Lunch Archives - Percolate Kitchen

20-Minute Cheese Tortellini and Vegetable Soup

This cheesy tortellini soup is only 20 minutes from start to finish and your family is going to love it!

Whenever I’m trying to survive through a busy week, I turn to quick soups like this one. They’re packed with vegetables, customizable (hello, using up leftovers), freeze well, and they’re cheap to make. It’s like a one-two-three punch of deliciousness.

Like, I’m not even sure ‘deliciousness’ is a word, but it totally can be when you’re talking about making this easy, flavorful and low-cost soup.

Earlier this week in the Meal Plan Buddies email, I talked about meal planning during weird weeks.

You know the weeks I mean: when the ish is hitting the fan and you’re busy, trying to hang on to your sanity, yet you’re not always sure how your evenings will be so how the heck can you plan for the cooking? 

If you’ve ever had a week like that, then I feel ya sister. That’s when knowing how to pivot, understanding your kitchen strengths, and being kind to your future self will come into play big time.  

It’s also where dishes like this 20-minute cheese tortellini and vegetable soup make an appearance on our dining room table.

Just 20 minutes and it’s so easy that it kinda feels like cheating.

As in, “I’ve just called Dominos for dinner and now I’m going to lie here and stare at the wall til they arrive’ kind of cheating.   

It’s full of flavor, bursting with vegetables, comforting to make and kids love it.  

It also freezes awesome, although the tortellini have a tendency to taste a little soggy if they’ve been cooked prior to freezing and thawing. So if you want to make this ahead of time, I ‘d recommend planning ahead on the soup part, and then storing the soup in the freezer alongside a separate baggie full of tortellini. Then you can add them in during the reheat.  

I also made a video for this cheesy tortellini soup! It’s slightly choppy, since I’m still honing my little video skills, but you can see how simple the soup actually is. Especially for one with so many vegetables packed inside!

It’s slightly choppy, since I’m still honing my little video skills, but you can see how simple the soup actually is. Especially for one with so many vegetables packed inside!

And, before you say it- in the video, I added crumbled brown sausage. This is totally up to you in this recipe; you can leave out the sausage and swap vegetable stock to make this a vegetarian soup. You could even use vegan pasta and hold the cheese to make these even more of a plant-based soup! So when you see me popping the crumbled sausage into the soup but don’t see

So when you see me popping the crumbled sausage into the soup but don’t see that part in the recipe, have no fear: it’s simply an addition we like to do around here because I <3 sausage, but it’s not needed for this delicious soup.

In any case, it’s an easy, flavorful, family-approved soup. It takes 20 minutes from start to finish and most of that is waiting for the carrots and onions to soften.

I mean, come on. When you’re looking for an easy dinner, you can’t do much better than a cheesy tortellini soup.


An easy soup that comes together in only 20 minutes and is so tasty, it feels like cheating! This cheese tortellini soup is a kid favorite, too.
20-Minute Cheese Tortellini and Vegetable Soup
This soup is so easy it almost feels like cheating; with just a few handfuls of ingredients and a box of stock, you’ve got a flavorful soup comes together quickly and is so flavorful! Crumbled sausage is a nice addition to this soup, if you have some on hand. If you’ve got fresh tortellini and diced kale, all the merrier; but I also keep both in my freezer so that this soup can be pulled together in a pinch.
Servings: 4
Author: Ruthy Kirwan
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 large yellow onion diced
  • 2 large carrots diced (about 1 cup)
  • 2-3 stalks celery diced (about 1 cup)
  • teaspoon chili flakes
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4-5 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 cup corn kernels
  • 2 handfuls fresh spinach
  • 3 cups chicken broth or stock
  • 2 cup cheese tortellini
  1. In a large pot, heat butter over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion, carrots and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions and carrots have softened, about 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add the garlic and stir to combine, cooking until the garlic has whitened and become fragrant about 1-3 minutes.
  3. Add the corn and the spinach and stir to wilt the spinach, about 3-5 minutes.
  4. Once the spinach has wilted, pour in the chicken broth.
  5. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 5 minutes, then remove from heat.
  6. Add the tortellini and cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through, about 3-5 minutes.
  7. Serve hot, garnished with grated parmesan cheese.

39+ Kid-Approved After School Snack and Lunch Box Ideas


It isn’t always easy finding snacks and lunch box ideas that kids will eat, so I’ve rounded up some ideas from a couple of my fave food bloggers to help inspire you!

When my daughter (now 3) was a baby, she ate everything. It was great! I felt like the best mom ever, smugly feeding her all kinds of foods and saying things like, “Oh, it’s just what she’s used to!”

Now, with a mind of her own and a beautifully stubborn attitude to match, she would be thrilled to live on a diet of goldfish crackers and air. I’m hoping this is all a phase and just trying to go with the flow. In the meantime, though, I’m on a constant search for healthy-ish, tasty, quick and easy meals and snacks I can make for her that won’t wind up cast aside by her, ah, discerning palate.

Want to see more ideas for lunch box ideas and after school snacks?

Click to follow my Pinterest board, Baby and Kid Approved! It’s full of quick and simple kid-friendly meal ideas, and I add new stuff to it all the time.

On to the meal ideas!

Peanut Butter, Banana, and Nutella Pastries by Percolate Kitchen

With just five ingredients and 25 minutes, these flaky, sweet little Peanut Butter, Banana, and Nutella Pastries are the easiest dessert ever.

Apple Cookies by NaturBaker 

Kid-Approved Snack Ideas from The Messy Little Kitchen

20 Freezer Friendly Lunchbox Items from Kidgredients

Super Creamy Macaroni and Cheese from Percolate Kitchen

Pick-and-Choose Kid’s Packed Lunch Chart from Percolate Kitchen

Use these ideas to make your kid's packed lunch even faster! Pick one food item from each section. There's even space to add in your own favorites!

