27 Vegan Recipes for Kids that Will Win Over Picky Eaters

By Lisa Esile, MS,

Struggling to find surefire vegan recipes for kids? We get it! When you’re tired and busy, the temptation to turn to packaged meals is real. But what if you had a stash of nourishing vegan recipes that are easy to prepare and highly likely to be gobbled down by the whole family? This collection of vegan recipes for kids is a great place to start: Bookmark it for inspiration, print out your favorites, and add to them as you go.

4 TIPS FOR GETTING KIDS TO EAT HEALTHY MEALS

  1. Meal Planning: Investing an hour in meal planning at the beginning of the week saves time and money, and it results in tastier meals. Whether you use an app or a piece of paper, don’t underestimate the power of planning!
  2. Get your children involved. Having kids help with preparation and cooking gets them invested in what they eat. If you’ve got a garden, encourage them to grow and pick produce, even if it’s a few herbs on the windowsill.
  3. Lucky Leftovers: Cook double (or triple) of your favorite recipes, and store in the fridge or freezer for when cooking feels like a tall order. That way, you’ll always have a kid-friendly meal at hand.
  4. Encourage Variety. Foster an environment where trying new foods and cuisines is common. A fun game is to have them choose a novel fruit or vegetable each week, then together you research how to prepare it. You’ll find specimens at your local supermarket, farmers market, or international market.

27 VEGAN RECIPES KIDS LOVE

Carrot Dogs

Carrot Dogs

One of our most popular recipes, these smoky carrot dogs taste remarkably like hot dogs. Whip up the marinade earlier in the day, soak the carrots for four hours or more, then throw them on the skillet or grill at dinner time. Serve on a whole grain bun with toppings such as ketchup, mustard, coleslaw, spiralized cucumber, sautéed onions, sauerkraut, or pickled veggies. One fan writes, "These carrot dogs are amazing! My husband and I love them; even our 11-year-old grandson prefers them over hot dogs."
Zucchini Fritters with a dollop of vegan sour cream and chives on a white plate

Zucchini Fritters

Dreena Burton’s easy vegan zucchini fritters are guaranteed to satisfy hungry tummies. No egg is needed; a little chickpea flour holds them together nicely. Lemon juice brightens the flavor and a dollop of tahini lends a subtle nutty depth. Dijon mustard is optional but deepens the flavors and is worth adding if you’ve got it. The recipe suggests cooking them in a nonstick skillet, but you could also use a hot oven or an air fryer (see the comments section for tips). Serve with salad and ketchup, salsa, or vegan sour cream drizzle. Notes a fan, “Really good recipe! I added some fresh corn and reduced the zucchini for a twist!”
Homemade Vegan Pesto in a glass jar on a white marble table

Homemade Vegan Pesto

Pesto has a rich, cheesy flavor without being spicy and is a great sauce to entice kids to dinner. Stirred through pasta, veggies, and beans, this cashew-based pesto makes a quick weekday meal with little fuss. Note: If you don’t have cashews, you can substitute pine nuts or sunflower seeds. Be sure to check out the comments section for other tasty variations. One fan writes, "I like adding Bragg's Liquid Aminos instead of salt. Then I spoon dollops onto a baking tray and freeze them.” Another excellent pesto meal is our Green Bean Pasta with Cashew Pesto.
sneaky chickpea burger

Sneaky Chickpea Burgers

With carrot, red bell pepper, and plenty of chickpeas, these five-star oil-free vegan patties are healthy with a capital “H.” A well-balanced trio of tomato paste, red wine vinegar, and Dijon mustard elevate the flavor, while nutritional yeast adds a subtle cheesiness. The mix needs half an hour to chill and could be prepared earlier. Note: These freeze well, so double the recipe and freeze for another day. Cook once; eat twice! A reader shares, “I have made these burgers many times for my family, and everyone loves them! If you have a food processor, it’s a very easy recipe.”
A quick and easy lentil vegetable soup recipe that wows kids and adults alike.

