Kid-Friendly Minestrone and Cook Book Review

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There are a million minestrone recipes out there, but I really wanted to find one that was kid-friendly because if your kids won’t eat it, then what is the point of spending all that time chopping veggies right?  This kid-friendly minestrone was definitely a winner at our house.  I like this recipe because although it does have a lot of veggies, I feel like some of them cook down enough that there isn’t big chunks of onion, or cabbage, or veggies that kids can be leery of.  But the chunky veggies are more familiar and accepted by kids – carrots, peas, etc.

Kid-friendly minestrone soup

I received this cookbook ‘Food: Vegetarian Home Cooking’ by Mary McCartney a few weeks ago.  First of all it is a beautiful, hardcover book that had me wanting to open it right away.  We are excited to be giving away a copy of this book!  Just leave a comment of your favorite soup to make your kids below to enter!  We will close the giveaway on Sunday April 14, 2013.

Normally I am a bit leery of vegetarian cookbooks when I am cooking with kids in mind because a lot of times their recipes are designed with more adult tastes, flavors and ingredients.  I will say that I was pleasantly surprised to find that the opposite is true with this cookbook.  I found a lot of recipes that are easy to make, familiar, and definitely food my kids will eat.  A little preview of some that looked especially enticing to me:

Granola to go barsbreakfast pancakes
Granola Bar To GoBreakfast Pancakes

Hearty quinoa and white bean soupCorn fritters
Hearty Quinoa and White Bean SoupCorn Fritters

As you can tell, the photography in the book is absolutely beautiful.  So I was definitely excited to try her Minestrone Soup Recipe.  She calls it Lip-Smacking Minestrone, which let me tell you it is definitely lip-smacking.  Our family of four finished off an entire recipes in 2 days which is pretty incredible for us.

You begin by cutting up your veggies.  One of them is a Leek, which if you have never used one before I just learned a great tip!  Last weekend I attended a cooking demo with Carla Hall from Top Chef and she talked about the best way to wash leeks.


How to Wash a Leek

Leeks 1 Leeks 2 Leeks 3
Begin with your leek, you basically just use the white part. Cut off the end and most of the green. 
Chop your leek into small pieces. 
Place the pieces in a bowl of tepid water.  Not cold because it will make the pores of the leek close up, and the dirt will want to stay on it.  Agitate with your hands to shake off any dirt.  The dirt will fall to the bottom of the bowl, and then you can gently lift the clean leeks out of the bowl and leave the dirt behind!

Chop the rest of your veggies.  One quick-prep tip.  Chopped carrots freeze really well if you are going to use them in a soup.  I grow a ton of carrots in my garden and then chop and freeze them for later.  Then when you are ready to make soup, they are basically ready for you to throw in the pot!  We have here leeks, celery, onions and carrots.

After that it is just a matter of adding the rest of the ingredients to your pot, simmering, stirring and voila! You will have a beautiful pot of simmering veggie goodness to delight your family with.  One thing I really like about this minestrone that is different from others is that it has peas in it.  I feel like peas are a definite kid-friendly food and even if they aren’t as familiar with the other veggies in the soup, they can definitely find comfort with the peas.

Kid-Friendly Minestrone and Cook Book Review

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Course: Soup
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Kid-Friendly Minestrone
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 4


  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 medium leek, trimmed, washed and finely chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, trimmed and finely chopped
  • 2 medium to large carrots, chopped
  • 14 .5 ounce can chopped tomatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 quart vegetable stock
  • 5 ounces (about 2 cups) green cabbage, grated or finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 tsp fresh oregano, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup frozen peas or peeled fava beans
  • 1/2 cup dried pasta, small shapes
  • sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • grated parmesan or other hard cheese, to serve


  • Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy bottomed saucepan over medium heat, then add the chopped onion, leek celery and carrots, stirring well, and cook for a couple of minutes to allow the flavors of the vegetables to release.
  • Stir in the chopped tomatoes, and the garlic.  Cover and simmer for 15 minutes, checking and stirring often.  Pour in the vegetable stock, then add the cabbage, herbs, and the bay leaf, and mix in the tomato paste.  Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and let it simmer for 15 minutes.
  • Add the frozen peas, or fava beans and pasta and continue to simmer gently for a further 15 minutes.  Add more stock if its’ too thick. Taste, and season with sea salt (only if it needs it, as the stock may be salty enough) and ground black pepper.  Ladle generously into soup bowls and sprinkle grated Parmesan cheese over the top.
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Kid-friendly minestrone soup

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My little ones love my homemade crockpot vegetarian minestrone soup and I should add I made it for our daycare when her kitchen was being remodeled because of a flood and her daughter said “yours is better than my moms.” Mind you her mom used my recipe.

My favorite soup is stuffed pepper stew. I recently learned to make it and its amazing!! My daughter loves rice and she gobbles it up!

Don’t know if this counts, but my 15 y.o. daughter makes a wonderful Cheesy Broccoli & Potato Chowder that is quite delicious especially during these persistent cooler temperatures. She puts celery, broccoli, carrots, onion, & potatoes in it and uses evap milk instead of heavy cream. The calories come from the colby jack and light cheddar cheeses. Since she & I like spicy foods, when it’s just the two of us, she adds a bit of tobasco.

The above recipe sounds yummy and I like how quickly it comes together. That’s a real plus. My five kiddos all like my veggie and lentil/ABC pasta soup.

Can’t wait to try this minestrone soup! My favorite to make for my kids is tomato bisque; mostly because they willing eat it!

Can’t wait to make this for my daycare kiddos! They love soup, in fact, I made homemade chicken noodle today. They love to have add in options (oyster crackers, goldfish, grilled cheese to dip, etc) 🙂

I love making soup because it is a great way to get lots of veggies and it’s pretty hard to mess it up. I frequently make vegetarian soups, but my kids’ favorite is probably homemade chicken noodle.

We are vegetarians, so this book would be awesome for us!

Baked potato soup is always a big hit, but split pea also goes over very well!

My kids love soup. Split pea, Corn Chowder and potato are the favorites. I am going to try this Minestrone it looks very kid friendly!

Lentil soup wiith spinach is one of our favorites. We are vegetarians so I’m always on the lookout for healthy delicious recipes.

My kids are always curious about my roasted red pepper and tomato soup, but I haven’t had any takers yet. I think I might be able to our them in with this recipe. Thanks!

Thanks! After I sent the e-mail I figured it was about that. So, we made the soup and it was great! It is nice to have a yummy meat free option.

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that recipe looks amazing! I’ll try it this week for sure! Tonight we are having a family fave, carrot, sweet potato, a little pumpkin, onion and garlic all blended up, served in baked bread roll. I’m a vegetarian but serve meat to the family, am always looking for more vego options to serve the family!

My dayghter loves fresh tomato soup with lentils and pasta pieces or broccoli/celery soup esp on a rainy day with crusty toast and butter

Love the recipe can’t wait to try it I usually make pumpkin soup for all of my 8 children and even tho some have left home if they no I’m making it there here to have some .