Summer Vegetable Soup with Quinoa Salad

Excerpted from Back to the Cutting Board by Christina Pirello

This is a great summer dish—a light soup and grain meal all in one bowl. Summer vegetables have lots of moisture and keep us cool, especially when served as soup. A scoop of quinoa salad makes this the perfect summer soup, because quinoa is a whole grain that grows in a hot climate, so it cools us down. Plus it cooks quickly, so you won’t create lots of heat in your kitchen. The best part is that this soup is splendidly pretty on a summer table.

Makes 3 to 4 servings


2 teaspoons avocado or extra-virgin olive oil
½ small leek, split lengthwise, rinsed well, and thinly sliced
Sea salt
1 stalk celery, diced
1 to 2 small carrots, diced
1 small yellow summer squash, diced
4 to 5 cups spring or filtered water
2½ teaspoons white miso
1 to 2 scallions, thinly sliced on the diagonal, for serving
Fruity olive oil, for serving

Quinoa Salad

½ cup quinoa, rinsed well
1 cup spring or filtered water
Pinch sea salt
2 scallions, diced
¼ cup organic corn kernels (fresh or frozen)
½ roasted red bell pepper, diced
½ teaspoon red wine vinegar
½ teaspoon balsamic vinegar

To make the soup:

Heat the oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the leek with a pinch of salt and sauté until limp, about 1 minute. Add the celery and another a pinch of salt, and sauté until shiny with oil. Add the carrots and a pinch of salt, and sauté for 1 minute. Add the summer squash and stir until combined. Add the water, cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, until the vegetables are quite soft, 15 to 20 minutes.

Working in batches, put the soup through a food mill to create a smooth, silky texture. Return the soup to the pot and bring it back to a simmer over low heat. Remove a small amount of liquid and use it to dissolve the miso. Stir the miso mixture into the soup; simmer for 3 to 4 minutes to activate the enzymes in the miso.

While the soup cooks, make the salad:

Add the quinoa and water to a saucepan and cover loosely. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Add the salt; cover and simmer until all the liquid has been absorbed, about 17 minutes. Stir in the scallions, corn, bell pepper, red wine vinegar, and balsamic vinegar.

To serve, place a scoop of quinoa salad in the center of individual soup bowls. Ladle the soup around the salad, garnish with the scallions, and serve hot with a drizzle of a fruity olive oil.


  1. Christine said on

    Did you used roasted red pepper from a jar or roast one or would either work?
    Looks great, thanks.

    • Christina Pirello said on

      I usually roast my own peppers because I prefer the flavor to that of the jarred peppers but you can use either with great results in this recipe!

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