Elaine’s Mean Green Souper Machine
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 45 mins
1 decent-sized onion, chopped
2 decent-sized potatoes (unpeeled), chopped roughly
1 leek, washed and chopped roughly
½ head broccoli, washed and chopped roughly
1 cooking or eating apple, washed and chopped roughly
200g peas (fresh or frozen)
200g fresh baby spinach (or use frozen)
small bunch fresh parsley (flat-leaf is best)
short dash lemon juice
1.5 litre vegetable stock
2 cloves garlic, crushed
Veg Portions / Serving: 1
Recipe donated by Elaine Mason/Union of Genius for Veg Power. Recipe and photography from Union of Genius.
Our Mean Green Souper Machine was born from a bountiful excess of springtime vegetables. We wanted to make a green, flavour-packed, seasonal soup to wake people up to spring. When we made this mean green souper machine soup for the first time, it was so green it reminded us of The Incredible Hulk. Union of Genius cook for children’s nurseries in Edinburgh, and this soup makes the kids as strong as the Hulk (if not so green). This recipe is great for using up sad-looking veggies!
Add a little oil or butter to a pot and sauté the onion and garlic for 5 minutes. Add potatoes and leek, and then add the stock. Bring to a boil, and add broccoli, lemon juice and apple. Simmer for 30-40 minutes.
Add the peas, spinach and parsley, and cook for 5 minutes more. Blend using an immersion blender. Season to taste with black pepper and salt if needed. The soup is fresh-tasting, juicy and very, very green.
Kids who engage regularly with veg through veg-themed activities, such as arts and crafts, sensory experiences, growing and cooking are shown to be more likely to eat the veg they engage with. Encouraging kids to engage and play with veg is the handy first step to them developing a good relationship with veg and life-long healthy eating.
Kids in the kitchen
Kids can be involved during the prep of this tasty soup, podding the peas if you’re using fresh. They can help chop apples and spinach if they’re old enough to handle a knife safely, and they can peel and crush the garlic.
While getting kids to interact with veggies for real and using their senses to explore them is best, encouraging hands off activities like arts & crafts, puzzles & games or at-home science experiments can be a great start, particularly for those who are fussier eaters or struggle with anything too sensory. Use these veg-themed activities as a stepping stone to interacting with the veg themselves. We have loads of crafty downloads here, puzzles here, and quirky science with veg here.
Once you feel your child is ready to engage a little more, you can show them how to explore the veg you have on hand with their senses, coming up with playful silly descriptions of how a veg smells, feels, looks, sounds and perhaps even tastes. Find ideas, videos and some simple sensory education session ideas to get you started here.
The moments before food is offered can be a perfect opportunity for engagement that can help make it more likely a child will eat it! Giving children a sense of ownership in the meal can make a big difference to their feelings going into it and the pride they take in it. You know your child best, but if you aren’t sure where to start, we have some fun and simple ideas for easy roles you can give them in the serving process over here.