Cheesy Soup Skimmers

Cheesy Soup Skimmers (3)

This quick kid-friendly cooking project makes a tasty lunch and has a little science lesson thrown in, too!

We wanted to test what could float in a bowl of soup, and decided to make cheesy “crackers”. (Note: I used Daiya’s shredded non-dairy cheddar for the experiment, which worked great. Other non-dairy cheese will most likely work, too, but I can’t say for sure).

Travis picked a few fun cookie cutter shapes, including hearts, stars…and Darth Vader’s helmet! Sprinkle a thin layer of the non-dairy cheddar into each cookie cutter over a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. We also made a few free-form shapes for comparison on the side.

Cheesy Soup Skimmers (1)

Be sure to lift off the cookie cutters before baking! Bake at 350 degrees F for 8 minutes, just until the cheese sets.

Cheesy Soup Skimmers (2)

Let cool completely, then carefully peel the cheese shapes off the parchment paper and slip on top of a bowl of soup. We particularly liked these with tomato soup.

Cheesy Soup Skimmers (4)

The kids loved seeing the cheese float. And then they tested out a few oyster crackers, too! That’s where the science comes in: if you press on the cheese skimmers, they will break the surface tension of the soup and sink to the bottom of the bowl. The crackers will always float for a different reason, though, namely density!

Cheesy Soup Skimmers (5)

Minestrone Soup

Minestrone (1)

Cold winter nights are just begging for a hearty soup packed with veggies, and this one fits the bill! I make it almost as thick as a stew, but if you want a more traditional minestrone soup, add an additional 2 cups broth to the pot.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 minced garlic cloves
  • 1 chopped red onion
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 (14.5-ounce) undrained cans diced tomatoes with Italian herbs
  • 1 russet potato, cubed
  • 2 chopped celery stalks
  • 2 chopped carrots
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1 (15-ounce) drained can cannellini beans
  • 2 cups corn kernels
  • 1 chopped zucchini
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 cup orzo pasta
  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and red onion; saute for 5 minutes.
  2. Add the broth, canned tomatoes, potato, celery, carrots, thyme, oregano, and basil to the pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
  3. Add the cannellini beans, corn, zucchini, parsley, and orzo. Simmer for an additional 15 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.

Bread rolls are all you need to round out the meal!

Minestrone (2)

Cream of Potato Soup

Cream of Potato Soup

This soup cooks up in a slow-cooker, a life-saving device whether you’re working out of the home or suddenly busy homeschooling kids all day long. When dinnertime rolls around, it’s ready and waiting for you.

Ingredients:

  • 6 peeled and chopped Yukon gold potatoes
  • 2 peeled and chopped onions
  • 1 chopped carrot
  • 1 chopped celery stick
  • 4 vegetable bouillon cubes
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/3 cup Earth Balance butter
  • 1 cup plain soy milk
  1. Combine all of the ingredients except the soy milk in a slow-cooker. Cook over high heat for 4 hours. (Alternatively, set to low heat and cook a full 10 hours).
  2. Stir in the milk in the last hour of cooking.

Creamy Cauliflower Soup

Creamy Cauliflower SOup

This soup is full of good-for-you tidbits like cauliflower and potatoes and toddlers will love the creamy consistency.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3 Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1 head cauliflower, chopped
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup plain non-dairy yogurt
  1. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and saute for 3 minutes.
  2. Stir in the potatoes, cauliflower, vegetable broth, nutritional yeast, bay leaf, and yogurt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes until the vegetables are very tender.
  3. Remove the bay leaf, then mash with a potato masher until the soup is chunky. If your kids prefer a smoother soup, transfer to a blender and puree instead.

Broccoli Cheese Soup

Broccoli Cheese Soup (1)

This cheesy soup is sure to have even picky vegetable eaters spooning up their broccoli!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup Earth Balance butter
  • 7 tablespoons flour
  • 4 cups unsweetened almond milk, divided
  • 2 vegetable bouillon cubes
  • 2 and 1/2 cups shredded Daiya cheddar
  • 2 cups cooked broccoli florets
  1. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk until combined. Stir in 2 cups milk and the bouillon, and cook until thick.
  2. Whisk in the remaining 2 cups milk and the cheddar, and continue to cook until the cheese is melty. Stir in the broccoli and let cool slightly before serving.

