Vegan Recipes Your Kids Will Love
Kids are known for their picky eating habits. From chicken fingers to pizza, many of the kid-friendly foods out there don’t square with a parent’s desire to feed their family healthy, natural foods. With a little creativity, though, kid-friendly fare can be reinvented to make both you and your little one happy!
Build a Better Snack
Carrots and celery sticks can make a great and healthy snack for your kids. With the addition of some almond or peanut butter, they can also become engineering tools! Cut up various crispy veggies (try green beans and summer squash for additional flavor and textures) into “logs” and build your own vegetable houses, using the nut butter as mortar. Again, grapes, tomatoes, and other small fruits and veggies can be used to accent the snack. Try a slice of apple as a window on the house! Raisins can be used as rocks for the foundation! When the snack house is done, your kid’s imagination can run wild! What monster can resist eating a house in the woods?
Do your kids need protein from healthier sources? Try replacing those chicken fingers with tofu fingers! Tofu absorbs many flavors, which makes it a great substitute for meat in recipes, or by itself with some flavors added! Buy a block of extra firm tofu, and drain the water. Slice the tofu into thirds through the sides (so you have three blocks that are not as tall) and sandwich them between layers of paper towels to drain the liquid. When the paper towels are wet, replace them with another set of towels – repeat two or three times for best results. Once your tofu is pressed and dried, slice it lengthwise into “chicken fingers,” then toss in a bowl of garlic powder, onion powder, panko crumbs, and maybe a bit of bbq seasoning. Bake on a cookie sheet, and serve with fries and ketchup!
Kids love pizza, and kids love having a food they can make their own. Personal pizza night gets the kids involved in the preparation – meaning they will also be more likely to eat their dinner. While pizza from a shop can be bad, making your own can be a great way to ensure your family is eating healthy. A good quality dough recipe, included below, is a great start. After rolling out the dough into personal pizza sized rounds, let the kids add their own toppings, bake, then eat! You might consider some fresh grape tomatoes (little, like the kids!), or slicing up pearl onions to make tiny toppings. A slice of roasted eggplant can add some heft to a simple pizza, or you can even use the eggplant in place of a crust: just roll it in cornmeal, sear it in olive oil, then bake in the oven topped with tomato sauce and one of the many delicious vegan cheese products now available.
Recipe for Pizza Dough
¾ cup + 3 Tablespoons warm water
½ teaspoon active dry yeast
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2 Tablespoons olive oil
Mix the warm water and yeast, and let it activate. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, salt, and sugar, then stir in the olive oil and active yeast with the water. Knead the dough by hand and let it rise, covered, in a warm environment. Roll out the dough, and place on a pizza stone sprinkled with cornmeal or semolina flour. Preheat your oven to 500, and prepare your pizza toppings! Bake and enjoy!
This is a guest post by Mark Lynch. Mark recommends reading more about vegan recipes on Chefs.edu.