My son loves fruits and veggies. From apples to zucchinis, he pretty much eats them all. When people tell me that their kid doesn’t like vegetables I think, either I am incredibly lucky to have a child that appreciates a variety of foods, or I must’ve done something right to nurture his good taste. I like to think it’s a little bit of both.
I was very skeptical of packaged foods for my son. The idea that I didn’t have any control over the preparation or any say in choosing the ingredients made me uneasy. So I would analyze jars of baby food and go home and make them myself. I started with simple 1 ingredient items, like pureed sweet potatoes, carrots, apple, pear, and so on. Then I started mixing stuff like oatmeal, apples, banana, and cinnamon, or eggplant, roasted garlic, and tomato. He gobbled it all up like it was the best thing he had ever eaten. Everything I made, I tasted and loved myself. And this vegetable soup was no exception.
This is a simple vegetable soup that I can throw together for my son very easily with vegetables that are commonly found in my refrigerator. I usually start with 1 carrot and 1 medium potato, and add 3 or 4 pureed tomatoes with the seeds and skin strained off. I add 1 clove of garlic, cut in large pieces, and boil it in just for flavor, then remove it later.
Once the carrots and potatoes are cooked through, and the tomato sauce is cooked well, I add some green veggies, like broccoli, or in this case, zucchini. I’ve made this with squash, mushroom, green beans, peas, etc. It all depends on what’s around, and what seems to work together. Pretty much everything works well with the carrot, potato, and tomato base, so I usually build from there.
From there I add some type of pasta or grain (about 1/4 cup), usually rice, in this case I used semolina pasta made in little nuggets, which my son likes a lot. I also add a little bit of olive oil at this stage, about a spoonful.
Finally I add fresh herb, usually mint, cilantro, or basil. My son LOVES the fresh taste of mint, and the colorful flavor combo of cilantro, tomato, and garlic. Basil is always a big hit as well. I add salt and pepper (to taste) in the end.
About once a week, I make a variation of this basic dish with chicken or turkey, in which case I boil the chicken first, cut them into small chunks, and then use the broth to cook the veggies.
This is really a great soup for toddlers, because the flavors are lively, but not too bold. It’s also a great way to introduce green vegetables, using a platform of tomatoes, carrots and potatoes. From my experience, the earlier you introduce fruit and veggies to your kids the better. I’m glad I started early with my son, because he is becoming a real food lover, just like his mommy.