I think I'd be right in saying that every childs' favourite food is pasta. And if it's not, then pizza or chips would be my next bet. Consequently, there's usually no resistance when telling your kids it's spaghetti or fusilli for dinner. Telling them veggies are top of the menu usually gets greeted with a lot less enthusiasm though.
If asked, Benji will always request pasta, but fortunately he doesn’t find cruciferous vegetables or any other vegetable repulsive (he's not a super-taster:). In fact, there was a period of about 6 weeks at the age of 10 months where he would make a beeline for a green smoothie sold at the raw vegan shop in our Chicago neighbourhood. It consisted of kale, aloe vera, avocado, chlorella and rejuvelac (a fermented liquid made from sprouted grains). He just lapped it up and by the end of mealtime he would look like he’d been ‘ghostbuster-ed’:)
This is another ‘green’ recipe he's been equally fond of since graduating from ‘slime’ puree. I'm posting it because it's one dish that gets a big thumbs up from little guests, so if you're desperate to get more vegetables into your child's diet you may want to give it a shot. Dark green leafy vegetables are packed with folate, vitamin C, vitamin E, calcium, magnesium and fibre, so they are an extremely valuable addition to any child’s diet.
The beauty of this recipe is that regardless of whether your child finds cruciferous vegetables repulsive or not, the nutty cheesiness of this pasta dish masks the strong flavour.
Broccoli pesto (Serves 2-3)
1 bunch of broccoli, broken into small pieces
6 oz or 3 cups (brown rice) fusilli pasta or spaghetti
1 tbsp organic butter & 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 large courgettes, grated
½ cup of Parmesan or pecorino, finely grated (more if using for garnish/to serve)
1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
1 cup of very finely chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
Sea salt & freshly ground pepper
Extra Parmesan or pecorino for serving
Place the broccoli in a saucepan with a couple of inches of water and steam until just tender (approx. 4-5 minutes), then drain and set aside.
On a low heat, melt the olive oil or butter in a large frying pan. Add the crushed garlic and cook for 1 minute.
Put the pasta in a large pan of boiling water with a pinch of salt and a small amount of olive oil (to stop the pasta sticking together). Cook for 8 minutes (check back of pasta pack for cooking times).
Add the grated courgette to the frying pan and toss to coat in garlic and oil/butter. Add the drained broccoli and cook on medium heat for 5-6 minutes until soft and very slightly browned.
Drain the pasta thoroughly and add to the vegetable pan.
Add ½ cup of cheese and toss to coat the vegetables & pasta. Add the lemon zest and small amount of seasoning and cook for 2 more minutes.
Serve in bowls and top with a little more freshly grated cheese.
NB: You can also try adding very finely chopped spinach and/or rocket for extra veggie intake....if your child won’t stick his/her tongue out at it:)