So, I guess I’ve entered that stage of motherhood…trying to get my kid to eat his veggies and slow down on the carbs and sweets. Recently, I checked out a book front the library called The Best Homemade Kids Lunches on the Planet which inspired these veggie nuggets. That, along with the story of Tessemae’s brand, a mom who started making healthy dips so that her kids would eat veggies, has encouraged me to get creative in the kitchen.
I think the hardest part of feeding your kids well is convenience. All of the convenience foods are filled with sugar and carbs and while grains and sweets definitely still have their place in our diet, I know my son also needs a good amount of protein and veggies. But what about when we go to the park or the library for the morning, what snack could I bring along that could be easy for me and likable for him? Or going on a picnic? Or if we are out and about before nap time and need a quick lunch? An apple, dried fruit and nuts only go so far but I wanted something more substantial and veggie heavy.
So came the answer to my quest… veggie nuggets. While Everett had no conception or comparison of the word nugget, most kids do, so I wanted these nuggets to be tasty and crispy just like their familiar counterparts. These are also super easy to make, you just need to cook the veggies, then blend all the ingredients together before a quick bake in the oven.
One of these nuggets highest values for us so far is that they are easy to take on the go. I freeze them after cooking them, then, we can put a few frozen ones in a ziplock on our way out the door and they’ll be defrosted for lunch time. While our little guy isn’t of school age yet, the same solution would be great for kids’ school lunch boxes. If you put these frozen nuggets in a lunch box in the morning they’ll be perfectly thawed by lunch.
Their capacity for being a meal on the go isn’t the end though, here comes the real kicker- they are also a great vehicle for dipping. My son is a dipper…. he father loves a good sauce and he has inherited this sometimes annoying quality. With almost any food, Everett asks, “dip it?’ Sometime I just put a little Tessemae’s natural dressing in a tiny bowl for him to dip into but for these I just took it one step further and created a simple, two ingredient, dipping pesto.
Pesto doesn’t get any simpler than this. Literally, I just blended a good ratio of baby spinach and Tessemae’s Lemon Garlic Dressing together to create this sauce. It stays good in the refrigerator for up to a week and makes for an even more fun meal time experience for kids.
While Everett clearly enjoyed this new nuggets dipping experience, I must admit that Josh and I did too. We had to show some retrain not to eat all of these little nuggets when we taste tested them with the pesto sauce. I don’t know who liked them more, my husband or my kiddo.
I share these with you, in hopes that these little golden nuggets and bright green dipping sauce could also be the answer to another parent’s quest to feed your kids well, even with a busy lifestyle. A little advance preparation goes a long way. I’m so glad to have found a solution to a quick and healthy lunch for my sweet one!
Veggie Nuggets with Easy Spinach Pesto
- 1/1 head cauliflower, about 10 ounces
- 1 crown broccoli, about 10 ounces
- 1 medium carrot, shredded
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
- 1/4 cup cooked quinoa*
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
Easy Spinach Pesto
- 4 cups baby spinach, loosely packed
- 1/2 cup Tessemae's lemon garlic dressing*
- Steam the cauliflower and broccoli until soft. Then, run under cool water to stop the cooking and cool down the veggies. Pulse the cooked cauliflower and broccoli in a large food processor then add all of the rest of the ingredients. If the mixture seems too sticky you may add a bit more bread crumbs.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and prepare a baking sheet with parchment. Use a small cookie scoop or tablespoon to spoon out about 1 heaping tablespoon per nugget. Press each round down with the palm of your hand to slightly flatten (this is a fun spot to get kids involved).
- Bake until lightly brown, 15-17 minutes.
for Spinach Pesto
- Process the two ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Store in refrigerator in an air-tight container for up to one week.
- Serve with veggie nuggets, as a dip, or over veggies, meat or salad.