Try a minestrone soup that packs in the veggies but still feels approachable for kids! This minestrone serves up tender carrots, celery, cabbage, peas, pasta, and more in a rich tomato-based veggie broth.
Hearty Italian flavors coming right up! You’ve probably had minestrone soup before… but not like this.
This kid-friendly minestrone comes from a new cookbook of mine (called ‘Food: Vegetarian Home Cooking’ by Mary McCartney) And it’s a little different from classic minestrone In a very good way.
This soup is packed with a bigger variety of veggies (like leeks, celery, peas, carrots, and cabbage) and they’re all cut small and cooked to be perfectly tender. So kids don’t have to navigate large chunks in their bowl.
And the flavors are fabulous! Fresh herbs and chewy pasta complement the bounty of veggies in a rich tomato-based broth. Your family will love this soup on a cool day.
Tips for Making Kid Friendly Minestrone
- Chop your veggies small. The smaller the veggies, the quicker they get tender, and the easier it is for kids to eat them.
- Choose a good-quality broth. A good broth ties this soup together, so choose a tried-and-true brand. The recipe calls for veggie broth, but you can substitute chicken broth if you like (and even homemade stock.)
- Pick a fun pasta shape. If your kids have a favorite, go with that! Short and chunky shapes like macaroni, small shells, or radiatori work great.
- Undercook your pasta slightly. Pasta continues to cook in soups even after you remove the soup from heat, so it’s OK to leave your pasta a little firm. It will continue to cook as long as the soup is hot.
- Let kids sprinkle their own cheese. I speak from experience: sometimes letting your kids be the boss of the Parmesan is the key to getting them to eat!
- Serve with a bread your kids love. When kids are learning to like veggie soups, they might start by dipping bread in the broth. Encourage this early step!
What to Serve with Minestrone Soup
Aside from a sprinkling of Parm and a crusty bread, we like to serve minestrone soup with a crisp green salad.
You can also serve baked chicken on the side for extra protein (try sprinkling chicken breast Italian seasoning for a flavor that matches your meal.)
Storing Minestrone Soup Leftovers
This soup tastes even better the second day! Reheat it on the stove-top of microwave. If you want to save leftovers for a far-future date, cool the soup completely and then pour it carefully into a gallon-sized zip-top bag. This soup defrosts and warms back up beautifully for a hearty and healthy repeat meal.
- 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.