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Soup is such a comforting meal to consume and creating delicious, fresh, healthy, plant-based soups has always been a passion of mine. My son LOVES soup more than any other food, and when it comes to packing in the nutrition, it is my best bet for keeping his diet varied. I make soups both chunky and “creamy”, and this recipe can easily be blended using an immersion blender for an infant (see the infant recipe suggestions below). Blending soups lends a “creamy” texture without needing any added fat which makes your meals taste decadent without the health consequences that come from drowning everything in coconut milk or animal fats from cream. Blended soups are great served with chunky toasted bread chunks or mock meatballs (see our blog post on mock meat here).
The Recipe (Makes 4-6 servings, depending on adult or child appetite)
This is sort of an “everything” recipe, but the main focus is on our regular and sweet potatoes that a squeeze of lemon juice and fresh herbs enhances. Suggestions for substitutions are in the recipe, but you can really get creative with the veggies you use. Peas and sweet corn can overpower the subtle taste of the kale and potatoes, however, so I wouldn’t recommend them in this particular soup.
1 cup Russet potatoes, chopped into small cubes (use purple potatoes for more nutrition)
1 cup sweet potato, chopped into small cubes (also try butternut squash, kabocha squash, or pumpkin cubes)
1/2 large purple onion, finely chopped (2/3 a cup of chopped green onion also works)
3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1/2 cup fire roasted corn (riced or regular and chopped cauliflower works as a substitute here as well, texture-wise)
1/2 cup celery, chopped
1 cup carrots, cut into small cubes or shape of choice
1.5 cups kale, chopped into thin slices or squares (remove the firm stems before chopping as they can be hard to chew and blend)
1 Tb fresh parsley, chopped
1 Tb fresh cilantro, chopped (optional; not everyone can eat cilantro)
1 large Roma tomato, chopped into small cubes (you can use bell pepper for color variety as well, mix orange and red bell peppers)
1 bouillon cube, vegetable flavored
40 oz low sodium vegetable broth
1 tsp black pepper, cracked
1 tsp dried basil
2 bay leaves
4 fresh medium sized sage leaves
Lemon to squeeze over each bowl
- In a large stock pot or Dutch oven, sauté your onions and celery over medium heat using canola oil cooking spray initially and then switching to steam frying using water or broth. Cook 3 minutes then add in the garlic and cook for another 1-3 minutes until onions are translucent.
- Add your carrots and potatoes and 1/2 a cup of the vegetable broth and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes with the lid on.
- Add all of the remaining ingredients except your lemon and cilantro. Lower heat to low or low/medium and continue to cook for 30-60 minutes. Begin checking that potatoes are done by piercing them with a fork at the 30 minute mark. Once potatoes are easily speared on a fork, the soup is done. You want your infant or toddler to easily mash the veggies in their mouth.
- Add in the cilantro before cooling. Remove bay leaves before serving.
- Cool 10 minutes before ladling out to serve. Always check the temperature for your infant or toddler on the inner skin of your wrist or using infant safety spoons. Serve with a squeeze of lemon juice over the bowl. This really enhances the flavor and adds a nice refreshing layer to the flavor of the soup.
*If making for an infant just starting mixed meals, you can use an immersion blender to smooth the texture to their ability. You can still serve it with a squirt of fresh lemon juice. For older infants and toddlers, this soup is easily mashed in the mouth with gums and new teeth!
*If cooking for an infant, consider skipping the bouillon cube to limit the amount of sodium per serving and instead adding salt and pepper to your individual bowls.
*For a spicier flavor, add 1 tsp fresh shredded ginger or 1-2 frozen ginger cubes (check your grocer’s freezer section for these convenient packages–you can also find herbs sold this way), or 1/2 tsp cayenne, or smoked paprika.
*For added protein, add in 1 cup of frozen or fresh chopped mushrooms of choice, or 1 cup of beans of choice (mushrooms and beans both change the original taste of the soup, but it is still delicious)
Steps to do with your child
- Removing kale stems. You can easily remove kale stems with your hands. After washing and drying the leaves, help your toddler do this. It is fine and just as tasty to have hand torn kale in the recipe and will keep them busy in a safe way while you prepare other ingredients.
- Tearing up washed and dried parsley and cilantro.
- Rolling the lemon to release the juices for serving. You can also have them juice the lemon with a juicer but this requires supervision as the juice can burn eyes.
- Have them tear up fresh herbs to store for later use while you cook! We often freeze herbs in ice cube trays and this is a task a young child loves to do.
This soup can be cooled and frozen for later use very easily and will maintain most of its taste. We freeze many of our meals in 1-2 cup servings using freezer storage bags and a freezer storage system. To thaw, place in your fridge the day before you plan to use it and heat it up in a saucepan until warmed through.