Here is a meal that I made last week for my family: quinoa chowder with spinach and feta. It’s pretty standard in our meal rotation, especially in winter. For those of you unfamiliar with quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah), it is a small, edible seed about half the size of a grain of brown rice. It is grown from a plant that is mainly grown and harvested in South America. It has a very mild taste similar to brown rice but slightly nutty. It is a fabulous vegetarian protein source and we have been eating it regularly since we became mostly vegetarian over a year ago. My husband wrote a great article about quinoa on his blog

Where to Buy Organic Quinoa

You should be able to find organic quinoa in your grocery store, possibly in a box. Whole Foods sells it in bulk. We now buy our organic quinoa from Costco at a much better price. If you don’t find it at a store near you, organic quinoa can be found on

Why You Will Love This Meal

  • Vegetarian
  • Gluten Free
  • Can make in about 30 minutes (maybe not the first time, though)
  • Serves six to eight (great for a big family, dinner guests, or leftovers the next day)


  • 2 cups quinoa, rinsed well
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tsp ground cumin, or to taste
  • salt and pepper
  • onion powder
  • 1/2 lb. boiling potatoes, in 1/4″ cubes and peeled
  • 3 cups finely sliced spinach leaves (fresh or frozen)
  • 1/2 lb. (8 oz) feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1/3 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 hard boiled egg, chopped
Quinoa Chowder Ingredients

Quinoa Chowder Ingredients

Notes About Ingredients

The above list of ingredients is what I use to make this meal. I deviated from the original recipe in the following ways:

  • I use two cups of quinoa; the original recipe uses just 3/4 cup. I wanted to increase protein and make the meal go farther.
  • I left out the following ingredients: 1 jalepe├▒o chile (seeded and finely diced) and scallions (I toss in some onion powder instead of scallions)
  • Since I increased the overall quantity of the meal by increasing the quinoa, I doubled the feta, too. The original recipe calls for 1/4 lb. feta.


  • Put quinoa and two quarts (eight cups) water in a pot, bring to boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
  • While it’s cooking, dice the vegetables and cheese.
  • When the quinoa is done, drain the quinoa saving the liquid.
  • Heat oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the garlic and chile.
  • Cook for about 30 seconds, giving it a quick stir.
  • Add the cumin, 1 tsp salt, and the potatoes and cook for a few minutes, stirring frequently. Don’t let the garlic brown.
  • Measure the saved quinoa water and add more water to make six cups, if needed.
  • Add that water to potatoes and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.
  • Add quinoa and spinach and simmer for three minutes more.
  • Turn off heat and stir in feta and cilantro.
  • Season the soup with pepper and garnish with chopped egg.
  • Serves 6-8.

Since this is a pretty low fat meal, we always add a good tablespoon of olive oil to each individual bowl. (It’s very important to get plenty of healthy fats!)

Here is the finished product!

Quinoa Chowder

Quinoa Chowder

Note that I forgot to boil the egg until it was all done, and thus there is no garnish. *gasp* ­čśë But I hope you get the idea anyway!

Why We Love This Meal

  • Great vegetarian option, especially in winter.
  • Love the kick of flavor the feta cheese provides.
  • Relatively quick and easy to make, especially after you’ve made it once.
  • Makes a lot of chowder, which means leftovers the next day, which means even EASIER!

Our almost-three-year-old son likes it, too! (Sorry about the caught-in-mid-bite photo, G-man. I owe you one!)

Our son enjoying his chowder

Our son enjoying his chowder

Wendy –

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