Vegetarianism isn’t just an occasional hippie decision anymore. Many families are turning to this option for moral, cultural or nutritional reasons. If you are raising a vegetarian family, rest assured that there are many recipes available to get your kids involved in the kitchen. Give your kids some personal responsibility over the meal and help them embrace your vegetarian lifestyle.
If your veggie eating kids are tired of munching on celery while their friends indulge in hamburgers, consider letting them make patties out of beans. Middle Eastern falafels can serve as inspiration for these meat-free burgers. Pour a few cans of rinsed beans into a bowl, and mash with a a potato masher. Drizzle in olive oil until you achieve a dough-like consistency. This is a great job for kids of all ages. Season with a few teaspoons of cumin, paprika and other spices. Once you reach a pliable consistency, grab a chunk of bean mash, roll it into a ball and press it into a patty. As the adult, you can pan fry the patties over a medium heat or let older kids help with this. Let kids build their meatless burgers on a bun with lettuce, tomatoes, onions, relish, pickles, ketchup, mustard and other favorites.
Just because you eat a great many vegetables doesn’t mean salads have to be boring and overdone. Let kids experiment with the ingredients to create a truly personalized meal. Head to the farmer’s market and let kids choose five to seven veggies for the salad. They might go for lettuce or make a more exotic choice like kale. Get all the kids involved by letting them prepare a vegetable, according to their abilities. Older kids can chop radishes. Let younger kids do tasks that don’t require knives, such as shucking corn, tearing lettuce, peeling carrots with a peeler or washing vegetables. Include cheese, nuts or tofu cubes for protein.
Help kids set out a quesadilla bar for everyone to build his own meal. Start with tortillas cut in half. Let kids sprinkle cheese onto half of the tortilla as well as lots of different vegetables, such as tomatoes, onions and corn. Let kids choose black, kidney, white or pinto beans. Top with a bit more cheese and the other half of the tortilla. Pop it in the microwave for 30 seconds on high to melt the cheese.