Chocolate Banana Cupcake Muffins from NaturBaker 

Annnnnd, in case you missed it, I just featured Back to School Lunch Week on the Percolate Kitchen Facebook Page!

You can find all my lunch related posts on Facebook, including recipe videos, Facebook Live, even a gif of me and peanut butter (really!)

You might also like:

Picky Eaters? Here are 13 Kid-Approved Recipes from Percolate Kitchen

17 Easy Sheet Pan Dinners for Busy Nights

5-Minute Blender Green Goddess Dressing

Pick and Choose Chart for Kid’s Packed Lunches

Use these ideas to get your kid's packed lunch ideas flowing! Pick one thing from each section for each lunch packed and be sure your kids cover their food groups and enjoy their lunch at the same time. There's even space to add in your own favorites!

I may be new to the ‘kid’s packed lunch scene’, but it doesn’t mean I’m full of fresh ideas as to what I’m supposed to pack!

“Will she eat this? Is this even healthy? Wait, am I including enough food groups?” Seriously, packing a kids’ lunch shouldn’t be this dang stressful. And yet it’s one of my most dreaded chores.

My kids aren’t school age yet (my son is 1 and my daughter is 3) but three days a week, they go to a babysitter/daycare situation from 9-5, and they bring a packed lunch with them on those days.

I do this so I can actually get, you know, work done.

I send them off (despite working from home) so that I can actually work, instead of, say, losing my mind or temper or plonking them in front of the T.V. for eight straight hours. It’s a win-win for everyone, and they absolutely adore their babysitter.

I make their packed lunches the night before, while I’m cleaning up after dinner but before I put leftovers away. I find that if I try to cram in packed lunch prep in the morning, I usually forget something – plus, it’s way too stressful! We have enough morning time battles to fight, such as trying to brush my daughter’s hair without her running away from me. Ain’t nobody got time to deal with lunch making, too.

Use these ideas to get your kid's packed lunch ideas flowing! Pick one thing from each section for each lunch packed and be sure your kids cover their food groups and enjoy their lunch at the same time. There's even space to add in your own favorites!(click the image to pin straight to Pinterest!)

I’ve picked up a few tips and tricks along the way regarding these packed lunches:

  • Try to only have one food group item at a time (so, say- one piece of fruit, one vegetable, protein, etc)
  • Cheese sticks are my very best friend
  • Those reusable baby food pouches I bought too many of when my daughter was just getting into solids? Those are the perfect vehicle for applesauce.
  • My daughter tends to try more things at the babysitter’s house, so this is prime time to add in things like green beans, roasted broccoli, dried apricots, etc. She lives by the credo, “If it’s from mom, it’s gross. If it’s from the babysitter, I should try it!” So, I totally take advantage of this.
  • Leftovers are my other bff after cheese sticks. The nights before the kids go to the babysitter, I try to cook a dinner that is easily ‘leftover-able”. This saves me time and money, stretching a meal out this way!

Want some great ideas for a simple recipe you can make at home that works fabulously in kids’ packed lunches?

Check out this Facebook Live I did, where I made 15-Minute Peanut Satay Chicken Skewers and Broccoli Pesto Pasta.

Percolate Kitchen on Facebook Live: 2 Easy Back to School Packed Lunch Ideas

( Plus, I share my faaaaavorite reusable food containers, from Kids Konserve. They’re leakproof and practically indestructible! )

But wait! I went one step further, and created this handy little ‘Pick and Choose Packed Lunch’ cheat sheet for you! 🙌

Guys, this takes SO MUCH of the thought process out of planning and packing kid’s lunches. Add in a few extra options that your kid’s like; make it personal to you and your family.

Then, when it’s time to take care of the kid’s packed lunch, just pick one item from each section on the chart. Add it to the lunchbox, zip that sucker up, and toss it in the fridge or backpack.

It could.




Well, easier if you had like, a maid to do this stuff for you. But you know what I mean.

Anyway, the download’s FREE!! No strings attached, no email to hand over. Just click and save and go about your merry little lunch-packing way.

Enjoy the school year!

Click here for the straight-up pdf version. Or, click the image below to download!

Use these ideas to get your kid's packed lunch ideas flowing! Pick one thing from each section for each lunch packed and be sure your kids cover their food groups and enjoy their lunch at the same time. There's even space to add in your own favorites!

You might also like: 

 How To Cook ‘Family Meal; Just Like a Chef 

3 Reasons Why You Need Better Kitchen Organization

The 5 Minute Meal Plan (Quick Cooking Tips #1)

15-Minute Peanut Satay Chicken Skewers

15-Minute Peanut Satay Chicken Skewers
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
15 mins
Author: Ruthy Kirwan
  • 3 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons tahini paste
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 large clove garlic minced
  • 1.5 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs, sliced into long strips
  • grill or cast iron grill pan
  • 8-10 wooden or metal skewers
  1. Heat a gas or coal heated grill to medium heat. Alternatively, if you are using a grill pan, spray with a little cooking oil and place over medium-high heat.
  2. Combine sesame oil through minced garlic, and stir to mix sauce thoroughly.
  3. Add chicken to the sauce and turn to coat. Skewer the chicken strips and set the skewers aside.
  4. Place the skewers on the grill or grill pan and cook, 3-5 minutes each side. The chicken is done when there are blackened grill marks, and the chicken registers 165*F on a meat thermometer. You may have to work in batches.
  5. Serve immediately, or remove from skewers and chill. Skewers will last for up to one week if kept tightly covered and in the refrigerator.