Simple Soups for Kids and Teens

Sweet potato soup

Is there anyone out there who isn’t instantly comforted by the thought of a nice warm bowl of soup? Here are a few easy, appealing vegan soups that can become the favorites of kids and teens. Even kids who balk at vegetables may be more likely to enjoy them when enveloped in a tasty broth. See also Creamy Corn Chowder in Tofu 101. And make sure to explore the entire Veg Kids and Teens page on VegKitchen for lots of easy, healthy recipes for vegetarian and vegan kids and teens.


SIMPLE SWEET POTATO SOUP Nutritious sweet potatoes need little embellishment to make a flavorful soup. This one is made extra easy by baking or microwaving the sweet potatoes ahead of time, sparing the cook from having to and dice them. Just scoop, mash, and heat for a comforting, nearly-instant soup. See photo, above. Serves: 4 to 6

  • 4 large sweet potatoes
  • 2 cups plain rice milk, or more, as needed
  • 1 tablespoon salt-free seasoning blend (such as Frontier or Mrs. Dash), or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of ground or fresh nutmeg
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • Wilted baby spinach for garnish, optional
  • Vegan Sour Cream or Cashew Cream for garnish, optional
  • Thinly sliced scallions or parsley sprigs for garnish, optional

Bake or microwave the sweet potatoes until very easily pierced with a knife.

When the sweet potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut each  in half, scoop them out of the skins, and transfer to a bowl. Mash well.

Combine the mashed sweet potatoes in a soup pot or large saucepan with the remaining ingredients. Stir together, then heat slowly until the mixture comes to a simmer.

Cover and simmer gently for 5 minutes. If the soup is too thick, add more rice milk. Taste to adjust seasonings.

Let the soup stand off the heat for an hour or two, then heat through, or serve at once. Top with any of the suggested garnishes, if you’d like.

 

Vegan creamy broccoli soup recipe

CREAMY BROCCOLI SOUP This soup gets a thick, creamy base from pureed white beans or tofu. Either way, it’s a comforting and nourishing soup. Serves: 4 to 6

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium-large onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 large or 3 medium broccoli crowns, coarsely chopped
  • 1 natural vegetable bouillon cube or 1 tablespoon salt-free seasoning blend
    (like Frontier or Mrs. Dash)
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked or 15- to 16-ounce can great northern or cannellini beans,
    drained and rinsed, or one 16-ounce tub soft tofu
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups rice milk, or as needed
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh dill, or 1/2 teaspoon dried
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a small soup pot and add the onion. Sauté over medium heat until golden, about 5 to 7 minutes.

Add the broccoli, bouillon cube, and 2 cups water. Bring to a slow boil, then turn down the heat, cover, and simmer gently until the broccoli is tender but not overcooked, about 8 to 10 minutes.

Transfer the solids to a food processor or blender (reserving some of the broccoli florets), and add the beans. Puree until smooth, then transfer back to the saucepan.

Remove the reserved broccoli florets to a cutting board and chop finely, then transfer back to the soup pot and stir into the puree.

Or, instead of transferring to a food processor, simply insert an immersion blender into the soup pot and puree until fairly smooth, leaving a bit of texture from the broccoli florets.

Add enough rice milk to give the soup a medium-thick consistency. Stir in the dill, then season with salt and pepper. Cook over very low heat for 5 minutes, then serve.

Alphabet vegetable soup recipe

ALPHABET SOUP
This tasty soup doesn’t need a lot of time to simmer. Start it about 30 minutes before you want to serve it. As kids get older, you can leave out the alphabets (or replace them with ditalini orzo, or other small pasta), but those letters floating around in the soup gives it great appeal to young eaters. This soup will recall the canned version you may have eaten as a child—but better.

Serves: 4 to 6

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into small dice
  • 2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into small dice
  • 1 cup green beans, cut into 1-inch lengths (use organic frozen green beans if fresh are unavailable)
  • 1/2 cup tiny alphabet noodles
  • 32-ounce carton low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried dill
  • 1 cup diced ripe tomato or about half a 16-ounce can diced tomatoes, (see Notes)
  • 1 cup frozen green peas, thawed

Heat the oil in a medium size saucepan. Add the diced carrots and sauté for 5 minutes over medium heat.

Add the potatoes, green beans, alphabet noodles, broth, dill, and paprika. Bring to a slow boil, then simmer gently, covered, for 15 minutes, or until the carrots and potatoes are tender.

Add the peas and tomatoes and simmer for another 5 minutes. Add a little more water if the broth seems crowded and cook just until heated through.

Notes: 

  • If you’d like a more tomatoey soup, use the entire can of diced tomatoes, or double the amount of fresh tomatoes.
  • If there are leftovers, much of the broth will be absorbed by the noodles. Add water as needed, then correct the seasoning with additional paprika, dill, and salt if needed.

Tofu vegetable soup


COLORFUL TOFU-VEGETABLE SOUP
This quick and colorful soup will please anyone who enjoys Asian flavors. Just toss everything into a soup pot and in a few minutes, it’s done! Try enticing kids and teens with this simple soup. Serve with an Asian-flavored rice or noodle dish and veggie spring rolls for a fun meal.

Serves: 4 to 6

  • 32-ounce carton low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 15-ounce can cut baby corn, with liquid
  • 3 or 4 slices minced fresh ginger, optional
  • 1/2 medium red bell pepper, cut into short narrow strips
  • 2 cups small broccoli florets
  • 1 cup snow peas, trimmed and cut in half, or 3/4 cup frozen green peas
  • 8 ounces firm or extra-firm tofu, sliced, well blotted, and cut into small dice
  • 2 scallions, minced
  • A good handful of baby spinach leaves
  • Salt or soy sauce and freshly ground pepper to taste

Combine the broth, baby corn, and optional ginger in a small soup pot and bring to a simmer.

Add the bell pepper, broccoli, peas snow peas, and tofu. If the broth looks too crowded, add 1/2 to 1 cup water. Return to a rapid simmer.

Stir in the scallions and spinach and remove from the heat. Season with salt or soy sauce and pepper; cover and let stand off the heat for 5 minutes. Then, serve and enjoy! This soup is best eaten right away, when the veggies are still slightly crisp and brightly colored.

Variations: This soup is so flexible. Substitute sliced mushrooms for the baby corn; bok choy for the broccoli; or just clean out your vegetable drawer and use what you have on hand. For extra flavor, add some chopped cilantro, a splash of lime juice or rice vinegar, and/or your favorite hot sauce, like Sriracha.

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