Recife, Pernambuco, Brazil

Cuenca Veggie Soup (or Sopa Wawa Namnam)

November 5th, 2013 | Posted by Brianna in Ecuador | Food

When we settle in a new place for a while, we usually take stock of what foods are readily and cheaply available, and then base our meals on those items. This month, the produce stalls at the many markets set us up for a delicious and simple veggie soup that we’ve stuck with week after week. We usually do all of the prep on Sundays and tuck into the fridge enough light, but filling lunch for the two of us until the following weekend. Here’s what we do:


  • small potatoes, chopped
  • 15 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 red onions, chopped
  • 4 carrots, chopped
  • 4-5 peppers, any color, chopped
  • fresh green beans, chopped
  • 1 bunch chard, with stems, chopped
  • olive oil
  • 1 to 1.5 cups uncooked quinoa
  • 5 veggie broth cubes
  • 10 slices of bread
  • 5 avocados

Sunday Prep

1. Rinse and chop your veggies.


Whole food ingredients. Not shown: broth cubes, bread, three extra avocados

Chopped Veggies

Chopped veggies. We got a deal at the market on pre-cut carrots. Chunks work just as well there. Also, note the chard stalks chopped separately on the left.


2. Boil the potatoes. You want them soft enough to eat, but not so much that they’re falling apart. Set aside.

3. Saute garlic and onions in oil. Add carrots after a few minutes. Add peppers, green beans, and chard stems after a few more minutes. Mix occasionally. Set aside after about 15 minutes or so. The veggies should be warm and slightly cooked, but still fresh and with a bit of crunch left in the green beans.

Sauteing Veggies

Sauteing veggies. Our pan is almost too small!

4. Saute chard in oil for 5 minutes. Set aside.

5. Cook quinoa. If you’ve never done this before, it’s quite similar to rice, but with a rinse at the beginning. Rinse, put 1 part quinoa, 2 parts water in pot, bring to boil, reduce to simmer, put lid on, check in 15 minutes. Read more here and here. Set aside.

Rinsed Quinoa

Rinsed quinoa.

Pre-boiling Quinoa

Pre-boiling quinoa.

6. Mix potatoes (step 2), veggies (step 3), chard (step 4), and quinoa (step 5). If you wanted to put the mixture into separate containers for each day of the week, this would be a good time to do that. We just work with what we have, which happened to be a big plastic pitcher this month.

Pre-mixed Soup

Pre-mixed soup in our biggest "bowl".

Soup Mixture

Soup mixture.

7. Put in fridge until you’re ready to eat.

Weekday Prep

1. At lunchtime, put soup mixture into a skillet. Crumble veggie broth cube over the mixture (one cube per two people, which is about 1/5 of the soup mixture per day; otherwise, adjust ratio to your amount) and add as much water as you desire. Heat and stir.

Note 1: Veggie broth cubes are high in sodium. Account for this by balancing elsewhere. It would also be pretty swell if you used your own homemade veggie broth.

Note 2: You can also do this in a microwave if you don’t have a stovetop available at lunchtime, but we recommend mixing the hot water and veggie broth cubes first and then adding to the veggie mix this way.

Veggie Cubes

The veggie cubes available at our local grocery store.

Crumbled Cube

Crumbled cube. Be sure to mix well.

2. Cut one avocado. Add to soup just before eating.

Add Avocado

Bowl-o-soup with avocado added.

3. Toast one slice of bread per person. We recommend whole grain bread. Dip toast into soup while eating.

Toast for Dipping

Toast for dipping. So good. So, so good.

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