20 Kid-Friendly Veggies

Get your picky kid to start trying (and yes, loving) vegetables in just one month. We've got a brilliant week-by-week plan for delicious but easy side dishes that will have your child asking for more.

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Week One: Make Familiar Veggies More Fun

Paula Hible

Week One: Make Familiar Veggies More Fun

Cucumber Ribbon Salad
Trim the ends off a medium cucumber, then cut it in half crosswise and peel into strips. Whisk 2 tablespoons rice vinegar, 1 tablespoon canola oil, 1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil, 1/2 teaspoon honey, salt, and pepper. Toss the dressing with the cucumber and some toasted sesame seeds.

Tip: Ready in 15 minutes.

*All recipes make 4 to 6 servings.

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Sunny Broccoli

Paula Hible

Sunny Broccoli

Steam 3 cups broccoli florets for 5 minutes. Toss with 2 tablespoons orange juice, 1 tablespoon canola oil, 1 clove minced garlic, salt, and pepper. Spoon the broccoli mixture onto clementine slices arranged in the shape of a flower.

Tip: Ready in 15 minutes.

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Minty Peas

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Minty Peas

Saute 2 cups frozen peas in 2 teaspoons olive oil on medium for 2 minutes. Remove from heat; add 2 tablespoons fresh mint, 1 teaspoon lemon peel, and a dash of salt and pepper.

Tip: Ready in 15 minutes.

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Picky Eaters: 3 Ways To Encourage Healthy Eating

Have a choosy eater at the table? Our expert shares simple ways to encourage more adventurous eating while putting a stop to food battles.

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Roasted Red Pepper Soup

Paula Hible

Roasted Red Pepper Soup

Puree a 12-ounce jar of roasted red sweet peppers packed in water (drain it first) with a garlic clove. Heat puree, 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth, and 3 tablespoons tomato paste on medium until warm, about 5 minutes. Stir in 1 tablespoon fresh basil, a smidge of honey, salt, and pepper.

Tip: Double the recipe and freeze leftovers.

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5 Ways to Use up Veggie Scraps

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Crinkly Carrot Fries

Paula Hible

Crinkly Carrot Fries

Slice 1 pound of carrots into 1/2-inch-wide sticks using a crinkle cutter. Toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Bake at 400 degrees F. for 15 to 20 minutes, or until soft, on a parchment paper-lined pan.

Tip: Great for toddlers 12 months and up.

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Week Two: Mix a Veggie Your Kid Likes with Something Different

Paula Hible

Week Two: Mix a Veggie Your Kid Likes with Something Different

Mini Vegetable Cakes
Combine half an 8-1/2-ounce package corn-muffin mix with 1 egg white and 3 tablespoons water. Stir in 3/4 cup shredded zucchini and 1/2 cup chopped canned beets. Drop batter by the tablespoon into 2 tablespoons hot canola oil. Cook 2 minutes; turn and cook 1 to 2 minutes more, until browned.

Tips: Double the recipe and freeze leftovers. Great for toddlers 12 months and up.

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Roasted Veggie Medley

Paula Hible

Roasted Veggie Medley

Mix 1/2 pound of tiny potatoes, quartered, and 1 cup small butternut squash pieces. Toss with 2 tablespoons each balsamic vinaigrette and olive oil; roast, uncovered, at 425 degrees F. for 15 minutes. Add red bell pepper pieces and roast 10 minutes more, or until tender. Garnish with 1 tablespoon fresh thyme.

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Sweet Potato-Parsnip Mash

Paula Hible

Sweet Potato-Parsnip Mash

Peel and cut 12 ounces of sweet potato and 2 parsnips into 1-1/2-inch pieces. Boil in lightly salted water for 15 to 20 minutes, or until tender. Drain and return to pot with 1/3 cup apple cider, salt, and pepper. Mash until nearly smooth.

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Fiesta Corn

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Fiesta Corn

Saute 3/4 cup each chopped red and green bell peppers in 1 tablespoon canola oil on medium heat for 3 minutes. Add 1 1/2 cups frozen corn and cook 2 minutes more. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon chili powder, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro.

Tip: Ready in 15 minutes.
 

