Tofu Pasta Shell Casserole

I love jumbo stuffed pasta shells, but the effort of making them is wasted on my kids since I just need to cut the pasta into smaller pieces. This recipe relies on small pasta shells instead, for a kid-friendly riff on a grown-up favorite.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 1 zucchini, shredded
  • 3 tablespoons olives oil
  • 3 cups marinara sauce
  • 1 (16-ounce) package shell pasta
  • 1/2 cup minced artichoke hearts
  • 8 ounces extra-firm tofu
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  1. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrot, and zucchini; saute for 3 minutes. Add the marinara sauce and cook for 10 minutes, until heated through; set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to package directions; set aside.
  3. In a bowl, combine the minced artichokes, tofu, and nutritional yeast; mash with a fork until crumbly.
  4. Spoon about 1/2 cup sauce into the bottom of a 9×13-inch baking dish. Top with the pasta, followed by the tofu mixture, and add the remaining sauce on top. Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes.

Herbed Broccoli

This recipe comes together in minutes, and is a great way to dress up otherwise ho-hum vegetables.

Ingredients:

  • 1 head broccoli
  • 1/3 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  1. Cut the florets from the broccoli head and transfer to a large bowl; reserve the stems for another use.
  2. Toss the florets with the broth and the herbs. Cover and steam in the microwave for 5 minutes, until tender.

My kids love this with Gardein chick’n or pasta for an elegant meal!

Tofu Lasagna

The kids have loved lasagna lately, but lasagna recipes often feed a crowd, and we never quite make it through leftovers. This version bakes up in an 8-inch pan and is just the right size!

Ingredients:

  • 6 lasagna noodles
  • 1 (14-ounce) package firm tofu
  • 1 (14-ounce) can quartered artichoke hearts, chopped
  • 2 cups chopped baby spinach
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 2 cups marinara sauce
  • 1 cup shredded non-dairy mozzarella
  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil; add the lasagna noodles and cook for 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, mash the tofu with a fork to desired consistency. Stir in the artichoke hearts, spinach, nutritional yeast, and garlic salt.
  3. Spoon a little of the sauce into the bottom of an 8-inch baking pan. Add three lasagna noodles. Top with the tofu mixture, followed by the remaining lasagna noodles. Pour the remaining sauce on top and sprinkle with the mozzarella.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees F for 40 minutes.

Avocado Yogurt Dip

You can serve this recipe as a dip for tortilla chip or drizzled over baby spinach like dressing, but it’s so yummy that your kids might just want to eat it by the spoonful!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1/4 cup plain non-dairy yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon agave nectar
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  1. Mash the avocado in a bowl with a fork until smooth.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and mix until combined. Serve!

Spring Vegetable Pie with Dill Biscuits

I spotted this recipe in Parents magazine and immediately knew it would make the perfect centerpiece of a vegan Easter brunch, with a few tweaks. The family declared it worthy of a restaurant.

Ingredients:

For the vegetables:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 thinly sliced leeks
  • 2 cups shredded carrots
  • 1 chopped celery stalk
  • 1 chopped fennel bulb
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 (14-ounce) drained can quartered artichoke hearts
  • 1 cup chopped asparagus
  • 1 (16-ounce) package frozen peas
  • 1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
  • 3 tablespoons Earth Balance butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 3 cups vegetable broth

For the biscuits:

  • 1 and 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons Earth Balance butter
  • 1 tablespoon dried dill
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Scant 3/4 cup plain soy milk
  • 1 Ener-G egg
  1. To prepare the filling, heat the olive oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add the leeks, carrots, and celery; saute for 10 minutes.
  2. Add the fennel and 1/2 teaspoon salt; cook for 3 minutes. Add the artichoke hearts, asparagus, peas, parsley, and tarragon; cook for a final 2 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, melt 3 tablespoons butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and cook for 3 minutes, whisking constantly. Gradually add the broth, then continue to cook for about 5 minutes, whisking frequently, until the mixture thickens. Pour over the vegetables in the skillet.
  4. To prepare the biscuits, combine the flour, baking powder, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a bowl. Cut 6 tablespoons butter into small pieces and cut into the flour mixture with a pastry blender until it resembles coarse crumbs. Gently stir in the dill.
  5. Pour the lemon juice into a liquid measuring cup and add the soy milk to measure 3/4 cup. Let stand for 5 minutes, then whisk together with the Ener-G egg. Add the soy milk mixture to the flour mixture, stirring to form a soft, sticky dough. Drop by spoonfuls over the vegetable mixture to form 6 biscuits.
  6. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake at 450 degrees F for 20 minutes, until the biscuits are lightly browned on top.

