Whether you are plant-based/vegan or not, this post is simply about getting more whole foods and healthy vegetables into our family’s diets. Sometimes it can seem harder than it is (I know I have often over complicated dinner 🤪) These are simple and kid friendly meals that also happen to be plant based. I hope you can turn to this post when you need some healthy dinner inspiration.
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- Fried Rice with Frozen Peas and Corn – One of the best and easiest veggie kids meals. You’ll need some pre-cooked rice. Here is how you do it: Chop 1 onion, 1 carrot and 2 cloves garlic. Stir-fry in a little sesame oil until just tender. Add the cooked rice, about 1/2 cup each frozen peas and corn, stir-fry until thawed and hot. Drizzle over 2 Tbsp tamari and 1 Tbsp honey. Stir and serve.
2. Simple Stir-fry Noodles: Prepare Noodles as per pack instructions and set aside. Simply stir-fry some sliced green onion with a little garlic plus any veggies your child likes (broccoli, carrots, edamame, mushrooms etc) in 1 Tbsp sesame oil. Add reserved noodles to pan and stir-fry until piping hot. Drizzle over 2 Tbsp tamari with 1 Tbsp honey and 1 Tbsp rice vinegar (or lime juice).
3. Sesame Peanut Noodles– This recipe from Tasty is just so yummy and simple!
4. Dumplings – Once you get the hang of dumplings, you will make them ALL the time! And kids love them as they are finger food. Here is my favourite vegan filling mix: Pulse together in food processor 1 Cup mushrooms with 1/4 cup walnuts and 1 chopped green onion until a meat texture is achieved. Sauté the mushroom walnut mix with 2 cloves garlic until moisture is reduced, about 5 minutes. Mix in 2 Tbsp tamari, 1 Tbsp honey and 1 Tbsp rice vinegar. Fill 1/2 tsp of cooled mix into square or round dumpling wrappers, seal ends with a little water and pinch together. To cook the dumplings: Pan fry them in a large frying pan with 1 Tbsp sesame oil until crisp on the bottom (don’t move them!) then add 1Tbsp boiling water to the pan, cover and steam for 5 more minutes. Serve with Tamari to dip.
5. Bean Nachos – Simply top some tortilla chips with a can of drained black beans, salsa, and smother with your favourite grated plant based cheese and grill until hot and melty. Once out, top with smashed avocado.
6. Tacos – Kids love tacos, either crunchy or soft! Give them a choice in filling. Mine actually simply go for cheese, lettuce and yogurt. But have a look at this awesome Vegan Taco Meat from The Cheeky Chickpea.
7. Beans on Toast – You could make your own if you feel inclined (Sautéed onion, cannelini beans, tomato passata, 1 Tbsp ketchup and 1 tsp salt) or simply use good old Heinz Baked Beans. Beans on toast is a fibre rich meal that kids love!
8. Veggie “Sausage” Rolls – Either use a plant based sausage or make a veggie filling rolled in some pastry and baked for 30 minutes. Check out this video from Heinz! And you could actually use any can of beans – it doesn’t need to be baked beans. Just use some ketchup in the sauce instead of the bean liquid.
9. Veggie Fritters – These are like savoury pancakes packed with yummy vegetables. The basic formula is to grate your veggies and wring out the excess moisture in a tea towel, then add to your batter mix. Check out this Vegan Zucchini Corn Fritters recipe from The Veg Life.
10. Veggie Burgers – Make sure with veggie burgers, you aren’t trying to pull the wool over their eyes and pretend it’s a beef burger. I’ve failed miserably trying this before. Veggie burgers are for those kids who are already a little open to trying something different. This recipe from Love and Lemons for Best Veggie Burgers looks fantastic .
11. Sushi Bowl with Avocado, Carrot and Cucumber – Make sushi rice by mixing cooked short grain rice with a dressing of a little rice vinegar and sugar. Serve in bowls topped with avocado slices, ribbon carrot and cucumber. Simple and clean!
12. Flatbread Pizzas – Grab your favourite flatbread, pitta, or ready made pizza base. Spread over some tomato passata. Top with grated Vegan cheese and any sliced veggies your child likes. Bake in a very high oven for 10 minutes.
13. Lentil Veggie Bolognaise – The genius trick with this sauce is to blend it so the chunky veggies are hidden. Here is how you make it: sauté 1 onion and 4 cloves crushed garlic in a little oil until soft, then add 2 cans diced tomatoes, 2 cans drained lentils, 1 chopped carrot, 1 cup chopped mushrooms, 1 cup chopped zucchini, 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar, 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp sugar. Cook together for about 20 minutes, then blend with a stick blender or pulse in a blender until the large chunks are gone (keep some texture). Serve with pasta.
14. Mac n Cheese with Peas: This Vegan Mac and Cheese looks perfect from Cookie and Kate. If you are looking for the easiest ever Vegetarian Mac and Cheese, simply add 2 Tbsp cream cheese, grated cheese and a tsp of mustard to the hot macaroni pasta, along with about 1/2 cup of reserved pasta water. Mix until combined. Then I add in some thawed frozen peas. So fast and simple!
15. Soup with Sourdough – It’s so easy to make a delicious vegetable soup. Roast or sauté desired vegetable for about 15 minutes. Sauté some onion and garlic and blend everything together, adding enough vegetable stock to achieve your desired consistency. Kids love dunking toast in their soup.
16. Raw Vegetable Platter – This is a fantastic way of getting kids to try new veggies. Try to get lots of colours on the plate and choose what’s in season. Great for snacking and watching a little TV while dinner is being prepped.
17. Peanut Butter Rice Cracker – a simple but perfect after school snack.
18. Fruit Smoothie – The combinations are endless, but this is a classic fruit smoothie that is healthy and delicious! Blend up 2 cups frozen fruit, 1 frozen banana, 1 cup milk of choice, 2 Tbsp yogurt of choice, juice of 1/2 fresh orange, 2 Tbsp raw honey.
19. Yogurt – There are some great plant based yogurts now. My kids love a bowl of vanilla flavour.
20. Muffin – Delicious customisable Vegan Muffins right here on my blog.
21. Scones – Nothing beats a warm scone! Check out my Cinnamon Cardamon Pumpkin Spelt Scones. To make vegan, simply replace the butter with a plant-based butter.
22. Savoury Muffin – this is the most popular recipe on Healthy Little Foodies. They make great lunchbox alternatives! To make them vegan, use non-dairy milk and sour cream/yogurt, plus 2 Flax Eggs (2 Tbsp ground flax mixed with 6 Tbsp warm water).
23. Protein Balls – Try these 5 Minute Brownie Balls
150g mixed nuts or seeds (I used almonds, walnuts and cashews)
120g pitted dates.
30g raw cacao powder.
2 Heaped Tbsp Tahini.
Blend everything together in a high speed blender until roughly the texture of wet sand. (Some slightly bigger pieces are good for added texture). Roll tablespoons of mixture into balls and let firm up in the fridge for half an hour.