Vegan Meals for Kids: Recipes You’ll Make Again and Again
Sometimes it can be tricky coming up with meal ideas to please your little ones, especially if you’re trying to encourage healthier eating habits. Whether you’re hoping to encourage a love of fruits and veggies (it’s not gonna happen by giving ‘em steamed broccoli!) or just looking for new plant-forward recipes to experiment with in the kitchen (hey now!), we’ve got you covered with these vegan meals for kids.
From getting the day started off on the right foot to delectable lunch ideas and wholesome dinners, this roundup of kid-friendly vegan recipes are sure to please. Grab an apron and invite your favorite pint-sized sous chef. It’s time to get started.
Vegan Meals for Kids That Will Please Your Pickiest Eater
We know how challenging it can be to get a meal on the table, and we’re big fans of keeping things simple, nutritious, and most of all delicious. (Even better if your meals satisfy meat eaters AND veggie lovers of all ages.) The great news is that most recipes on this list are weeknight-friendly or can be prepared ahead of time and reheated later.
1. Chocolate Chocolate Chip Pancakes
Image: Minimalist Baker
Pass the pancakes, please! These double chocolate chip pancakes from the Minimalist Baker can be whipped up and on the table in just 20 minutes. Another bonus? This vegan breakfast is gluten-free and can be frozen for up to one month, so you can have pancakes on demand.
Also, there’s no need for a special trip to the grocery store if you have a well-stocked pantry. Made with oat flour and almond meal for a hit of fiber and sweetened with maple syrup and bananas, tummies will be full and satisfied. Try adding a slather of peanut butter for a little extra protein or a freshly sliced banana for a tasty morning treat.
2. Meatballs and Marinara
Image: Vanilla and Bean
Few vegan meals are as fun and kid-friendly as spaghetti and meatballs. But what if you’re looking to swap out conventional meatballs for something plant-based? Consider making a batch of Vanilla and Bean’s eggplant “meatballs” instead. This vegan version of classic Italian-style meatballs is made with lentils, quinoa, and roasted eggplant, but feel free to substitute tempeh or zucchini for a creative take.
Try serving these meatballs with pesto or even using them in lasagna for a ready-made lunch on the go or better-the-next-day leftovers.
3. Rainbow Snack Platter
It doesn’t get much easier (or tastier) than this rainbow snack platter. This healthy snack is filled with crunchy veggies like carrots, broccoli, and cucumbers, plus tomatoes, red peppers, and berries. Don’t forget the vegan chicken nuggets — these crispy morsels are 100% plant-based and 100% delicious. Made with just a handful of simple ingredients (including organic pea protein), Nowadays nuggets are a great way to give your family a nutritious meal without sacrificing flavor.
This snack platter is endlessly adaptable too. It makes the perfect bento box, which means you get to pack a healthy vegan lunch made with whole foods your kids will actually enjoy. (Phew!) Put it in an eco-friendly lunch box (bye-bye plastic waste) with individual compartments, and add yummy dips like creamy hummus or herby yogurt. Win-win.
4. Mac and Cheese
Image: Choosing Chia
Creamy, dreamy mac and cheese just might be the ultimate comfort food. A crowd-pleaser for all ages (and picky eaters), it’s an ideal (almost) one-pot meal. Check out Choosing Chia’s vegan mac and cheese with butternut squash if you’re looking for a creative way to sneak in some extra veggies.
Along with the squash, you’ll add soaked cashews and nutritional yeast to form the base of your savory "cheese" sauce — and it’s all ready in 30 minutes or less. Add leftovers to a bento box with fresh apple slices, Nowadays nuggets, and a peanut butter cup for another easy school lunch.
5. Korean-Style Sweet and Sour Chicken
Itching for a takeout favorite but want to stay in? Look no further than mouthwatering Korean-style sweet and sour chicken. With easy prep and quick cooking time (30 minutes max!), this recipe makes for an easy weeknight dinner. Fresh ginger, garlic, honey, gochujang, and nutritional yeast come together with delicious vegan nuggets to create a balanced sauce rich in umami flavor that will please the whole family.
This dish couples beautifully with steamed rice or you can swap in some cauliflower rice for an extra serving of vegetables. Garnish with a sprinkling of sesame seeds and fresh scallions (or not — whatever works for the kids). Either way, you’re in for a restaurant-worthy meal in the comfort of your home.
6. Crispy Tacos With Fresh Pico de Gallo
Looking to mix up your Taco Tuesday? Say hello to nugget tacos! While standard taco fillings like black beans, roasted sweet potato, and chickpeas can be a delight, nuggets are a yummy way to get kids excited about scarfing down something new. Add some lime wedges, freshly chopped cabbage, and homemade pico de gallo for a complete meal.
Don’t be shy about adding nuggets to other Mexican-inspired dishes such as quesadillas or even burritos. These quick and easy meals are a cinch to customize no matter what your preference. Corn tortillas keep it gluten-free, and a sprinkle of shredded vegan cheese steps it up. Crafting a vegan dinner and other vegan meals for kids can be quick without sacrificing flavor or fun.
7. Sandwiches and Wraps
Pairing nuggets with sandwiches and wraps = endless possibilities. Take our Caesar wrap with avocado. It’s the perfect cross between a salad and a sandwich, complete with crispy, golden-brown nuggets for a boost of filling protein. Switch it up by replacing regular Nowadays nuggets and Caesar dressing with spicy buffalo bites and ranch for more adventurous eaters.
Still looking for more sando inspo? Try swapping your regular deli meat with Nowadays nuggets in a whole-grain pita pocket, or add a side of nuggets to a classic grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup combo.
Choosing Tastier Vegan Meals for Kids
Pulling together a satisfying and filling meatless meal is easier than you think, even if you have an up-and-coming food critic in the making. And getting them involved in the cooking process provides an opportunity to learn more about food and where it comes from, while hopefully encouraging them to branch out a bit. Before you know it, you’ll have a collection of favorite vegan meals for kids that everyone will be excited to dig into.
A high-quality plant-based nugget like Nowadays can help take the stress out of mealtimes and get kids excited about what’s on their plate. You get peace of mind knowing the clean and simple ingredient list is filled with fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals. Plus, they get to chow down on a plate of nuggets you don’t have to think twice about when they ask for seconds.
It’s the perfect way to introduce your family to Meatless Monday or ensure your kids are enjoying a more sustainable, planet-friendly meal.