Eating Well Part II was all about eating more vegetables. An easy way of really adding to your vegetable intake is to eat a couple of main meals in the week that are vegetarian recipes. Basing the whole meal around vegetables and pulses whilst skipping meat does seem strange to many of us – there are a lot of people who really can’t see how you can have a main meal without meat particularly when feeding children.
I promised some vegetarian recipes in my last post and I have been asked by several people for vegetarian recipes that kids are happy to eat. So I asked my kids for their favourite meals without meat. We have a lot of veggie food as my husband has been veggie since university days (I don’t think he is likely to switch back to meat any time ever – not even the smell of bacon sarnies turns his head!)
Veggie spag bol was number one, followed by ‘chilli, rice and cheese’. They love homemade pizzas too. These are not exactly recipes as I am not sure that I ever make them the same twice – it depends on what is in the fridge or what leftovers there are. Treat these as merely guidelines and experiment, get the kids in the kitchen with you and let them choose which veggies to go in, let them chop and stir. The more they are involved the more likely they are to taste and enjoy the meal.
So here are their top 3 veggie meals.
Veggie spag bol: Heat 1tbsp of oil. Finely chop 1 onion and gently fry until transluscent. Depending on the veg that you have in your fridge chop or grate the following: courgette, carrot, mushrooms. Pop them into the pot to soften and then add garlic and lots of basil (or your favourite herbs) – let the kids grate the veg, sprinkle the herbs (and smell them – very important in our house) and put things in the pot. Depending on how much veg you have and how many you are serving – tip in one or two cans of tomatoes and a couple of handfuls of red lentils. Allow to simmer (you may need to add a little stock especially as the lentils cook) and add some tomato puree to add to the richness of the sauce and thicken the sauce if needed. Serve with spaghetti and a little grated mature cheddar. Get ready for tomato sauce splattered chins.
Chilli, rice and cheese: Make a pot of veggie chilli – not dissimilar to the veggie bolognaise only add kidney beans, a bit of cocoa powder or a square of dark chocolate and I would use mixed herbs rather than basil. If you are serving grown ups or your kids are happy with a bit of a tingle in their mouth then you could add some chilli or smoked paprika. Serve with rice and grated cheese.
Veggie pizzas – if you have a bread maker or have time to make the dough then do – kids have so much fun playing with the dough and you can use seeded flour or wholemeal flour if you want (or a mixture of flours). If not then buy some pitta breads – they work brilliantly for pizza bases (better than those ready made pizza bases you can buy) – again you can choose wholemeal if you want. Mix some tomato puree with water until you get a nice consistency to spread on the pitta bread. Chop veggies, open a baby can of sweetcorn, grate some cheese and then let your darlings make a mess!! Cook in a hot oven until the cheese is bubbling. Grown up versions can be made – you can put toppings on that don’t look like a face!!
I made a lentil bake the other day and had too much of the lentil sauce so by adding breadcrumbs and cheese to the sauce I made some veggie burgers – they went down very well.
Very timely to add some veggie recipes given the news that one study suggests the advice on fruit and veg should be more like 7-10 portions a day. Let’s not get too hung up on numbers – just eat more. The more veggies and whole, unprocessed fruit you eat, the better.