Cooking with Kids – Making Soup and Chili to Feed the Hungry

Making soup with kids

Making Soup with our local 4-H Club

Soup is a food that can fuel your soul.  On a cold day, it’s like getting a warm hug, from the inside out.  It’s also the perfect food to prepare in a group, demonstrating the collaborative nature of cooking, as it should be.  One of my favorite memories of cooking with children in the classroom is when my son’s teacher invited me to make Stone Soup with her class.  Every student shared one ingredient – each item seeming negligible on it’s own, but when combined, transformed into a delicious meal that was enjoyed and shared as a group.  It inspired me to create a lesson plan for other teachers, in case I couldn’t come to help again in person.

I have a history of having a soft heart and trying to care for those around me.  I share that affliction with my friend Kebby, who owns Studio 4 Art, an art studio for children – and we collaborated on a special project called SOUP for a few years.  With her students, she made bowls; with mine, we made soups. At our event, guests paid a small price for admission and selected a special bowl to keep and fill with soup – with all of the proceeds going to a local homeless shelter.

Kids making vegetarian Chili

Butternut Squash Black Bean Chili

Butternut Squash Soup (Vegetarian)
What’s Cooking with Kids,

2 large butternut squash
Melted butter (you can also use olive oil or coconut oil), for brushing
1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus 1 teaspoon
1 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper, plus 1/2 teaspoon
3 cups vegetable stock
4 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon minced ginger
4 ounces heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Cut squash in half and scoop out the seeds.
  3. Cut the squash into 2 inch chunks.
  4. Brush the flesh of the squash with a little butter and season with 1 tablespoon salt and 1 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper.
  5. On a sheet pan lay the squash flesh side up.
  6. Roast for about 30 to 35 minutes or until the flesh is nice and soft.
  7. Scoop the flesh from the skin into a pot and add the stock, honey, and ginger.
  8. Bring to a simmer and puree using a stick blender or regular blender.  If using a regular blender, use caution – the steam can build pressure inside the blender and could spray you with hot soup if the lid is pushed off.
  9. Stir in the heavy cream and return to a low simmer.
  10. Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg.

Call the Kids:

  • Brush the chunks of squash with melted butter
  • Put squash on the baking tray and sprinkle them with salt
  • Measure stock and honey
  • Kids can safely use a stick blender – just keep the blades inside the pot!
  • Add the cream

Vegetarian Black Bean Chili
What’s Cooking with Kids,

1 Tbs olive oil
1 small onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1 lb butternut squash, diced (1/2 inch cubes)
2 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
1 Tbs chili powder
1 tsp Ground cumin
2 cans (19 ounces each) black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes
1 package (10 ounces) frozen corn kernels, thawed

Sour cream / plain yogurt
Shredded cheese, such as Monterey jack or cheddar
Diced avocado
Thinly sliced scallions

  1. In a 5 quart Dutch oven or heavy pot, heat oil over medium-high heat.
  2. Add onion and garlic, and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to soften, about 4 minutes.
  4. Add squash cubes, carrots, chili powder and cumin.
  5. Cook, stirring occasionally, until carrots and squash are crisp-tender, about 8 minutes.
  6. Add beans, tomatoes, corn, and I C. water.
  7. Simmer until slightly thickened and carrots and squash are soft,10-12 minutes more.
  8. Set out toppings so everyone can choose their own.

Servings: 4

Call The Kids:

  • Measure the chili powder and cumin
  • Peel the carrots
  • Peel the paper skin from the garlic
  • Rinse and drain the beans
  • Pour in canned tomatoes and frozen corn
  • Put toppings into small dishes

If you’d like to cook with kids in your classroom, try my Stone Soup lesson plan. It’s an easy activity to do with students and will teach them about the value of collaboration.

Stone Soup Lesson Plan

What kind of soup does your family enjoy? We’ll pick new varieties for our event next year, and I’d love your thoughts…

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7 Responses to Cooking with Kids – Making Soup and Chili to Feed the Hungry

  1. What a great example for your kids, and a cool recipe to boot!

  2. Amanda says:

    That IS a beautiful thing!!! Such gorgeous little faces and excitement… and great recipe!

  3. naomi says:

    This is one of my favorite soups! I love all the pics of you cooking with kids. Aside from that, it’s such a great way to bond with kids and teach them about healthy eating habits.

  4. I like the bit of ginger and honey in this – sounds delicious. And what a great thing to teach kids, making soup for those in need.

  5. Pingback: Community Service Event for Families - SOUP | What's Cooking With Kids

  6. Pingback: Vegetarian Chili - Healthy and Kid FriendlyWhat's Cooking With Kids

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