January 6, 2022

by Alyssa

Creamy Italian Quinoa Soup

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This Creamy Italian Quinoa Soup recipe is thick and hearty, but dairy-free! It's thickened with creamy cashews and packed with protein from chickpeas. A healthy vegan and gluten-free entree!

bowl of quinoa soup with nutritional yeast on top

This is always my go-to recipe at the start of a new year. If you're trying to lighten things up after the holidays, this creamy vegan soup is as satisfying as anything with cream, but totally dairy-free, gluten-free and good for you! It's packed with nutrition from colorful vegetables, spices and plant-based protein (quinoa and chickpeas).

This time of year, I'm always trying to reach for more plants. Usually, I try to eat 100% plant-based for one day a week. If that sounds a teeny bit scary, trust me when I tell you this: when you nourish your body with plant-based foods and skip out on the meat and dairy, you are going to feel incredible. No joke. It's transformational.

pot of creamy italian soup with spinach

How to Eat Plant-Based for One Day

For me, plant-based doesn't necessarily mean vegan. It means focusing on plants (fruits, veggies, whole grains, legumes) and skipping out on meat and dairy. Eggs are fine in my book, as is honey. Two things about that: you want to make sure your eggs are organic and free-range, and honey needs to be raw and preferably local.

So what does eating plant-based look like?

It's actually pretty simple. You can check out any of my What I Eat in a Day videos on my YouTube channel, but here's what a typical day could look like:

  • Breakfast: smoothie bowl OR oatmeal (my creamy coconut matcha oatmeal would be perfecto)
  • Lunch: green salad with chopped veggies and chickpeas OR a veggie sandwich/wrap
  • Dinner: a quinoa buddha bowl OR this creamy Italian quinoa soup

Snacks can include things like protein bars, fresh fruit, nuts/nut butters, lighter smoothies, etc. See what I mean? You can TOTALLY do that for one day week!

I've discovered that dinners tend to be the most challenging for folks. They're either working full time with little time to cook, or are cooking for a family of picky eaters, and often times both, so “healthy” or “vegetarian” meals are out of the question.

And then there's the issue of taste. How many times have you heard (or even said to yourself), “Healthy food doesn't taste good”?

When I was first transitioning to this way of eating, I told myself the exact same thing. Until I realized it wasn't about the kind of food I was making (i.e. healthy food), it was about the way I was cooking and the ingredients I was using.

 

ingredients for creamy soup with chickpeas, spinach and cashews

Ingredients for Creamy Italian Quinoa-Chickpea Soup

The base of this soup starts with a classic French mirepoix, which is just chopped onions, carrots, and celery. Then you'll add seasonings and bulk up the soup with protein and a special vegan thickener. Here are all of the ingredients for this creamy Italian soup:

  • Onion, carrots, and celery to make the sauteed vegetable base of the soup.
  • Garlic, a must-have flavor in any great Italian recipe!
  • Chickpeas. For plant-based protein. You could also use red kidney beans or white beans if you prefer.
  • Quinoa. I use white quinoa for this recipe, but feel free to use whatever kind of quinoa you like.
  • Tomatoes. This soup gets its Italian flavor from a combination of stewed tomatoes and tomato sauce.
  • Vegetable broth. You can make your own or use low-sodium vegetable broth from the store.
  • Dried herbs. You can use a store-bought blend or make your own with basil, oregano, marjoram and rosemary.
  • Spinach. Feel free to use kale if that's what you have on hand.
  • Cashews. This is the key to thickening your creamy Italian soup without dairy. Make sure you're using raw, unsalted cashews.
  • Nutritional yeast. Fro a nice subtle cheesy flavor without dairy.
  • Miso paste. For a hit of added umami flavor.
  • close up on quinoa soup with nutritional yeast on top

Storing Leftovers

Store leftover soup in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days. Reheat it on the stove or in the microwave until it's warm.

Serving Suggestions

You can serve this soup with your favorite vegan cheese on top. I like a simple sprinkling of nutritional yeast. On the side, add a torn-off piece of crusty bread or homemade garlic bread. For a homemade gluten-free option, try my Gluten-Free Yeast-Free Quinoa Bread. 

More Cozy Soup Recipes to Try

If you make this Creamy Italian Quinoa Soup, be sure to let me know what you think with a comment below!

Creamy Italian Quinoa Soup

Not only is it a cinch to make, but it's also healthy, full of flavor and is made entirely from plant-based goodies.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 8 Servings
Calories 216kcal
Author Alyssa Rimmer
Print Pin
ladle of quinoa creamy soup with spinach
4.82 from 16 votes

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Heat oil in a large saucepan or dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion, carrots, celery and garlic and saute until carrots have started to soften, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
    collage of a pot with creamy italian quiona soup cooking
  • Add chickpeas and quinoa to the mixture.
    pot of soup with qiunoa, chickpeas and cooked vegetables
  • Roughly chop the stewed tomatoes, then add them, along with the juice, to the pot with the sauce, broth and herbs and stir to combine. Season with a bit more salt and pepper. Bring mixture to a boil, reduce to simmer and simmer, partially covered, for 20 - 30 minutes (or longer if desired).
    stirring tomatoes and seasoning into quinoa soup
  • While the soup is cooking, add the cashews, nutritional yeast, miso, water and 1/2 cup of the soup broth (just scoop it from the pot) into a high-powered blender and blend on high until smooth and creamy. This is your "cream"!
    blender with cashew and seasoning for soup
  • When ready to serve, stir in spinach and cashew cream. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary (I stirred in a touch more nutritional yeast). Serve immediately!
    adding cashew cream and spinach to a pot of tomato soup

Notes

* substitute diced tomatoes if desired

Nutrition

Calories: 216kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 590mg | Potassium: 755mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 7180IU | Vitamin C: 15.8mg | Calcium: 97mg | Iron: 3.7mg

 

This CREAMY Italian Quinoa Soup is thick, hearty and made without any actual cream! [vegan]

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About Alyssa

Hey there, I’m Alyssa Rimmer, a certified Holistic Nutritionist, yoga-lover, dog mom, and founder of Simply Quinoa. It’s nice to meet you! I created SQ as a way to provide solutions for women just like me, who were struggling to find helpful information about how to live a healthy and fulfilled life. My hope is that you will find inspiration here on SQ – in my story, in my recipes, in the hundreds of wellness articles, and in our amazing community. Welcome!

