Peruvian Quinoa Chowder

Recipe: Peruvian Quinoa Chowder

Makes : 4 to 6 servings | Soups/Stews Soups/Stews
I love the unique ways with quinoa in the Peruvian kitchen, especially some of their hearty soups. This version combines quinoa, corn, and shrimp into one satisfying chowder. I prefer a spicy version, so I generally go for two jalapeños. Since they vary so much in heat, though, you may want to start with one chile and mince the other as a topping for those who like it hot.


  • 1 pound peeled raw shrimp, roughly chopped
  • 2 teaspoons salt (divided)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 bunch green onions (about 6), whites and green tops thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 or 2 jalapeño chiles, seeded and minced
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon dried leaf oregano (not powdered)
  • 2/3 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 6 cups gluten-free chicken broth
  • 1 cup corn kernels (defrosted if frozen)
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • Lime wedges, for serving


  • Put the shrimp in a colander over the sink and toss them with 1 teaspoon of the salt. Let stand until ready to use. (Use within 30 minutes or refrigerate.)
  • In a large pot, heat the oil over moderate heat. Add the green onions and cook until starting to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and jalapeños and cook 1 minute longer. Stir in the tomato paste, cumin, and oregano and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes more.
  • Add the quinoa and chicken broth to the pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, until the quinoa is cooked, about 15 minutes. Stir in the corn, half and half, and the remaining 1 teaspoon of salt. Simmer gently until the corn is cooked, about 5 minutes.
  • Stir in the shrimp and the black pepper. Cook until the shrimp just turns pink, about 3 minutes. Stir in the cilantro. Serve the soup with a squeeze of fresh lime juice.
  • Variations: (1) Stir in a few tablespoons of peanut butter along with the cilantro to thicken the soup and add a distinctive peanut-y taste. (2) Eliminate the shrimp and use vegetable broth for a vegetarian version. You could even add a can of drained hominy instead of the shrimp. (3) Stir in half a cup of defrosted frozen peas along with the corn. (4) Use a combination of half bottled clam juice and half water instead of the chicken broth. (5) Add more sliced jalapeños on top of the soup for additional heat.
  1. Yes laura…I Get it! Although growing up in Seattle and now living in OR I have a special appreciation of rain over the average person…but I wasn’t quite there yet this Fall! Maybe it was b/c or stunning weather throughout Sept and OCT had me spoiled…but here it is and I have been craving warm and comforting soups! This soup look amazing1 I will leave the corn out and sub the cream for something dairy free, but I am pinning this for dinner! Thank you!

  2. Samantha says:

    I made this a couple of weeks ago. Absolutely delicious! I had to get a thermos just so I could take the leftovers to work XD

  3. Susan says:

    Laura, This was so flavorful, I’ll make it again and again. My son loved it so much, he asked if I’d pack a thermos of leftovers for him for lunch the next day (and the day after that too…mmm, but it was all gone by then)! Thanks so much! Susan

  4. Tracy says:

    want to try!

    LOVE LOVE LOVE the book

  5. MR says:

    Prepared this with the intent of a meal and it worked excellently. I really enjoy when heartiness and lightness come together in a meal, much less in one dish. The half and half provides nice body without becoming heavy. I reviewed the optional preparations but family liked the main recipe so much don’t think I’ll be deviating (at least not on the next round). Likely we’ll be revisiting this winter. Chin Chin!

Leave a Reply to Samantha