Broccoli Cheese Soup (2)

For variation, try adding an equal amount of mashed potato…

Potato Cheese Soup

…or corn kernels in place of the broccoli (or in addition to it!).

Corn Cheese Soup

Tomato & Orzo Soup

Tomato Orzo Soup.JPG

I love this hack for making a hearty family dinner: Start with a canned creamy soup, add a few ingredients for added nutrition, and dinner seems gourmet in minutes flat.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups creamy tomato soup
  • 1 cup canned black beans
  • 2 cups cooked orzo
  • Plain non-dairy yogurt
  1. Heat the soup in a saucepan until warm. Add the beans and cooked pasta, stirring until combined.
  2. Ladle the soup into bowls, and top each with about 1 tablespoon yogurt.

Split Pea Soup

Split Pea Soup

Split peas are a fantastic protein source for vegan kids… or any kids! Make them appeal to little tots with this soup. I keep it thick so my toddler can scoop it up by hand, but big kids love spooning into a hearty bowlful, too.

Ingredients:

  • 1 onion
  • 1 russet potato
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup green split peas
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/4 teaspoon savory
  • 1/8 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 bay leaf
  1. Peel and finely chop the onion and potato. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the vegetables and cook for 3 minutes.
  2. Add the split peas, broth, savory, cumin, and bay leaf. Simmer for 50 minutes, uncovered, until the split peas are very tender. If you need to, add additional broth or water as the split peas cook so they don’t stick to the pan.
  3. Remove the bay leaf and let the soup cool slightly before serving.

Lentil Stew

Lentil Soup.JPG

Thicker than a traditional lentil soup, this recipe is great for babies practicing with a spoon, so they don’t spill too much broth!

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 minced garlic clove
  • 1 small diced onion
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 vegetable bouillon cube
  • 1 cup chopped carrot
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup lentils
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  1. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and onion; saute for 5 minutes.
  2. Add the water, bouillon, carrots, celery, lentils, and tomatoes. Cover and simmer for about 35 minutes. Uncover and simmer a final 10 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving.

Cheesy Broccoli & Split Pea Soup

Cheesy Broccoli Soup.JPG

This creamy soup might just convince your kids to eat their broccoli… and their split peas, too!

Ingredients: 

  • 3 tablespoons Earth Balance butter
  • 1 small leek, chopped
  • 2 small garlic cloves, smashed
  • 4 cups water or low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 cup green split peas
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 and 1/2 pounds broccoli florets
  • 1/2 cup plain unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 and 1/2 cups shredded Daiya cheddar
  1. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the leek and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic.
  2. Add the water or broth, split peas, and black pepper. Bring to a simmer, then partially cover, reduce heat, and cook for 30 minutes.
  3. Stir in the broccoli and almond milk; simmer for an additional 10 minutes, covered.
  4. Let the soup cool slightly, then transfer to a blender and process until smooth.
  5. Return the soup to the saucepan and whisk in the cheese. Heat over low heat until the cheese is stretchy and mostly melted.

We like this with a few Gardein chick’n nuggets on the side!

Sweet Potato Carrot Soup

Sweet Potato Carrot Soup

This pureed soup uses few ingredients but is big on flavor. It’s a great way to add more veggies into your kiddo’s lunch or dinner, and introduces spices in a mild way to suit picky preschool tastebuds.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 5 ounces shredded carrots
  • 1 and 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 3 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1/2 (15-ounce) can coconut milk
  1. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and cook for 5 minutes.
  2. Stir in the carrots, sweet potatoes, ginger, cinnamon, turmeric, and broth. Bring to a boil, then cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 25 minutes.
  3. Transfer the soup to a blender and process until smooth. Pour into a bowl and whisk in the coconut milk.

You can prepare the soup in advance and reheat portions before serving.