6 Dishes that Will Get Kids to Eat Their Vegetables

Kid-friendly dishes

Sad fact: Many kids are picky when it comes to eating vegetables. One solution: Serve the veggies by way of another kid-friendly dish. That could mean grilled cheese with eggplant or arugula, quesadillas with mushrooms, pasta with broccoli … . You get the picture.

We’ve assembled six kid-friendly recipes that riff off vegetables. All use olive oil. (Our Everday Fresh would be fine here.) Oh, and by the way, you don’t have to be a kid to like these dishes. They’ll satisfy picky adults, too.

Penne Rigate with Broccoli

Most kids we know love pasta. And what better way to get them to eat veggies than through pasta! “My mom used to make this yummy, Parmesan-and-broccoli flecked pasta a lot when we were growing up because it was a relatively painless way to get us kids to eat broccoli,” Anna Boiardi writes in Delicious Memories, where the recipe appears. For an added buttery note, make the dish with our Mild & Buttery oil.   (Click here to get recipe.)

Portobello Mushroom and Sundried Tomato Quesadillas

Kids take to gooey cheese melted between two tortillas. Introduce some veggies to a quesadilla – in this case mushrooms – and you amp up the nutritional value. This particular quesadilla comes by way of food blogger Erin Clark of The Law Student’s Wife, who gives it an Italian spin. “Mushroom and sundried tomato quesadillas are a bright Italian medley of meaty portobello mushrooms, fragrant sundried tomatoes, gooey mozzarella, and sharp Parmesan,” she writes. “The ingredients are straightforward, the preparation simple, and the results buenisimo.” (Click here to get recipe.)

Eggplant Ricotta Grilled Cheese

You probably remember eating grilled cheese sandwiches as a kid: orange American cheese packed between two buttered slices of white bread – all fried in more butter or perhaps margerine. The grilled cheese here – from food blogger Erin Clark of The Law Student’s Wife – has none of that. It’s made with whole wheat bread, part-skim ricotta, Parmesan, eggplant, basil, and extra virgin olive oil. (Click here to get recipe.)

Sweet Potato Fries with Maple Barbecue Sauce

“It’s tought to get my daughter to eat any type of vegetable other than corn on the cob, peas with butter, and green beans, but she just loves her sweet potato fries,” Anna Getty writes in her cookbook Easy Green Organic. “These fries are not only packed with vitamins and minerals, they are baked instead of deep-fried.” Getty uses garnet yams for this dish. They’re sliced thickly, like steak-cut fries, and then tossed with olive oil, coriander, cumin, garlic powder and salt. The fries are roasted in a 400 degree Fahrenheit oven for about 30 minutes, until the edges are brown and the yams are cooked through. They’re paired with an easy-to-make maple barbecue sauce. (Click here to get recipe.)

Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Garlic Confit and Arugula

Like the Eggplant Ricotta Grilled Cheese above, this version goes way beyond the traditional grilled cheese sandwich. The creator – Viviane Bauquet Farre of the online magazine foodandstyle.com – uses crusty rye country bread, peppery baby arugula, a garlic confit spread, and a “nutty, pungent” aged cheddar, gruyère or fontina. To make the garlic spread, peeled cloves are gently cooked in extra virgin olive oil for 40 minutes over very low heat. “The cloves become so soft that you can spread them on your toast – or in this case, in your grilled cheese sandwich,” Viviane writes. (Click here to get recipe.)

Chicken and Cannellini Bean Chili

Based on our own experience, kids like chili. They’re a great vehicle for including beans and tomatoes as well as other veggies. This chili – from Muir Glen Organic – pairs cut-up chicken thighs with cannellini beans, canned diced tomatoes, zucchini, and red pepper. Fennel seed, paprika, jalapeño chiles, and chili powder provide added zing.  You can make this dish up to three days beforehand and store it in the fridge. Top each serving with grated Parmesan cheese, a drizzle of olive oil, and sliced scallions. (Click here to get recipe.)

Bon appétit,

Your friends at California Olive Ranch