So much about my food is based around what I can get my kids to eat. I am a firm believer in a one dinner policy. I'm not a short order cook. No omelet station here. However, I'm no fool. I need to set myself up for success. If I want to introduce new foods, "grown-up" dishes or "strange" vegetables I will create options that will work. I have at least two sides, two vegetables, a soup, a main. Lots of options to pick. I also don't do an entirely new meal every night. There needs to be some familiarity within the meal. Just introduce one or two new foods a night. Make sure there is something that is a guaranteed win.
That brings me to my soup. This soup has vegetables, lentils, and quinoa! At first glance one might wonder how am I discussing this as a children's friendly soup? I have been trying to get my children to eat soup with pieces (non-pureed) for quite some time. But alas, we are not there yet. So until that time I will puree any goodness I can get my hands on because they WILL eat (or drink through a straw) any pureed soup in front of them. This is a great way to get your children to have a balanced diet. Once they have decided they like it, fell free to tell them what is in the soup so they can know what it is they actually like. "Oh, I like quinoa? Hmmm. Ok."
¼ teaspoon Aleppo pepper (can be substituted for chili powder)
Take your large soup pot (about 8 quarts) and set it over a medium-high flame on your stove. Add your olive oil, onion and ½ teaspoon of your salt. Allow the onion to cook for about 3 minutes just until it becomes soft and translucent. Then add your fennel, carrot and garlic. Cook for an additional 4 minutes. Add your lentils, quinoa and tomato paste. Using a silicone spatula or a wooden spoon mix around well in order to spread the tomato paste out onto all of the vegetables evenly. This may take a minute. Then add cold water to fill your pot. Add your remaining tablespoon of kosher salt, cumin, coriander and Aleppo pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil and lower the flame to a simmer. Allow to simmer for 1.5 hours. Then using an immersion blender puree your soup until completely smooth.
This soup will last in the fridge for 1 week after it is made.
This soup lasts beautifully in the freezer for up to 2 months after it is made.