Packed with vitamin-rich sweet potatoes, this simple soup is a quick family meal that ensures a dose of veggies even in a relatively small portion. The natural creaminess from the potatoes provides a pleasing texture for kids and is delicious topped with everything from crumbled bacon to a dash of hot sauce for parents.
The red lentils are more subtle in flavor than their brown and green counterparts, and they cook about three times as fast, so they're ideal for weeknights. They also add ample budget-friendly fiber and plant-based protein. But since they may be unfamiliar to many kids, puréeing them with sweet potatoes smooths the way.
This soup is thick when puréed, so it's much easier for kids to scoop with a spoon than many broth-based soups. (You may need to add a little extra broth or water when warming up leftovers if it gets too thick.) Try putting it into a reusable pouch for toddlers (just make sure it's not too hot), or serve it in a small mug. Some kids even love drinking soup with a straw (whatever works, right?).
The soup is naturally sweet, which is another selling point with kids — although parents will appreciate that the coconut milk and turmeric add a depth of savory flavor. This soup is perfect for a chilly winter night and is a great choice when you've been inundated with school or daycare germs. Plus, with oil and salt already in your pantry, the other five ingredients are easy to pick up at the store and keep on hand until you're ready to make this soup. Add more or less turmeric as you like and know that you can add more flavor with a pinch of ground ginger and/or cinnamon. Pick up some cornbread or crackers and serve berries or pear slices on the side to round out the meal.
P.S.: If your kids are currently soup-averse, use some of the soup as a pasta sauce as a safe way to introduce new flavors.
Veggie-Packed Dinners For Little Eaters and Hungry Parents
Maybe you aren't going for anything too extreme when it comes to New Year's resolutions, and that's something we can get behind. A positive change (like ensuring there's a big produce moment in every meal) doesn't have to be complicated — especially when you've also got little mouths to feed. With that in mind, we're sharing five-ingredient dinners that put the focus on veggies, keep the kiddos happy, and ensure the parents are well-fed too. Here's to a simpler way to do dinner!
Red Lentil Sweet Potato Soup
2 tablespoons coconut oil or neutral oil
3 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1-inch chunks
1 quart low-sodium vegetable broth
1 cup red lentils
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon salt
1 (13- to 15-ounce) can coconut milk
Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat until shimmering. Add the sweet potatoes and stir to combine. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes.
Add the broth, lentils, turmeric, and salt. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.
Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer until sweet potatoes and lentils are tender, 20 to 25 minutes.
Stir in the coconut milk. Purée with an immersion blender or blender until smooth, allowing the soup to cool slightly first if using a traditional blender. Taste and season with salt as needed. Add a cup of water to thin if needed.
Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.