Vegetables In Disguise: Three Recipes For The Picky Eater

How do you cook for picky eaters? Or better yet, how do you cook healthy and nutritious meals for picky eaters? We’re talking about delicious, homespun dishes that are vitamin-packed and loaded with low calorie vegetables… the peas, carrots and green beans that fussy family members try to bury beneath mounds of mashed potatoes.

It doesn’t matter if you’re an Iron Chef or a chronic toast burner; picky eaters are the toughest critics. Kids can be especially fussy when it comes to food, and there’s nothing worse than trying to change the food habits of those pint-sized rebellions who want nothing but a steady diet of chicken nuggets, fries and chocolate milk.

While some studies suggest that picky eating is influenced by genetic makeup, it’s a behavior that can be modified by changing the family’s habits and the way the food is presented. The best way to add (or sneak!) more veggies into your family’s diet is to get creative… and stealthy. Make cooking a covert operation.

If a picky eater can’t see that there’s cauliflower in the mashed potatoes or avocado in the brownies, then there’s little chance the family meal is going to turn into a battle of wills. These three recipes are delicious and the flavor of the vegetables are neutral enough to hide… even in desserts. The mealtime food fights are finally over!

Zesty Zucchini Fries

Most picky eaters aren’t too fussy when it comes to French fries. In fact, the average American eats a whopping 30 pounds of French fries per year. But did you know that you can turn thick slices of zucchini into everyone’s favorite finger food?

Zesty Zucchini Fries

Zesty Zucchini Fries

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Zesty Zucchini Fries

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Servings
4servings
Servings
4servings

Ingredients
  • 5 Zucchinis cut into think matchsticks
  • 1 cup Flour
  • 1/4 cup Whole Milk
  • 2 Eggs beaten
  • 2 cups Panko Breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste
  • Marinara Sauce to taste

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Ingredients
  • 5 Zucchinis cut into think matchsticks
  • 1 cup Flour
  • 1/4 cup Whole Milk
  • 2 Eggs beaten
  • 2 cups Panko Breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste
  • Marinara Sauce to taste

Servings: servings

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Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Season zucchini with salt and pepper and toss in flour. Whisk eggs and milk in a medium sized bowl.
  3. Meanwhile, in another bowl, combine the breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese. Working in batches, dredge each piece of zucchini in the flour and egg, and then in the breadcrumbs and cheese. Transfer zucchini to baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil.
  4. Bake until golden, approximately 20 minutes. If desired, serve with warm marinara sauce.
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Baked Cauliflower Macaroni and Cheese

Cauliflower is one of the best “hidden” vegetables. It can be used in pizza crust, turned into “rice” and cut into “steaks.” Believe it or not, cauliflower is currently experiencing something of a renaissance, as chefs have rediscovered the vegetables nuances and subtle, nutty notes.

Still, one of the best ways to get your family to eat this versatile vegetable is to hide it in macaroni and cheese – a perennial favorite food of fussy eaters. All that hot, gooey cheese masks the flavor of the cauliflower. Even better, this recipe is gluten-free.

Baked Cauliflower Macaroni and Cheese

Baked Cauliflower Macaroni and Cheese

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Baked Cauliflower Macaroni and Cheese

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Servings
6servings
Servings
6servings

Ingredients
  • 1 lb Ancient Harvest's Gluten-Free Quinoa Macaroni
  • 1 1/2 lbs Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  • 8 oz Cottage Cheese
  • 8 oz Sour Cream
  • 1/2 head Cauliflower chopped finely
  • 3 tsp Paprika
  • 1/4 tsp Cayenne Pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste

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Ingredients
  • 1 lb Ancient Harvest's Gluten-Free Quinoa Macaroni
  • 1 1/2 lbs Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  • 8 oz Cottage Cheese
  • 8 oz Sour Cream
  • 1/2 head Cauliflower chopped finely
  • 3 tsp Paprika
  • 1/4 tsp Cayenne Pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste

Servings: servings

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Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Cook the macaroni. Meanwhile, mix all of the ingredients into a large bowl. Drain the macaroni, and then add it to the bowl. Stir until well combined.
  3. Put the macaroni and cheese into a baking dish. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, add some extra cheddar cheese on top and bake for 25-30 minutes or until cheese bubbles and the top turns golden brown.
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Chocolate Avocado Mousse

Vegetables are something we eat before dessert, right? Well, not exactly. When you think about vegetable-based desserts, chances are classics such as carrot cake or pumpkin pie come to mind. And while there’s nothing wrong with carrot cake or pumpkin pie – especially when the cake is topped with two inches of cream cheese frosting and the pie is buried under a heavenly cloud of whip cream – there are other creative and savory ways to tuck vegetables into desserts. Everything from eggplant and cauliflower to avocado and beets can be used to make cakes, cookies, truffles, puddings, ice cream and a host of other delicious desserts. Talk about sweet potential!

The picky eaters in your family will never detect the secret, healthy ingredients in treats like eggplant brownies or zucchini chocolate chip cookies. The next time someone in your house asks what’s for dessert, whip up a quick, easy and mouth-watering batch of chocolate avocado mousse (just don’t tell them about the avocado!).

Chocolate Avocado Mousse

Chocolate Avocado Mousse

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Chocolate Avocado Mousse

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Servings
2servings
Servings
2servings

Ingredients
  • 4 Avocados blended
  • 1 cup Agave Nectar
  • 1 cup Unsweetened Cocoa
  • 1 tbsp Vanilla Extract

Servings: servings

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Ingredients
  • 4 Avocados blended
  • 1 cup Agave Nectar
  • 1 cup Unsweetened Cocoa
  • 1 tbsp Vanilla Extract

Servings: servings

Units:
Instructions
  1. Remove flesh from avocados and cut into pieces.
  2. Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and puree until light and smooth. Chill mixture in refrigerator for one hour.
  3. Top with a scoop of Greek yogurt, preferably vanilla and serve.
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Whether your tricking the “little ones” or fooling the adults, there are all sorts of creative ways to sneak veggies into your family’s food. Once you engage in a little covert cooking, picky eaters will never know they’re eating vegetables.