Soup Saviour

This is my friend Anna and her little boy Owen. I met up with her the other day and she told me about a wonderful soup she cooked up for her kids when she was worried about their five a day. After the excesses of Easter and all that chocolate I felt there were probably lots of us in that boat at the moment, so I asked if she wouldn’t mind reproducing the recipe for us here. Turned out she didn’t mind at all, although she may not feel the same way when she sees that I’ve used a picture of her…Hope you don’t mind Anna, you both look lovely in it!
“When I weaned my first son, I felt so proud. Whether it was spinach puree, avocado milkshake or florets of brain boosting broccoli, he gobbled it all down. He loved his vegetables. Other mothers would comment on it while their own children toyed with a pea. I was going to rear the nation’s healthiest child. I had won the battle.
Then he turned two. He woke one day and began a vegetable elimination campaign. One by one all the things he had previously eaten were rejected. Now, at the age of three and a half, the only acceptable vegetable is cucumber. That and a roasted vegetable soup that I came across in Waitrose Kitchen.
It’s easy to make, super healthy and for some reason it gets the thumbs up from under-threes. His younger brother is a fan too. By my books, that makes it a saviour; a soup hero to recommend to the world. I make this soup and weep tears of joy while my children gobble up bowlfuls. At last I am able to tick off their five a day in one lunchtime sitting. At last, I am a real mother.
If you have a vegetable shy person at home, I suggest you try it.
Ps I’ve experimented with variations to see if it will aid alternative vegetable consumption, but this has been met with limited joy. The soup spider technique sometimes works. I put soldiers of toast lined up around the bowl (so half of each soldier is actually in the soup) and we call it a soup spider. One by one, we eat its legs, enabling some of the soup to accidently be consumed. 
Oh, the things I stoop to.
Spiced butternut squash and lentil soup
Serves: halve the ingredients and it would do a family of four, but it keeps in fridge for ages and freezes well so I usually make full quantity.
Start to finish: 2 hours, but much of that is when it is in the oven baking
  • 1.5 litres vegetable stock
  • 200g dried red lentils
  • 200g greek yoghurt (optional)
  • 1.5kg butternut squash (you can buy this frozen, already peeled and cut)
  • 750 g ripe tomatoes, halved
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 small carrot, diced
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ – ½ tsp dried chilli flakes (optional – I don’t use in case it puts off the sprogs)
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tsp paprika
1.      Preheat the oven to 180/gas 6. Place the peeled, deseeded and cubed squash, tomatoes, garlic and carrot in a large roasting tray (you may need to use two trays). Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with the spices and season. Cover with foil; bake for 1 hour 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft and slightly caramelised.
2.      Transfer the vegetables to a food blender or processor and pulse in batches, with a little of the stock, until combined into a smooth mixture that still has some texture.
3.      Return the soup to a clean pan; add the remaining stock and bring to the boil. Add the lentils, reduce the heat to low; simmer for 20 minutes or until the lentils are tender, stirring often and adding a little extra stock or water if it becomes too thick.
4.      Ladle into bowls and serve topped with a dollop of yogurt. Serve with crusty bread.”
Anna also happens to be a brilliant author. Her last book, How Green Are My Wellies? is available here.


  1. How gorgeous for me let alone the children! Love the way veggies taste after being roasted, so sweet & delicious x

  2. My first son was exactly the same, was eating ratatouile at 2 and then lived on waffles and hoops till he was 14! Now eats everything and has taken on the role of educating his wife’s palate too! Son #2 ate everything, still eats everything!

  3. Thanks for writing this post. The soup recipe looks great. Also, please tell your friend I have just been on my local library site and reserved her book ‘how green are your wellies?’. The book looks fab! :o)

  4. Am feeling inspired and am going to make it tomorrow. Anything to stop the chocolate intake – although have had less over the last couple of days and may be experiencing withdrawal symptoms! And My Mummy Reviews – let us know how you like the book. Anna’s twitter name is @green_mum

  5. Laura – you’re right, it is sweet and I think that’s why it’s a hit with little ‘uns.
    My Mummy Reviews – so glad you’ve come across Wellies book. Hope you enjoy it. Must say, my greenest days were probably pre-children – it’s a challenge now with limited time, energy and resources,but I still do my best (she says, quickly rushing to sow a bit of rocket in neglected garden!)


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *