I pulled out my cookie cutters for this fun project! I often work with families whose kids are picky eaters. When they are reluctant to try vegetables, a few tricks work wonders.
Color, shape, and texture make a huge difference! We eat with our eyes first, so bright colors with contrast work well. I superimposed two brightly colored vegetables by using a single cookie cutter. Simply slice two different firm vegetables or fruits of choice into 1/4″ thick medallions and use a small cookie cutter to punch out the same shape from both types of produce medallions. Next, swap their middles. The fun cutout shapes make the vegetables cuter and more fun to play with. Roasting the veggie medallions caramelizes their natural sugars and brings out a sweeter flavor. The texture becomes softer, but not mushy as it would from boiling.
Top it and dip it! Want to convince your picky eater to try a new vegetable? Try putting cheese on it! These medallions are topped with a broiled Italian cheese blend! Still not quite right? Make these taste like pizza by letting your kiddos dip them in pizza or pasta sauce! You could even get sneaky and puree some steamed veggies into the sauce.
Roasted Veggie Cutouts
A fun way to serve vegetables to picky eaters.
1 sweet potato
1 thick zucchini squash
salt & pepper
1/3 cup shredded cheese
1/3 cup pizza or spaghetti sauce (optional)
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. While the oven is preheating, slice the sweet potato and zucchini into 1/4″ thick medallions.
- Use a small (approx. 1.5″ diameter) cookie cutter to punch a shape out of every vegetable medallion.
- Spray an aluminum foil lined cookie sheet with cooking spray. Arrange the medallions on the cookie sheet, leaving about 1/2″ of space between medallions. Swap the centers of the vegetable cutouts to create contrast.
- Bake for 10 minutes at 425 degrees F. Flip each medallion combo over using a spatula and bake for 5-10 minutes more, or until golden and tender.
- Top each medallion with a sprinkle of shredded cheese. Broil briefly, just until melted and bubbly. Allow to cool slightly and serve with pizza sauce, if desired.
Check out these other fun fruit and vegetable shapes in this month’s Recipe ReDux!
Remember the awesome Spiralizer I used to make zucchini noodles? It has a different blade you can use to make curly fries! I decided to try it out on sweet potato. Here’s a great recipe you can use to get crispy oven fried sweet potato fries instead of mushy or burnt ones.
1 large sweet potato, scrubbed
2 tbs canola or olive oil
Seasonings (about 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, and 1/2 tsp garlic powder)
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Spiralize the sweet potato or cut into uniform slender wedges.
2. In a large ziplock bag, toss the sweet potato pieces with oil and seasonings to coat well.
3. Spread the fries in a single layer on a large baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Keep them as spread out as possible, or else they may steam instead of baking which will result in mushy fries.
4. Bake in the top rack of the oven (any lower and the fries may burn) for 20-25 minutes, flipping once.
These pancakes are the BEST! They’re ridiculously easy to make, are super high in protein, and gluten free. The batter is just right for light, fluffy pancakes!
You see? Perfect!
1 medium sweet potato (150 grams)
1 scoop vanilla protein powder
3/4 cup egg whites
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp nutmeg (optional)
1. Prick holes in the sweet potato and microwave until tender, about 3-5 mins.
2. Once the potato is cool, peel it and place it in a blender or food processor. A small one like the Magic Bullet works well.
3. Add the egg whites, protein powder, cinnamon,and baking powder. Pulse until a smooth batter forms.
4. Heat a lightly greased skillet or griddle. Make a test pancake by pouring about 2 tbs of the batter on the pan. Once bubbles start to form, flip the pancake.
*If it seems too runny, add more protein powder to the remaining batter. If it seems too thick, add more egg whites. If the bottom is too dark, turn down the heat. If it’s not golden, turn up the heat!
5. Make the rest of the pancakes. Serve them with maple syrup, almond butter, bananas, or whipped cream!
These pancakes are pretty legit! I thought all those egg whites would make them taste eggy, but that wasn’t the case at all. Only 340 calories and a whopping 44 grams of protein in the whole recipe! Share them or eat em all yourself :)
Sometimes the inspiration for a dish comes from a single ingredient. In this case, I was dreaming up unique ways to use sweet potatoes. These gnocchi are a flavorful variation of the traditional potato dumplings. The addition of ricotta cheese and parmesan gives them a little extra bite and chew. The brown butter sage sauce makes these babies out-of-this-world delicious!
1 large or 2 small sweet potatoes
6 oz ricotta cheese (fat free ricotta worked fine)
1/2 c grated parmesan
1 tsp salt (plus more for salting the water)
1/2 tsp cinnamon or nutmeg
1 cup brown or white rice flour (more for dusting)
1/2 cup sweet rice flour (gives a better consistency- or try potato starch in place of this)
1/2 stick butter
1/4 c fresh sage, chopped
1. Pierce sweet potatoes with a fork and microwave until tender, about 5 minutes. Cut in half to cool and scoop out the insides with a spoon. Press through a potato ricer or food processor and place in a large bowl.
2. Add ricotta, parmesan, cinnamon/nutmeg, salt, and egg to the potatoes. Mix to combine.
3. Add the flour and mix the dough until smooth. If the dough is still very sticky, add a bit more flour. Boil a large pot of salted water.
4. Separate the dough into 2 balls. On a floured surface, roll one of the balls out into a log about 1/2″ diameter. Cut at 3/4″ intervals with a knife.
5. Roll each piece into a small egg shape and smash slightly between your fingers.
6. Gently boil the first batch of gnocchi for about 3-5 minutes, or until they float up to the surface. Set aside and repeat steps 4-6 with the other half of the dough.
7. Heat butter in a skillet until bubbly. Add chopped sage. Sauté the gnocchi in the sauce in two batches until golden. Serve seasoned with salt, pepper, remaining sauce, and shredded parmesan.