Hidden Veggie Recipes

Most kids are picky eaters at varying levels throughout their childhood. Heck, some never outgrow it and become picky adults. I know a few adults who have pickier eating habits than my preschooler.

My 4.5 year old son is picky when it comes to fruits and vegetables but will eat anything in meat, noodle or rice form. He even adores fish. He does like cooked carrots and mushrooms and occasionally cooked spinach. Every other vegetable has to be hidden in his food or at least hidden in a way that makes the dish palatable to him. For example, I can add grated veggies to any number of dishes and he’s happy to eat them. I can make a pesto sauce out of broccoli and I don’t have to hide if from him, but he won’t eat broccoli any other way.

Below is a compilation of the recipes we’ve published on Mama Say What?! that involve hidden veggies in varying degrees. Many of these have vegetables hidden so well, they would even fool a picky grown-up!

  • Hidden Veggie Italian Meatballs - These are a huge hit in my house. We enjoy them as meatball subs, with spaghetti and marinara or with pesto sauce and rotini pasta. Onion, carrot and zucchini are the hidden veggies in there. If you swap the basil for chopped mint and use ground lamb instead of beef you have kefthedes (Greek meatballs) that are tasty with a yogurt/cucumber sauce.

  • Lasagna with Hidden Veggie Bolognese - You can hide any number of different vegetables in this hearty, chunky bolognese sauce. I usually do carrots, celery, onion, and mushrooms. Heck, you can easily make the sauce on its own and serve over pasta if you don’t want to make lasagna!

  • Spinach Lasagna Rolls - The veggies aren’t super hidden in these, but this is one way my son is happy to eat spinach.

  • Spinach Muffins - These are a popular treat that are easy to make with lots of fresh spinach. We sometimes call them “green cupcakes.”

  • Chicken, Mushroom and Gnocchi Bake - Mushrooms are the hidden vegetable in these gems, but you could also use artichokes, asparagus or something that your family loves. The finer the dice, the more “hidden” they are.

  • Broccoli and Cheese Patties - Make the broccoli as chunky or as fine as you’d like! My son will pick out any big chunks, so I process the broccoli pretty fine.

  • Our Favorite Veggie Dip - Still a favorite in our house. Lately we’ve been making it with kale, edamame and carrots. Yum!

  • Healthy Smoothies for Mama and Baby - These smoothies are a daily treat in a lot of our mama’s houses and can be made with fresh spinach (which you don’t even taste - we promise!), carrot, zucchini and of course, loads of different fruits. 

What are your favorite ways to sneak veggies into your family’s meals?


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