Lentil Vegetable Soup

One of our top-rating family recipes for years, this earthy soup hits all the right notes. Familiar veggies like potato, carrot, spinach, and onion combine with the meaty, rich flavor of brown lentils to create a nourishing soup that kids will gobble up quicker than you can say, Who ate all their spinach? Feel free to switch out ingredients for what you have on hand; for instance, frozen corn and mushrooms also work well. Pro tip: Be sure to take the time to season to suit your family. Salt as required, and go easy on the pepper. A squeeze of lemon juice will brighten the flavor of this and any other soup. A fan writes, “I’ve made this soup many times as it’s so easy, delicious, healthy, and filling!”
Homemade mixed blackberry, raspberry, and strawberry jam spread on a few slices of whole grain bread with a jar of it off to the side

Blackberry, Raspberry, and Strawberry Jam Recipe with Chia Seeds

It’s undeniable: Kids love jam! This delicious whole-food, plant-based berry jam is much lower in sugar than commercial versions. Make a few batches when you’ve got access to fresh berries and stash them in the freezer to get you through the off season. And all you have to do is simmer mixed berries with maple syrup and a cinnamon stick. Chia seeds act as a setting agent while delivering that tiny but satisfying chia seed crunch. Slather over bread, crackers, Baking Powder Biscuits, corn thins, or rice crackers for a sure-to-be-devoured snack.

5-Minute Ketchup

Most store-bought ketchup is loaded with high-fructose corn syrup and other processed ingredients and is far from healthy, which is why we love Cathy Fisher's tasty five-minute whole-food, plant-based ketchup. With a base of tomato paste and a handful of everyday seasonings, you can make this as needed. Kept in an airtight container in the fridge, this must-have condiment will stay fresh for up to 10 days. Serve with veggie burgers, potato pancakes, french fries, Carrot Dogs, and anything else. Shares a fan, "My ketchup-loving son tasted it and said it would work (he's a Heinz ketchup lover). Definitely will make this again."
vegan spinach lasagna recipe from Forks Over Knives. Yum!

Spinach Lasagna

This vegan lasagna is remarkably easy to make and features layers of marinara sauce, an easy tofu ricotta, wilted spinach, and fuss-free no-boil lasagna noodles. This tastes even better the next day, so make an extra casserole, and you’ve got a ready-made meal for later in the week. Note: To make this gluten-free, use gluten-free lasagna noodles. Notes a fan, “My meat-eating husband and picky child both loved this recipe. Blended the spinach into the tofu to hide it from my kid.” Another writes, “I was really surprised at how excellent this turned out. It’s one of the best lasagnas I’ve ever had and definitely the best I’ve ever made.”

Baked French Fries & Ketchup

One of the all-time favorite side dishes in the U.S. and worldwide, french fries have delighted kids for decades. When baked in a hot 400°F oven on parchment paper, these crispy oil-free fries are as healthy as they are delicious. For variety, try adding herbs and spices before cooking, such as garlic powder, paprika, chili powder, or rosemary. Season with salt and serve with 5-Minute Ketchup. One reader shares, “Easy to prep. I added tons of seasonings. These are so fluffy on the inside. Delicious!” Sick of potato fries? Try Crispy Oven-Baked Yuca Fries.
vegan biscuits

Mom’s Baking Powder Biscuits with Almonds

These scone-style biscuits are excellent with soup or stew, or eaten on their own with jam or nut butter. Want to know their real genius? They are ready in 20 minutes or less, including cooking time, which means if you find yourself with a house full of kids and no food in the cupboard, you can whip up a batch, throw on some jam, and everyone is happy. To make these gluten-free, use 1 cup of almond flour and 1 cup of a gluten-free flour mix. Feel free to adapt the recipe; for instance, add cinnamon and raisins, fresh-cut rosemary, or garlic and onion powder. As one fan writes, “I was looking for a good biscuit recipe and of course went to the internet. Of all the recipes I tried this was not only the easiest but the best tasting.”
Chewy Apple-Raisin Oatmeal Cookies

Chewy Apple-Raisin Oatmeal Cookies

Tucked into lunchboxes, offered as an afternoon snack or after-dinner nosh, these enticing cookies are the solution to the always-hungry problem. The hearty oat base, peanut butter richness, and classic apple-raisin flavor are forever appealing. Plus, they freeze well, so you can always have some on hand. Note: If your child’s school has a no-peanuts policy, use sunflower butter instead of peanut butter. A satisfied fan writes, “One of my favorite recipes of all time—I make these cookies so often! Perfectly soft, with a wonderfully indulgent peanut butter taste. I use oat flour in place of the whole wheat flour and a mix of nuts in place of raisins.”
Vegan Lunchbox Chocolate Chip Cookies

Lunchbox Chocolate Chip Cookies

Remember the chocolate chip cookies grandma used to make that were half butter? Eek. Now you can get the same tantalizing flavor with these chewy vegan chocolate chip cookies, which use almond butter for a rich, creamy taste. Sweetened with apple sauce and your choice of dry sweetener (coconut sugar, date sugar, or cane sugar), they’re far healthier and will give your kids those unforgettable chocolate chip cookie memories. Note: These can also be made gluten-free using sorghum flour instead of wheat flour. Writes a fan, “My family loves these cookies! They are great with a cup of tea or coffee, in a lunchbox, or on a road trip (or plane trip!). We mix it up by subbing raisins for the chocolate chips.”
Vegan Potato Bread cut into slices on a wood board

