We all know the kid (or husband) who claims to hate vegetables! No matter how attractive you present nature’s bounty of vegetables, they turn up their noses at them.
Being a personal chef, I often encounter parents who want me to solve this challenge. First and foremost, it’s important to lead by example: If you don’t regularly eat a variety of vegetables, it’s hard to get your kids onboard. Let them help you pick out the produce and help you cook it. Often they feel an investment and that helps to at least get them to taste them.
But when all else fails, alter your recipes to include veggies and don’t say anything at all. Following are some of my recipes for hiding vegetables in everyday food.
“Shh, don’t tell” Macaroni and Cheese
This is the ultimate hide-a-veggie dish! Who doesn’t love macaroni and cheese? We are using cauliflower in this as an alternative for some of the macaroni. We use about 25 percent cauliflower along with 75 percent pasta. You might also want to try to puree some leftover steamed carrots and add them to the sauce. It’s delish, and nobody will know if you don’t tell them!
- ¾ pound macaroni (any shape or style of short cut pasta is fine)
- ½ medium head cauliflower, chopped about the size of the dry pasta
- 2 Tbsp. Branch and Vine Butter Infused Olive Oil (or butter)
- 2 Tbsp. flour
- 4 cups milk (2% or whole)
- 12 oz. shredded cheddar cheese (I use extra sharp, but use what works best for you), plus extra for topping
- Hot sauce (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- Boil pasta until it is just tender, drop in cauliflower, turn off heat.
- Let sit for 2 minutes.
- Drain pasta and cauliflower very well.
- In the meantime, in a large saucepan, warm the olive oil and add flour. Cook, over medium heat, for a few minutes until it becomes clumpy (a roux).
- You are just cooking out the flour taste right now; do not brown it.
- Whisk in milk a bit at a time until thickened and there are no lumps.
- Remove from heat and add cheese.
- Stir until melted.
- Add salt, pepper and hot sauce to taste.
- Add cauliflower and pasta, then stir until well combined.
- Pour into a greased 9/13 pan.
- If you would like, top with additional cheese.
- Bake for 20 minutes until it’s bubbly and the top is lightly browned.