In the last month, three different friends have asked for recipe advice after their kids decided to go veggie. Im putting my suggestions here in the blog so that next time someone asks I have a thorough resource to point them to.
Ive been a vegetarian for 24 years and our kids have been eating green their whole lives. That might change, but for now we a pretty vegetable-centric house.
First, why would a kid want to be vegetarian? A lot of them come to it because they love animals and dont want to eat them. Simple as that. What they may not know is the animals we eat, for the most part, are treated horribly. I could go into it here, but I wont. Ill direct you here or here or you can read Diet for a Small Planet.
Other kids are worried about climate change and they role meat plays in increasing our carbon and methane output. The Guardian reported that eating less meat is essential for curbing global warming and Scientific America wrote how meat contributes to global warming.
Or maybe its health benefits. If you are eating meat from a store or restaurant you are almost guaranteed to be filling up on antibiotics. And vegetarians have a lower rate of heart disease and some cancers. Brown University posted about the health benefits of a veggie diet as did Womens Health.
Whether your kids wants to start Meatless Mondays or go full bore into veggie life, here are a few of our favorite recipes to get you started.
We try to have a bean day, lentil day, a tofu day, and an egg day (from our own chickens) each week.
Tomato soup with quesadillas.
Cream of broccoli (vegan)
Chili is always a good bet because its filling, easy to make and freeze, and gets you a good dose of veggies and protein, especially if there are nuts and beans. We love Cashew Chili.
(Non-Soup) Main Dishes
Finns favorite bean-based dish is black bean salad. There are lots of varieties, but ours usually include black beans, tomatoes, cilantro, corn, feta, and red onion. A little guacamole and chips rounds this meal out.
My kids also love burritos– tortillas, beans, tomatoes, and cheese, but I make it in a bowl (sans tortilla and cheese) and add sautéed veggies for me.
When the eggs start piling up, its time for quiche. I try new recipes once in awhile, but everyone demands gruyere quiche with golden onion and red pepper. So now I make only that.
One thing my kids both like is falafels. We soak and cook the chickpeas, but this recipe is similar to the one we use. I double this because we are big eaters, or quadruple it and freeze half.
Veggie sushi–it takes awhile, so save it for the weekend.
Crispy quinoa cakes (with the added benefit of a complete protein!)
Black bean and sweet potato burger
And when you just cant cook another thing, grab some garden burgers from the store or pasta with marinara sauce.
Mostly the kids eat fruit, string cheese, popcorn, or whatever else they can scrounge from the kitchen, but if I am feeling motivated I might make some of these:
Everything in the From A Beautiful Bowl of Soup cookbook is so delicious. They recipes are all vegetarian and mostly vegan.
We get a lot of recipes from Super Natural Every Day.
I love Oh She Glows! vegan cookbook, but the kids aren’t really into it. Its a little too out there for them.
Now you have a few ideas about what to feed your vegetarian kid!
I am always looking for new ideas — what would you add to this list?