Vegan Potato Bread

Are you sick of searching for whole-food, plant-based bread that doesn't cost a small fortune? This delicious whole wheat bread featuring mashed potatoes is the answer you've been looking for. It has five ingredients, and once you are practiced at allowing for the rising time, it's a cinch to make, no matter how busy you are. Shares a fan, "OMG. I've made it three times. I promise you it's foolproof. I'm not a baker. I even used instant potato flakes. Yummie. I think I will play with it next time and add seeds and nuts."
Kid-Friendly Chopped Salad in white plastic bowls with plastic utensils on a blue background

Kid-Friendly Chopped Salad

This innovative kid-friendly salad skips leafy greens in favor of more kid-palatable ingredients. Fresh broccoli florets, hearty edamame beans, and chewy rice take center stage, while tangy dried apricots and juicy apples add textural variety and a burst of kid-approved flavor. Finish it with a sweet, citrusy dressing.
Strawberry, blueberry, and nectarine popsicles on a pink background surrounded by ice cubes

Loaded Strawberry Ice Pops

These pretty stained-glass-looking strawberry pops feature plant milk and a blend of nectarines, strawberries, and blueberries. Refreshing Fruit Pops are a tasty snack for when the weather is warm, and because they’re made with healthy ingredients, there’s no need to limit how many you eat. Our Vegan Peaches and Cream Ice Pops highlight the juicy goodness of in-season peaches, while watermelon blended and poured into popsicle molds is another excellent option. Want to make Chocolate Pops? Just blend bananas with peanut butter, cocoa powder, and plant milk. Grab some ice pop molds today; the possibilities are endless!
Whole Grain Corn Muffins

Whole Grain Corn Muffins

Sweet, moist, and light, these gluten-free cornmeal and oat flour muffins are a plant-based parent’s best friend. With just 20 minutes of prep time, you can have these in the oven in less time than it takes to drive to the store to buy another round of expensive store-bought snacks. This recipe is easy to adapt; for instance, you can reduce or eliminate maple syrup, use different flours, or substitute berries for frozen corn. The comments section is a wonderland of great ideas. Shares a fan, “Yum yum! Making these every week with variations—blueberries, raspberries, etc. This is a great recipe to have on hand!”
Dilly Vegan Macaroni Salad in a blue bowl on a yellow plate against a green tile background

Dilly Vegan Macaroni Salad

Sweet diced apple and tangy dill pickles pair with earthy potatoes and squiggly pasta in this supremely satisfying pasta-meets-potato salad—it’s almost like a kid designed it! Cannellini beans add extra oomph while being mild enough to fly under the radar, and finely chopped celery and kale add green goodness. Red onion adds a yummy sharpness, but if it’s likely to be spat out, serve it on the side for those who like it.
Healthy Chocolate Hummus in a light pink bowl next to a plate of fresh fruit slices

Healthy Chocolate Hummus

A can of chickpeas never tasted so good as they do in this creamy chocolate dip. Cocoa yields rich chocolate flavor. Maple syrup sweetens things up, while nut butter adds richness, effortlessly hiding the bean flavor, and a splash of plant milk loosens the texture, making it creamy. Serve with veggie sticks, and watch it go. A fan writes, “This is delicious! Just enough added flavor—cinnamon, vanilla, etc. that you DO NOT taste beans at all! Great recipe!” Feel like regular hummus? Try this delish oil-free vegan hummus instead.
vegan queso sauce - up close photo of spoon full of orange creamy cheesy vegan queso sauce

Vegan Queso Sauce

This nut-free vegan cheese sauce may change your life! Poured over steamed veggies, veggie steaks, or pasta, it’ll turn a ho-hum meal into a please-can-I-have-some-more feast. This straightforward recipe delivers cheesy results and is made with oats, everyday spices, nutritional yeast, and jarred roasted red bell pepper. As one reader says, “Whatever alchemy this simple list of ingredients does is remarkable. My non-vegan friends have no idea it’s not dairy cheese.” Our top-rating Vegan Potato Cheese Sauce is another excellent option.
Hearty Purple Cabbage Soup in a white bowl with metal spoon

