Feeding a vegetarian household, cutting back on meat, or just trying to incorporate more veggies into your meals is about to get a whole lot easier with this master list of vegetarian meals for kids!
Vegetarian Meals for Kids
It’s so darn easy to get into a food rut, especially when feeding kids who usually prefer to eat their favorites over and over (and over!). I’m always looking for meatless meal ideas to help stretch my grocery budget and help me come up with vegetarian meals that everyone at my table will enjoy.
So this list, which is broken up by type of recipe—is here to help you (and me!).
Contents hide 1 Vegetarian Meals for Kids 2 Your toddler won’t eat? Help is here! 3 Vegetarian Recipes for Families 4 Vegetarian Protein Options 5 Bean Recipes for Kids 6 Vegetarian Soups for Kids 7 Tofu and Tempeh Recipes 8 Easy Egg Recipes 9 Vegetarian Pasta and Grains 10 Pescatarian Meals with Fish 11 Vegetarian Lunch Ideas for Kids 12 Vegetarian Nugget and Tot Recipes 13 Related Recipes 14 Favorite Vegetarian Meals for Kids
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Vegetarian Recipes for Families
Each of the recipes here is a great one to share with your entire family. You can of course cook them just for the kids, but they are appropriate for the adults at the table too. Each of these is straight forward and uses ingredients you can (usually) find at mainstream grocery stories.
(I lived in a small town and shopped at my local stores, so I used what was available there as my guide!)
TIP: Learn more about kids protein needs here. (They may be lower than you realize.)
Vegetarian Protein Options
Here’s a quick look at some good sources of meatless plant-based protein:
- Almond butter
- Cottage cheese
- Hemp seeds (blended into smoothies)
- Edamame beans
- Milk (cow’s, plant milk, or soy milk)
- Peanut butter
- Pasta (bean, lentil, and quinoa, along with regular wheat pastas)
- Split peas
- Sunflower seed butter
- Yogurt, drinkable
TIP: Find a full list of vegetarian (and pescatarian) protein options here.
Bean Recipes for Kids
Affordable and packed with nutrition, beans and legumes are also versatile and filling. Here are some of my go-to ways to cook them for kids.
Roasted Sweet Potato Tacos You can try serving this to your toddler with the components separated if they aren’t quite up to holding and eating a regular taco. Simply arrange the filling, the tortillas, and toppings on a plate and let them eat them however they like! Get the recipe Easy Vegetarian Burrito Bowls Prep the rice, beans, and veggies ahead if you can or want to. They store well in the fridge and simply need to be reheated. The nutrition information in this recipe will vary based on the ingredients you choose to use. Get the recipe Vegetarian Quesadillas with Beans and Cheese You can make as few or as many of these easy quesadillas as you like. Get the recipe Vegetarian Rice and Beans Burritos You can make and serve these at the same time, or prep them ahead of time and warm up quickly for an easy meal. You can vary the beans in these simple burritos. Serve them with salsa and/or sour cream. Get the recipe Refried Bean Taco Roll Ups This makes 6 rolled up tacos, so you can adjust this as needed for your family. Taste the refried beans before you make the roll ups and adjust the salt and/or cumin if needed. You can also serve the ingredients in separate bowls and let your family serve themselves. Get the recipe Roasted Vegetable Enchiladas Before you start, roll a tortilla and make sure it will fit with your baking dish. I call for small ones, but the size can vary a lot depending on whether you use flour or corn and the brand. This recipe was updated and streamlined in October 2020. Get the recipe Homemade Hummus (Without Tahini) With just 5 minutes and basic pantry ingredients, you can make the yummiest Homemade Hummus without tahini. This means that it’s nut-free, so it’s an option for school and allergy families, and it’s just perfect for dunking crackers or spreading on bread. Get the recipe Easy Sweet Potato Hummus When I just need one sweet potato for a recipe, I often cook it in the microwave. Dice it, place it in a large 4-cup glass measuring cup, cover with two inches of water and cook for about 5 minutes or until soft. Roasted Sweet Potato or Crockpot Sweet Potato works well too! Get the recipe Easy Butternut Squash Hummus You can use canned squash or whole squash that you’ve roasted and pureed. Get the recipe Easy Beet Hummus This brightly colored hummus is a delicious spread for crackers, toast, or sandwiches. Or it can be served as a dip. You can omit the tahini if needed for an allergy. Get the recipe Soft Roasted Chickpeas with Cinnamon If you start with dried beans in this salty-sweet snack, make sure to cook them until they are very tender. If making these for a kiddo under one, use maple syrup instead of honey or skip the sweetener all together. Get the recipe So Good Chickpea Blondies These blondies are packed with just-sweet-enough flavor and nutrition.They are delicious chilled right out of the fridge with a glass of cold milk. Get the recipe Black Bean Brownie Bites You can add sprinkles to make these fun or leave them plain—either one works! Serving size is 2 brownie bites. Get the recipe
TIP: Find even more healthy bean recipes here.
Vegetarian Soups for Kids
Beans and legumes add protein and vegan creaminess to soup—and all of these options are super kid friendly. Kiddo not into soup? Try serving a small amount with crackers or bread for dipping.
Healthy Broccoli Cheddar Soup With plant-based protein, veggies, and cheese, this soup is a wonderful way to serve up healthy comfort food to the whole family. (Adapted from FamilyFun magazine.) Get the recipe Extra-Veggie Minestrone Baby Soup (for Big Kids too!) With a streamlined method and a quick cooking time, this veggie-packed baby soup (that big kids and parents will also enjoy!) is filled with vegetarian protein and super yummy Italian flavors. Get the recipe Slow Cooker Black Bean Soup (with Instant Pot Option) The addition of grains helps to thicken the soup to a nice consistency for little eaters, so don’t be worried if it’s pretty thin before you add them in before serving. (This post was updated and the recipe was streamlined November 2020. You can get the original recipe here.) Get the recipe Easy Red Lentil Soup (with Sweet Potato and Coconut) Serve small portions by the spoonful or in a reusable pouch to babies and toddlers. Get the recipe Favorite Lentil Soup with Veggies I like our lentil soup with the veggies pretty blended in, which is why I chop them finely in a blender or food processor. You can also just chop them with a knife. (Recipe updated August 2020 to saute the veggies before simmering to ensure that there’s no raw onion flavor.) Get the recipe Big Batch Vegetarian Chili When serving this to a little one, I like to drain off much of the broth. This makes it a little easier (and less messy) for them to eat. If your family likes spice, add in a dash or two of cayenne pepper. Get the recipe
Tofu and Tempeh Recipes
I’ve always been surprised at how much my kids like tofu—and also delighted since it’s such an inexpensive protein option. It also takes on flavors of sauces really well, and can be served up crispy in nuggets too.
Crispy Baked Tofu Nuggets (SO Good and Easy) Tofu is typically sold in 14-16 ounce blocks. If yours is 16 ounces, you may need 1 ¼ cup panko. The garlic powder is optional, but adds nice flavor. Get the recipe Vegetable Stir Fry with Rice and Tofu I like to use vegetables like carrots, broccoli, bell peppers, and snap peas in this easy recipe. Plan to cook the rice ahead of time or to get it started first. Get the recipe Quick and Easy Sesame Tofu This simple pan-fried tofu is a perfect match for sauteed veggies and rice, or pasta, or even potatoes and roasted veggies! Get the recipe Thai Green Curry with Vegetables and Tofu I like this dish as a way to occasionally serve my family tofu, but you can use chicken or shrimp if you like. And if you want to use different veggies, go right ahead! Just aim to use about 6 cups—snap peas, snow peas, frozen corn, broccoli, bell peppers, cauliflower, and more all work well here. Adults may want to top their servings with hot sauce! Get the recipe
Easy Egg Recipes
Eggs are one of the more affordable protein sources, in addition to being quick to cook. Here are a few of my favorite ways to use them.
Mini Egg Muffins with Cheese and Veggies These tender Egg Muffins are packed with protein and vitamins—and can be made ahead of time! Add any veggie you like, whether carrots, butternut squash, broccoli, or spinach. Get the recipe Spinach Egg Muffins Egg muffins will stick to a muffin tin unless you grease it well with nonstick spray. So try not to skimp on that step! Get the recipe Roasted Sweet Potato Hash Try this easy breakfast-for-dinner idea the next time you need a super easy and nutritious family dinner. Get the recipe Easy Breakfast Burritos These are called “breakfast” burritos since they have eggs, but you can serve them for any meal of the day! Get the recipe Easy Egg Yolk Puree (with BLW option) This is an easy method to introduce eggs to baby, whether they’re starting solids on purees or with the baby led weaning approach. Adjust the number of eggs up or down as you like. Get the recipe Easy Egg Cups (with Zucchini and Cheese) Feel free to double the recipe to make a full 24 mini muffins! We like to stash these in the fridge to eat all week, so having more is usually helpful in our house. Get the recipe How to Make Eggs in the Microwave You can season the cooked egg with a little salt, butter or cheese if you’d like, but it’s very good as is. See the Note about the heat setting when cooking in a microwave. Get the recipe
Vegetarian Pasta and Grains
Pasta has a solid dose of protein (even regular pasta does!), as do grains—and both are a great base for vegetarian family meals. These are some of my favorites to share with the kids.
Extra-Veggie Baby Pasta (with Iron) Adding beans and extra veggies helps make this easy baby pasta satisfying, nutritious, and yummy. Serve it more or less saucy as you like. (You can even freeze the sauce for easy future meals.) Get the recipe Cauliflower Mac and Cheese (5-Ingredient) With a simple cheese sauce—no standing and stirring over the stove here!—a solid dose of veggies, and a super creamy final result, this Cauliflower Mac and Cheese is a fast lunch or dinner option for toddlers. (And the rest of the family, too!) Get the recipe 5-Ingredient Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese Use your family’s favorite shape and type of pasta in this recipe. (We like elbows or mini shells!) Get the recipe Easy Sweet Potato Mac and Cheese I like to use a small shape to keep this dish as fast as possible. Get the recipe One-Pot Broccoli Mac and Cheese The method on this recipe is streamlined to cut down on dish washing. Add the optional spices for more flavor if you like! Double it to make more. Get the recipe Easy Spinach Pesto Try this healthy pesto with your favorite pasta or in place of pizza sauce on pizza! Get the recipe Easy Kale Pesto Try this healthy pesto with your favorite pasta or in place of pizza sauce on pizza! It’s a kid-friendly way to serve up kale, and you don’t have to worry about it turning brown if you store it. Get the recipe Easy Pesto Pasta Salad Recipe This is an easy family dinner or lunch. I like to use Spinach Pesto for this, but any will work if you prefer to buy it pre-made from the store. Get the recipe Creamy Pasta with Broccoli Feel free to cut this recipe in half to make a smaller portion for your family. (Or make the full batch and enjoy the leftovers!) Get the recipe Easy Cheesy Rice (with Veggies!) Choose one veggie to add from the flavor options below according to what you have on hand or what your family likes best. Get the recipe 20-Minute Stir Fry Noodles Try this quick family dinner the next time you’re craving fresh comfort food—and want to please the entire family! You can add a protein to this dish if you’d like. See the Notes for options. Get the recipe Easy Mediterranean Quinoa Salad Mix up this grain salad to have lunches prepped for the week for yourself, or to have a dinner side or vegetarian main dish to share with the family. Get the recipe
Pescatarian Meals with Fish
Pick up some salmon, tilapia, shrimp, or other favorite fish or shellfish and try one of these easy fish recipes for kids. While not technically vegetarian, they can be yummy meals to try if your family does eat or have access to fish.
