A quinoa and chicken Parmesan soup that is simple, hearty, healthy and all made in the slow cooker (crockpot).
A while back I made a one dish chicken Parmesan quinoa dish and featured it on the blog. That meal quickly became the little guy’s favorite – he loves quinoa and he is OBSESSED with anything containing lots of tomatoes/red sauce.
While I was recipe testing the dish, I’m pretty certain I burned the husband out of it – we had it 4 (maybe 5) nights in a row? Okay, I was burned out too. The babe? He could have eaten every night I’m pretty sure. In fact, I don’t think I’ve seen him eat as much at one time as he did with that dish! But once I was 100% happy with the recipe, I posted it, and haven’t made it since. How-ev-er… when the little guy came down with a cold this week, I knew I had to make him something with lots of quinoa, lots of red sauce, and something warm.
Naturally, soup instantly came to mind. Because isn’t that what everyone likes when they are sick? I like soup pretty much every time it’s cold outside, but especially when I’m sick! And for the record, the next time I’m sick, I’m definitely requesting this soup!! Warm, rich, chunky, and pure straight comfort food. But in a healthier way because: lots of tomatoes (they form the broth – so no heavy creams here), good protein source (chicken), and quinoa (healthy grain). Yes, this soup doesn’t have any heavy cream or milk! But it’s far from a brothy soup, it’s quite chunky and almost stew-like in texture.
Yes, this is definitely a chunkier stew-like soup. Not so much a brothy-dip-pieces-of-crusty-bread kind of soup. There are other soups for that. And the longer you leave this in the slow cooker, the more the quinoa + other ingredients will absorb the liquid. Everyone’s slow cookers are so different, but as a general rule, this soup is done when the chicken is cooked all the way through. For mine that was about 3 hours. I left it in the slow cooker just to see what would happen and it gets less and less liquid-y with every hour.
If you want a more brothy soup though, this one is very easy to make! Simply add in some more chicken broth and stir it really well. When we had leftovers the next day it wasn’t especially soupy so I just added another cup of chicken broth and it was great – no loss of flavor or anything! You can always add a bit more of the spices if needed though!
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast
- 1 cup quinoa
- 1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- Pinch of red pepper flakes optional
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1/2 cup yellow onion finely chopped
- 1 can (24 ounces) garlic and herb flavored spaghetti sauce
- 1 (14.25 ounces) petite diced tomatoes
- 4-6 cups chicken broth
- 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Optional: mozzarella cheese fresh basil
Spray your slow cooker with nonstick spray - be generous!
Remove any fat from the chicken and cut into smaller pieces. I had 4-5 chicken chunks. Add the chicken to the slow cooker.
Rinse the quinoa and add it to the slow cooker along with the Italian seasoning, dried oregano, pinch of red pepper flakes, garlic, chopped onion, spaghetti sauce, undrained petite diced tomatoes, and chicken broth.
I poured in 4 cups of chicken broth. Stir everything really well and cover the slow cooker. Allow to cook on high for 3-4 hours. (If you have a really hot slow cooker, maybe even less time and you may have to stir it several times throughout cooking so the quinoa doesn't stick to the edges)
Remove the chicken chunks, shred the chicken with two forks, and add it back to the soup. Stir everything together and add in 1-2 more cups chicken broth if desired (I like it chunkier without the extra broth).
Season with salt and pepper and any other additional seasonings if desired.
Stir in the Parmesan (and mozzarella if desired - just as much as you want) cheese and allow to melt.
Top with fresh basil (and an extra garnish of Parmesan cheese) and enjoy while it's hot!