Hearty Purple Cabbage Soup

With cabbage, potatoes, and onion, this wholesome soup has no surprising exotic ingredients and an honest, earthy flavor kids respond to. Peas add a pop of sweetness to every mouthful, but if your crew is not into peas, try frozen corn or another vegetable such as spinach, mushrooms, or carrots. Feel free to use white or purple cabbage; both taste great. One reader writes, “Super filling and delicious. The purple cabbage color does fade a bit but is still a visual feast.”
Apple Salsa with Cinnamon Tortilla Chips on a wood cutting board

Apple Salsa with Cinnamon Tortilla Chips

These crunchy maple syrup- and cinnamon-infused corn chips are a healthy snack you'll make again and again and are perfect for a movie night or an afternoon playing with friends. Skip the cayenne pepper unless your audience likes heat. Serve as is, or go the extra mile and serve alongside the fall-flavored apple-pomegranate salsa, guaranteed to make everyone swoon. Note: If you've got the time, consider making your corn tortillas: They're straightforward, once you get the hang of it, and affordable, and kids love helping press the tortillas.
Frozen Grapes with Chocolate Sauce in light gray bowls with a cup of tea on the left

Frozen Grapes with Chocolate Sauce

Cool and refreshing, frozen grapes are as delicious as any store-bought frozen treat. Kids will enjoy skewering the grapes, and the scrumptious five-minute chocolate sauce is naturally sweetened with dates and made with pantry staples. Light and refreshing, this chocolatey fruit dessert doesn’t leave you feeling like you swallowed an anchor.
Kid-Friendly Edible Flower Salad on a whitte ceramic plate against teal tile background

Kid-Friendly Edible Flower Salad

Will kids eat flowers? They sure will. Gorgeous blooms, such as nasturtiums, calendulas, violets, dandelions, or other edible flowers, add color and frivolity to any salad, making it instantly appealing to all ages. Add crunchy cabbage, sweet dried cranberries, cool cucumber, creamy mustard dressing, and chopped veggies, nuts, seeds, or other dried fruit for a festive flower salad everyone will remember. Note: Be sure to pick fresh, pesticide-free blooms.
Vegan Pizza Recipe with Creamed Spinach Recipe

Pizza with Creamed Spinach, Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Red Onion, and Olives

Get your family pizza-ed up with this delectable whole-food, plant-based pie, which swaps out cheese for creamed tofu spinach, tangy sun-dried tomatoes, and salty olives. Whether you use a whole wheat crust or this gluten-free cornmeal crust, the kids will bolt this in no time. A fan writes, “My whole family loves this pizza, including my four-year-old, who’s quite possibly the pickiest eater I’ve ever met.” For more vegan pizza goodness check out Potato-Onion Pizza.
Vegan Taco Salad Bowls on a light pink plate

Vegan Taco Salad Bowls

What better way to get the kids to eat this filling quinoa, corn, and black bean salad than in a crispy tortilla bowl? The Tex-Mex-style filling gets extra flavor from tangy pico de gallo while creamy avocado, lemony cilantro, and lime juice round out the flavors and make you feel like you're at a restaurant. Another option is to serve this in a bowl, topped with crispy tortilla strips. These are ready in 25 minutes: Now that's a recipe worth noting!
Grilled Summer Squash Pasta Salad on white plates with metal forks on top of white tile

Grilled Summer Squash Pasta Salad

A tangy orange juice and balsamic vinegar dressing endears this grilled summer squash pasta salad to the younger palate. With creamy butter beans, tender green beans, juicy grapes, salty olives, and peppery basil, every forkful is a tasty one. The recipe calls for a grilled fennel bulb, which has a distinctive anise flavor. If you think this might be an issue, leave it off or serve it on the side.
Creamy Vegan Chili Mac in a bowl against a light gray background

Creamy Vegan Chili Mac

This classic kid-friendly meal gets a makeover in this delectable recipe making it totally vegan and totally delicious. It’s easy, too. Throw all the veggies, canned beans, pasta, tomato paste, and seasonings into a pot, then stir through the cheese sauce when ready. If your kiddos don’t like it spicy, skip or reduce the chili powder; you can always add red pepper flakes to the table for people who like it hot. One reader writes, “This is a fantastic recipe. And that vegan potato ‘cheese’ sauce … holy cow.” For more ideas, check out this collection of vegan mac and cheese recipes.

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About the Author

Headshot of Lisa Esile, MS

About the Author

Lisa Esile, MS

Lisa Esile is an author, illustrator, blogger, vegetable gardener, and whole-food enthusiast with a special fondness for potatoes. She has a master’s degree in human nutrition and is passionate about showing people how to live happier, healthier lives. She is the author of Reach Your Big Calm and the co-author of Whose Mind Is It Anyway? Find her on Facebook.
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