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Roasted Red Pepper Lentil Soup With Crumbled Bacon

My kids won't eat soup.

I don't just mean they don't prefer it. I mean getting them to taste even the smallest spoonful results in full out gagging and attempts at scraping the offending flavour from their tongues with their little fingers. Calling it frustrating is an understatement, and I know many of you family cooks out there are struggling with this too.

But what do we do about it? Just giving up doesn't seem right. Neither does shouting at them to just. eat. the. damn. soup. Tears at the dinner table are never fun. I know because I've been there. I have, I'll be honest, played the 'that's all there is for dinner' card on many occasions, and both my kids will often just skip dinner altogether or eat the bread on the table. Which also doesn't feel awesome.

So, I keep trying. I keep making soup. Different kinds of soup. I love the stuff, like this pureed lentil soup made with roasted red peppers and bacon. Topped with some salty feta and chopped cilantro, that's a gorgeous lunch in this mother's opinion, thank you very much. Even if it is just me and Mr. Feedbag enjoying it.

Roasted Red Pepper Lentil Soup With Crumbled Bacon
Makes 4-6 servings

5 strips of bacon, chopped
1 1/4 cups (300 mL) diced yellow onion
1/3 cup (75 mL) diced celery
1 1/2 cups (375 mL) dried red lentils
1/2 cup (125 mL) chopped roasted red peppers (jarred is fine)
1 can (156 mL/5.5 oz) tomato paste
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 tsp (7 mL) dried oregano
1 tsp (5 mL) dried thyme
1 tsp (5 mL) paprika
6 cups (1.5 L) water
1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt
1/4 tsp (1 mL) black pepper
Crumbled feta and chopped fresh cilantro as garnish (optional)

Warm a soup pot over medium heat. Add the chopped bacon and cook until crispy. Transfer the bacon pieces to a small plate and set aside.

Add the onion and celery to the pot. Cook over medium heat 3 to 4 minutes until slightly soft, stirring frequently. Stir in the lentils, roasted red peppers, tomato paste garlic, oregano, thyme and paprika. Continue cooking for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.

Pour in the water. Season with salt and pepper. Turn the heat to high and bring to a bubble. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Puree a lot or a little using an immersion blender or in a standard blender, working in batches.

Serve topped with the crumbled bacon. Add crumbled feta and chopped fresh cilantro as additional garnish if desired.

Do your kids eat soup? What kind of soup do they like? Leave a comment and share your successes, frustrations and stories about feeding kids soup!