Young children don't often appreciate the tastes and textures of vegetables. Steamed veggies may be too mushy and raw and quick cooked vegetables lack the sweet and creamy tastes young children prefer. If you have young ones that don't yet eat veggies, try a few of these meatless meals.
These meals have been vegetarian tested by my daughter. You can make the mac and cheese gluten free by using gluten free pasta. Use the gluten free Bisquick mix for the pancakes.
Classic Mac and Cheese
Macaroni and cheese qualifies as vegetarian because it doesn't contain meat, but it doesn't contain any vegetables either. For a vegetarian version, add finely chopped zucchini. Use a vegetable peeler to peel off several long strips of zucchini. Slice the strips into small pieces. Boil the pasta and drain when cooked. Add the zucchini into the pasta and toss. Add the cheese to coat the pasta and serve. The steam from the pasta cooks the zucchini just enough to bring out the natural sugars without losing nutrients.
Veggie burgers made from potatoes have a softer texture and a creamy taste. Boil the potatoes for approximately 10 minutes, drain and mash with a potato masher. Heat a small pan and quickly cook shredded carrot and finely chopped mild onion, one to two minutes, and mix the veggies into the potatoes. Shape the potato mixture into round patties and coat with a light dusting of flour. Heat a pan and cook the patties for several minutes, turning to brown both sides. Serve with a slice of cheese, if desired, on a whole wheat bun or gluten free bun.
One of the more endearing qualities of zucchini is its compatibility to chocolate. Entice your kids with a bit of breakfast food for dinner with chocolate-zucchini pancakes. Add shredded zucchini and a small amount of mini-chocolate chips to a thick pancake batter. Cook the pancakes on a hot griddle and serve with melted butter. The trick here is to keep the chocolate chips to a minimum, so that when your kids do get one in a bite, it's a treat. They're getting more zucchini than chocolate.
As your kids become accustomed to the taste of vegetables, try this vegetable hash. Par boil a few potatoes and allow to cool slightly. Finely chop a portion of sweet onion. Chop carrot, celery and sweet pepper into 1/4 inch size pieces. Heat a pan and add vegetable oil, just enough to coat the bottom of the pan. Add the onion and cook for two to three minutes. Cut the potatoes into 1/2 inch pieces while the onions cook and then add to the pan. Add a pat of butter and toss to coat. Cook for three to four minutes and add the carrots, celery and sweet pepper. Add a bit more butter and cook until the vegetables are just tender. Place the hash into a serving dish and sprinkle with shredded cheddar cheese, if desired.