Food & Drink

Kid friendly recipes for vegetarians

Info Guru, Catalogs.com

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Get your kids into cooking with child friendly veggie recipes
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Vegetarian recipes even meat eating kids will love

According to the CDC's most recent figures, one in 200 kids in this country are now vegetarian.  That means even if your children are still enjoying hamburgers and fried chicken, odds are they're going to have friends who don't eat meat at all. So what do you serve when vegetarian kids come to dinner? 

Don't panic!  Here are a few kid friendly recipes that will appeal to the vegetarian as well as their meat-eating classmates.

Head south of the border


Mexican and South American cuisine are naturals for kids and for vegetarians.  And the "assemble at the table" nature of many dishes means that easy, kids friendly recipes are a snap. Aside from the standard Tex-Mex fare of tacos and burritos, which can also be adapted as kid friendly recipes for vegetarians, here are a few suggestions for tasty and child-friendly vegetarian cooking.

Sizzling fajitas

What could be more fun for kids than putting together their meal at the table, and having food that makes noise?  Try these kid-friendly fajitas and celebrate Cinco de Mayo any day of the year. This recipes serves about 6-8 kids (or 2 teenage boys!)

1 large sweet Vadallia onion, cut into thin half moon slices
2 green peppers, sliced thin
1 red pepper, sliced thin
1/4 chopped black olives
2 packages Morning Star Farms chicken-style Meal Starters*
2 tbls lime juice
2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
Salt, to taste
Olive oil (for cooking)
Salsa (mild or hot, depending on taste)
Sour cream
Cilantro, washed and torn
Romaine lettuce, sliced into strips
3 or 4 tomatoes, chopped
2 cups shredded cheeses (cheddar, pepper jack or other firm cheese)
Tortillas, steamed or warmed in the oven

Put out dishes in the center of the table with the salsa, sour cream, lettuce, tomato and cheese. Warm the tortillas and stack in a covered bowl or dish on the table.

In a heavy non-stick pan, combine Meal Starters, olive oil and 1 tsp of the chili powder.  Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. When heated through, place in a covered dish on the table.

In the same pan, combine olive oil, onion, peppers, olives,  1 tsp of the chili powder and 1/4 tsp of the cumin. Cook quickly over very high heat tossing the ingredients to coat the veggies with the seasoning.  When very hot and just soft, add salt to taste.  Then pour in the lime juice -- be careful, it will splatter. Take the sizzling pan immediately to the table for a dramatic effect and let the kids begin to assemble their fajitas.

Serve with rice, fried bananas and refritos (refried beans), with a choice of tropical juices to drink. Put some mariachi music on, and you have an instant (and healthy) fiesta.



Exploring Africa

One of the most varied regions to explore when looking for new kid friendly recipes is the continent of Africa. Whether your children like things spicy or mild, there are endless choices to appeal to young palates. 

Here's a delicious sweet and flavorful variation on corn on the cob, a summertime favorite from North Africa. The new flavors aren't spicy, but will give kids a sampling of a new taste.

North African Roasted Corn on the Cob

Makes 4 servings (serving size: 1 ear of corn)

Ingredients
  • 2 tsp  ground cumin
  • 2  tsp ground coriander
  • 1  tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2  tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • Dash of ground clove
  • 4 large ears of corn with husks left on
  • 2  tbls butter or margarine, melted
Heat the grill to a medium/medium high level. Combine the first 8 ingredients in a small bowl; set aside.

Pull husks back from corn, and clean off most of the silks. Brush corn with melted butter, then sprinkle with spice mixture. Fold husks back up to cover the corn. Place the corn on the grill rack and grill about 12 minutes or until done, turning the corn occasionally.

Other ideas

When you're looking for vegetarian kid friendly recipes, try looking at Indian, African or Asian cuisines.  These regions have many meatless choices, as well as meat recipes that can easily be adapted. The trick is to find healthy foods that appeal to young tastes.

Don't be afraid to expose kids to unfamiliar flavors. If you introduce new tastes as an adventure, you'll open up a world of good eating to your children and their friends.


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