Vegan Beef and Bell Peppers

Beef Brochettes (2)

If you have a grill, you can prepare this dish grilled on skewers instead, cooking for about 15 minutes. If you use the grilling method, marinate the ingredients in the sauce ahead of time, and serve with additional sauce on the side.

Ingredients:

For the sauce:

  • 1 cup steak sauce
  • 1/4 cup balsamic dressing
  • 1/4 cup agave nectar
  • 1 sliced garlic clove

For the remaining ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 package Gardein beefless tips
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup cubed pineapple
  1. To prepare the sauce, combine the steak sauce, dressing, agave, and garlic in a blender; process until smooth. Set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the beefless tips and cook for 5 minutes. Add the bell pepper; continue to cook for an additional 10 minutes.
  3. Add the sauce and the pineapple; cook for a final few minutes, until heated through. Remove the beef mixture from the sauce with a slotted spoon.

Beef Brochettes (1)

Gado Gado Salad

Gado Gado (3)

Gado Gado is an Indonesian dish, consisting of a platter of mixed vegetables and protein with peanut dip for serving. It’s perfect for kids to pick and choose what to dip in the yummy sauce with each bite!

Gado Gado (1)

Ingredients:

For the sauce:

  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoon fresh-squeezed lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 sliced garlic clove
  • 1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger

For the salad:

  • 1 pound small red potatoes
  • 8 oz asparagus, trimmed
  • 1 cucumber
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 (14-ounce) package extra-firm tofu
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  1. To prepare the sauce, combine the peanut butter, water, rice vinegar, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, lime juice, sugar, garlic, and ginger in a blender; process until smooth.
  2. Meanwhile, place the potatoes in a large pot and cover with water;. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and cook for 20 minutes, until tender. Add the asparagus in the last 5 minutes of serving.
  3.  Drain and let the potatoes cool slightly, then cut in half. Cut the cucumber into 2-inch sticks. Arrange the potatoes, asparagus, and cukes on a platter.
  4. Meanwhile, heat the canola oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cut the tofu into 2-inch pieces and add to the skillet; cook for 8 minutes, until browned. Add the soy sauce and continue to cook for a final few minutes.
  5. Add the tofu to the vegetable platter, along with the peanut dip.

Gado Gado (2)

Tofurky Cream Cheese Roll-Ups

Turkey Cheese Roll-Ups (1)

These wraps are perfect for school lunches: veggies, protein, and bread all wrapped up in one delicious bite.

Ingredients:

  • 4 spinach (or sun-dried tomato) tortillas
  • 1/2 cup non-dairy veggie cream cheese (such as Kite Hill)
  • 1 package vegan turkey deli slices
  • Thinly sliced cucumber
  • Shredded carrots
  1. Spread each of the tortillas with 2 tablespoons of the cream cheese. Divide the turkey slices evenly among the tortillas, then top with cucumber and carrots to taste.
  2. Wrap up tightly and slice each tortilla into thirds for perfectly kid-sized handheld portions.

Turkey Cheese Roll-Ups (2)

Secret Plum Burgers

Secret Plum Burgers (2)

The secret ingredient in these moist vegan burgers? A jar of baby prune puree!

Ingredients:

  • 1 (12-ounce) package meatless crumbles (such as Lightlife)
  • 1 (4-ounce) jar baby prune puree
  • 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
  • 1/3 cup chopped onion
  • Whole wheat burger buns, to serve
  • Ketchup, to serve
  1. To prepare the patties, combine the meatless crumbles, prune puree, flaxseed, and onion in a bowl. Mix with your hands, then shape into 4 patties.
  2. Heat a skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add the burgers and cook for about 6 minutes on each side.
  3. Serve on whole wheat buns with ketchup or your other favorite condiments!

Secret Plum Burgers (1)

Fruit Dips

Fruit Dips (1)

Veronika doesn’t like to eat yogurt off a spoon, but here’s a fantastic way to introduce the flavor to little ones who might otherwise be hesitant: turn it into a dip!

In general, toddlers love to dip food and this snack plays right into that desire. I set out a plate for her with a variety of cut up fruits, including strawberries, nectarine, oranges, green grapes, apple, banana, and pineapple. I wasn’t aiming for a full rainbow (although you could!), but we did hit nearly every hue from ROYGBIV.

Fruit Dips (2)

Next, I cut plastic straws into short pieces and then poked a straw piece into each fruit cube. Spoon a little vanilla non-dairy yogurt directly into the center of the plate. Time to dip!

Fruit Dips (3)

Veronika loved that she was in charge of this snack. Sometimes she would dip a fruit piece in and eat fruit and yogurt together. Sometimes she used the fruit more like a spoon for the yogurt, scooping it up and licking off. Apple pieces were her favorite for this particular method.

Fruit Dips (5)

I had one very happy little snacker.

Fruit Dips (6)