I need some suggestions please. I would like to cook more vegetarian food. I do most of the cooking in the family including kids of 10 and 6. What recommendations do you have for easy, child friendly resources? And anything for how to approach this with children?
I am a big fan of Anita Bean ( anitabean.co.uk ). She has this talent of providing good recipes along with good background information.
Not sure about the “with children”. Used to cook out of “The Feed Zone Cookbook”. Ultra simple recipes that kids can succeed with easily. N.b. this one is not focusing on vegearian only.
I just Google everything. Just checked “easy, child friendly vegetarian food” and sifted through some utter crap and found this on BBC: Vegetarian kids' recipes | BBC Good Food
Main trick is to feed kids the same food adults eat. There aren’t really any considerations that are specific to kids.
Protein does feel tricky to meat eaters. Consider upping dairy products, particularly eggs. Legumes are good too. I have a weakness for peanut butter, but most nut butter will work, just watch out for added sugar content. Personally, I like a variety of veggie meat products. My wife likes tofu.
Aside from that, most foods you can eat include the staples from several countries: pasta, rice, and bread all are vegetarian of course. Finding healthy and tasty options are a good approach. Don’t try to convert a meat dish to a vegetarian dish though. It doesn’t work well.
Some examples from various countries: any curry is great, and can be done over rice. Italy is great, pasta with marinara-based sauces are pretty good. Tortellini or ravioli are easy to find and work well. Pesto sauces are an alternative. Just be careful with the heavier cream-based sauces and balance the oil and butter with salads. India has lentils which can be amazing. Spanish countries have great beans for protein, although I’m partial to Mexican: tacos, burritos, quesadillas, etc. can all be done just by adding more beans in place of meat. Sandwiches are pretty great too, and a good way to get veggies. Meal replacement smoothies are a good way to get tons of fruit and some kale (just watch out for too much sugar and not enough protein). Breakfast oats are also really healthy and can be quite tasty with dates, honey, or occasionally brown sugar, nuts, raisins, and spices.
There are tons of options if you focus on staples and think more provincial and/or peasant-style foods.
Oh and Asian cuisine is great. I’m partial to Thai and Japanese: curries of course, but Thai has amazing noodle dishes like Pad Thai or Pad See Ew. Japanese food is harder to prepare sometimes, but the curries and sushi are great and I love udon. If you can figure out how to make a proper Japanese egg (specially soft boiled kinda) your family will be spoiled!
There are some fab books out there. One that springs to mind is ‘Bish, bash, bosh’ and contrary to one of the posters above, they do an absolutely amazing veggie chilli con carne!
2 suggestions for the kids but specifically:
- go through pictures in cook books to get them to pick out recipes they like the look of
- they have a choice to ‘like it or lump it’. If they don’t like it, they’re more than welcome to go hungry. They won’t do that for long!!!
With my daughter it can be very much a week by week challenge (training is easier than dealing with her some weeks lol).
She is generally really good with eating real food that looks as picked. So weekly she is great with broccoli, spinach (usually), carrots, peas, broad beans, parsnips, sweet potato. However we find she won’t have tomatoes, and a lot of other beans like kidney, chickpeas are a flat NO and can be funny over things in sauces or one pot dishes.
It is defiantly a case for trying to get her involved and us all eating the same. However for us we often don’t get home in time for us to be eating together.
This isn’t a resource link but I started my kids (12/14) years ago with crunchy seared tofu and its remained one of their top 5 dishes. Cut the tofu length wise to expose more surface area and dry it off, then cut into cubes or batons. Add a Lil oil to a raging HOT AS CRAP pan, cook it till its thoroughly seared on all sides and the edges are crunchy. Season it aggressively! Tofu is like chicken in that it requires seasoning to taste good. It’s hard to overdo the seasoning! Serve the Kids the crunchy y tofu bites with Condiments of their choice. I know I know tofu……but it works and the whole family loves it. Kid approved!
Agree with that re tofu. Crunchy tofu is a kids favourite in my household too.
My wife and I used to have an “eat what we eat or cook your own” policy in our household. This worked for a little bit, but then the kid figured she could cook any old crap and we had to stop it
Welcome Ryno!! Great to have you with us and thanks for posting