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Pumpkin-Peanut Butter Soup

Paula Hible

Pumpkin-Peanut Butter Soup

Cook 1/2 cup chopped onion in 1 tablespoon hot olive oil on medium for 4 minutes, or until tender. Stir in a 15-ounce can pumpkin puree, 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth, 1 cup water, 1/4 cup peanut butter, 1/4 teaspoon curry powder, and 1/4 teaspoon salt; heat through. Swirl plain yogurt on top of each bowl.

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Week Three: Serve Up a Tasty Sauce or Dip

Paula Hible

Week Three: Serve Up a Tasty Sauce or Dip

Breaded Asparagus
Dip 8 ounces trimmed asparagus spears first in all-purpose flour, then in beaten egg, and then in panko bread crumbs. Drizzle asparagus with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Bake in a single layer at 450 degrees F. for 10 minutes, or until golden. Serve with honey-mustard dip.

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Teriyaki Green Beans

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Teriyaki Green Beans

Cook 3 cups (24 ounces) frozen whole green beans according to package directions. Drain and toss with 2 tablespoons minced shallots, 2 tablespoons light teriyaki sauce, and 1/4 cup toasted slivered almonds.

Tip: Ready in 15 minutes.
 

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Butterfly Salad

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Butterfly Salad

Use a small cookie cutter or scissors to cut a butterfly shape from firm whole wheat bread. Brush both sides lightly with olive oil; toast for 2 minutes, or until crisp. Divide 4 cups torn lettuce, 1 cup halved seedless grapes, and butterfly croutons among plates. Offer dressing on the side.

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Honey-Glazed Carrots

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Honey-Glazed Carrots

Boil 1/2 pound of peeled baby carrots in lightly salted water for 5 minutes; drain. In same pan, melt 1 tablespoon butter on medium; stir in 1 tablespoon honey and 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger. Boil 1 minute while stirring. Fold in carrots and 1 tablespoon Italian parsley.

Tip: Ready in 15 minutes.

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Cheesy Spaghetti Squash

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Cheesy Spaghetti Squash

Place half of a 2-1/2-pound de-seeded spaghetti squash, cut side down, in a baking dish with 2 tablespoons water; cover with wax paper. Microwave on high for 10 to 12 minutes, or until tender. Let cool slightly, then scrape strands from squash. Toss with 1 cup pasta sauce and 3 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese.

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Week Four: Try Something Totally New

Paula Hible

Week Four: Try Something Totally New

Cauliflower "Popcorn"
Toss 3 cups small cauliflower florets with 2 tablespoons olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Roast at 450 degrees F., uncovered, for about 20 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring once or twice. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese.

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Bacon Brussels Sprouts

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Bacon Brussels Sprouts

Boil 12 ounces of brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved, in lightly salted water for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, saute 2 slices turkey bacon in 1 tablespoon canola oil on medium-high heat. Remove the bacon and crumble. Add cooked brussels sprouts to the skillet; cook 2 minutes. Stir in bacon, salt, and pepper until heated. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar before serving.

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Curried Acorn Squash

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Curried Acorn Squash

Place 1 pound of acorn squash wedges in a covered dish with 1 tablespoon water. Bake at 375 degrees F. for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, mix 1/4 cup reduced-sugar apricot preserves, 1/2 teaspoon curry powder, salt, and pepper. Spoon apricot mixture over squash and bake, uncovered, 10 minutes more, or until tender.

Tip: Double the recipe and freeze leftovers.

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Citrusy Edamame

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Citrusy Edamame

Cook 2 cups fresh or frozen shelled edamame according to the package directions; drain. Toss with 1 tablespoons olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon finely shredded orange peel, 1/4 teaspoon dried dillweed, and 1/4 teaspoon salt.

Tip: Ready in 15 minutes.

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Greek Stuffed Mushrooms

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Greek Stuffed Mushrooms

Bake 12 mushroom caps, with the smooth side up, at 425 degrees F. for 5 minutes. Saute 1/2 cup chopped mushroom stems along with minced garlic in hot olive oil on medium heat until tender. Remove from stove; stir in 1/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs, 1 chopped fresh Roma tomato, and 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese. Fill caps with mixture and bake for 8 to 10 minutes more.

Originally published in the January 2009 issue of Parents magazine.

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