Vegetable Pasta Soup Recipe (Lunch Ideas For Kids)

Vegetable Pasta Soup Recipe (Lunch Ideas For Kids) Recipe

Last night, I made vegetable pasta soup because I thought it would be nice to pack some healthy homemade soup for my munchkin’s school lunch. Pasta soup is satisfying, kid-friendly and super easy to make, and it keeps really well. I flavored the soup with fresh black eyed peas and added fun shaped pasta so it looked more playful.

In the morning, I warmed up the soup and placed it in a thermos container that would keep the black eyed pea soup hot all the way until lunchtime. I placed a little note suggesting she ask her teacher to open the thermos when it was lunchtime, so she didn't get splashed with the hot contents.

Ingredients

Yields: 4 servings

1-½ cups kid-friendly fun-shaped pasta (or any pasta)
1 cup fresh black eyed peas
1-½ tablespoons canola oil
½ yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped
2-½ cups beef stock (or vegetable broth)
1 tomato, cored and chopped
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
¼ cup green beans, trimmed and chopped
1 teaspoon salt, as needed
¼ teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped


Directions

For the pasta: Bring about 1 quart of water to a boil. Add the pasta, bring back to a full boil, then immediately lower the heat to a gentle boil. Cook the pasta for about 6-8 minutes total. Salt the water half way through the cooking process (it will bring out the natural flavor of the pasta and the pasta will be more tender) and keep stirring every now and then so that it doesn't stick to the bottom. Drain the pasta (do NOT rinse). Set aside in a large fine-mesh strainer.

For the vegetables: In the pot, heat the oil. Add the onions. Cook until the color is evenly golden brown (about 5 minutes), stirring frequently to prevent them from burning. Transfer and reserve about 1 tablespoon of fried onions. Add the garlic to the pot and cook until fragrant. Add the green beans and bell peppers. When the color from the green beans becomes almost translucent, season with salt. Transfer to a plate.

For the black-eyed peas: In the same pot, add the oregano and black eyed peas and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the 1-½ cups of beef stock (or vegetarian broth). Bring to a boil, then lower to medium heat for about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add more water (if necessary; I didn't), cover the pot with a lid and cook for another 10 minutes on low. Keep stirring every now and then so the black eyed peas don't stick to the bottom of the pot. The cooking time might vary depending on their freshness. All the liquid should be evaporated. Check the softness of the peas. Adjust seasoning, then add the chopped tomato and reserved vegetables.

Assembly time: Cover with the remaining beef stock and bring the liquid back to a boil, then immediately reduce the heat and simmer on medium-low. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes. Add the cooked pasta and cilantro. Stir well.

Check the consistency of the soup. The quantity of liquid may vary depending on the heat of the stove and how long you're cooking the vegetables. At the end, I let it simmer uncovered, sometimes adding another ½ cup of water (but no more than that because you don't want the soup too thin) until I achieve the right consistency and level of doneness (of both the black eyed peas and pasta). Finish with black pepper.

Garnish with the reserved fried onions.

Bon appétit!


Tips

Fresh black eyed peas (I bought them at a Farmers' market) have a firmer texture than the parboiled dried variety, so they take slightly longer to cook. Let them simmer until they are soft to your liking. You can replace them with your favorite beans such as kidney beans, black beans or garbanzo beans.

You could replace the pasta with sweet potatoes or rice.

Published By: Jacqueline Pham on August 22, 2011.


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