Tomato Fennel Quinoa Soup - quick, easy, delicious, and filling enough to be a meal in of itself. Plus it's made with ingredients you probably have mostly on hand already - a perfect recipe to bridge the seasons from winter to spring.
I pride myself on being an almost year-round bike commuter. I've got great all-weather gear, and I'll bike in pretty much any weather. Even on the most miserable day I find it preferable to being crammed into the subway or on the bus.
Last week, though, I had to admit defeat and buy a one-month transit pass. It was -15°C, it was positively dumping snow, and I had yet another virus my sweet boy brought home from daycare. Enough already.
I hate not biking because I really depend on it for a good chunk of my exercise. And I bet you can guess how motivated I've been to bike to the pool in the snow and go swimming these days. Yet it always seems - because life is just like that - that it's the times during which I get the least amount of exercise that I crave the most comfort food. Why is that???
Believe it or not, I actually don't have a good Nutrition Lady answer to the above question. I think it's just one of those things, and probably is rooted deep in our cold weather energy-preserving instincts. Who knows. In any case, it's definitely the kind of weather that makes me crave warm food.
This Tomato Fennel Quinoa Soup is an oldie but a goodie. I first published in in December of 2010, so it's been buried deep in the archives of this blog with cringe-worthy photos. I expect that not many of you have made it, let alone seen it. But it's a great recipe, one that deserves your attention (and better photos!) so I'm bringing it back to the front.
I'm willing to bet that, other than the fennel, you probably have a good amount of these ingredients on hand in your cupboard already. Canned tomatoes, quinoa, and vegetable stock are certainly regulars in my own cupboard.
And here's a handy trick: if you don't have the dregs of a bottle of white wine on hand, you can totally use an equal amount of white vermouth, which will last forever in your cupboard. Since I really only drink white wine in warmer weather, I use the vermouth trick for risottos, pasta sauces, and basically anything else that calls for white wine during the colder months. Try it!
Hey Nutrition Lady, what's the deal with fennel anyways?
Friends, I'm glad you asked. The liquorice-y tasting wonder bulb is an amazing source of vitamin C. It is a great source of dietary fiber, potassium, molybdenum, manganese, copper, phosphorous, and folate. Furthermore, fennel is a good source of calcium, magnesium, iron, and niacin. You can eat the whole thing, root to tip - in fact the fronds are great to toss into a smoothie.
This Tomato Fennel Quinoa Soup is light and tasty, with flavours of white wine (or vermouth!), fennel, and thyme, and heartiness from the addition of quinoa. You might put all of the liquid in and think, ahhhhhh, I made a mistake! This soup is too liquidy! But have faith. Once the quinoa cooks up, it'll be nice and thick.
This tomato soup requires minimal chopping, cooks up reasonably quickly, and doesn't require a whole lot of attention. It freezes like a dream and reheats nicely, so it's great to make the full batch even if you're not feeding a large crew. Best of all, it's super tasty, a bit more interesting than plain ol' tomato soup, and certainly with more nourishment to boot. I think you're gonna like it.
Other nourishing soup recipes you might enjoy:
Spicy Carrot Soup with Tahini and Garlicky Greens
Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Coconut, Miso, and Lime
Miso Veggie Soup in a Jar
Cauliflower Pea Soup with Mint and Lemon
Tomato Fennel Quinoa Soup
- 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion finely diced
- 1 medium fennel bulb about 2 cups diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 cans diced tomatoes 400g / 14oz cans
- ½ cup white wine or white vermouth
- 1 Tablespoon fresh thyme plus more for garnish
- 8 cups vegetable broth
- ¾ cup uncooked quinoa rinsed
- salt and pepper
- Heat olive oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium high heat.
- Add onion and sauté for 3-5 min, until translucent.
- Add the garlic, fennel, and thyme and sauté for about 5 min more, until the garlic has begun to turn brown, but not burnt.
- Pour in white wine, and cook for 3-5 min, until most of the liquid has cooked off.
- Add the canned diced tomato and their liquid, and cook, stirring frequently, until the tomatoes have started to break down, about 10 min.
- Add vegetable broth and rinsed quinoa.
- Bring soup to a boil, then reduce heat to medium low, and cover. Simmer until the quinoa has cooked and the soup has thickened, 10 - 15 min.
