An easy recipe for vegetable soup for toddlers. This soup is easy to make and easy for picky toddlers to eat because it doesn’t have a lot of intimidating vegetable bits floating around in it!
Plus I give you lots of tips for how to actually get a picky eater to try this soup.
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Soup can be a challenging food for picky toddlers to eat.
We learned that in Table Foods School (an online class we took to help with our son’s picky eating!) and it totally makes sense. Soup typically has lots of different textures and floating bits that toddlers can’t identify. Plus there are too many vegetables floating around! It’s intimidating and toddlers often just refuse to eat soup. My son was no exception.
But he absolutely LOVES this vegetable soup so I wanted to share it with you, in case it works for your kiddo too!
Oh and by the way, you might be interested in my recipe for making high calorie baby food, which is actually a great way for toddlers to get lots of nutrients too! I still make this “baby food” for my two and a half year old son.
You can definitely use the Jump to Recipe button at the top of the blog post to go straight to the vegetable soup recipe, but if you are here because you have an extremely picky eater and are trying to figure out how to get them to even eat soup in the first place then you should read this whole blog post!
Honestly, I never thought I would write this much about a simple soup, but we’ve been through a LOT of mealtime battles with my son over the last two years. We learned lots of techniques for introducing new foods and for keeping his diet varied and healthy even when he only ate a small handful of things. I want to share our best tips. Perhaps this might give you a few ideas for how to approach feeding your picky toddler!
Vegetable Soup for Toddlers
This soup contains just a few simple, wholesome ingredients:
- elbow macaroni (or your child’s favorite pasta)
The macaroni and the vegetables are cooked separately in this recipe. You’re essentially making vegetable soup and cooking pasta separately.
It’s a bit of a pain to do this, but there’s a reason for it: You’ll be pureeing the vegetable soup so it’s super smooth and then adding the cooked macaroni (or your child’s favorite pasta shape) to the pureed vegetable soup. This way there are no “mystery” ingredients floating around in the soup – just your child’s favorite pasta.
I use my beloved blendtec blender to puree this soup, but any blender or immersion blender can be used here.
How to serve this vegetable soup to extremely picky eaters
If you’ve got a super picky or stubborn toddler and you suspect they will outright refuse to eat soup, there are a couple of ways you can approach this.
Don’t mix the pasta and the pureed vegetable soup together at first. Think: does your kiddo like pasta OR pureed soup / baby food more?
If your child like pasta more than soup, give them the cooked macaroni and let them dip it into the soup. Or use a bit of the pureed vegetable soup as a “sauce” for the pasta (kind of like mac n cheese but without the cheese!). If they are OK with that, then try adding a bit more soupy sauce to the pasta. Next time make it even more saucier so the pasta is floating in the soup.
Or you can try dropping one piece of macaroni into the soup and have them help you “fish it out” and eat the macaroni with the soup and make it a fun game. Make a silly noise every time you drop the macaroni and scoop it out. Keep it fun so they are entertained and not focused on worrying about a new food in front of them.
If your child like pureed soup / baby food more than pasta, give them the pureed soup first. Then drop one piece of macaroni into the soup and offer it to them. Or add a few pieces of macaroni to the soup but keep only giving them the soupy part. The macaroni can just be there in the bowl until your child feels “safe” enough to try it. Frequent exposure to foods is often recommended in feeding therapy for picky eaters.
Looking for more tips for how to get picky eaters to eat? Read these posts:
- 3 Easy sensory tricks to get your toddler to eat
- How to use French fries to expose your picky eater to new foods
- Feeding therapy for picky toddlers – how it helped us
Variations of this vegetable soup
You can vary which ingredients you use in this soup based on your child’s dietary needs. Soups and purees are a great way to supplement your kid’s diet with “hidden” veggies.
For example, if my son is not eating enough greens, I will sometimes add in a small handful of frozen green beans.
