Cooking With Kids: Homemade Vegetable Soup with Alphabet Pasta
ABC's and veggies too!
Photo Guide for Vegetable SoupClick thumbnail to view full-size
Kids Cook Monday
Teaching our children the importance of eating vegetables is often a challenge. Most families are able to get their kids to eat the typical veggies like carrots or green beans or even broccoli. But what if you haven't exposed your children to more unusual vegetables like swiss chard or kale? How do you convince your child to give them a try? We attempted to conquer this by making alphabet vegetable soup. Not only is this soup made with some unusual veggies, but we added alphabet pasta to it to make it even more fun!
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Ingredients for Vegetable Soup
- 1 beef shank, This is only if you are making vegetable beef soup.
- 1 32 oz. can diced tomatoes
- various amounts assorted vegetables, To create an alphabet vegetable soup, use the table at the bottom as a resource for your veggies!
- salt and pepper to taste
Pasta Cooking Hint
Since the alphabet pasta is very tiny, I recommend cooking it separate from the soup. It may seem more logical to add it to the soup broth, but I find that doing that makes the pasta very mushy. If you like your pasta a little more al dente, then cook it ahead of time and just add it in right before serving.
Instructions for Vegetable Soup
- If you are making vegetable beef soup you will want to start with browning the beef shank on each side in about two tablespoons of Olive Oil. Then remove from pot. If you are not adding the beef, simply skip to the next step.
- Dice all vegetables that you are using and place them in a bowl. Choose the vegetables that you know your family enjoys or add a few that you want to give a try.
- Sautee in the Olive Oil any leeks or onions that you plan to add. Once they have softened, add the remaining vegetables, the diced tomatoes and fill the pot with about six more cups of water or beef broth.
- Allow the vegetables to cook on low heat for 20-30 minutes. You want the veggies to be tender but not mushy.
- While the vegetables are cooking, cook the alphabet pasta. It usually only takes about four minutes to cook.
- Once the vegetables are softened, remove from heat and dish into bowls. Add the alphabet pasta to each bowl. We also like to add some Parmesan cheese to our vegetable soup.
Reference Guide to Vegetables for Each Letter
Letter of the Alphabet
asparagus, artichokes, arugula
brussel sprouts, broccoli, bok choy
celery, carrots, corn
hearts of palm
ice berg lettuce
Mustard greens, mushrooms (technically fungi)
no veggies that start with q :(
red peppers, radichio
swiss chard, squash
yams, yellow squash
While enjoying your delicious homemade soup, encourage your children to identify the letters that they find as they are eating. They can even try to spell some words out depending on the ability level of your kids. And well if you really want to encourage your kids to play with their food, why not have a challenge as to who can create the most words or who can find the words the fastest. Sometimes it's good to play with your food!