Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Southwest Quinoa Soup

Although the weather has been astonishingly warm lately (no complaints from me!), it's still the season for tasty soups. Rich, comforting, and completely satisfying. We all loved this soup. Creamy and hearty, and full of Mexican flavor. We especially enjoyed the pleasant texture of the Quinoa- it added a certain heartiness and nutty flavor, without overwhelming. It's  also packed with good-for-your-heart-ness. Works for me! 

Beans- a fantastic source of protein, the saponins and soluble fiber in beans also may help with the reduction of bad cholesterol. They also contain folate, which lowers homocysteine, helping to reduce the risk of heart disease. Lignans, also found in beans, are thought to be cardioprotective. 

Olive Oil-This healthy oil contains disease-fighting phytochemicals, vitamin E, and monounsaturated fat. All these help keep arteries clear of cholesterol. The monousaturated fat may also help raise good cholesterol, and a diet rich in this fat may help lower your chance of heart disease.

Garlic-Garlic has anticlotting properties, possibly due to the ajoenes present. Also, the sulfur phytochemicals may help protect against heart disease.

Tomatoes- Tomatoes are abundant in lycopene, a strong antioxident that may help prevent cell damage that leads to heart attacks. They are also rich in vitamin C, which may help protect against heart disease. Oil helps you absorb lycopene, so toss in some olive oil. 

Corn- Corn often gets a bad rap as being without significant nutrients, but actually is a great source of complex carbs, folate, and soluble fiber, which may help protect against heart disease.

Quinoa-Considered a "super grain", Quinoa is an excellent source of heart-healthy magnesium and vitamin E, as well as cholesterol-reducing plant sterols, saponins, and rutin.

Chicken- Poultry is a rich source of selenium, vitamin B12, and vitamin B6, which may help protect against heart disease. It also contains vitamin B12, which helps lower homocysteine levels.

Source: Fight Back with Food: Use Nutrition to Heal What Ails You,  The Reader's Digest Association

Southwest Quinoa Soup

3 Tbs olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can Rotel
1 can tomato paste
1 cup frozen corn
1 can drained and rinsed kidney beans
2 cups cooked Quinoa
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup shredded chicken
1 cup shredded cheese (Cheddar or Mexican blend)
1 cup milk
1 Tsp cumin
1 Tsp chili powder
1 Tsp paprika
1/4 Tsp cayenne pepper
Salt to taste
Plain Yogurt or Sour Cream, optional

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a saucepan. Add garlic and saute for a few minutes. Add in Rotel, tomato paste, corn, and beans. Cook for a few more minutes, then add Quinoa and chicken broth. Once warmed, add in chicken, cheese, milk, and spices. Simmer until thoroughly warm, then add salt to taste. If desired, serve with a small dollop of plain yogurt or sour cream.

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