Zucchini, Tomato and Quinoa Soup

For those rainy summer nights, we've got a hot, healthy soup that can be enjoyed on the balcony or under a blanket

Credit: Carol Pope

Zucchinis and tomatoes go together beautifully in a healthy soup

A garden-fresh zucchini, tomato and quinoa soup that is light and fresh enough for a summer supper on a not-so-sunny day

Recently graced with a pile of zucchinis from the garden, plus tomatoes from the greenhouse – plum, ‘Tigerella’ and more – along with freshly harvested basil and garlic, I wanted a fast but tasty meal that would pull all these treats together. Being as it was one of those chillier summer days that seem so common lately, I thought a light summer soup would be welcome.

And it was. This is a very fresh soup – not heavy or wintery – inspired by a recipe I found years ago in The Canadian Living Cooking Collection, but which I have since adapted several times.

As this soup works well as leftovers the next day (but does not freeze well, so don’t bother trying that), I like to make a good-sized pot of it. Of course, you can halve or quarter this recipe and I admit to being flexible about amounts when I cook, depending on what I have on hand, so don’t feel you need to be exacting to the last millimetre.

The key to this soup though, is to not skimp on the basil or garlic (and, yes, we really do add eight big cloves!). Once you gather your ingredients, this is a healthy and delicious meal made in about 20 minutes:

Zucchini, Tomato and Quinoa Soup


  • 2 Tbsp (30 mL) extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large sweet onion, chopped (or a regular onion will do)
  • 8 large cloves of garlic, minced or chopped
  • 8 cups chicken/vegetable stock
  • 8 cups pureed tomatoes (I just leave the skins on) or canned tomatoes (not as fresh tasting if you go this route)
  • ¼ cup (60 mL) basil pureed with a little olive oil
  • ¼ cup (60 mL) tomato paste with garlic (optional)
  • ½ cup (125 mL) uncooked quinoa
  • 3–4 large or about 6 smallish zucchinis, sliced into nice soup spoon-sized bites
  • 1 cup (250 mL) pre-cooked kidney or pinto beans
  • Salt and pepper
  • Optional: Chopped fresh chives and/or parsley are a welcome and healthy addition prior to serving
  • Optional: For a heartier meal, upon serving, top a large bowl of this soup with a splash of olive oil, freshly-grated black pepper and some grated Parmesan or Asiago cheese.


  1. In a large pot, heat up the olive oil and sauté the onion and garlic until soft but not brown.
  2. Add the stock, pureed tomatoes and basil. Simmer until warm and then taste to see if the broth is flavourful enough (which will depend on the richness of the stock and ripeness of the tomatoes). If you feel the taste needs a pick-me-up, stir in ¼ cup (60 mL) of tomato paste.
  3. Next, add the quinoa and simmer for 5 minutes, then the zucchini and pre-cooked beans and simmer for 8 more minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Serve as is or top with fresh herbs and/or a splash of olive oil, sprinkling of freshly grated pepper and/or grated cheese. Enjoy!