We all need an arsenal of hidden veggie recipes.
Sometimes we just need to be able to guarantee that we’re going to get at least one vegetable into each child every day.
I’m slowly working on my kids’ varying levels of fussiness. There are veggies they’ll eat, and there are veggies they won’t eat. So I have no shame in taking the veggies they won’t eat, chopping them up real small, and stirring them into a meal they won’t suspect of betraying them.
Hiding vegetables for picky eaters is just part of our job as parents.
Sure, we need to encourage kids to try new foods, and we need to get them used to eating a vegetable in its true form. We can’t let them go through life thinking that vegetables are gross, and the only way to stomach them is to mask them with a bunch of more appealing ingredients.
We also need to get vegetables into them. And if that means having a list of go-to hidden veggie recipes that we work into our weekly meal plan, then that’s what we need to do.
How to hide the taste of vegetables
Generally, hidden veggie recipes can be trusted to disguise the look as well as the taste of vegetables. If you want to hide veggies well, just ensure you use a strong flavour profile with plenty of herbs and spices (here are my best tips for using more herbs and spices in your cooking). Nestle those hidden veggies amongst plenty of cheese, sauce, and other strong ingredients, and your kids will be none the wiser.
I asked some fellow bloggers to share their yummiest kid-friendly meals with hidden vegetables.
From pasta to muffins to pizza to pancakes, there are SO MANY ways to hide vegetables in the food you cook. Check out these carefully planned recipes for inspiration…
23 Delicious Hidden Veg Recipes
This tasty, kid-friendly pasta contains hidden carrots and tomatoes, plus a hit of protein via a handful of cashews.
Cauliflower pizza crust is becoming a popular, low-carb way to enjoy pizza. This recipe link includes some delicious ideas for toppings too!
I love fried rice for those nights when we have a bunch of things to use up in the fridge! This meal replaces the rice with cauliflower rice – genius! The recipe includes a couple of not-so-hidden vegetables, so if that’s a problem for your kids, just substitute in what they will eat – diced chicken, bacon, shrimp, or more palatable veggies such as corn.
This yummy taco recipe contains diced zucchini and mushrooms. To hide that zucchini even more thoroughly, you can grate it. Other vegetables I’ve hidden in taco meat include lentils, red or green peppers, grated carrot and even black beans!
These yummy looking muffins contain a bit of sneaky spinach, and would make a yummy lunch, snack or dinner (with a side or two) for kids.
If meatloaf is a regular part of your dinner rotation, try this recipe for a change, with hidden mushrooms and spinach.
Maybe your kids don’t need convincing to eat sweet potato, but one of mine does! I have a feeling she would gobble up this yummy roti without a second thought, though.
This yummy looking pizza uses carrots in both the pizza base and the pizza sauce!
This versatile smoothie bowl recipe can easily incorporate kale, spinach and frozen cauliflower – giving your toddler (or any kiddo) a healthy start to the day.
Not only is there a whole butternut squash pureed into this delightful dish, there’s also a whole bunch of Brussels sprouts tucked away in there too.
This protein-packed recipe uses a bunch of pantry staples, and will sneak yummy vegetables into your kids with ease.
If you’re not sneaking vegetables in your bolognese sauce, are you even a mum? I’M KIDDING! But seriously, it’s an awesome idea to try if you haven’t yet. This recipe will have your kids gobbling up carrot, celery, onion and mushrooms without ever knowing.
GENIUS. Because what kiddo wouldn’t want a pile of chocolate pancakes on their breakfast plate!? If you make these with the kids, be sure their backs are turned when you stir in the carrots and spinach. Then smile a secret smile as you watch them wolf them down.
Lentils are so great at disguising as ground beef. If sloppy joes are on regular rotation in your house, give this sneaky vegetarian version a go sometime. Your meat-loving husband might not even notice the difference!
Beets aren’t my favourite food, but even I would happily devour these delicious little pancakes. The heart shapes are optional – but definitely adorable!
Fritters have always been a hidden vegetable classic, and these yummy ones are laden with zucchini, carrot and green onion – but feel free to sub in whatever vegetables you have hanging around the bottom of the fridge for a quick, healthy lunch or dinner.
This beautiful dairy-free lasagna is simply packed with hidden vegetables – hello spinach, zucchini, eggplant, carrot, capsicum and mushrooms!. If vegan ricotta and cheese sauce aren’t your thing, you could easily sub in the real stuff when cooking it for your family (but also – there’s nothing wrong with being adventurous and trying something new!).
Perfect for lunchboxes or morning snacks, these little muffins will pump spinach into your kids like nobody’s business – and taste great while doing it.
The hidden veggies in this dish are pulverised into a sauce along with garlic and cream cheese. So basically, your kids will think they’re just eating a creamy pasta for dinner. But you’ll know, mama. You’ll know.
Because every kid on the planet is nugget-obsessed, AMIRIGHT. I’ve seen a lot of lacklustre veg nuggets in my time (even made a batch or two that totally flopped), but these actually look like the real deal.
Hidden cauliflower strikes AGAIN in this recipe, this time masquerading as macaroni. Complimented with caramelized onion and prosciutto (not to mention CHEESE), this tasty dish is a sure-fire winner for kids.
May we never discount the idea of getting vegetables into our kids via decadent baked treats like this CAKE. Not only does the cake contain 2 whole cups of zucchini, it also uses aquafaba (that juice you’d normally pour down the sink when you drain a can of chickpeas).
Zucchini and mushrooms come to play in these mouthwatering meatballs that your kids won’t be able to resist!
Are you ready to hide some yummy veggies in your kids’ food?
I hope you’ve found a few hidden veggie recipes in my list that will suit your family.
Don’t forget to keep offering your kids non-concealed vegetables – you never know when that repeated exposure will pay off! In the meantime though, by hiding veggies in their food, you’ll have the peace of mind of knowing that they’re at least getting some veggies in those little tummies.