- Serve with fresh grated parmesan over the top, and a sprinkling of fresh herbs.
- If you're not a fan of the flavour of fennel, you can swap it out for celery. The flavour is subtle though, and I recommend giving it a try.
- This soup is hearty enough to enjoy on it's own, but also great with a nice piece of crusty bread along side.
- Try finishing it with some fresh basil or parsley, and a grating of Parmesan cheese on top (if you're not vegan). You won't regret it.
Used an immersion blender before I put the quinoa in and really liked how it came out. Also used Better Than Bouillon Seasoned Vegetable base (so good) and topped with Follow Your Heart vegan parm.
Super tasty! I had to add some lentils, mine was a bit brothy (husband has an aversion to tomato chunks so I am forever buzzing them) but it ended up really hearty with a great flavor! Super nice with a grilled cheese on a rainy day.
Question: I have high blood pressure and would love to make this soup. Beside using low sodium tomatoes and leaving out the salt, how can I knock down the 61% sodium? Thank you, Chris
Hey Chris! I always add a disclaimer to recipes that say "nutrition values are an estimate only" and at times they can be a bit whacky. The recipe card I use has a nutrition API that generates the label based on information I give it, and at times it can be wildly off. I scan them as best as possible, but it's usually not sodium I'm paying the most attention to. I doubt that this recipe actually has 61% sodium - that would be very salty indeed. If you use low-sodium tomatoes and low-sodium broth, I think you'll be just fine.
alice k mynett
I made this today when snowflakes were whirling outside the window. Talk about a satisfying warm-up lunch! This is SO YUMMY! I've never cooked with fennel before, and found the one bulb I bought did not give me the required 2 cups, so I supplemented with celery. This is going to be a staple in my house! I have ladled it into 2 cup containers to stash in the freezer for future lunches. Thanks - this came at just the right time!
I admit to not seeing this the first time around and I'm intrigued to try it. Althougj I'm not a huge fan of fennel the vegetable (quite like the seeds), this could nudge me. Beautiful, tempting images. I must revisit my old recipes more, too. ????????
It was way deep in the archives, Kellie, before we ever connected! And pre-pinterest, pre-facebook page, so you'd really need to have gone looking for it. It is a delightful recipe, though, so I'm glad to have refreshed it!
What a delicious soup! I made one small change. I added 10 ounces of frozen mixed veggies in the last 5 minutes of cooking (cauliflower, broccoli, carrots). Both my husband & I loved it, and I'll definitely be making it again.
That's a great idea! I'll have to try it next time I make this soup. I often keep frozen peas on hand because I love them in fried rice, and I bet they'd be great in a soup.
You know you are going to write a famous cookbook, right?
I love you, Tro.
This soup was great! I love the quinoa in it, I am going to try this with some more soup recipes.
I did feel like this was the tame version of a mush tastier soup. I used our own chicken stock and canned tomatoes, but still felt the flavour was a bit in need. We do eat rather bold flavoured dishes around here so perhaps this was a little too subtle to be fully appreciated in our house.
What could I do to make this soup have more flavour, but keep the elements the same?
It's so hard to say. Both times I've made this it has turned out amazingly rich and flavourful, but there are so many factors at play . . . the type of wine (I think I used a pino grigio), the flavours in your tomatoes, whether your thyme was fresh or dried, the broth, etc. I'll have to make it for you one day and see what you think then.
Yum! Just made this for lunch (and dinner, and lunch and dinner tomorrow, and probably the next day - so much soup!) and it's delicious. I pureed a few cups of soup to make it creamier, and tossed in about a cup of shredded kale for the last 5 minutes of cooking time. SO good. Thanks Katie! Bring on more quinoa recipes, please!
This was a delicious soup. I wondered if there was enough spice to flavour, but it was very tasty. This will be one of my stand by soups. Yum, yum.
I love this soup. There is a lot of flavour from the wine and tomatoes, and the fennel and thyme are subtle complements.
Are there nutritional or taste differences between different coloured quinoa? We have some black quinoa that Alex's mom gave us but don't know if I should do something different than our normal recipes.
The red and black varietals have slightly more fiber, a nuttier taste, and a little bit of a chewier texture. You may need to cook your black quinoa a little longer than you would the blond variety, but otherwise no real difference in cooking.