As a parent cooking for a family, one of your biggest challenges can be finding recipes that are easy and that everyone in the house will actually enjoy. Because let’s be honest: there’s nothing worse than spending a lot of time in the kitchen only to serve a dinner that your kids won’t eat! That’s why this Slow Cooker Italian Chicken and Quinoa Soup is the best of all worlds: it comes together quickly, it’s good for you, and it’s full of familiar flavors and ingredients that the entire family will love!
Quinoa is one of those ingredients that you may have heard about, but it looks (and sounds) funny, you’re not sure how to pronounce it (keen-wah), and you’re not sure what to do with it! But don’t worry — this simple Crock Pot dinner is anything but intimidating.
My kids actually really like quinoa, probably because it’s a mild alternative to rice or couscous. But unlike rice or other similar grains, quinoa is not a grain at all — it’s a seed. That means that it’s gluten-free, easy to digest, and high in protein. All a good start when you’re trying to eat a healthier diet, right?
But a healthy dinner is useless if it leaves you feeling hungry or unsatisfied shortly after you finish your meal! That’s why I love the filling, nourishing ingredients in this quinoa soup, which make it a true one-pot meal. It’s loaded with protein, veggies, flavorful herbs, and a rich, thick broth for the ultimate healthy and satisfying supper.
With only 5 minutes of prep, this easy Slow Cooker Italian Chicken and Quinoa Soup is a healthy dinner that the whole family will love! When cooked on low, it’s also a meal that can sit on your counter simmering all day, making it ideal for working parents who are out of the house for long stretches of time.
Enjoy, my friends!
Slow Cooker Italian Chicken and Quinoa Soup
Yield 8 (2-cup servings)
- 2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed well
- 24 oz jar of marinara sauce (I like to use a brand that doesn’t include any added sugar in the ingredient list)
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 1 cup water
- 2 red bell peppers, seeded and chopped
- 3 large carrots, peeled and sliced into rounds
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 1 (14.5 ounce) can petite-diced tomatoes, NOT drained
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Optional Toppings: shredded mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses, fresh parsley
- Combine all ingredients in a large slow cooker.
- Cover, and cook on “low” for about 7-8 hours, or on high for 3-4 hours.
- Remove the chicken from the slow cooker. Shred or dice the meat, return it to the pot, and season with salt and pepper.
- Garnish with cheese and parsley and serve.
Want to Make it Vegetarian? Omit the chicken and replace the meat with 2 cans of drained and rinsed cannellini beans, garbanzo beans, or kidney beans. You can substitute vegetable broth for the chicken broth, too!
Cooking for Just Two? You can easily cut the recipe in half, which will give you 4 servings of soup. It freezes nicely or keeps in the refrigerator for about a week, so you can enjoy the extra servings at a later date (with no grocery shopping or prep work necessary)!
Want to Prep Ahead? You can make this a slow cooker freezer meal by dumping all of the raw ingredients into a zip-top bag and freezing until ready to use. Before cooking, thaw the bag in the refrigerator overnight and then cook the next day as instructed. Alternatively, you can prepare a big batch of this soup over the weekend and store the extra cooked soup in your freezer for up to 3 months or in your refrigerator for about a week.