Soups are the perfect comfort food for winter, but just because you’re cooking up soup for dinner doesn’t mean that it needs to be hard to make!
This simple Paleo soup calls for just eight ingredients – and that’s including salt and pepper – which come together in under 30 minutes for a tasty, protein-rich soup that’s perfect for a weeknight vegetarian meal. Meatless Monday just got a bit tastier!
Ingredients (for one serving)
Note: This recipe makes far more sautéed kale than you’ll need for just one portion of soup. But that’s because making a whole bunch of sautéed kale is an easy step you can take to make the rest of your meals for the week that much easier! The sautéed kale keeps very well in a container in the fridge and is perfect for adding to other soups and breakfast omelets.
- 1 bunch kale
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 shallot
- 40 grams quinoa
- 1 egg
- salt and pepper
Making the Soup
- Start the quinoa first, as this is the part of the soup that will take the longest. Place the quinoa in a sauce pot and rinse thoroughly to remove all of the saponins, which can leave a bitter, soapy taste. Not the ideal flavor for your soup!
Next, cover the quinoa with water. You could use broth to make this soup, particularly if you make your own, but with strong flavored foods like kale, I prefer to add my own flavorings, with the garlic, shallot, salt and pepper. You end up with a much more pure tasting soup, which is to my liking.
- Season the quinoa with about a teaspoon of salt (you can always add more, but you can’t take it away once you’ve added it!)
- Cook the quinoa over medium heat while you prepare the kale. Depending on the variety of quinoa you’ve purchased, it will take between 20 and 30 minutes to cook. Check the package for a more exact cooking time.
- The next step is going to be to de-stem the kale. You don’t need to remove all the stems – just the big, central ones that run through each leaf. The easiest way to do this is to pull the kale leaf off the stem into bite-sized pieces. You’ll be cutting the kale later, so there’s no need to worry about pulling the kale off into pieces that are all the same size; just be sure you get rid of all of the large stems. I like to work directly in my salad spinner bowl, placing all the kale into the base of the spinner so that I can easily wash it afterwards. (You’ll be left with a pile of stems. Don’t throw them out! You can save them and add them to your next veggie stock or even put them through your electric juicer for a nice shot of kale juice. Just be sure to wash them first!)
- Wash your kale thoroughly. There’s nothing worse than a bit of grit getting left behind and making its way into your soup! I use the base of the salad spinner to make this super easy. Fill it with water, then massage the kale leaves with your fingers to remove any grit that might be left. Place the kale into the sieve of the spinner and dump out the water and sand in the salad spinner bowl. Then, rinse the kale one last time. No need to spin the kale dry for this recipe! Just place it in the basket of the spinner and set it aside in the sink while you prepare the aromatics. You’ll see why in just a moment!
- Start by slicing the shallot. Slice it in half lengthwise through the root and tip. Then peel it and thinly slice each half into half-moon slices.
- Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium heat and add the shallot. Season with a bit of salt, and let it sauté while you mince the garlic. Garlic burns more quickly than shallots do, so you can caramelize the shallot a bit before adding the garlic to cook quickly at the end.
- Peel the garlic by smashing each of the cloves with the side of your knife and removing the papery skin. Mince the garlic very finely. By this point, the shallot should be nicely sautéed and a bit brown. Add the garlic to the pan and stir. Cook only until the garlic becomes fragrant, about a minute or two.
- Add the kale in handfuls, allowing any water still clinging to the leaves to come into the pan as well. This will help keep the garlic from burning while the kale steams. See? I told you not spin-drying the kale would be useful! You’ll end up with a big pile of kale in your pan, but don’t worry – it’ll cook down! Cover the pan with a lid. It might not cover all the way, but that’s ok. Let it steam over medium or medium-low heat.
- After just 5-10 minutes of steaming, the kale will have reduced quite a bit in volume. At this point, you can remove the cover and stir the kale a bit to make sure that it’s all wilted evenly.
- Your kale may have rendered some liquid. Continue cooking it, uncovered, until this liquid has evaporated. Then turn off the heat and set the kale aside to cool a bit. Allow the kale to cool enough that you can handle it without burning yourself. Then mound the kale on your cutting board and finely slice it. This will make the kale pieces far more manageable in the soup. I finely chopped all of this sautéed kale and set what I wasn’t using for this soup in a container to use for another recipe. You’ll only need a handful or two for each serving of soup.
- At this point, your quinoa will have finished cooking. Taste it to make sure that it’s the consistency you want. Add handfuls of chopped kale to the quinoa until you have about equal parts kale and quinoa. Stir everything together. Add a touch more water as needed to get a bit more broth, but this soup is really intended to be more chunky than brothy. You can taste the base at this point and season with salt as needed.
- Keep the soup over low heat while you poach the egg for the top, just to heat the kale through. Heat some water to a low simmer. I use an electric kettle for this to make it even easier. Just heat the water until the kettle shuts itself off, then add the water to a saucepan set over low heat. Add a touch of white vinegar to the water to help the egg white congeal, and crack the egg into a ramekin before adding it to the water.
- Stir the water with a spoon to form a whirlpool, then pour the egg directly into the whirlpool. Cook for about 2 minutes for set whites and a runny yolk. When the egg is cooked, carefully remove it with a spoon or slotted spoon and place it on a paper towel or dishtowel to dry it slightly before setting it on top of the soup.
Serve a bowl of soup and add the egg on top. Season with a touch of salt and fresh cracked black pepper.