5 Dairy Free (and Vegan!) Recipes Your Kids Will Love! | Coconut Cloud

Anyone with kids knows that mealtime can be a struggle.  Those tiny little people have BIG opinions when it comes to what they will and won't eat.  If you are a family that values (or needs) a dairy free & vegan meal, then the struggle becomes all the more real.  Luckily for you, we have gathered 5 dairy free & vegan recipes that are healthy, nutritious and best yet- your kids will love them!  Que the happy chorus!


Grilled Cinnamon Raisin PB&J Sandwich

This amazing twist on the tried-and-true PB & J will have kids and adults alike singing its praises.  This sandwich starts with good bread (after all your sandwich is only as good as the bread you put it on).  Like all PB & Js you can use whatever peanut butter and jelly your family prefers.  This sandwich goes to the next level with the added ingredients- chia seeds, raisins & cinnamon.  Finally, you grill it in a skillet until golden brown.  This sweet, savory, melty sandwich is perfect for lunch or a lighter dinner.  Be sure to check out Aly's amazing list of other ingredients to add to your own PB & J- there is definitely something for everyone!

Vegan Power Mac and Cheese

Kids and Mac & cheese are the perfect combo.  This plant-based version is rich, creamy and most importantly- delicious!  The "power" comes from whole grain noodles, broccoli and greens added right in the dish.  This is an easy (and tasty) way to get your kids to eat their veggies (but obviously can be left out or adjusted to meet all tastes).  Nutritional yeast also adds a boost of protein and flavor.  For those of you new to this secret ingredient- nutritional yeast is all the rage in vegan cooking.  It is rich in nutrients and protein and has a cheesy, nutty flavor.  Many varieties of nutritional yeast are also fortified with extra vitamins making it an excellent addition to vegan and plant-based diets.  This dish can be made with any pasta you have in your pantry so it's an easy, plant-based meal that can come together quickly for weeknight dinners.

Vegan Meatball Subs

This dish is packed full of beans, Italian spices and smothered in delicious marinara sauce and served on a toasted bun- what's not to love?  As an added bonus, this recipe can easily be gluten-free (just use gluten-free panko, gluten-free bread, or serve over zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash).  With countless ways to adapt his recipe, it is a great choice for families struggling with allergies, food sensitivities & picky eaters.  These meatless meatballs are so good that even your meat-eating friends and family will come back for seconds!  

Vegan Pesto Pasta

Kids and pasta are the perfect combo!  This recipe uses arugula, basil, almond meal, lemon juice and spices to make the pesto sauce.  The combination is flavorful and delicious.  If you and your family are gluten-free this can easily be made with gluten-free pasta.  Because the recipe is quick, packed full of veggies, and ever so tasty it truly is the perfect meal for busy families looking to get a healthy, vegan meal on the table lickity split.

Vegan Chocolate Sweet Potato Milkshake

If your family is dairy-free you can still enjoy a sweet, creamy milkshake thanks to this ingenious recipe.  This shake is made with sweet potatoes, bananas, raw cacao powder and a plant-based milk of your choice.  There are a few key steps to making this nutrient dense shake extra delicious.  first, cook your sweet potatoes (Rainbow suggests roasting, but you can microwave if you are in a hurry).  This will bring out the sweetness.  Pro tip- I like to roast up a batch of sweet potatoes all at once and then you can use them in a variety of recipes all week long.  The final important nuance is to use very sweet bananas (I'm talking about the brown speckled bananas that most kids would turn their nose up at).  Simply slice those overripe babies into disks and freeze until you are ready to use them.  Frozen bananas get used ALL the time in our house in both smoothies and shakes.  This milkshake is the real deal, and your kids will never guess that it is a dessert that is actually good for them!

Learning to eat healthy, plant-based meals from a young age is an important step toward a long, healthy life.  These tasty, easy recipes will make that tricky task much easier.  Now the answer to the age-old question, "What's for dinner?" will be met with cheerful squeals of delight- or, if you have teenagers in the mix, at least peaceful acceptance in the form of a gentle grunt.  Happy family eating friends!

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