Ok, let’s just face the cold, stark truth – kids hate vegetables. Even if the dish you make tastes good, if they find out it contains even a single morsel of healthiness, they might vomit a little. The trick is to fool them into thinking they are eating junk food. Perhaps it’s a little cruel and perhaps it’s a little evil, but it’s a trick we love. Try out some of these divine veggie recipes that even the most picky of children will devour (as long as you don’t tell them what’s in it).
1 red bell pepper / capsicum
1 yellow bell pepper/ capsicum
1 large or 2 small courgettes/ zucchini
half a red onion
1 pack of gnocchi
2 handfuls of rocket/ arugula
3 tablespoons of pesto
handful of chopped semi-sun dried tomatoes
mixed herbs (like herbs de Provence, or Italian seasoning)
salt and pepper
1 garlic clove – finely chopped (or use a garlic press)
fresh Parmesan cheese
Gnocchi are a kid-favorite, and when they’re combined with vegetables, virtually unstoppable. Chop up the peppers, zucchini, and red onion and spread evenly across a baking pan. Sprinkle with herbs, salt, pepper, and olive oil. Bake for 20 minutes and then stir in the sun-dried tomatoes and chopped garlic. Put back in the oven for another 5 to 10 minutes to finish cooking. Meanwhile, cook the gnocchi and then add them to the baking pan. Stir in the pesto and rocket, and eat up!
1 pound cremini mushrooms, halved
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 large sweet onion, diced
1 3/4 cups light beer (drink what’s left in the bottle)
1/3 cup finely chopped walnuts
1 small green bell pepper, seeded and diced
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
1/4 cup ketchup
3 tablespoons tomato paste
6 whole grain hamburger buns
Shredded red cabbage or lettuce, pickled jalapeno and scallions, for serving, optional
Sloppy Joes are messy, fun, and another kid-favorite. Just neglect to tell them that you replaced the meat with veggies! Chop the mushrooms in a food processor and set aside. Cook the onions, 1 tablespoon of beer, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, adding in the walnuts and peppers after about five minutes. Cook for three more minutes and add the mushrooms, 3/4 teaspoon black pepper, and chipotle powder. Add the rest of the beer, ketchup, tomato paste, salt, and cook until it is the proper consistency. Add to a bun and enjoy!
1 (16 ounce) package lasagna noodles
1 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced
3/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
3/4 cup chopped onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 (26 ounce) jars pasta sauce
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 (15 ounce) container part-skim ricotta cheese
4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Lasagna is one of those foods that satisfies all your cravings in one. And it’s super easy to make on a night when you don’t have much time. Start by cooking the lasagna noodles. Next, cook the mushrooms, green peppers, onion, and garlic in a saucepan. Slowly add in the pasta sauce and bring to a boil. Let simmer for 15 minutes. In a bowl, mix together the ricotta, mozzarella cheese, and eggs. Spread one cup of tomato sauce on the bottom of a baking dish, then begin layering lasagna noodles, ricotta mix, sauce, and Parmesan cheese. Continue until the pan is full. Bake for 40 minutes and let stand 15 minutes before you devour.
1 c. plain 2% reduced-fat Greek yogurt
3 T. chopped fresh mint
2 t. fresh lime juice
5/8 t. course sea salt, divided
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 T. honey
1 cucumber (about 8-oz.), peeled, seeded, and shredded
6 (6-inch) whole-wheat pitas, halved
2 (15-oz.) cans organic chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
3 T. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 t. ground cumin
2 t. Spanish smoked paprika
1/4 t. ground red pepper (I used Aleppo Pepper from Penzey’s Spices)
1 T. fresh lemon juice
1/4 t. freshly ground black pepper
8 c. loosely packed arugula
12 grape tomatoes, sliced
Show your kids what a healthy gyro looks like! Chickpeas taste great, especially when they’ve been fried. Combine the yogurt, mint, lime juice, 1/8 teaspoon salt, garlic, honey, and cucumber in a bowl. Bake the pitas for ten minutes to warm. Heat chick peas in a large skillet and saute for ten minutes. Combine chickpeas with the remaining ingredients in a bowl and toss well so they are evenly coated. Fill each pita with the chickpea mixture, tomato slices, and some sauce. Eat up.
