Easy Vegan Cabbage-Tomato Soup With Quinoa

Cabbage, tomatoes, and quinoa...just what I need for a light, nourishing winter lunch. Yum!
Let me introduce you to one of my favorite go-to soups, one I love to make on weekends in the winter when I need something quick and healthy. (It probably burns more calories to prepare it than it adds when you eat it.) We used to call the original version of this soup "T-J Miracle Soup" back in the day in Oklahoma, where I'm originally from. That soup calls for the same veggie combo as I use here, but it's seasoned with a packet of onion soup mix and doesn't call for quinoa. It was part of a 7 day diet plan to lose 10 pounds by eating very specific foods each day, along with as much of the "T-J Miracle Soup" as you wanted. I did the T-J soup diet in my 20's a couple of times and yes, I could definitely lose 8 to 10 pounds in a week, but I'd gain it right back as soon as I went back to the foods I ate then (pizza, chips, etc.)

Nowadays I manage my weight a lot better without extreme dieting, but I still love my version of this soup. I really crave it sometimes, particularly after a feasting holiday like Thanksgiving or Christmas when I just want something warm and satisfying that won't add many calories and basically zero fat (255 calories and 0.06 grams of fat in the entire pot of soup, by my calculations using the Calorie King app.) Added bonus? This soup is cheap to make. The most expensive item is probably the cup of quinoa.

It takes me maybe 10 minutes max to prep the soup and get it simmering, another 20-25 minutes to cook it, and 10 seconds to ladle it into a bowl and start enjoying its cabbage-y vegetable goodness. I love it with two or three drops of Tabasco sprinkled over the top, and the soup is made more substantial and filling by spooning some cooked quinoa into your bowl (making kind of a quickie, Eastern-European version of Peruvian Quinoa Soup, which, by the way, is also delicious.)

Easy Vegan Cabbage-Tomato Soup With Quinoa

2 celery stalks, sliced
1 cup yellow onion, diced
1 cup green bell pepper, diced
2-3 cups cabbage, diced or shredded
4-6 cups veggie broth, or water with a teaspoon of Better than Bouillon vegetable base
1 tsp sea salt, or to taste, plus fresh ground black pepper
1 can diced tomatoes
Fresh or dried chopped herbs of choice, such as parsley, basil, or oregano
1/2 cup - 1 cup cooked quinoa, or to taste

Place all veggies except for the canned tomatoes in a pot with the vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Simmer 10-15 minutes, or until the cabbage is translucent and tender. Add salt and pepper as well as the canned tomatoes, and continue simmering an additional 10 minutes. Add fresh or dried herbs of choice if desired. If I'm in a hurry (which is usually the case) I just sprinkle in a good helping of dried parsley. Sometimes I like mixed-herb blends like Italian Seasoning in this. Just go with what herbs sound good to you at the time.

When ready to eat, spoon in some quinoa, mix, and enjoy.

Optional add-in: a drop or two of Tabasco sauce.