Sneaky Veggies

My kid loves to eat. He is a developing foodie with a bottomless pit for a stomach and an obsession with fruit. Where he lacks an appetite is when it comes to veggies. He will usually eat broccoli and carrots without needing them hidden, i.e. steamed broccoli or roasted carrots. Other than that, he pretty much avoids veggies. I know some kids have texture issues with certain foods, mine included. He has an aversion to leafy greens, and prefers crunchy/chewy textures. I’m always looking for creative, kid-friendly recipes that incorporate veggies. Here are some of my go-to recipes and tips for sneaking veggies into foods that kids will eat… and like!

15 Minute Veggie-dillas
Serves 4

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ onion, diced
  • 1 cup corn
  • ½ bell pepper, diced
  • ½ cup black beans, drained
  • 1 tablespoon taco seasoning
  • 2 avocados, peeled, halved, seeded and sliced
  • 1 cup Shredded cheese of choice
  • 4 tortillas
  1. In a medium pan over medium-high heat, saute onion, corn, and bell pepper in olive oil for 2-3 minutes or until tender. Add black beans and taco seasoning. Cook for another minute. Transfer into a bowl and set aside.
  2. Place tortilla in pan and top with cheese. Add some avocado on half the tortilla, then layer with a few scoops of the veggie mixture.
  3. Fold the tortilla closed and cook for 3 minutes per side, or until the outside is crispy and cheese has fully melted. Serve with salsa or sour cream, and a squeeze of lime.

Healthy Nut Mac

  • 1 small butternut squash
  • 1 box, 12 ounce pasta of choice
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 medium carrots, cut into pieces
  • 1 cup cauliflower, chopped
  • 1 cup cheddar, shredded
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  1. Pre-heat oven to 400F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or silicon mat. Cut butternut squash in half, seed and place on baking sheet, skin side down. Bake for 40 minutes or until outer skin is softened. Test by poking with a fork.
  2. Boil large pot of water. Add pasta and cook according to the package directions.
  3. Scrape butternut squash from skin and place in blender or food processor. Add garlic, milk, carrots, cauliflower, cheddar and puree until smooth.
  4. Scoop mixture into pot with cooked pasta. Add olive oil and toss everything until well combined.
  5. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese. if desired and serve immediately.

Sweet Patoodles with Sausage and Kale
(When in doubt, spiralize!)

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2, 3oz pre-cooked chicken sausage, sliced
  • 1 large sweet potato (1lb,) peeled then spiralized using thinnest noodle blade
  • 4 cups packed chopped curly kale
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup canned cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  1. Blend kale, garlic, and 1/2 the olive oil in a food processor or blender.
  2. Heat the remaining olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add sausages and saute until browned on both sides. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
  3. Saute sweet patoodles and kale mixture in the skillet for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, toss the noodles occasionally. Add chicken broth then saute noodles another 3 minutes.
  4. Add beans and cooked sausages back into the skillet then toss until heated through and mixed well.

One of my favorite healthy kids food site is Super Healthy Kids. There is a recipe for Sweet Spinach Muffins which are a popular St. Patty’s Day tradition in my house. For this recipe, I’ve adapted it to only 1/4C honey, 1/3C butter, and coconut milk instead of regular milk. I typically add a handful of kale, too. These guys are so tasty and healthy, I like to make extra and freeze them as great snack options. Another great way to sneak veggies is via tots! Gimme Delicious has a tried and true recipe for broccoli tots that are a big win. Another favorite are kale chips, which are super easy to make. First I rinse the

 kale, take the leaves off the stalks, and pat dry with a paper towel. Then I season with salt, pepper, drizzle of olive oil, and bake at 350F for about 10 minutes. Talk about addicting! 

Also, Garden Lites makes these veggie cakes I found at Costco. They are a blend of seven vegetables, and gluten, dairy, and nut free with only 100 calories!! You are welcome!

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