Other vegetables you can add to this soup:
- half a bell pepper
- handful frozen green beans
- 1/4 cup butternut squash or cubed pumpkin
- sweet potato instead of regular potato
- frozen lima beans if your child needs more protein
- 1-2 cauliflower florets (fresh or frozen)
- frozen peas (be careful not to over do this! My son doesn’t like soup that tastes too much like peas)
You can also add other ingredients to this soup to expose your kids to new flavors. Don’t do too much at once, and maybe don’t add the new flavors to the whole soup because that’s a ruined batch of soup if your kid doesn’t eat it. Instead, you can add a pinch of these herbs or spices to a portion of the soup before pureeing it.
Other ingredients to add to this soup:
- powdered garlic
- dried or fresh oregano, parsley, or cilantro
- pinch of curry powder
- pinch of cayenne pepper (if your family eats spicy food and you want your child to start getting used to spicy food!)
Looking for other kid-friendly “hidden vegetable” recipes for picky eaters?
- Toddler-friendly hidden vegetable breakfast recipes
- Hidden vegetable recipes for toddlers
- Sweet Potato Chicken Nuggets
- Butternut Squash Alfredo Pasta
Freeze this soup for later
You can pour the pureed vegetable soup into ice cube trays and freeze it. Then transfer the frozen cubes to a freezer zip lock bag.
Defrost as many as you need, heat & stir, and combine with cooked pasta.
I wouldn’t recommend freezing the soup with the pasta because some pasta can get mushy once it’s thawed and reheated.
I would love to hear from you! Did you try this soup?? How did it go? Let me know in a comment below! And please share it on Facebook and save it on Pinterest so other mamas can see this recipe too!
- 1/2 cup whole wheat elbow macaroni, or your child's preferred pasta (see notes)
- Water for cooking the pasta
- 1 tablespoon olive oil (or more based on your child's calorie needs, see notes)
- 1/2 yellow onion, diced
- 1 carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 celery stalk, chopped
- 1 medium potato, peeled and chopped
- 2 cups vegetable broth (or water or chicken broth, see notes)
- Optional: salt, to taste
- Cook the elbow macaroni in 2-3 cups salted water for 8-10 minutes, or according to packaging directions. Drain the macaroni and rinse with cold water. Set aside while you prepare the vegetable soup.
- Prep all the vegetables. Dice the onion, dice the celery. Peel the carrot and chop it into rough 1/2 inch pieces. Peel the potato and chop it into rough 1 inch cubes.
- Heat the olive oil in a small sauce pan (about 2 quarts). Add the celery and saute for about 2 minutes Add the diced celery, carrot, and potato. Add the vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and allow to simmer for about 10 minutes, or until the carrot and potato are easily pierced with a fork.
- Remove from heat and allow the soup to cool for 10 minutes. Use an immersion blender or a blender to puree the soup. Season with salt, if desired. Combine the macaroni and the vegetable soup (or don't combine, please see notes!). Serve warm.
Elbow macaroni: Use whole whole wheat pasta if your child likes it!
Olive oil: If your child is underweight and if your pediatrician okays it, add extra olive oil to the soup. I sometimes add a quarter cup of olive oil (4 tablespoons). It will not be oily once the soup is pureed. This recipe makes 4-6 servings for my son, so each serving will only have 0.75 - 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
Vegetable broth: You can use water if you don't have broth or stock on hand. You can also use chicken broth/stock or chicken bone broth if you want a little extra calories and nutrition in this recipe. Depending on the broth or stock you use, you might not need to add extra salt.
Combining the vegetable soup and macaroni: If you plan on freezing the soup, or if you think your child might be picky and refuse to eat this soup, then don't combine the pasta and soup together right away. Read the blog post for all the tips!
See the blog post for lots of other vegetable ideas to use in this soup as well as ideas for how to serve this for picky eaters.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 206 Total Fat: 3g Saturated Fat: 0g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 2g Cholesterol: 0mg Sodium: 335mg Carbohydrates: 39g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 5g Sugar: 2g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 7g