With a quick method and a variety of vegetables, this vegetarian Lentil Soup is a perfect weeknight family dinner. If your toddler is still learning to like soup, start with a small serving to avoid overwhelming them with a new food.
I don’t know if this is just a phenomenon in my house, but convincing my toddler to eat soup has proved to be pretty difficult over the past year. I can understand it from a difficulty perspective when we’re talking broth-based soups because, let’s face it, mastering the art of spoon use is even more challenging when the food is sloshing around. But even thicker soups have been a tough sell. And it wasn’t this way when she was just learning to eat…she was far less opinionated back then.
I know that she eats soups and stews at school since she often comes home in a new dress on the days they have chili or goulash and forgot to get out the bibs. (Yes, they have goulash.) I am guessing that part of the issue, at least at home without the benefit of peer pressure, is that she can’t always tell what’s in a soup when it’s pureed or cooked for a long time. With chili or something like chicken soup, I can serve up the components of the soup and she can choose whether she wants to eat a mouthful of potato or bean or meat.
But still, even knowing all this, I don’t always let that dictate the dinner menu. Sometimes I consciously make a soup the way that I want to eat it in the hopes of someday broadening her view of what’s acceptable. And in the case of this lentil soup, that meant it was getting pureed.
The way that I justify making something that I know she won’t love is to surround it with familiar foods (usually cheese, crackers, and some sort of fruit) and to show her that mama and daddy think it’s yummy. I don’t fully expect to change her opinion, but I do hope to help her see that trying new things can sometimes lead to a delicious dinner. I also made sure that the soup itself was well seasoned since I have made way too many batches of bland lentil soup in my day! And I let her sprinkle the Parmesan cheese on top herself because the girl loves cheese. It was a mostly successful dinner, apart from the mess that happened once she was done eating and started to “paint” with her soup.
Lentils are quick to cook, full of vegetarian protein, fiber, and pack a decent amount of iron. They are also incredibly inexpensive, so having a package in the pantry is a great way to ensure that you are never too far from a yummy family dinner. This soup is delicious when it’s just made, but it tastes pretty great leftover, too. It does thicken up as it chills though, so you may want to add more broth when reheating. Or, keep it thick and serve it over a grain such as brown rice or serve it up to your kiddo in a reusable pouch.Print
By pureeing the veggies into the broth ahead of time, you can create a super flavorful base and avoid any kid-pickiness over tiny bits of onion in the soup!
- 2 cups onion, diced
- 2 cups carrot, diced
- 1 cup crushed tomatoes
- 2-3 cloves garlic
- 1 quart vegetable or chicken stock, reduced sodium
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 bay leaf (optional)
- 1 1/2 cups lentils
- Parmesan, optional
- Add the onions, carrot, tomatoes, garlic, broth, thyme, and salt to a blender. Puree smooth.
- Heat olive oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Stir in the pureed mixture, cover, and bring to a boil.
- Remove cover, reduce heat to a simmer, and stir in the bay leaf and lentils. Cover slightly, with the lid half on to allow some, but not all steam to escape, for about 25 minutes or until the lentils are soft.
- Serve topped with Parmesan cheese, if desired.
Store leftovers in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight or use the defrost setting on your microwave, then warm through at regular heat once thawed. Stir in a little water when reheating if the soup has become very thick.