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!
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.
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 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.
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.
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
- Vegan Creamy Broccoli Soup
- Anti-Inflammatory Ginger & Turmeric Carrot Soup
- Tuscan Kale & White Bean Stew
- Roasted Garlic Cauliflower Chowder
- Lemon and Garlic Wild Rice Soup
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
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 white onion chopped
- 4 medium carrots chopped
- 4 celery ribs chopped
- 3 garlic cloves crushed
- 1 15oz can chickpeas, drained & rinsed
- 1/3 cup white quinoa uncooked
- 1 14.5oz can Tuttorosso Stewed Tomatoes*
- 1 15oz can Tuttorosso Tomato Sauce
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 1 tablespoon dried Italian herbs
- 4 - 6 cups fresh spinach
- 1/2 cup raw cashews
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast + more if desired
- 1 teaspoon miso paste
- 1/4 cup water
- Salt & pepper to taste
- 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.
- Add chickpeas and quinoa to the mixture.
- 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).
- 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"!
- 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!