Crockpot Chicken Quinoa Soup is nutritious, protein-packed and filling! This soup has quinoa, shredded chicken, lots of veggies, and Italian-inspired herbs.
Crockpot Chicken Quinoa Soup
This nutritious and hearty soup is so easy to assemble! With less than 30 minutes of prep time, everything can be in the slow cooker, ready to cook. Just a few hours later, a delicious and fragrant soup will be ready to eat!
Top individual bowls with plenty or freshly grated Parmesan cheese and make sure you’ve got some crust bread to serve alongside the soup!
How to make Crockpot Chicken Quinoa Soup
- Mirepoix: This is a fancy name for diced onion, carrot, and celery. We start by sautéing these veggies on the stove top. This not only builds flavor, it also ensures that there are no crunchy veggies in the soup. Even after slow cooking for 5 hours, these particular veggies can remain crunchy.
- Measure out the seasonings: There are a lot of Italian-inspired seasonings in this soup. You can increase or decrease these spices to preference; we enjoy the soup exactly how the recipe is written.
- Add tomato paste and seasonings: By adding these here, they enhance the flavor of the mirepoix and will disperse more evenly into the soup.
- Mix until fragrant: Once the tomato paste and seasonings are well integrated and smelling great, transfer the entire mixture to a slow cooker.
- Add uncooked chicken breast: The chicken goes in uncooked (let the slow cooker do the work!). Cut chicken breasts (or thighs) into small pieces so they will cook quickly.
- Toss in bay leaves and uncooked quinoa: Again, the slow cooker will cook the quinoa through. The bay leaves add a nice subtle flavor.
- Add in undrained fire-roasted diced tomatoes: I recommend a good brand of tomato so this soup doesn’t end up acidic. I love Muir Glen’s® fire-roasted diced tomatoes (not sponsored).
- Pour in good quality chicken stock: Stir everything together, cover the slow cooker, and cook on high for 3-5 hours.
- Once the soup is done cooking, give it a good stir and remove the chicken.
- Shred the chicken: Then stir it back into the soup. Season soup again to taste, add in spinach or kale if desired, and serve.
Crockpot Chicken Quinoa Soup notes
- The longer this soup cooks, the more liquid the quinoa absorbs. For a heartier soup, that’s great, but if you want it to remain more broth-y, stop cooking as soon as the quinoa has “popped.”
- Each slow cooker is a little different so cooking time varies. Look for chicken that shreds easily, quinoa fully cooked through, and tender veggies.
- Use a big enough cooker to fit everything: I recommend a 6-quart Crock-pot. Crock-pot is actually the brand name of a specific line of slow cookers, but most people use it as a generic term for any slow cooker.
- Rinse the quinoa first: Quinoa has a naturally-occurring bitter coating on it, called saponin, and needs to be rinsed before adding to the cooker. Many quinoas are pre-rinsed, so check the package to see if the quinoa has been rinsed. If not, add quinoa to a fine mesh sieve and rinse it under cold water until the water beneath the sieve runs clear.
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This Crockpot Chicken Quinoa Soup is nutritious, protein-packed and filling! This soup has quinoa, shredded chicken, lots of veggies, and Italian-inspired herbs.
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup EACH: diced yellow onion, diced celery, diced carrots
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning blend
- 2 teaspoons EACH: dried oregano, dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional
- Salt and pepper to taste preference
- 2 small (~12 ounces or 3/4ths a pound) small boneless skinless chicken breasts, each breast cut into 3-5 pieces
- 2 cans (14.5 ounces EACH) undrained fire-roasted diced tomatoes
- 3/4 cup uncooked quinoa (See Note 1)
- 6 cups chicken stock
- 2 bay leaves
- Optional: 2 cups coarsely chopped baby spinach
- For serving: fresh basil, freshly grated Parmesan cheese, crusty bread
MIREPOIX: In a cast iron pot or skillet, heat the 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium high heat. Once oil is shimmering, add in the 1 cup diced onion, 1 cup diced carrots, and 1 cup diced celery. Cook and stir for 7-9 minutes. Add in the 2 teaspoons minced garlic, 1/4 cup tomato paste, 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning, 2 teaspoons dried oregano, 2 teaspoons dried basil, 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, and 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes if using. Season with salt and pepper. Stir until fragrant and combined, another 1-3 minutes. Transfer all of this mixture to a 6 quart slow cooker.
SLOW COOKER: Remove any fat from the chicken breasts, and cut into chunks -- about 3-5 per breast (this ensures it will cook in the same amount of time). Place in the slow cooker along with the 2 cans undrained fire-roasted diced tomatoes, 3/4 cup uncooked quinoa (See Note 1), 2 bay leaves, and 6 cups chicken stock. Stir together.
COOK: Cover and cook on high for 3-5 hours or until quinoa has "popped" and chicken shreds easily. I don't recommend cooking on low (See Note 2). Once chicken shreds easily, remove from slow cooker into a separate bowl or plate and shred with two forks. Return to the soup and stir. Remove bay leaves and discard. If desired, add in 2 cups coarsely chopped baby spinach and stir gently to wilt. Taste soup and season with any additional salt or pepper as needed.
SERVE: Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with fresh basil and lots of freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Enjoy with a side of crusty bread.
STORAGE: When stored, note that the quinoa will continue to absorb liquid. This soup does not freeze and thaw well.
Note 1: Quinoa has a bitter saponin coating on it and needs to be rinsed before adding to the soup. Many quinoas are pre-rinsed, so check the package to see if the quinoa has been rinsed. If not, add quinoa to a fine mesh sieve and rinse it under cold water until the water beneath the sieve runs clear.
Note 2: When cooked on low, the quinoa finishes a lot quicker than the chicken and veggies. The longer this soup sits or cooks, the more broth that gets absorbed into the quinoa. This makes it heartier and also less broth-y. If you want a more broth-y soup, watch carefully and remove from the heat of the slow cooker when it is your desired consistency. Alternatively, add more broth as desired.