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10 Hidden Veggie Recipes Approved by Picky Eaters
Updated on
December 18, 2023

10 Hidden Veggie Recipes Approved by Picky Eaters

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10 Hidden Veggie Recipes Approved by Picky Eaters.
10 Hidden Veggie Recipes Approved by Picky Eaters

Vegetables are notoriously the most difficult food group for kids to eat, even if they’re just starting. Whether your little one refuses the occasional serving of veggies or they’re the pickiest eater in the world, you may be wondering if they’re getting all the nutrients they need.

But vegetables don’t have to be a lost cause on your dinner table. One popular tactic is to hide them. No, not in the back of the fridge (where so many well meaning foods go to die)—in your meals! Disguising the taste and texture of veggies in snacks, sauces and batters is a clever and handy way to make sure your kiddo is eating all their food groups and getting all those important vitamins and minerals.

Should I hide vegetables from my child?

Some pediatricians and nutritionists recommend that kids be able to see the vegetables they’re eating in order to be exposed to them and help develop healthy eating habits. So don’t keep the hidden veggies a complete secret—let your child help prepare the meals so they clearly see the vegetables going in, or hide them within these recipes just a few times.

And once your little one has a taste for these meals, you can reveal that they were eating vegetables the whole time! (“See? Veggies are actually pretty yummy, right?”) Even the pickiest eaters might be more open to trying veggies at that point, so you can start to un-incorporate them from these recipes and serve them out in the open (just be sure to prepare them safely)

The easiest vegetables to incorporate in meals

We’ll be real with you, some veggies are easier to hide than others. Whether you’re blending them into a sauce to go over pasta or mixing them into pancake or brownie batter, these vegetables work best:

  • Carrots
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Butternut squash
  • Pumpkin
  • Bell peppers (roasted to soften)
  • Zucchini
  • Yellow squash

When steamed or roasted, these veggies blend nice and smooth, and their flavors work great with a wide variety of sweet and savory seasonings (we’ll eat chocolate zucchini brownies any day!).

You can add other vegetables too, of course. Many recipes successfully hide spinach in smoothies and sauces or use cauliflower to replace rice, potatoes or pizza crusts, but these may not work the best if your little eater is sensitive to textures. Spinach and other leafy greens don’t usually blend perfectly smooth and can leave behind tiny leaf fragments. Cauliflower, even when thoroughly cooked and mashed, often has a grainy texture.

To incorporate more vegetables into your child’s diet, here are some of the best toddler-tested hidden veggie recipes (seriously, we tested them on our own toddlers!).

1. Creamy Tomato Sauce

Creamy Tomato Sauce

Tomato-based pasta sauce with hidden onions, bell peppers, celery and carrots.

Recipe and photo by Mia Swinehart, Registered Dietician at Gathered Nutrition (@gatherednutrition).

2. Healthy Baked Chicken Nuggets

Healthy Baked Chicken Nuggets

Crispy on the outside and moist on the inside with hidden sweet potatoes.

Recipe and photo by Tracy Koslicki at Served from Scratch (@servedfromscratch).

3. Pumpkin Peanut Butter Cookies

Pumpkin Peanut Butter Cookies

Easy vegan peanut butter cookies with hidden pumpkin (also great with butternut squash or sweet potato!).

Recipe by Carine Claudepierre at The Conscious Plant Kitchen (@theconsciousplantkitchen).

4. Hidden Veggie Mac & Cheese

Hidden Veggie Mac & Cheese

Creamy, cheesy classic with hidden cauliflower, butternut squash and carrots.

Recipe by Hannah Williams, photo by Tasty (@buzzfeedtasty).

5. Healthy Cinnamon Sweet Potato Rolls

Cinnamon Sweet Potato Roll

Ooey gooey cinnamon rolls with hidden sweet potatoes.

Recipe and photo by Elena Szeliga at HappyKitchen.Rocks (@happykitchen.rocks).

6. Blueberry Zucchini Smoothie

Blueberry Zucchini Smoothie

A sweet and refreshing smoothie with hidden zucchini.

Recipe and photo by Kath Younger, a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist at Kath Eats (@katheats).

7. Carrot Cheese Crackers

Carrot Cheese Crackers

Crispy, crunchy, Cheez-It-like crackers with hidden carrots.

Recipe and photo by Tara at Tara’s Multicultural Table (@taramctable).

8. Beef and Veggie Burgers

Screenshot 2023-12-18 at 10.30.46

Juicy and flavorful beef burgers with hidden zucchini, carrots, mushrooms and onions (and bonus hidden avocados!).

By Barbara Lamperti in The Fuss-Free Toddler Cookbook (@buonapappa).

9. Cheese Biscuits with Vegetables

Fluffy, cheesy biscuits with hidden zucchini and carrots.

Receipe by Mary Younkin at Vegetable Recipes.

10. Zucchini Brownies

Moist and decadent brownies with hidden zucchini.

Recipe by Amanda Rettke at I Am Baker.

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