I am forever game to try yet another chicken soup recipe, especially when it comes together as easily as this one does. It’s based on a restorative soup called aguadito de pollo that is hearty with rice, peas, corn, bell pepper and sometimes potato.

Things are simplified here, but the base of it begins the same way: with a green puree. Cilantro is most often the go-to fresh herb used in Peruvian cooking. But some folks can’t abide its taste, so we’re using parsley instead, which just happens to be in our Dinner in Minutes Pantry. Jalapeño gives it a kick, and if you’ve ever had issues with handling the pepper’s heat, the technique of cutting used here will come in handy.

Serve with whole-grain crackers and a tomato salad.


1small onion

1rib celery

1clove garlic

1small jalapeño pepper

14cupstems flat-leaf parsley (may substitute cilantro; see OVERVIEW)

1tablespoonextra-virgin olive oil

14cupdried quinoa

1large boneless, skinless chicken breast half (tenderloin removed; about 11 ounces)

2cupschicken broth, preferably no-salt-added

1cupfrozen peas (optional)

Flaky sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1or 2 limes, for serving


Step 1

Peel the onion and cut it into quarters. Coarsely chop the celery. Peel the garlic. Lay the jalapeño on the cutting board and use a small serrated or sharp paring knife to cut a thin slice off one side. Turn the pepper onto the newly flat side; this will keep it from rolling around as you continue to cut and turn in the same fashion, avoiding the ribs and seeds, which hold much of the pepper’s heat. Cut more flesh off the end of the pepper, then discard the stem and seed core.

Step 2

Add those 4 ingredients to a blender or mini food processor, along with the parsley (leaves and stems) and oil; pulse until evenly green, with visible green bits. (If the mixture proves difficult to break down, add some of the broth to get things moving.)

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Step 3

Pour the mixture into a medium saucepan or pot over medium heat. Cook for a minute, stirring, then add the remaining 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.

Step 4

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 swell and look “popped open” with little white curlicues, thickening the soup).

Step 5

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.

Step 6

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

Adapted from a recipe in “The Midlife Kitchen,” by Mimi Spencer and Sam Rice (Mitchell Beazley, 2017).

Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick; email questions to voraciously@washpost.com.

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Calories: 160; Total Fat: 8 g; Saturated Fat: 1 g; Cholesterol: 0 mg; Sodium: 380 mg; Carbohydrates: 19 g; Dietary Fiber: 3 g; Sugars: 4 g; Protein: 5 g.