Day 7 – The Bolivian Kitchen: Sopa de Quinoa

Day 7 – The Bolivian Kitchen: Sopa de Quinoa

Sopa de Quinoa (quinoa soup) is a Bolivian staple eaten at least weekly by almost every Bolivian. A typical Bolivian lunch would be an appetizer maybe of 2 quail eggs on a bed of lettuce topped with shredded radish and carrot. Then a big bowl of quinoa soup with fresh parsley and cilantro on top. This is followed by a main meal of baked chicken (sajta de pollo) topped with a vegetable puree served over a bed of rice with a boiled potato. Finally there is a dessert of fruit pudding. All of this for about 14Bs (about $2US). Lunch takes at least on hour to eat and then there is the hour long siesta afterwards. Just lovely!


    1 Tbsp Oil

1 cup diced Onion

4 Garlic cloves, minced

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp ground white pepper

1 tsp ground Cumin

2 Tomatoes, diced

1 pound of beef cut into cubes plus a meat bone (optional). This can also be made with ½ of a chicken chopped up, or a veggi broth.

4 medium Potatoes, peeled and cubed

10 cups Water

2 cups of fresh green Peas (or frozen)

2 cups of washed* Quinoa

4 tbs of chopped Parsley

4 tbs of chopped Cilantro

Salt to your liking



Step 1: Heat oil in soup pot over medium heat. Add onion and cook until soft, about 10 minutes. Add garlic, paprika, cumin and pepper and cook until fragrant, about 1 – 2 minutes.

Step 2: Add tomatoes, meat, potatoes and water and let cook over medium to medium-low heat until potato is soft, about 40 minutes.

Step 3: Add peas and quinoa and let cook until quinoa is beginning to soften, about 7 – 10 minutes.

Step 4: Just before serving add parsley and cilantro.

Before eating shout “Provecho!” the Bolivian way of saying ”thanks and dig in!” Makes 6 – 8 servings.

*Note: Quinoa is coated with sour tasting saponin. Though most of the quinoa sold in stores today has been processed and the saponin taken out, some still remains. The secret to delicious quinoa is washing it before cooking. Fill a medium sized bowl with water and pour in the amount of quinoa you need for your recipe. Scrub the quinoa grains together with your hands under the water. Do this for about 3 minutes. The water will turn milky. Carefully strain your quinoa out of the bowl, pouring off the dirty water. Repeat if you wish until the water runs clear. Now add your clean quinoa to fresh water and you are ready to go.