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  1. This may be my new favorite soup. Followed recipe exactly except cheated for time and used store-bought mirepoix and frozen spinach since that’s what I had. LOVED the “cream” so much, I’m using it tonight in a different stew recipe, just subbing 1/2 c of the stew broth for the soup broth to make it specific to that recipe. This is a keeper. Thank you!

  2. This was fabulous! I didn’t follow the recipe exactly (I never do), substituted a few things, used cooked quinoa that I had etc., but it was a huge hit! My teenage daughter’s friend loved it so much she asked for the recipe, so you may have a new follower. I hope she’ll love your recipes as much as we do!
    My kids asked that I leave a comment and tell you that while they constantly lough at me whenever I use your recipes, they really enjoy them and appreciate them! The term “Simply Quinoa” has become part of our family’s topics for endless talks and laughs!

  3. The Creamy Italian Quinoa soup was soooo GOOD! I sauteed the veggies in broth, as we do not do oil, and the soup was tasty, creamy, flavorful. My husband and I loved it, just what we needed on a cold 1 degree day in Nebraska.

  4. I noticed many of your soups call for coconut milk. I do not like coconut, therefore, do you think I could substitute cashew cream for the coconut milk. If I can, would it be 1 cup of cashew cream for 1 cup of coconut milk?
    Thank you. Holly

  5. I made this for dinner last night and it was so delicious. I’m freezing 1/2 of the pot for a later date. Definitely adding this soup to my favorites list!

  6. I made this soup the other night and it was AWESOME! I substituted northern white beans for chickpeas (personally, I just don’t like chickpeas that much) and it was amazing. I’ve tried a handful of your recipes and they’re all amazing.

  7. Your recipes look amazing! I’m trying to eat more plant based meals but many recipes have chickpeas and chickpeas and I don’t get along. Is there a substitute for them?

  8. A-Mazing‼️ Thanks
    I used chopped frozen spinach, which was a bit easier for me.
    Always looking for amazing flavor without meat, and this tasted like more, for even the meat lovers. ????

  9. Even some of the non vegs in my family love this soup. It is 90 degrees here and I made this today. It is that good.

  10. […] SoupHealthy Barley SoupThe BEST Tomato Basil Soup RecipeGinger Garlic Noodle Soup with Bok ChoyCreamy Italian Quinoa SoupHomemade Vegan “Chicken” Noodle SoupSpicy Black Bean […]

  11. Just made this and …… AHMAZING!!! Being vegetarian for 9 years I’m always looking for new veggie soups in the winter and this one knocked it out of the park! The cashew cream with miso is brilliant . Thank you Alyssa!!

  12. I am eating a bowl of this awesome soup now! It is soooo delicious!
    I sautéed the veggies in a bit of water (not using oil) and thinking next time may use a white bean instead of chick peas…..
    Thank you for this recipe; it is hands down one of the best I’ve tried…..and I think that brand of tomatoes made a huge difference. Can’t wait to try more of your recipes!!

      • Hi,
        I’m very excited to try making this soup. It sounds delicious.
        I’ve never used miso. What kind did you use here – brown or white?
        And by “tamari”, did you mean soy souce?
        Thank you!

        • I like both and you really can’t taste the difference, so maybe whichever is more affordable 🙂 And yes, you can use soy sauce to replace the tamari!

  13. Thumbs up!! My boys (including Dad) usually want meat with dinner. I made this and everyone finished their bowls!! I skipped the cashew cream (although that sounds delightful) and went a heavy cream. Also, topped with a bit of parmesan cheese…I know, I know, but it was YUMMY!

  14. Love this soup! It was a big hit in my house! Delicious! Do you happen to know how many cups this recipe makes? Trying to calculate Weight Watchers points 🙂

  15. This creamy Italian quinoa soup is incredible. I’ve had it three times this week. My new favorite go to soup when it’s chilly outside. I add Cabbage to mine.

  16. Oh my god Alyssa!! I am totally obsessed with the recipes, every single day I have to visit your website and pull something out and try it, I have a list for faves… I just tried this creamy yumm-ness!!! Oh my god!
    I cooked all kind of things, cookies, breakfast bowls, soups, pesto divine sauce, and I don’t know what to say other than thank you!

  17. I’m allergic to cashews. Is there a substitution you could recommend? I’d use a dairy product but that would defeat the purpose 😉

    • Macadamia nuts or Brazil nuts both make fantastic rich nut creams. Raw brazil nuts are pretty easy to find in a WholeFoods or heath store. Hemp hearts are another option, but they have a slightly grassy flavor.
      Sorry you can’t enjoy cashews. 🙂

    • You could coconut cream, but that would change the flavor profile….so maybe the other option would be to blend up some chickpeas or tofu?

    • Depending on your blender, not necessarily. I have a high powered blender and didn’t soak mine at all and they came out totally smooth!

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