Whether you are new to plant based eating or in need of some family friendly recipe inspiration, these plant based recipes for kids will give you plenty of ideas for delicious family meals. The recipes in this post are great for kids but also yummy for adults too.
As a mum I completely understand the importance of meal prep being quick and affordable. Here you won’t find any funny ingredients you can’t spell or ingredients that carry extortionate price tags. Just simple, honest food you can prepare in family-friendly time using ingredients from your local market or store.
I totally understand that transitioning into plant based life can feel a little overwhelming if your kids aren’t naturally adventurous eaters. But with the right approach, it will happen. In fact, healthy eating can become fun!
Here are my top 3 tips to help kids enjoy plant based foods from day 1…
1. Share the (great) benefits of plant based diet
Help kids to understand how eating a wide range of plants helps to keep them healthy and strong. There’s many ways to do this but we have explained it to our kids in quite simplistic terms as they are both still quite little. For example…
…You’ll have more energy so can play for longer
…You’ll get stronger so climbing your favourite tree will get easier
…Your body will be full of goodness so you’ll be able to fight germs and bugs like a super hero
It’s also important to educate them on the wider plant based benefits. Help them to understand how their choices impact not only their own health and well being but also the welfare of animals and our environment.
The future health of our planet is as much in our childrens hands as it is ours so it’s important for them to feel empowered to make positive change.
2. Get them involved
Kids are more likely to eat something they have helped to create and so encourage kids to get involved in the planning, preparing and cooking of their meals. At the market/supermarket, ask them to help find and pick out the ingredients. Also allow them some choices, for example, which tomatoes you buy.
There are plenty of ways kids can get involved at home:
- Reading the recipes
- Washing and preparing veggies and fruit
- Measuring out ingredients and using weighing scales
- Stirring and mixing ingredients
- Putting on any toppings
- Setting timers
3. Start from a safe place and progress
If you’re completely new to plant based living its a good idea to start with familiar meals and substitute animal products for plant based alternatives. Start with plant based recipes which contain their favourite foods and the flavours you know they’ll enjoy.
If your kids are less adventurous with what they’re happy to sample then introduce new flavours, textures and ingredients slowly. Try not to force any particular foods and give them choice and variety often.
These plant based breakfast, lunch and dinner recipes for kids are tried and tested on even the most difficult of food critics (*ahem my youngest son). I’m certain you’re going to find plenty of recipes here which your family will all really enjoy!
There are plenty of different flavour options and combinations you can try on each recipe. So let’s get creative and lets get cooking…
BREAKFAST PLANT BASED RECIPES FOR KIDS
SUPER PORRIDGE & OATS
Porridge is packed with slow releasing energy therefore the perfect start to the day for active kids. You can use whichever plant based milk you love and top with seeds, fruit, nut butter…anything!!
If you are tight for time in the mornings then consider making porridge the slow cooker overnight. Alternatively you can go for a no-cook overnight oats option.
These plant based breakfast oat recipes are awesome for kids and adults:
AVOCADO ON TOAST
The simplest of recipes: smush a ripe avocado with the back of a fork + spread on wholemeal toast. Done. Quick and delicious.
‘PLANT POWER’ FULL ENGLISH
A hearty cooked breakfast is perfect for weekends or when you have a little extra cooking time.
Gather around the table and load up your plates with:
- Scrambled Tofu
- Hash Browns
- Baked Beans
- Vegan sausages or bacon (Linda McCartney and Cauldron are our favourite brands)
- Cooked tomatoes (on the vine are extra delish!)
A range of different coloured fruits arranged on a platter makes an interesting and tasty breakfast for kids. We like to count how many different colours we can eat!
A quick and easy breakfast favourite in our house.
There’s so many ways to add yummy flavours – add a pinch of cinnamon, top with fresh fruit, nut butter and bananas or drizzle with maple.
LUNCH PLANT BASED RECIPES FOR KIDS
WRAP ROLL UPS
Mini tortilla wraps (large for adults!) are a great filling lunch. You can mix and match both sweet and savoury to incorporate your favourite flavours.
Some tasty plant based wrap recipes for kids are:
- Avocado, Hummus & Cucumber
- Tomato & plant based cheese
- Peanut Butter & Jam
- Plant based soft cheese & sliced red pepper
- Baby Spinach with Lemon & Coriander Hummus
- Fishless-fingers, cucumber & lettuce
- Vegan ‘bacon’ broken up into small crispy pieces with iceberg lettuce, tomato and vegenaise
- Rainbow wrap – roaster pepper hummus, baby spinach, grated carrot, grated beetroot & cucumber sticks
Jackets are great for easy lunches and I’m yet to meet a kid who doesn’t love potatoes?!
