5 Kid-Approved Recipes That Are Loaded with Green Veggies

Serve up good-for-you pizza, pasta and more.

April 02, 2021
Related To:

Food Network KitchenHealthy EatsFood Network,Food Network Kitchen Healthy Eats Food Network

Photo by: Stephen Johnson ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Stephen Johnson, 2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

True story: My 10-year-old daughter recently announced that she doesn't like spinach — while shoveling down my homemade strata that’s packed with (you guessed it) tons of baby spinach. I asked her what she thought the green stuff on her plate was and, after a long, awkward pause she answered confidently, "not spinach."

As much as I love telling that story for its comedic value, I also think there’s a bit of universal truth tucked in there somewhere. Something about how green veggies have wrongfully been labeled as not delicious when they can, in fact, be the exact opposite.

As parents, we’re tasked with helping our little ones see past this misconception. It’s our job to make sure they approach veggies with an open mind — even the leafy green ones! How do you do that when you’ve got a particularly picky eater in the family? I like to think that riffing off of inherently kid-friendly dishes (like pasta and pizza) is a good place to start so I’ve rounded up a few that my daughter loves. These are dishes that helped her gain familiarity with green vegetables — and discover that she actually likes them.

This is a good recipe if your little one is just getting used to the idea of eating greens. We dot the pizza with obvious dollops of arugula pesto but you could just as easily spread it evenly across the crust and top with cheese and other toppings. Pepperoni, anyone?

It’s no secret that veggies taste better with a healthy dose of cheese sauce. That's why Ree’s 5-star pasta dish a winner — even with the kiddos. They may be skeptical of the spinach at first but once they take a bite and see that it’s smothered in a creamy, 3-cheese sauce, they’ll be on board.

Those nights when you serve barbecue pulled pork or cook burgers on the grill? Sneak some extra green veggies into everyone’s meal with tangy slaw. No one can resist piling it high on their sandwich! If you need a shortcut, skip shredding the broccoli and cabbage yourself; buy pre-shredded broccoli slaw, instead.



Food Network Kitchen's Lessons from Grandma, Grandma's Anything Goes Strata for LESSONS FROM GRANDMA/MICROWAVE VEGGIES/CHICKEN SOUP, as seen on Food Network

Photo by: Renee Comet

Renee Comet

This recipe is true to its name; you can use whatever you have on hand. In my case we add more spinach than the recipe calls for and opt for cooked, crumbled Italian sausage instead of the deli meat. Other winning combinations include turkey and broccoli or ham and asparagus.

Lasagna Rolls; Giada De Laurentiis

Photo by: Tara Donne

Tara Donne

With more than 1,000 reviews and a 5-star rating, there’s no denying that Giada’s spinach-and-cheese lasagna rolls are delicious. Best of all, her recipe calls for frozen chopped spinach — so no worrying about whether or not you’ve got fresh leafy greens on hand.

Next Up

Creating Healthy Eating Habits with Children

Find 1000s of Food Network's best recipes from top chefs, shows and experts. And watch videos demonstrating recipe prep and cooking techniques.

The Picky Eaters Project: Melissa's Toolkit

Download all of the materials you need to start Melissa's Picky Eaters Project with your kids.

There Are Hidden Healthy Kids’ Menus at Your Favorite Cafes

Here's what to order for your kids (and yourself) the next time you're in one of these popular spots.

The Picky Eaters Project: Kids and Nutrition

Melissa explains how she teaches her kids about the concepts of basic nutrition.

After 3+ Months of Nonstop Cooking, Here’s What I’ve Learned

Here's why family time is more meaningful now than ever before.

Great First Foods for Babies

Go beyond the jarred stuff with these healthy options.

Cooking Tasks Kids Can Help With at Every Age

From toddler to tween — here's how to get kids excited about the kitchen.

Kid-Friendly Meals from Ree Drummond's Ranch

We're taking our cue from The Pioneer Woman and serving up kid-approved meals from her kitchen.

Fun, Healthy Snacks for Toddlers

It's ok to make snack time fun for both of you.

Foods for Picky Children

Eight ways to expand their culinary horizons

Related Pages