As a mama with a full list of to-dos as well as a house of busy babies I just do not have time to whip up some beautiful and clever vegan alternative every time my kids need to eat. When our family decided to switch to a plant based diet I spent countless hours trying to find fast, kid friendly vegan meals that I could just throw together, straight from my pantry or fridge. I never found any!
There were several ways to make Mac and cheese, which always created a huge mess and 3 more dishes to wash. And every kid friendly meal I found was just to complicated to fit in to the daily hustle. Sure, sometimes those clever recipes are fun to try, but I needed ideas to feed my family on the fly. Sometimes you only have ten minutes to cook. No Mac and cheese alternatives will be that quick. Over time we’ve figured out some basic meals that my kids love and I can put together super fast. Here are 5 of their favorites.
1. Peas and Corn
Peas and corn may seem homely but they are sweet and savory. This is one of my most requested meals and they love to mix them together. I love that they are cheap and that I can buy them frozen and they never spoil. It also only takes one pan to cook and one bowl to each kiddo so clean up is is a breeze. I just empty a bag of each into a large skillet and add some water, a little vegan butter, salt, garlic and onion powder. Sometimes I’ll use vegetable stock or maybe a different seasoning blend. I keep it very simple and it’s on the table in under ten minutes. My kids, who typically eat like birds, can finish the skillet in one meal. Success!
2. Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Broccoli
This is a favorite of the whole family. My littles love broccoli, and I give all the credit to this recipe. We use about 2lbs of frozen broccoli and three sweet potatoes. Dice up the sweet potatoes to 1/2” cubes. These cook up so yummy that I can leave the skin on and my kids will still eat them. It cuts down on the prep work and the munchkins get a little more nutrition. That’s a mom victory! Once the potatoes are diced throw them on a couple of cookie sheets along with the broccoli. Drizzle with olive oil. Just a little. Sprinkle with salt, garlic, and the secret…smoked paprika. It’s so good! Roast at 450 degrees for 30-35 min. I let my 3 year old help put the veggies on the pan, sprinkle on the seasonings and mix it up. Anytime they can help cook they’ll eat more too!
3. Dips and Chips
Who doesn’t love chips and dip. Kids love to dunk things and experiment with mixing different flavors. I just get out some tortilla chips, mild salsa and guacamole…sometimes store bought, sometimes homemade. And then I’ll heat up some vegan refried beans thinned out with a little water or veggie stock. It’s super quick and I usually have all of the ingredients on hand. It does make a few more dirty dishes than I prefer but there is almost no prep work involved so it’s perfect for a busy afternoon.
4. Pasta with Marinara
Another simple and quick meal is pasta. We call it rosso noo-noos. Or red noodles. For the most kid friendly version be sure to pick a small pasta shape like rotini or penne. I just cook up the pasta and throw on some store bought pasta sauce. Our favorite vegan sauce is the traditional flavor from Prego. It’s surprisingly vegan and doesn’t lack any flavor. I do wish I could find an organic option I like more but they usually take some “doctoring up”. Serve with toast or veggies on the side.
5. Mashed Potatoes and Green Beans
On of my favorite things about living the plant based lifestyle is that potatoes are no longer off limits. This is prefect for a cozy fall day or just when you need some comfort food! You can mash your own potatoes or make instant potatoes. Our go to vegan instant potatoes are the Idahoan brand, original flavor. Just make with you’re favorite nut milk. I’ve used almond and cashew and both turn out well. If you make your own potatoes you can leave on the skins and get in some good vitamins and minerals.
Then I just buy this vegan mushroom gravy from Vitacost. Cook up some frozen green beans on the stove in a little water with vegan butter and salt. Put it all on one plate and voila! A delicious and savory meal. Feel free to mix the potatoes and green beans together. That’s the yummiest way to eat it!
I hope you enjoyed these kid friendly vegan meals. They have certainly worked for our family. Let me know what you think if you try them or if your family has any other simple vegan meals that your kids love. I’m always on the lookout for new ideas.
Thanks for hanging with me!