Vegetable Recipes for Kids

Challenge picky eaters to eat their veggies with this collection of kid-friendly veggie recipes.

Kid-Friendly Vegetable Recipes

Kid-Friendly Vegetable Recipes

Think you can’t serve vegetables other than corn and mashed potatoes to kids or picky eaters? This collection of veggie side dishes and main dishes that sneak in veggies is worth a try on stubborn diners. When possible, let kids help out in the kitchen, challenge them to try new foods by taking them to the store and letting them pick a new veggie to try, or offer vegetables in new ways.

In this recipe for Pasta with Winter Squash and Pine Nuts, butternut squash breaks down as it cooks to create a smooth, hearty sauce for the pasta. Pasta, a pro at pleasing kids, dressed with a vegetable-based sauce, is sure to please veggie-seeking parents and picky kids all at once.

View Recipe: Pasta with Winter Squash and Pine Nuts

Kid-Friendly Hoppin' John's Cousin

Photo: José Picayo

Hoppin' John's Cousin

Traditionally, Hoppin' John is served in the South at New Year's because the black-eyed peas represent coins—they're meant to herald prosperity in the coming year. Tell the kids that eating this dish will make them richer, and they’re sure to bite. Our version, with all its veggies, is a fresher, healthier update. This side dish can be made a day ahead and is, in fact, better after the flavors have had a chance to meld.

View Recipe: Hoppin' John's Cousin

Kid-Friendly Buttered Green Beans and Mushrooms

Photo: Coral Von Zumwalt

Buttered Green Beans and Mushrooms

A small amount of butter goes a long way to make an appealing sauce for simply steamed green beans and two kinds of mushrooms. If your kids balk at mushrooms, prepare the dish and serve just the green beans. Extra mushrooms for the cook are never a bad thing.

View Recipe: Buttered Green Beans and Mushrooms

Kid-Friendly Pasta with Fresh Tomato-Basil Sauce

Photo: John Autry

Pasta with Fresh Tomato-Basil Sauce

Adding in as many vegetables as possible to a kid-favorite like pasta is a good way of sneaking in the good stuff. Though we paired this chunky sauce with fettuccine, it would also be nice with short pasta shapes, like penne, gemelli, or farfalle.

View Recipe: Pasta with Fresh Tomato-Basil Sauce

Kid-Friendly Edamame Succotash

Photo: John Autry

Edamame Succotash

Edamame, with its sweet taste and crunch, is a surprising kid favorite. It makes a hearty addition to this summer staple. If you can't find frozen, shelled edamame (green soybeans), substitute the more traditional lima beans. Let the kids pick and choose what goes in this dish. They don’t like onions? Leave them out. Teenager going vegetarian? Leave out the bacon. If they make some of the decisions they’re more likely to eat it.

View Recipe: Edamame Succotash

Kid-Friendly Chicken and Guacamole Tostadas

Photo: John Autry

Chicken and Guacamole Tostadas

This no-cook meal is one the whole family can help prepare. And toppings can be added to taste. Smoked paprika gives the chicken rich, grill-like flavor—with no cooking. Look for tostada shells (fried, flat corn tortillas) near the flour and corn tortillas or in the Mexican food section of your grocery store.

View Recipe: Chicken and Guacamole Tostadas

Kid-Friendly Whole-Wheat Pasta with Edamame, Arugula, and Herbs

Photo: John Autry

Whole-Wheat Pasta with Edamame, Arugula, and Herbs

Make healthy eating a game. Can you eat all the colors of the rainbow in one meal? This dish almost gets you there with the array of fresh ingredients. Add your picky-eater’s favorite veggies to the mix.

View Recipe: Whole-Wheat Pasta with Edamame, Arugula, and Herbs

Kid-Friendly Honey-Glazed Carrots

Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner

Honey-Glazed Carrots

This simple side dish works well with many different main dishes, such as simply-roasted chicken or pork tenderloin. A honey glaze with a hint of orange makes sweet carrots even sweeter. If you’re kids will push it aside if there’s green stuff lurking, leave out the parsley. Or give them a dinner challenge: leave the parsley out of half and see which one they like in a blind taste test. Getting them to try new flavors may be easier if they’re a part of the challenge.

View Recipe: Honey-Glazed Carrots

Kid-Friendly Sweet Potato Casserole

Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner

Sweet Potato Casserole

Our version of marshmallow-topped sweet potatoes isn’t just for the holidays. Serve alongside pork or chicken any night of the week. When compared to regular potatoes, sweet potatoes have almost double the filling fiber and more beta-carotene, which boots immunity and helps build bones.

View Recipe: Sweet Potato Casserole

Kid-Friendly Zucchini Oven Chips

Photo: Randy Mayor

Zucchini Oven Chips

Transform zucchini slices into oven-baked chips for a fun way to eat your veggies. Have the kids help dredge zucchini in breadcrumbs and watch them crisp up in a hot oven. Serve as a side dish or dip in marinara sauce for fun party food.

View Recipe: Zucchini Oven Chips

Kid-Friendly Buttermilk-Parmesan Mashed Potatoes

Photo: Ellen Silverman

Buttermilk-Parmesan Mashed Potatoes

Mashed potatoes are usually kid-friendly fare, and giving them a nutrition makeover is simple. Start with microwaving russet potatoes. Their creamy texture will yield smooth mashers, allowing you to add less of the rich mix-ins. We stir in a combo of fat-free milk and naturally thick buttermilk, a small amount of butter, and high-flavor Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.

View Recipe: Buttermilk-Parmesan Mashed Potatoes

Kid-Friendly Grilled Asparagus Rafts

Photo: Randy Mayor

Grilled Asparagus Rafts

Pinning asparagus spears together with skewers makes them easier to flip and grill evenly on both sides—and it makes a fun activity for the kids to help out with. A sprinkling of sesame seeds adds crunch and a fun twist on a springtime staple.

View Recipe: Grilled Asparagus Rafts

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