Peruvian Chicken Soup (Aquadito de Pollo)

As the weather starts getting warmer we start thinking about getting into shape for the summer by eating healthier foods. This VERY healthy (and very green) soup includes quinoa (Peru’s famous super seed), lean chicken breast, lots of cilantro (or parsley) and lime. Delicious!  The recipe is from the Washington Post and is adapted from a recipe in “The Midlife Kitchen,” by Mimi Spencer and Sam Rice.



(2 servings; makes about 4 cups)


  • 1 small onion
  • 1 rib celery
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 small jalapeño pepper
  •  3/4 cup cilantro (stems and leaves chopped) OR 8 stems flat leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 generous cups chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup dried quinoa
  • 1 large boneless, skinless chicken breast half (tenderloin detached; about 11 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas (or fresh peas)
  • Flaky sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 or 2 limes, for serving


Peel the onion and cut it into quarters. Coarsely chop the celery. Peel the garlic and cut the flesh of the jalapeño away from its seed core, discarding the latter. Add those 4 ingredients to a blender or mini food processor, along with the parsley or cilantro (leaves and tender stems) and oil; pulse to create a pesto-like consistency. (If the mixture proves difficult to break down, add a few tablespoons of the broth to get things moving.)

Pour the mixture into a medium saucepan or pot over medium heat. Cook for a minute, stirring, then add the broth. Rinse the quinoa, if needed (read the package directions), and then add it to the pan. Once the mixture starts to bubble, cover and cook for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, cut the chicken crosswise into 5 or 6 pieces, adding them to the pot as you work. Cook, uncovered, for 10 minutes or until the chicken and quinoa are cooked through; the quinoa will thicken and look “popped open,” thickening the soup.

Use tongs to transfer the chicken pieces to a cutting board; use two forks to shred the meat, then return it to the pot, along with the peas, if using. Once the peas are heated through and tender, taste and season the soup with salt and pepper, as needed.

Cut the limes into wedges. Serve the soup hot, with some lime for each portion.

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