Baked potatoes are actually really nutritious. Cooked in their skins, gram for gram they are higher in potassium than bananas and contain more vitamin C than a carrot!
Kid friendly fillings include:
- Mashed Avocado & Tomato
- Baked Beans
- Plant based (Chickpea) Tuna Salad
- Bean Chilli
- Hummus & Roasted Chopped Veggies
BOSH! released this yummy new recipe ideas during Veganuary. They are super easy to make and sooooo yummy!
Add chopped peppers, cooked minced mushrooms, spinach, sweetcorn… whatever vegetable fillings you love! They keep well in an air tight container until the next day.
Watch the recipe here.
HUMMUS & DIPS SELECTION
Who doesn’t love a picky tapas style lunch? It’s also a great way to get kids to introduce new flavours and textures. Load up a large serving board with;
- A variety of flavoured Hummus
- Vegetable Sticks
- Baby Tomatoes
- Sesame Breadsticks
DINNER PLANT BASED RECIPES FOR KIDS
There’s two easy ways to do vegetable pasta – one with chunky veg pieces and the other as a smooth blended sauce. Dried pasta is almost always plant based but it’s worth double checking.
Here are our two plant based pasta sauce recipes for kids:
Chunky Veg Sauce
- Dice favourite vegetables into one centimetre cubes
- Cover in a small amount of oil and oven roast on medium high for 25-30 minutes
- Add a clove of finely chopped fresh garlic to a saucepan pan and cook for a minute
- Add a jar of passata along with 1tsp of fresh thyme and basil. Simmer on low for 5 minutes.
- Once cooked, add the roasted veg to the passata sauce and mix.
- Spoon over cooked pasta and enjoy!
Freeze any leftovers to use another time.
Smooth Veg sauce
We use this 7 veg ragu recipe by Jamie Oliver. It’s also great as a dipping sauce and pizza bases.
Chilli is a great staple in the plant based recipe pantry! Packed full of veggies and beans, it’s a wholesome satisfying dish the whole family love.
Any left overs (if you’re lucky!) can be used to make nachos, quesadillas, wraps or topped on jacket potatoes.
Our favourite plant based chilli recipes for kids are here:
MAC N CHEESE (MAC N GREENS)
Mac and Cheese is a much loved dinner time treat…even for plant based families!!
There has been a battle brewing for the “Best Vegan Mac and cheese” recipe for some time. We’ve sampled many a version and my personal favourites are from Vegan Mac and Cheese from Simple Vegan Blog and Mac and Cheese Mix from Vegan Richa.
However, our kids actually prefer our home made simple plant based version of this family favourite.
Make Mac and Cheese a la the traditional method but replace dairy butter with vegan butter, dairy milk with cashew milk and dairy cheese with 2 level tablespoons of nutritional yeast.
Once the sauce is thickened add it to the food processor with a large handful of spinach or cooked broccoli. This turns the sauce a lovely bright green. It’s served with a side portion of roasted kale and ta-da we have “Mac n Greens”.
The boys have actually recently renamed this dish “Hulk Pasta”…. and I think I like that name better!
This is guaranteed to become a family dinner favourite!
The recipe is the same and a ‘traditional’ shepherds pie but with the necessary plant based twists. For the filling, substitute mince with lentils or ‘minced’ mushrooms. Substitute stock with vegan stock or bouillon. If you use Worcestershire sauce or red wine, ensure it’s vegan. For the creamy mash topping, substitute butter and milk with plant milk and vegan spread or olive oil.
If you haven’t made a shepherds pie before, this is a great plant based recipe.
SUPER DUPER BUILD YOU OWN STIR FRY
Possibly the simplest, quickest and most fun of all the plant based dinner recipes for kids!
This meal is a great one for kids to get hands on with. Let them choose and prepare all their favourite veggies and sides to build their own individual stir fry.
Build-your-own stir fry using the following:
- Vegetables: Courgette, Sweetcorn, Peppers, Mushrooms, Onion, Beansprouts, Carrots, Kale,
- Protein: Tofu, Edamame, Peanuts, Almonds
- Plant Based Rice/Noodles: Brown Rice, Rice Noodles, Udon, Soba
- Seasoning: Garlic, Ginger, Lemongrass, Chilli
- Plant Based Sauce (optional): Teriyaki, Plum, Satay, Tahini
I hope you feel inspired to grab your cooking apron after reading these plant based recipes for kids. If you’re looking for snack ideas, take a read of our Plant Based Snacks which are fully endorsed by the kids and adults alike!
If there’s anything plant based meal related that I can help with, please pop a comment below.
Happy, healthy eating!!
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