2 poblano chiles
2 cups fresh (~4 ears) or frozen corn kernels
1 cup (about 1/2) onion, chopped
1 Tbsp fresh oregano, chopped
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp fresh lime juice (1/2 lime, juiced)
3/4 tsp salt, divided
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
5 large ripe tomatoes
1 cup uncooked quinoa
1/4 cup water
1.5 oz (1/3 cup) part-skim colby-Jack cheese, shredded
Teach your kids the value of tomatoes with this fun veggie recipe. Start by cutting the chiles in half and flattening with your hand. Broil and place in a paper bag, letting them stand for 10 minutes. Peel and then chop them. Put the corn and onion in a pan for 10 minutes, and then add to the chiles. Stir in oregano, oil, lime juice, salt, cumin, and black pepper. Next, cut the tops off of the tomatoes and scoop out the pulp. Save the liquid and combine it with the quinoa, water, and salt in a saucepan until it boils. Simmer for 15 minutes and then add to corn mixture. Scoop about one cup of the mixture into each tomato. Add cheese. Bake for 15 minutes and eat.
1.5 kg (3 lb 5 oz) eggplants (aubergines)
Plain (all-purpose) flour
330 ml (1 1/3 cup)
500 ml (2 cups) Penn Mac’s Olive Oil.
2 tablespoons roughly torn basil leaves
250g (1 2/3 cups) Grated Mozzarella Cheese.
100g (1 cup) Grated Reggiano Parmesan Cheese.
Eggplant Parmesan is a good replacement for other unhealthy dishes, and your kids will love it because you can’t even tell the eggplant is a vegetable. Slice the eggplant along its length and let sit in a colander for an hour to extract juices. Coat the slices with flour, and then fry them in a pan until crisp and golden. Use the slices to make a layer on the bottom of a baking tray. Season with pepper and then add four tablespoons of passata and basil. Add the cheeses. Bake for 30 minutes and then let your mouth go wild.
4 medium russet potatoes, scrubbed
1 cup low-sodium tomato sauce
1 1/4 cups part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/4 bell pepper, thinly sliced (I used 3 mini bell peppers)
Italian seasoning, to taste
crush red pepper flakes, to taste
If you say the word pizza, your kids will be in. It won’t be until they’ve finished it all that they realize the grievous error (eating vegetables) they just committed. Start by baking the potatoes until they are soft. Cut in hald and scoop out the flesh, leaving 1/4 inch in. Season with salt and bake for another 8 to 10 minutes until crisp. Fill with tomato sauce and top with cheese and pepper (and any other veggie toppings you want). Bake another 15 minutes until the cheese has melted.
1 (large) zucchini, cut into 1/8″ – 1/4″ slices
1/3 cup whole grain breadcrumbs, optional Panko (homemade breadcrumb recipe)
1/4 cup finely grated parmesan cheese, reduced fat
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Kosher or sea salt to taste
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 tablespoons low-fat milk
Kids love chips and are guaranteed to gobble this tasty finger food down in no time. In a small mixing bowl, combine breadcrumbs, cheese, black pepper, salt, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper. Dip the zucchini slices in milk and coat with crumbs on both sides. Arrange on a pan and bake for 15 minutes, turning over halfway through. Allow to cool and serve alongside dinner or as a snack.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
4 packages (5 ounces each) mixed mushrooms, trimmed and thinly sliced
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 sheet frozen puff pastry (from a 17.3-ounce box), thawed
1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream, for serving
The kids won’t be able to see the veggies until they bite into this turnover, which means they have a chance to taste it before passing judgment. Cook the onion for five to six minutes in a pan of oil. Add mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Roll out the dough into a 20″x 10″ rectangle. Trim the edges straight and cut into four pieces. Add a clump of mushroom mixture to each piece, leaving a 1/2″ border. Fold the pastry in half and press edges firmly together. Bake for about 20 minutes until golden and puffy. Serve with sour cream for added taste.
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