3 Easy (and Tasty!) Ways to Get Your Kids to Eat Green Vegetables

Kids and green veggies -- sometimes, they go together about as well as oil and water. To the rescue: These fast -- and tasty -- recipes from Weelicious blogger Catherine McCord's new cookbook, Weelicious: 140 Fast, Fresh, and Easy Recipes. From baby purees to dinners for the whole family, the book is full of advice and recipes to get everyone (yes, even your picky toddler) eating healthy foods. Here, three of our favorites from her book:

Broccoli Pesto
If there's one essential mealtime item to keep on hand at all times, it has to be pesto. Even the most boring foods become truly delicious when mixed with a freshly made pesto, and with the broccoli, almonds, Parmesan, and olive oil in this recipe, you pack in a lot of added nutrition to boot. Whether I use this Broccoli Pesto on fish or chicken, spread it on a sandwich, or simply toss it with pasta or rice, it's super-easy to make and great to rely on when there's not a lot of time to prepare a meal.

Makes 1¼ cups
1 cup broccoli florets
¼ cup toasted almond slices
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 small garlic clove
½ cup olive oil
¼ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon lemon juice

1. Place the broccoli in a steamer pot over boiling water and cook for 4 minutes, or until just tender. 2. Rinse the broccoli under cold water to stop the cooking. Drain. 3. Transfer the steamed broccoli to a food processor, add the remaining ingredients, and puree. 4. Serve with fish or chicken or stirred into pasta, rice, or quinoa. The pesto can be refrigerated for up to 1 week or frozen for up to 3 months.

Edamame Salsa
Given that Americans spend more money on salsa than ketchup, it shouldn't be surprising that it's so popular with kids. I use salsa's appeal to invent different versions using all my kids' favorite foods. As a mom, I love that this salsa provides a nice hit of protein. And it's delicious. The first time I made it and laid it out with some baked tortilla chips, Chloe bypassed the chip and opted to scoop it into her mouth with a spoon! Mmm, salsa!

Makes 2 cups
1 cup shelled cooked edamame beans, chopped
½ cup chopped tomato
¼ cup diced red onion
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
Juice of 1 lime
¼ teaspoon kosher salt

1. Place all the ingredients in a bowl and stir until well combined. 2. Serve with tortilla chips. The salsa keeps for 3 to 4 days in the fridge. Tip: To save money, buy big bags of frozen edamame, defrost only what you need, and add to recipes like this one or simply eat them on their own!

"Fried" Green Beans with Honey-Mustard Dipping Sauce
When I was a kid, one of my favorite activities was sitting next to my grandfather in front of huge bags of green beans that he had picked from the local U-pick farm and helping him snap off the ends. My grandfather loved to munch on the raw beans and chat the afternoon away with me. This year Kenya and Chloe planted their first bean stalk, and when the beans were finally ripe, the two of them had the best time picking them, snapping off the ends, and helping me steam them for dinner. Fresh green beans need little beyond simple steaming, but after a summer full of simply prepared dishes I decided to test drive this version. My kids love almost any food with a crisp crust, and because these beans are actually baked, not fried, they're totally healthy. But the real star of this dish is the Honey-Mustard Dipping Sauce. Chloe loves dipping and dunking her veggies in it (and when she's run out of beans she has even tried to drink it!).

Makes 4 servings
olive or canola oil cooking spray
1 cup whole wheat panko or bread crumbs
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon garlic powder
2 large eggs
¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 pound green beans
honey-mustard dipping sauce (recipe follows)

1. Preheat the oven to 450°F and coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray. 2. Combine the panko, salt, and garlic powder in a bowl, whisk the eggs in a second bowl, and place the flour in a third bowl. 3. Make an assembly line with the three bowls. Dip the green beans into the flour first, then the egg, and last into the panko mixture, coating the beans evenly. Repeat with all the beans. 4. Place the coated green beans on the baking sheet or on a baking rack on top of a baking sheet. Arrange the beans so that they're not touching, coat with more cooking spray, and bake for 30 minutes, or until the panko is golden. 5. Serve with the dipping sauce.

To Freeze: After step 3, place the beans on a baking sheet and freeze for 30 minutes. Place the frozen beans in a zip-top bag, label the bag, and freeze up to 3 months. When you’re ready to eat, take the beans out of the freezer and put them in the oven, adding at least another 3 to 5 minutes to the baking time.

Honey-Mustard Dipping Sauce
¼ cup yellow or dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey

Place the ingredients in a bowl, whisk until combined, and serve.

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