"People eat meat and think they will become as strong as an ox, forgetting that an ox eats grass." - Pino Caruso
Eating plant-based can be super simple and delicious. This easy-peasy, plant-based chicken parm is full of protien, iron and calcium and your kids will love it! If you're concerned about the amount of nutrients your kids consume in a day, you might consider adding some veggies to sauces to up the superfood power in their meals. Adding foods like spinach and basil to a simple tomato sauce adds tons of flavour and nutrients.
This recipe is quick, easy and winner in our household. The recipe is also be easily adaptable for carnivores and vegetarians.
Plant-Based Chicken Parm
- 3 large vine ripe tomatoes
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 1 cup of spinach
- 1/4 cup of fresh basil
- 1/2 yellow onion
- olive oil
- 2Tbsp tomato paste
- Tbsp dried basil
- Tbsp Italian seasoning
- Tbsp garlic powder
- Tbsp onion powder
Boil the tomatoes and garlic until soft (approx. 20 min on medium heat). Remove tomato skin and place spinach, basil, tomatoes, garlic,tomato paste, and olive oil in a blender and blend until smooth. dice and sautee onion and then add blended sauce to pan to heat. Add the spices and let simmer for 40 mins.
If your sauce turns out too green, you can add less spinach and more tomatoes.
The Chick, noods, and dairy-free cheese:
- I use Gardein chicken strips (they get very crispy) but you can use almost any plant-based chicken you like. Follow oven instructions and then add a small amount of sauce on top of the chicken along with the cheese and place in the oven at 400°C for 5-7 mins (until cheese is melted).
- For the noods, you can use any type of pasta you like. If you want to keep with plant-based, look for pastas made from whole grains and no egg products.
- For the cheese, I find that Earth Island Mozzarella or Violife mozzarella melt the best. They are plant-based cheeses that don't taste too cheesy or too much like coconut. I also leave a few chicken strips out for one kid who prefers to dip his strips in the sauce rather than having it on top.
I find plating key when it comes to feeding young eaters. Instead of making a whole different meal, you can help your kids feel comfortable and relaxed at mealtime just by plating the food according to their preferences.
One of my kids likes his food the exact way my husband and I eat and isn't bothered by mixed textures or flavours. The other child can be overwhelmed by flavour and prefers to try everything separately (our Picky Pizza plate is perfect for that). He doesn't get a different meal, just different plating and he is way more likely to try or eat the things at mealtime based on how it is plated.
I also like to add a small treat or sweet to their plate AT mealtime so they learn to eat intuitively and develop an understanding of what healthy balance is.
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