I'm bringing you a humble, rather unphotogenic soup recipe today.
It's a far cry from the exciting dips and chips and wings and meatballs being consumed tonight for the Super Bowl, but I like it all the same.
Sometimes I want flashy food, (like these) but other times I want a meal that is simple and warm and comforting without requiring much forethought.
The year that Adam and I were engaged, he got assigned to a project in San Francisco. It was difficult because he traveled for two weeks at a time, but it also gave me an excuse to fly to San Francisco.
I went in early October, which is pretty much the best time of year to visit. It was sunny and in the mid 70's most of the weekend. That Saturday, we rented a car and drove up through Sonoma to the town of Calistoga. We went to an early wine tasting around 11:00 and then, slightly buzzed, sauntered across the street to a cafe for lunch.
Maybe it was the lingering effect of the wine, or the cloudless blue sky, or the giddiness of being in California, but it was one of the best lunches I've ever had. I can still picture it now. Our little table outside. Adam sitting across from me. The bright sunshine overhead. And my bowl of curried zucchini soup.
It was simple, but so delicious, and I've done my best to recreate it here. I used the crockpot for ease, but you could make it on the stovetop just as easily.
This curried zucchini soup with quinoa is filling and flavorful with just the right amount of heat, and it's bringing back memories of the California sunshine even in the midst of this winter.
Curried Zucchini Soup with Quinoa (In the Crockpot)
1 heaping tablespoon red curry paste
1 can regular coconut milk
3-4 zucchini, diced into small pieces
1 large onion, diced
5 cups chicken or vegetable broth
2 teaspoons fish sauce
1 teaspoon ginger (or double that in grated fresh ginger if you have it)
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or more, to taste)
1/2 teaspoon salt (or more, to taste)
1/3 to 1/2 cup quinoa*
*The quinoa will absorb some of the liquid. Add more quinoa for a thicker soup, less for a thinner soup
Set crockpot to high. Add curry paste and coconut milk and whisk together until curry paste is dissolved.
Add diced zucchini and onion, chicken broth, fish sauce, ginger, cayenne, and salt.
Cook on high for 3 hours or low for 7-8 hours.
Before eating, turn heat to high and add quinoa. Cook for 20-30 more minutes or until quinoa is fully cooked.
Serve with crusty bread, if desired.
- The crockpot is entirely optional here. If you don't want to use it, simply heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil in a large dutch oven. Add the onions and cook for a few minutes, then add the curry paste and coconut milk and stir until curry is dissolved. Add zucchini, broth, and remaining spices. Cook for 30-40 minutes or until zucchini is soft. Add quinoa and cover, cooking for an additional 20-30 or until quinoa is fully cooked.
- If desired, puree the hot soup using an immersion blender, or in batches using a regular blender or food processor.
- Don't have quinoa? Use rice instead.
- Need more protein? Add a couple chicken breasts or thighs to the crockpot and shred before serving. Or add some chopped rotisserie chicken at the end.
Adapted from It's the Little Things.