Whether you’re a seasoned vegan or just easing into the lifestyle, you’re not about to make a separate dinner for your kids just because you know they’ll scoff at a pile of greens. But guess what? Plant-based cuisine isn’t just for grown-ups. Plenty of recipes are 100 percent vegan (that’s meat-, dairy- and egg-free) and appeal to all ages and levels of picky eaters. Here are 31 vegan recipes for kids to get you started.
1. Vegan Butternut Mac and ‘Cheese’ with Smoky Shiitake ‘Bacon’
If we’re being honest, even we didn’t realize there’s no actual cheese in this creamy, gooey mac and cheese. The kids will be none the wiser.
2. Watermelon Poke Bowls
Swap the raw fish for their favorite summer fruit, and you’re in plant-based dinner business.
3. One-Pot Tomato Basil Pasta
What takes 20 minutes to make, requires a single dish and zero meat? This guy. (Just skip the Parmesan cheese when you serve it to make it fully vegan.)
4. Vegan Fiesta Taco Bowl
Upgrade taco night with these loaded bowls, which happen to take 30 minutes from start to finish. Want to make them even more enticing? Serve tortillas on the side for the kids who like to eat with their hands.
5. Vegan Kentucky Fried Chick’n
This chicken has a secret: It’s made from seitan, a wheat-based meat substitute that crisps up like a dream. Nuggets won’t know what’s coming for them.
6. Vegan Instant Pot Farro Risotto
Who could possibly resist the creamy deliciousness of risotto? Let your kids pick the toppings and they’ll love you forever. (Psst: That creaminess comes from a white bean puree, BTW.)
7. Easy Vegan Pesto-Parmesan Spaghetti with Zucchini
Noodles? Check. Garlicky pesto? Double check. Cheesy faux-Parmesan? You see where we’re headed…
8. Tomato and White Bean Stew on Toast
Making this one vegan is easy: Trade the tablespoon of butter for olive oil and you’re home free. An excuse to eat toast for dinner? Genius.
9. Vegan Spaghetti Squash with Mushroom Marinara Sauce
If you’re dealing with a picky eater (or mushroom hater), you can leave the ’shrooms out or serve them on the side.
10. Kid-Friendly Vegan Chicken Nuggets
They taste just like the real thing and, most important, go just as well with ketchup.
11. Vegetable Spring Rolls with Peanut Sauce
You’ve got options for assembly. You could use this as a fridge-cleanout opportunity, or let your kids pick and choose the fillings. Either way, that peanut sauce is going to be a hit.
12. Kung Pao Cauliflower
A little spicy and a little sweet, just like their favorite takeout treat.
13. Instant Pot Vegetable Lasagna with Vegan Basil Ricotta
Channel your inner nonna and satisfy everyone’s pasta cravings, all in 55 minutes. (That’s a real feat for lasagna.)
14. Taco-Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
Nothing against tortillas, but sweet potatoes offer a boost in both the flavor and nutrition departments, which is really all we can ask for in a meal. (Psst: It takes just 30 minutes to make too.)
15. Easy Healthy Orange Cauliflower
No deep-frying, no crazy-long ingredient lists and everyone at the table will gobble it up? We know what we’re making tonight.
16. Vegan Sloppy Joes
They’re just like what your mom made when you were a kid…but so much better. You probably already have the ingredients in your pantry.
17. Vegan Sweet Potato Burgers
But if your kids are more burger people, these simple patties will be right up their alley. The hidden addition of white beans adds creaminess and a boost of protein and fiber.
18. Crispy Tofu Bites
Sometimes only small, crunchy and nugget-like will suffice. That’s where these babies come in handy. The trick to their appealing texture is in draining your tofu thoroughly before baking (and yes, you can swap the honey for maple syrup or omit it entirely).
19. Crispy Baked Cauliflower “Wings”
If you’re worried hot sauce will be too spicy for your kids, try sweet chili sauce instead, recommends Oz Telem, the chef behind this dish.
20. Vegan Pizza
Pizza night is a thing to be cherished, plant-based or not. Pick up a ball of dough at the grocery store and let everyone go wild with toppings.
21. Pumpkin Seed Crusted Tofu Fingers
Dinosaur nuggets have met their match. This is like a TV dinner (or meal-prep lunch) for the 21st century.
22. Outrageously Fluffy Vegan Pancakes
Haven’t gotten on the brinner train? Now’s your chance. (Ahem, that’s “breakfast for dinner” for the uninitiated.)
23. Easy Falafel Balls
These guys have the ideal ratio of crispy-on-the-outside to fluffy-on-the-inside texture. It makes them excellent for little fingers to dip into hummus.
24. Easy Vegan Sausage Mushroom Marinara Pasta
You don’t always have to reinvent the wheel. Store-bought, plant-based sausage needs little more than a few vegetables, jarred marinara and your favorite pasta shape to make a filling dinner.
25. Simple Vegan Meatballs
Similarly, if you already know your kid likes spaghetti and meatballs, making the transition to a vegan version will be seamless.
26. Barbecue Chickpea Sloppy Joes
They might not want to eat the garnish—um, hi, olives and pickles—but it’s guaranteed to bring out a smile. (Same goes for the sandwiches.)
27. Tofu Stir-Fry with Peanut Sauce
Once again, peanut sauce saves dinnertime. It’s sweet, salty and irresistible to all ages.
28. Easy Five-Ingredient Vegan Waffles
These deserve so much more than just your weekend breakfast spread. Set out some tasty toppings and make “waffle bar dinner” a thing.
29. Ten-Minute Quesadillas
To make them vegan, swap the cheese for equally creamy hummus. Cut, serve and enjoy.
30. Roasted Tandoori Cauliflower Bowls
Grab your trusty sheet pan and get roasting. These mildly spiced florets will win over even the most persnickety eaters, thanks to a tahini drizzle and avocado garnish.
31. Pea Pesto Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Arugula
You already serve frozen peas as a side dish. Add them to your pesto and prepare for the oohs and ahhs.