty in the pictures too ๐Ÿ˜€

  14. Rebecca @ How the Cookies Crumble
    December 5, 2011 / 1:50 pm

    Mmmm this does look great!!

  15. Biz
    December 5, 2011 / 2:54 pm

    That looks delicious Nicole! And Mr. P approved is just the icing on the cake! ๐Ÿ˜€

    My blood sugar was 90 at lunch so no lunch work out for me – I plan on doing 30 day shred when I get home though!

  16. Leah @ Why Deprive?
    December 5, 2011 / 2:59 pm

    This looks amazing. Exactly my kind of meal.

  17. Kristen (swanky dietitian)
    December 5, 2011 / 5:20 pm

    This looks amazing!! I realized the other day, I haven’t made soup (or quinoa for that matter) in quite some time. I know I will be making this soon!!
    Thanks for another fab recipe, Nicole!

  18. Jesica @ Pencil Kitchen
    December 5, 2011 / 8:43 pm

    Nicole, this look definitely delicious! I love the last toppings of avocado, really freshens up the whole spice after taste!

  19. Kerstin
    December 6, 2011 / 12:48 am

    Mmm, this does sound tasty. I’m a sucker for any soup with cumin and the fact that it’s healthy is icing on the cake!

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  21. Trish
    December 9, 2011 / 5:05 pm

    This really looks good. Love the flavour combinations! I love soup….

  22. Zac
    December 11, 2011 / 10:23 pm

    Great! Just happened upon this recipe and found the it and your blog very interesting. 4 adults and 2 kids under 5 thought it was great. Will be spending much more time checking out what you and your readers have to offer.

  23. Alecia
    December 11, 2011 / 10:58 pm

    So glad I found this recipe on Tastespotting. The soup is fantastic and I garnished mine with green cabbage and radish–so good!

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  28. Brandi Mills
    June 3, 2012 / 10:00 am

    I made this soup at 8am this morning for lunches for the week and had a bowl by 930am. It was amazing!
    I had most of the ingredients on hand and only had to buy the chili seasoning. This was really good! Looking forward to making some more of your recipes.

    thank you for all the good ideas – keep them coming.

    This has to help my goal to a six pack by 40 – well this and P90x2

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  31. Jennifer
    September 19, 2012 / 3:39 pm

    Oh DAMN! I just made this this afternoon- it’s still simmering but it’s delicious!! A little bit spicy, but really, really delicious. Thanks for this wonderful recipe ๐Ÿ™‚

  32. Danielle
    February 8, 2013 / 2:38 pm

    Are the nutrition facts for this soup including the avocado?

    • Nicole, RD
      February 8, 2013 / 2:44 pm

      Danielle: Hi! Yes, the avocado is included in the nutrition information. For your reference, any recipe where I list the ingredient in the ingredient list, it is included in the nutrition information. Hope that helps ๐Ÿ™‚

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