Vegan recipes don't have any animal products in them at all -- which means no cheese melted over broccoli! Even worse, when your 2-year-old tosses a vegan meal on the floor, your dog isn't likely to clean it up. That makes it even more important that you have a few kid-friendly vegan recipes up your sleeve that you know your little one will enjoy. Cooking vegan meals can seem overwhelming at first, but once you have the right mindset, you'll start coming up with your own concoctions that suit your child's individual tastes.
A typical breakfast for children might include cereal, bacon, eggs, hash browns or toast. Some of these won't fly if you're making a vegan meal. Instead of cereal and milk, try cooking steel-cut oats in a rice cooker. This gives you time to wiggle your toddler into some clothes while breakfast is cooking. Combine 1 cup of steel cut oats, 3 cups of water and a pinch of salt. Turn the rice cooker on and let it do the work for you. Top the oats with a spoonful of slivered almonds, drizzle of maple syrup, non-dairy milk (vanilla soy is great) and some berries. If you have a bit more time, try making faux scrambled eggs using tofu. Saute half a yellow onion and a clove or two of garlic in a frying pan with 1 tablespoon of oil. Crumble in some extra-firm tofu once the onion is translucent. Add chopped vegetables and seasonings to taste.
Lunch is a time to make really kid-friendly meals as the morning rush is over and the evening rush hasn't begun. Instead of giving your little one fast-food or frozen french fries, try tofu fries. They're packed with protein and calcium -- and are a snap to make. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a fry pan and slice extra firm tofu into slim fries. Saute the tofu in the pan, allowing them to brown on each side before turning with a spatula. Season as desired or let your little one dip them in tomato sauce. Balance out the meal with brown rice made in your cooker and some vegetables. Steam broccoli (or another vegetable) in the microwave by cutting the broccoli into bite-sized pieces and putting them in a ceramic bowl. Add 1/3 cup water and cover with a ceramic plate. Cook the broccoli on high for 2 minutes. Remove the plate, stir -- and then cook for another 2 minutes or until it's done. Season with a bit of lemon juice and oregano.
Dinner is the time to feed the whole family so you'll want a meal that is not just kid-friendly but family-friendly. Quesadilla's work well for everyone. Start by preparing your filling. Defrost corn kernels (or drain a can), chop up onions and garlic, drain a can of black beans (white beans will work, too) and red peppers. Grate vegan soy cheese and set it aside. When purchasing vegan cheese, make sure you buy the kind that says it will melt on the package -- as not all faux cheese is the same. Heat a pan to medium and place a tortilla in it. Sprinkle your filling on one- half the tortilla and top with the soy cheese. Fold the empty half over to create a half-moon. Press together. Heat the tortilla until it starts to brown and the soy cheese starts melting. Soy cheese won't melt as quickly or as much as regular cheese, so don't wait too long -- you just want to see some melting action! Flip the quesadilla and cook the other side. If your pan is big enough, you can cook two at a time. Serve with salsa and guacamole. You can make easy guacamole by mashing two ripe avocados with a fork and adding a pinch of salt, 1 minced clove of garlic, 1 teaspoon of lemon juice and chopped cilantro.
Children typically think of a smoothie as a treat, but smoothies are often chock full of nutrients. Simple to make, all you have to do is combine an alternative milk, like almond milk, with frozen berries -- and maybe a banana -- in your blender. Boost the protein levels with silk tofu or some cashew butter. Add a dash of maple syrup and vanilla to make it irresistible. You can even get some veggies in there without your little one even noticing by chopping up some spinach. Smoothies make a great addition to any meal -- or serve one as a nutritious dessert!