Peruvian Lemon Chicken Soup, Quinoa & Potatoes – Caldo de Gallina (Pollo) con Quinoa y Papas Recipe

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Caldo de Gallina (Pollo) is a typical soup cooked in the Peruvian Sacred Valley.

Now that we’re home from our trip to Peru, our “whole house” is now sick (including our dog who was visiting the pet resort) — so I’ve decided that this easy and delicious soup will be our first “Peruvian meal at home”.  I’ve changed a few of the ingredients (mainly to make the “traditional soup” a little more flavorful, and less acidic).

*Note: if you want to stay away from protein, you might want to substitute the quinoa out for a non-protein choice (i.e., for a noodle or vegetable. Read our post about the Quinoa fields to learn more about the nutritional aspects )

Peruvian Lemon Chicken Soup, Quinoa & Potatoes – Caldo de Gallina (Pollo) con Quinoa y Papas Recipe (low sodium)

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Yield: ~ 7-9 cups

Peruvian Lemon Chicken Soup, Quinoa & Potatoes – Caldo de Gallina (Pollo) con Quinoa y Papas Recipe (low sodium)


  • 7 cups low sodium chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup carrots, chopped
  • 1/2 cup quinoa*, well rinsed
  • 1 teaspoon Aji Amarillo puree (or make a small amount of paste from ground paprika or  chili, depending upon your tolerance for heat, add a tiny amount water, enough to moisten)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest, grated (zest from approximately 1/2 lemon)
  • Optional Ingredients:
  • - 1 cup potato, cut into small pieces, and boiled
  • - 1 cup cassava, peeled, cut into small pieces, and boiled (see below for instructions on how to cook cassava)
  • Garnish: Cilantro.


  1. Prepare Quinoa: When preparing to cook [most] Quinoa, one should pre-rinse the quinoa in cold water to remove the saponins which are bitter tasting (note that there are some varietals which have been cultivated to be saponin free). I put the quinoa into a fine mesh strainer, and rinse the mixture under running water for several minutes.
  2. In a stock pot, add the chicken stock, carrots, quinoa, lemon zest, and Aji paste and stir/combine.
  3. Bring to a boil, and turn down the heat -- let simmer for 15 - 25 minutes, or until the the germ separates from the seed (the cooked germ looks like a tiny half curl and generally is cooked to "al dente").
  4. Add the rinsed and boiled cassava and potatoes to the soup.
  5. Garnish and serve.

How to Cook Cassava:

Cooked cassava is delicious, but cassava should NEVER be eaten raw: it should be peeled, washed thoroughly — and cooked for a long time, as there are toxins in the root which need to be cooked out in order for the food to be consumed “safely” -  please reference this link for further information ).

If you want to add the peeled potato and cassava, prepare them in advance of the soup. Boil the items in a separate pot for 35-45 minutes, and make sure you always discard the boiling water after cooking (don’t reuse this water for other cooking, and make sure that the cassava is fully cooked.)

Once the starches are fully cooked (translucent in color, and soft to the touch – but not mushy), rinse well in cold water


About Johanna

Johanna weaves together a love for global foods and wanderlust in Low Sodium Blog. Inspired by her foodie family, who met a number of serious health challenges and adapted to low sodium diets on a turn of a dime, Low Sodium Blog chronicles their (farm) source to table expeditions, culinary travel, low sodium recipes, healthy eating adventures, and more. She and her family live in Los Angeles, California, a great travel hub and culinary playground.

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