Crispy Baked Fish Sticks (to Share with the Kids!) We like to have these with simple sides such as Mashed Potatoes, Roasted Broccoli, or Salad. They’re also great in tacos! Get the recipe Easy Baked Salmon Cakes (Salmon Patties) These tender fish cakes make a quick and easy pantry meal when you haven’t planned ahead for dinner. Recipe updated slightly to ensure moistness in June 2021. Get the recipe Favorite Salmon Salad Sandwich This salmon salad is packed with protein, healthy fats, and calcium and can be used as a dip or a spread for sandwiches. We use homemade relish in this recipe, but you can use any that you like the flavor of. Get the recipe Quick Teriyaki Shrimp with Zucchini and Rice We like this with rice or rice noodles, but you can adjust how you serve it to fit your family! Get the recipe Quick and Easy Shrimp Tacos If using frozen shrimp, transfer it from the freezer to the fridge the night before or in the morning that you plan to make this. Get the recipe Easy Citrus Shrimp and Noodles With a quick 20-minute cooking method perfect for a weeknight dinner, this easy Shrimp and Noodles recipe has a flavorful (yet kid-friendly!) Asian sauce with a refreshing hit of citrus. You can use fresh or frozen shrimp in this recipe. If using frozen, defrost according to package directions. Get the recipe
Vegetarian Lunch Ideas for Kids
Pack or serve up plant-based goodness for lunch with these yummy recipes for lunch. Most are even great to make ahead and reheat and plate as needed!
Easy Veggie Muffins I like to grate the carrot on a box grater and cut the top of each broccoli floret off and finely dice with a knife. Avoid the stems since they won’t blend into the batter as well. Get the recipe Pizza Pockets with Broccoli and Cheese If you’re using Homemade Pizza Dough, make it at least an hour before you plan to assemble the pockets. If using store-bought, let it sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes so it’s not super cold when you try to form the pockets. Get the recipe Favorite Pizza Rolls (with Spinach and Cheese) Be sure to grease your pan well and roll the dough up fairly tightly around the fillings for best results. (But it’s okay if they don’t look perfect when they go into the pan!) Get the recipe Easy Spinach Quesadillas You can also do this with full size spinach if that’s what you’re able to find. Just discard any stems before starting the recipe. Get the recipe Veggie Grilled Cheese Sandwich (to Share with the Kids) With just 4 ingredients, including a veggie that blends right in, this Veggie Grilled Cheese Sandwich is a yummy kids lunch to share. It packs extra nutrition in the filling, yet only takes a few minutes to make. Such a great easy meal! Get the recipe Easy Zucchini Fritters Recipe We bake these Zucchini Fritters since they are easier to cook and easier to clean up. If you have a lot of zucchini, you can double the recipe to make a full muffin tin’s worth! Get the recipe Quick Sandwich Roll Ups (2-Minute School Lunch) Pair a soft sandwich bread with your filling of choice to make this easy toddler lunch or school lunch. You can even make them the night before. Get the recipe Quick Pizza Quesadillas (An Easy Kids Meal) This meal is perfect for when you’re short on time or when you want to make pizza with less fuss. Add a simple side of cut up fruit, applesauce, or a salad kit and call it good. Get the recipe Easy Spinach Grilled Cheese You can also do this with full size spinach if that’s what you’re able to find. Just discard any stems before starting the recipe. Get the recipe
Vegetarian Nugget and Tot Recipes
Crunchy on the outside, tender on the inside, these homemade nuggets are so good!
Homemade Veggie Nuggets (with 3 Veggies!) I like to prep the veggies and rice ahead of time so that the process of making the nuggets is a little quicker. You can of course do it all at once though! Get the recipe Homemade Cauliflower Tots With quinoa, cauliflower, and cheese, these healthy little tots are a great finger food for kids. This recipe makes about 20 tots, which is 4-6 servings for toddlers—or 1-2 servings for adults. Get the recipe Homemade Broccoli Tots (Better Than the Freezer Aisle!) Crispy on the outside and tender in the middle, these tots are a seriously fun way to serve broccoli. You can cook the rice up to 5 days ahead of time and store it in the fridge until you’re ready to bake the tots. Get the recipe Crispy Baked Tofu Nuggets (SO Good and Easy) Tofu is typically sold in 14-16 ounce blocks. If yours is 16 ounces, you may need 1 ¼ cup panko. The garlic powder is optional, but adds nice flavor. Get the recipe