J.H. asks from Burlington, VT on July 14, 2008
Need Quick 'N Easy Vegetarian Recipes
My 19 month old daughter has always refused to eat any, and I mean ANY, kind of meat. She loves fruit, veggies, dairy, pasta, and bread. She has recently come around to eggs but still refuses beans and fish. I don't want to prepare different meals for me and my daughter and I don't mind eating vegetarian most of the time but I am at a loss for what to cook us! We are always eating mac n cheese, pb n j, grilled cheese, various egg dishes, basically any simple combo of whole grain, protein (usually cheese), and a fruit or veggie. This diet is BORING but I don't have much time to make our meals. Any ideas for quick and easy veggie meals would be much appreciated! Thanks!
C.L. answers from Boston on July 18, 2008
as for mac n cheese. Try Annie's shells and cheddar brand and you add some peas, chopped spinach, any kind veggie you will throw in it and maybe some cut up veggie burger? instead of plain mac n cheese.
R.S. answers from New London on July 15, 2008
Hi - my son 12mth son loves this...I boil beans, steam carrots and parsnip, then blend all together...never know about the beans but lots of protein. Good luck!
L.S. answers from Barnstable on July 15, 2008
Hi J. :)
Sounds like your little darling is getting everything she needs from her diet. When I was little, my brother refused to eat meat and I remember my mother being very concerned. She would take the time to chop up ham or crabmeat(used to be very affordable) verrrry fine, and add it to waffles or pancakes. Now, we know that meat isn't something you need to eat every day, and this is the time of year to enjoy summer's bounty.
I love, basically, a stir-fry of summer veggies in a couple of table spoons of olive oil, like your choice of, summer squash, zuchinni, green onions, green beans, tomatoes, eggplant, peppers... whatever you like, and serve it over pasta or rice or by itself... if you like it saucier, add some ragu, have some crusty bread and cheese on the side... heaven. :)
And for a snack, there's nothing like fresh picked tomatoes, cut in chunks and sprinkled with a little sugar... try it. :)
J.P. answers from Boston on July 15, 2008
S.S. answers from New London on July 15, 2008
Well I can't say I blame her for not wanting meat. I've been a vegetarian for over 10 years, but even when I was younger and ate meat, I was extremely picky about it. Don't push her to eat meat if she really just doesn't want it. Just make sure you teach her how to eat healthy. Keep everything else the same, just make a different protein for her.
I am lucky enough now that I married a chef and he's very creative with vegetarian things for me.
Try making hummus. It's very easy and lasts for a good amount of time. We make ours very simply. A can of chick peas, some lemon juice, about 4 or 5 cloves of garlic (we love garlic) and olive oil. If you have a food processor, it's so easy.
"Meat"loaf is good too. I'm not sure on the exact ratio of things since my husband makes it, but it's lentils, black beans, chick peas, ketchup, bread crumbs, and egg. We don't put it in a loaf pan, just form in on a baking sheet. You can freeze that too after you cook it so you'll always have something handy.
One of my favorites is tofu nuggets. We even had the pickiest kids eating it. Cut up extra firm tofu into nugget sized pieces. Coat them in flour, then milk, and then bread crumbs (we use panko bread crumbs). They bake up very nicely.
We've been raising our 19 month old vegetarian even though my husband is a meat eater and we've always found ways to get her protein and she loves them all.
M.H. answers from Springfield on July 22, 2008
This is always a hit & super easy! I've brought it to family picnics and it goes quick. It is nice and light on a hot summer night!
1 carton of tiny tomatoes (like cherry or grape)
1/3 cup fresh basil
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 lb (half box) angle hair or similar pasta
first prepare the pasta according to directions.
While that cooks, combine the basil, olive oil and tomatoes (half or quarter those first if you like).
When the pasta is done, add the tomato mixture.
Add the bread crumbs before serving.
This dish is awesome warm, cold, or even reheated in Microwave.
I've had a hard time with the meat thing too! I can't wait until that passes!
S.K. answers from New London on July 15, 2008
I think you should pick up a vegetarian cookbook!
Maybe introduce tofu or other types of beans. I know my girls always enjoyed chick peas and black beans as finger foods.
You should also start trying many different ways of preparing meats for her. Try seasoning it and cutting it into tiny pieces. Sometimes I think little ones reject the texture- so giving it to her cut into tiny strips or shreds might give her a different feel.
J.M. answers from Boston on July 15, 2008
Quesadillas - cheese, sweet potato and black bean are great (and you can mush the beans so she doesn't notice them). I agree with other posters to try tofu. You can also try the veggie sausage - my daughter loves those, same goes for veggie burgers (just check the label for nuts if you are worried about that). Finally, try making egg dishes rather than just eggs - strata (savory bread pudding), frittata, etc. Try "breakfast" dishes for other meals and have a cooked fruit (sauteed apples are great) instead of a veggie.
You can keep trying to get her to eat meat, but as long as you don't mind eating vegetarian, that's probably just as healthy for all of you. Finally, I don't believe in "cooking" alternate meals for my kids either, but if I make a meat dish my daughter doesn't like, I just make sure she likes the sides and I let her have a stick of cheese instead. I figure I'm not a short order cook, so I'm not cooking a different meal, but at the same time I don't cook things that I don't like to eat, and it seems unfair to force foods on my daughter just because she's too small to cook for herself.