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Super Rescue Soup

“We live on Long Island, and when Hurricane Sandy struck, we were without power for 15 days,” reports Peter’s mom, Jill. “The grocery stores had no produce, dairy, or meat, but it was harvest time at our local farmstand, so there was plenty of fresh produce available there. We filled a wagon with fresh produce, added some pantry staples, and came up with this soup, which we could cook on our gas stovetop. To round out the meal we would serve Peter’s Banana Split Fruit Salad. Split a banana, top with berries and low-fat yogurt, and finish with ground flaxseed sprinkles.” - Peter Murphy, age 9, New York

Makes 6 servings


  • 1/2 cup dried cannellini beans or 1 (15-ounce) can, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup pearl barley
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, scrubbed and finely chopped
  • 2 medium stalks celery, finely chopped
  • 1 medium zucchini, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 3/4 cup green beans, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 russet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce or one medium tomato, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)


  1. If using dried beans, soak them overnight or do a quick soak (boil for 2 minutes, then remove them from the heat and let soak for 1 hour).
  2. In a medium saucepan over moderate heat, cover the presoaked beans with 2 inches of water and cook until tender, about 30 minutes. Add 1 1/4 cups water, bring to a boil, and add the barley. Lower the heat and simmer for 45 minutes. Set aside.(If using canned beans, wait to add them to the soup until step 4.)
  3. In a large saucepan over moderate heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion, carrots, and celery and sauté, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the zucchini and green beans and sauté until beginning to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the potato and sauté, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes.
  4. Add 6 cups of water and the tomato sauce, raise the heat, and bring the soup to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Add the beans and barley and continue to simmer for 5 more minutes. Season with salt, and purée with an immersion blender, if desired.

187 calories; 5g protein; 31g carbohydrates; 5g fat (1g saturated fat); 440mg sodium (does not include banana split fruit salad)

More information about the Kids' State Dinner:

  • Check out the other winning 2013 Kids' State Dinner Recipes here.
  • Learn more about Kids' State Dinner here.