On a cold November day when my friend’s son requested soup for lunch, I knew right away I wanted to make something a 3-year-old would enjoy as much as I would: creamy, healthy tomato soup with just a spoonful of playful alphabet letters, a throwback to childhood classics. Everyone enjoyed the tomato soup that day, including my 1-year-old daughter, the 3-year-old Jonah, and me.

Make sure not to add the alphabet pasta until you serve, otherwise the pasta will absorb too much of the soup and it will have a mushy, non-soup-like consistency.


2 Tbsp butter or olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 14 ounce can of crushed tomatoes
1 ½-2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
Salt and pepper
½ cup alphabet or other small pasta
Fresh chives
½ cup heavy cream (optional)


1. Add butter or oil to a medium pot over medium heat. Sauté onion and garlic until translucent.

2. Add crushed tomatoes and stock. Season with salt and pepper to taste and bring back to a boil. Reduce heat after 10 minutes to low.

3. Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Cook pasta around 6 minutes or according to directions. Drain pasta and drizzle with a tiny amount of olive oil to prevent pasta from sticking. Set aside until ready to serve.

4. If you want the soup to be a smoother consistency, you can puree the soup in batches in a blender or food processor. If not, you can leave soup as is.

5. If making the soup dairy, add heavy cream before serving.

6. Add a heaping tablespoon of pasta to each bowl. Sprinkle chopped chives on top and serve.



Shannon Sarna is the baketress behind Sweeney Sweets: Traditional Challah with a Modern Twist. A lover of all things food, she spends her spare time glued to The Food Network, and baking at her favorite kitchen in Englewood, NJ. In her professional life, she serves as External Relations Coordinator for The Samuel Bronfman Foundation in NYC.