I’m a big advocate of maintaining a good stash of healthy soup recipes when you’ve got kids to cook for. Whenever I’m stirring a big pot of soup, my girls start to weave around my legs like purring kittens. They know the inviting smell of sautéed onions and vegetables means something delicious is to come. And to me, soup means a wholesome meal I can throw together in one pot. But wholesome and healthy doesn’t mean skimping on taste. These healthy soup recipes are packed with vegetables, protein and, most important, flavor they’ll love.
They’re also perfect for busy families (eh, for all of us) since they freeze well and taste even better on day two or three. That is, if there’s any left.
Coconut milk and tomatoes create a rich broth in the protein-packed and naturally gluten-free Creamy Red Lentil and Kale Soup (above) at The Healthy Family and Home. I know some of you may be thinking that your kids won’t eat kale; mine aren’t big fans of leaves either, but I cut my kale very, very thin and they don’t seem to notice. And hey, you could always use mild baby spinach instead—or throw some cheese on top to cover it up, right? Whatever works.
Seven Vegetable Minestrone Soup at Mama Miss is a serious vegetable powerhouse. White beans and pasta give a nice heft to the dish, making it a more substantial meal for those hard-working bellies. Small shells or elbow pasta make a good substitute if you don’t have ditalini pasta on hand.
Related: 6 exciting chicken soup variations.
Kids love meatballs. Adults love meatballs. Adding them to a slow cooker soup loaded with organic dark, leafy greens and nutrient-rich beans? Awesome idea. Our food editor, Stacie, does just that with her Slow Cooker Italian Meatball Soup at One Hungry Mama. Make a big batch of her Easy Classic Italian Meatballs and keep them in the fridge or freezer until you’re ready to pop them into the soup. Yum.
Picky little eaters–and adults–will perk up when they see smell this vegetarian Pasta e Fagioli Soup at Will Cook For Smiles. Loaded with bite size pasta, beans, and an herb and garlic infused broth, it makes a satisfying yet low-fat dinner. Tip: if you’re using dried herbs instead of fresh, be sure to use about half the amount called for, since dried herbs are more intensely flavored.
This Hearty Split Pea and Smoky Bacon Soup at The Cozy Apron is the type of nourishing recipe that I crave when it’s cold, but can’t bear to roast another vegetable. Plus, it’s made with smoky bacon. Enough said. If you want to keep things simple, you can easily skip the rustic garlic-butter croutons and just warm a crusty loaf of bread then serve on the side for sopping up the creamy goodness.