Teach your kids that a simple mix of vegetables can result in a delicious meal. This updated kitchen staple adds texture and spice while preserving the original perfection of this slightly sweet, warmly satisfying childhood favorite.

2 fresh red bell peppers, halved and seeded, or 2 jarred red bell peppers, rinsed
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
4 tomatoes
a pinch dried oregano
a pinch dried basil
salt and pepper, to taste
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 28 ounce cans crushed tomatoes
1 6 ounce can tomato paste
1 cup low sodium vegetable or chicken broth
croutons, for garnish

If using fresh bell peppers:

Adult: Preheat a broiler.

Kid: Toss the bell peppers halves in a bowl with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Transfer the bell peppers, cut side down, to a baking sheet.

Adult: Place the baking sheet under the broiler for 5 minutes, or until the skin begins to blister. Rotate the peppers for even cooking. Broil 2-5 minutes more, or until the skin is slightly blackened and the flesh is soft. Transfer to a tightly closed container or ziplock bag. Set aside for 20 minutes to allow the peppers to soften in their own steam.

Kid: When the peppers have cooled, take out of the bag and peel with your fingers. Discard the skin and slice the peeled peppers into thin strips.

To complete the tomato soup base:

Adult: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Slice the tomatoes in half and remove the seeds with a small spoon.

Kid: Toss the seeded tomato halves with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a medium bowl. Sprinkle on a pinch of dried oregano and basil and salt and pepper, to taste. Spread out on a baking pan.

Adult: Place the baking pan in the oven and roast for about 40 minutes, or until the tomatoes are slightly shriveled and beginning to caramelize. Set aside to cool.

Together: Place the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil into a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté for 3-4 minutes, or until they begin to become soft. Add the garlic and sauté about 1-2 minutes more, or until it begins to become fragrant.

Kid: Add the salt, crushed tomatoes, roasted tomatoes, tomato paste and broth to the pot.

Adult: Stir, cover and bring to a slow boil. When the soup boils, reduce heat to simmer. Simmer, covered, for about 20 minutes, or until the tomatoes and peppers are fully heated through. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper if desired.

Together: Puree the soup using an immersion blender if possible. If using a traditional blender you may have to puree to soup in batches.

Together: Ladle into bowls, garnish with croutons and enjoy! Serves 4.

This recipe comes to us from Andrea of Andrea’s Recipes.

We’ve teamed up with the Kids Cook Monday initiative to bring you a weekly recipe that encourages families to set aside the first night of every week for cooking and eating together as a family. Be sure to check out their website for more great ideas on how to empower your kids in the kitchen!

photo courtesy Luis Villa del Campo via Flickr