Plant-based Recipes: Sustainable Meals for Healthy Kids

father and daughter cooking together

This year has been a wild one, and when life gets busy, it can be hard to put your focus on what you are feeding your family. Eating plant-based meals is not only beneficial for long-term health — it’s also a much more sustainable way to eat for the health of our planet.

Going plant-based, even for just one meal a week, reduces the creation of greenhouse gases, uses less land and water (compared to animal agriculture), and creates less pollution in our waterways. Starting your kids off right and teaching them how to create a cleaner planet is one step in the right direction towards a brighter future.

The recipes below are not only kid-friendly, but they are also absolutely delicious! The whole family will love them, and they also won’t be able to tell that they are plant-based! I like to use real, whole foods in my recipes and these are loaded with nutrients. Give these plant-based recipes a try and learn how good sustainable meals can taste!

Chickpea Tuna Salad (serves 2-3)

Chickpea "Tuna" Salad

Photo by Sarah Considine, tableware courtesy of World Centric

This one is my favorite go-to meal when I am headed to the beach, the park, or anywhere you need something quick and filling. It’s a twist on tuna salad and it’s loaded with protein.

Ingredients: 

  • 1 15-ounce can of garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 stalks of celery, diced
  • 1 small handful of fresh dill, minced
  • 1/4 cup of fresh parsley, diced
  • 1/4 red onion, minced
  • 2 dill pickles, minced
  • 1/4 cup shredded carrots
  • 1/3 cup of dairy-free mayo
  • 2 tablespoons of Dijon
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1/4 cup dried naturally sweetened cranberries
  • Few dashes of dulse
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions: Place all of the ingredients into a large bowl. Mash it up with a fork until mixed well. It’s great on toast, with crackers, or all by itself!

Cheesy Noodles (Serves 2-3)

"Cheesy" Noodles

Photo by Sarah Considine, tableware courtesy of World Centric

This next recipe is a take on macaroni and cheese, but much lighter and super delicious. Kids love it!

Ingredients: 

  • 1 package of gluten-free macaroni noodles
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight then rinsed + drained
  • 2 carrots, chopped and steamed until soft
  • 1 Yukon gold potato, steamed
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon vegan butter
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon miso paste (I use chickpea miso)
  • 1/2 cup water or vegetable broth (vegetable broth gives more flavor)
  • 1/2 cup diced cherry tomatoes

Instructions:

  1. Boil your noodles according to the box.
  2. Place all of the remaining ingredients except fresh tomatoes into a blender and blend until smooth. Add more vegetable broth as needed until you get a smooth paste. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
  3. Toss with your drained noodles and stir it up.
  4. Add your fresh tomatoes to the mix and stir again. Top with more nutritional yeast and enjoy!

Cinnamon Pumpkin Spice Donuts (Makes 6 donuts)

Cinnamon Pumpkin Spice Donuts

Photo by Sarah Considine, tableware courtesy of World Centric

This plant-based sweet treat is just right for the season. The recipe calls for coconut milk and vegan butter as plant-based dairy substitutes.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cups oat flour
  • 1/4 cup blanched almond flour
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon Ceylon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin spice seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup full fat canned coconut milk

Coating:

  • 1/2 cup melted vegan butter
  • 3/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin spice
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon

Instructions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Coat your donut pan with the coconut oil to prevent sticking of the donuts.
  2. In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients (flours, salt, spices, baking powder/soda).
  3. In another bowl, combine the apple cider vinegar, coconut milk, and vanilla and stir.
  4. Pour the wet into the dry and carefully stir, don’t overdo it though.
  5. Pour into a donut pan, filling to top and smoothing off with a spatula.
  6. Place in oven for 12-15 minutes or until golden.
  7. Remove and cool for a few minutes.
  8. Place your melted butter into a bowl. Coat each donut in butter, then roll it around in the sugar/cinnamon/pumpkin spice mix to completely coat. Store in the fridge and warm up when ready to eat!!

I hope you enjoy these recipes and that they help inspire you to eat more sustainable meals. There has never been a better time to take control of your health and your future, and also the future of our planet.

About the Author

Sarah Considine is a vegan chef and certified nutrition consultant from Encinitas, California, who is passionate about living a conscious, balanced, and nourished life. With 20 years of experience in plant-based living, Sarah holds valued insights for building a healthy, long-lasting life and thrives by helping others do the same. She cares about the future of our planet and knows a more sustainable future is plant-based. Learn more on her blog, Eat Clean with Sarah.

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