Do you have your megaphone ready? I’m digging my husband’s out of the garage.
Yep, he has a megaphone because he’s in a band, you know, for “special effects” and stuff. He also has these weirdo 1960’s goggles and a suit covered in Christmas lights—because he’s in a band.
But that’s another story for another day.
Today’s story is that we’re all banding together and shouting at the top of our lungs—or into said megaphone if you have one handy—we’re shouting, “GOODBYE FROZEN TUNDRA, and good riddance.” Why? Because (happy dance) this week marks the official first day of spring. Yes!
But that certainly doesn’t signal the end of eating savory soups and stews. Heck, this is just the beginning.
And since we’ll probably do the winter/spring dance tease of warm one day, cold the next and I’m sure I’ll have to cover my tomatoes for at least two more snow storms, this gluten-free chowder is just one way to walk the tightrope of comfort food cravings and spring clean eats desires.
Last week I may have said I wasn’t a devout whole foodie. And now, here I am, posting whole foods. To me, that is exactly how a foodie should be. Balanced. Eating what feels right. What cures the craving.
Lightened up, but still savory, this chowder is a great #MeatlessMonday meal. Because that’s what I’m craving now.
About the recipe:
I used nature’s produce as a natural thickener in the form of potatoes and cauliflower instead of the traditional floured roux to keep it gluten-free. With the helping hand of my favorite immersion blender that makes me feel like an invincible Chuck Norris in the kitchen, I can create a totally velvety chowder texture packed with secret health benefits my daughter just doesn’t need to know about.
If you don’t have an immersion blender on hand, a traditional blender will work just fine. But be sure to vent the lid when you blend as hot liquid tends to explode when it’s blended with a closed lid. Take it from me, two replaced computer keyboards have proven my point.
To keep in the whole foodie / #MeatlessMonday vein, and to give yet another jolt of texture and protein, I added the super whole food Quinoa, making creating a soup that’s rich in flavor and healthy for the mind and soul.
One word about the quinoa, it will soak in all of that lovely chowder soup-y-ness, so if you prefer yours a little thinner, add the quinoa at the end. If you prefer it a little thicker, cook it with the quinoa a little longer and let the little pearls go to work.
- 3 tablespoons butter, divided
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 carrot, diced
- 1 Idaho russet potato, skinned and diced
- 3 cups cauliflower, roughly chopped
- 2 15-ounce cans vegetable broth
- 2 cups milk
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme
- 1 cup quinoa
- In large dutch oven or stock pot, melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium high heat. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add red bell pepper and carrots and cook for 10 minutes or until pepper softens.
- Add potato, cauliflower, vegetable broth, milk, bay leaf, thyme and kosher salt. Bring to boil, then reduce heat to simmer and cook for about 10-12 minutes or until cauliflower and potato are softened. Turn heat to low.
- Meanwhile, rinse ⅔ cup quinoa in cold water and place in small pan and cover with 2 cups of cold water. Season with pinch of kosher salt and bring to boil. Reduce to simmer and cook until quinoa is softened. Fluff with fork and set aside.
- Ladle about 3 cups of broth and vegetables, mostly potatoes and cauliflower but leaving some in pot for texture, into high sided container and blend with a blender until smooth.
- Add back to pot. Remove bay leaf and season with more salt if desired. Add quinoa and remaining tablespoon of butter and cook for another 5 minutes. Quinoa and butter will thicken soup as quinoa absorbs some of liquid. Serve immediately.
How about a few more quinoa recipes to add to your weekly menu planning?
Quinoa Crusted Eggplant Parmigiana
I wasn’t impressed that her husband went grocery shopping but more so that he showed up with a bag full of eggplant! And this is what happens when quinoa gets added to the #meatlessmonday mix. Recipe here.
Kale and Quinoa Salad with Ricotta Salata
She may have been a quinoa skeptic, but she’s a convert now. This salad is simply proof in the pudding. Recipe here.
Black Bean and Quinoa Burgers
Not just meatless, these burgers go all the way making a vegan burger downright good looking. Thanks to the combo of flax and black beans, walnuts and quinoa, these burgers actually hold together like burgers should. And don’t forget the chipotle mayo. Recipe here.
Collard Quinoa Salad
Collard greens are not something I eat too often, especially as a base for salad. But this combo with watermelon radishes and then a dose of feta, makes me rethink what I have going on in the kitchen. Recipe here.
Quinoa and Toffee Chip Cookies
This is a new one for me. Quinoa in cookies? But I think I would really like it. Quinoa takes the place of oatmeal in everyone’s favorite old-fashioned cookie, with a cup of toffee chips thrown in for good measure. Now that’s thinking. Recipe here.
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