Kid-Approved Vegetarian Recipes
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Going vegetarian is a great way to keep the body clean and energized, but the process can be difficult to transition into for those who have been meat eaters for some time. One of the most challenging parts about adopting the vegetarian lifestyle is coming up with recipes that make eating a plant-based diet interesting and appetizing, especially for children who tend to be picky eaters. But, there is no need to worry. There are dozens of tasty recipes available to help any little one transition into the vegetarian lifestyle with ease and with a little fun. If you’re seeking a few quick and easy food recipes that are child friendly, here are four that are sure to be a hit.
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Grilled Mozzarella Sandwich
Grilled cheese is one of the easiest recipes to make for children as well as one of the tastiest, especially when made with mozzarella. Seeing the cheese ooze over layers of bread cut into triangles is visually appealing to children and a fun way to incorporate learning about shapes into meal time (cutting into squares is also an option). For this recipe you will need:
1 pound fresh buffalo mozzarella, cut into 4 equal pieces about 3-inches by 4-inches
8 ½ inch thick firm white sandwich bread (or wheat if you prefer)
2 large eggs
½ cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1 teaspoon of nutmeg
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
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1. Place the mozzarella on 4 slices of bread and cover them to make sandwiches. Trim off the crusts to make perfect 4-inch sandwich squares.
2. In a wide shallow bowl, whisk the eggs and add the cream, thyme leaves, salt and nutmeg. Whisk until blended. In a 10-12-inch non-stick sauté pan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium high heat until smoking. Add 1 tablespoon of the butter and cook until the sizzling ends.
3. Dip two of the sandwiches in the egg mixture making sure to coat each side, place in the pan and cook until golden brown on each side for about 2 minutes. Transfer the sandwich to a plate, repeat the process for the remaining sandwiches, cut in half and serve. Let the sandwiches cool before biting into their cheesy center.
Lasagna is a classic dish that many people love, and if it’s good enough for Garfield the cat then it’s definitely a great dish to make for the kiddos. It’s easy to make and looks awesome on a plate when all of its layers are exposed in each piece. To make classic lasagna that will create 8 servings, you will need:
1 pound whole milk ricotta cheese
1 large egg
1/8 tablespoon freshly grated nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
Freshly ground pepper
1 pound fresh mozzarella
Fresh lasagna noodles cut into 4-by-13 inch strips and cooked. You can also buy dried lasagna from the store and cook.
5 ounces coarsely grated parmesan cheese (about 1 ¾ cups)
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
2. In a medium sized bowl, combine ricotta, egg, nutmeg, salt, pepper and ½ of coarsely grated mozzarella. Mix everything together and sit the mixture aside. Use your fingers to shred the remaining mozzarella into 2-inch strips.
3. Use a 9-by-13-inch baking dish to build the lasagna pattern. Spread ½ cup marinara in the bottom of the dish. Place a layer of noodles over the marinara and then spread 1/3 of the ricotta mixture over the noodles. Sprinkle ½ parmesan over the mixture and place another layer of noodles over the cheese layer. Spread 1 cup marinara over the noodles and repeat the layering pattern two more times to create a full dish (noodles, marinara, noodles, ricotta mixture, parmesan).
4. Spread the remaining marinara over the cheese layer and top off with shredded mozzarella.
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Mini Deep Dish Pizza
Kids love pizza, and what’s more fun than a kid having their very own custom made vegetarian pizza! Using a muffin tin to create this recipe, you will yield a serving size of 6. Make the creating more fun by allowing your kids to make their own pizzas. For this recipe, you will need:
Olive oil for the muffin pan
All-purpose flour, for rolling
½ pound homemade or store bought pizza dough in 6 pieces
Coarse salt and ground pepper
½ cup shredded mozzarella (4 ounces)
1 large tomato, chopped
Desired vegetables (or fruits) such as zucchini, onion, olives, even pineapple
1. Preheat the oven at 450 degrees.
2. Lightly brush 6 standard muffin cups with oil, and on a lightly floured working surface, roll out each dough piece to a 6-inch round.
3. Fill each muffin cup with 1 round and gently press the dough into the bottom of the cup and into the sides. Season the dough cup with salt and pepper and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of both cheese and tomato. Add the desired toppings and top off with another tablespoon of cheese and tomato.
4. Cook for about 12 minutes or until the dough is golden brown and crisp. Let cool for 2 minutes before serving.
Pasta Wheels and Cheese
Kids love pasta, especially pasta that comes in interesting shapes such as the pasta wheels in this recipe. To make this children’s favorite that will give you 10 serving sizes, you will need:
1 pound rotelle pasta
3 cups milk
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Freshly ground pepper
A pinch of cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon Dijon or yellow mustard
2 ½ cups grated sharp cheddar cheese (about 10 ounces), plus 4 tablespoons to add as a topping
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add salt and pasta to the boil and cook until the pasta is soft. Drain well and transfer to a large bowl.
2. Heat the milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat until hot and melt butter in a deep skillet over medium heat. Cook the butter to foam and add flour while whisking for 1 minute.
3. Gradually whisk in the hot milk and cook for 5 minutes while constantly whisking until the mixture has thickened.
4. Remove the skillet from the heat and add 1 tablespoon salt, a pinch of black pepper, cayenne, mustard and cheese. Stir until the cheese melts, stir the cheese sauce into the pasta and serve.
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