5 FREE Microgreen Recipes to cook for your Kids (or yourself)
Updated: Nov 5
We hear it all the time. How do I get my kids to eat healthier? Almost every parent has had to struggle with their kid’s eating issues at one time or another. Everything and anything can be perceived as a problem for a picky eater. When the food is too soft, too crunchy, too salty, or too sour, or simply just too close to the rest of the food on the plate, sometimes epic food battles can occur! Why are some kids so picky?
To begin with, it's really not all their fault! Scientific studies have shown that kids really are “wired” to crave carbs and sugars. So, is it any wonder that kids crave junk food when most of them are loaded with carbs and sugars? Also, for some reason, most picky eaters prefer crunchy food over soft food. This is thought to be because a child can tell where crunchy food is in his/her mouth much easier. Softer foods, like mashed potatoes and oatmeal, can get lost all over in their mouths and can be confusing. Kid’s palates develop slowly, and their acceptance of bitter and sour takes a while. Just think how strange it would be tasting literally everything for the first time!
Sometimes, it is just a fussy child, but at times it can also be a behavioral, physical, or mental issue that causes eating problems. Some children have actual food aversions that they cannot get past but hopefully with outside help and patience, mostly patience, parents can find a way to provide their kids with nutritious meals. Most eating habits are formed early, and if not, can be improved with small steps and consistency. These small steps really can add up to a big win.
To begin with, kids watch their parents! If you eat a variety of healthy foods, more than likely your kids will also, because that is what you will have in your home. Be open to trying new things and encourage your children to do so also by talking about the food items, specifically in a positive way. It is not recommend telling them they should try it because you did or because it is good for you. Somehow kids can take this negatively. Nobody wants to be told what to eat and that they will like it! A better approach would be to discuss the good things about the food and what it does for your body.
(Photo is from our recipe eBook – “Recipes for the everyday Microgreen lover, Vol. 1”)
A good goal is to have your kids have a decent variety of foods that they enjoy without hesitation. Most of these food choices should be overall healthy options, but not every meal has to be power packed with nutrition. Just try to avoid foods that have little or no nutritional value to their calories.
So, as far as fruits and veggies go, how much do I really need to get my kid to eat? Children ages 2 to 3 years old should eat about a cup of fruits and veggies a day, while seven- to eight-year-olds should have about a cup and a half a day. Most kids are very easy to convince to eat their fruit, while vegetables can be more of a problem. Children can be sensitive to the bitter notes of vegetables because that part of their palate is still developing. A great way to help with this, while also helping a child's body absorb the vitamins from the veggies, is to add a tablespoon of butter per cup of vegetables. Grass-fed butter has vitamins A, E, and D3 and added fat for vitamin absorption. You can even substitute butter with Cashew Butter or Ghee, but make sure you pay attention to the products Nutritional values, as it can be different from butter and per-brand.
Positive food experiences can do wonders for a child's acceptance, attitude, and curiosity about food. Try to do age-appropriate things together to make food a family experience rather than just a necessity of life. There are two excellent approaches to teaching food acceptance. One of them starts by taking your child to the grocery store and letting them help with decisions and learning about all of the produce and other healthy food choices available. Children that are old enough to understand should be involved in the decisions that create a healthy body as they will become more invested in something that they have a say in. I remember when I was in about the fourth grade and our family was living in Germany, and in our classroom, we were learning to speak German. Specifically, we were learning all of the German words for fresh fruits and vegetables so that we could go on a field trip to the farmer's market and be able to ask for what we wanted by ourselves! This was such a memorable and empowering experience for me that I still enjoy the produce department at a big grocery store to this day! Haha!
The second approach, and also my favorite, is growing your own food! I don't believe that I was ever really a super picky eater, especially when it came to veggies! I believe the simple fact that my mom and dad always had a garden going in the backyard, when we had space for it, wherever we lived throughout my life, has a lot to do with the way I feel about homegrown vegetables! They really are so much better and fresher than what you get in the stores. There is nothing like the anticipation of waiting for the tomato on the vine to ripen, or the yellow summer squash to be ready to pick! I remember how much sweeter those tomatoes were than the ones purchased at the store! The carrots tasted the way carrots are supposed to taste and sneaking sweet summer peas off the vine was amazing! I really appreciated my parents' love of gardening, and it definitely did rub off on me!
If you choose the second approach and decide to grow a garden, let the kids choose a few of the things to plant. It empowers them and makes them feel like grown-ups. Children also do better if they know where their food comes from. They will learn so much from growing their own food and will appreciate it so much more. If you have the space, you can jump right into an outdoor garden. However, even if you do not have an outside area to grow in, you can still teach your children about growing food! Growing microgreens is an excellent way to teach your children where food comes from no matter how much space you have to grow in! The process is relatively simple, and your children can actually help with this as well. The good part is microgreens grow so fast that you can have a new crop about every 7 to 10 days. And thanks to my daughter Mandi and her BF CJ’s YouTube channel: On The Grow, there is a ton of information out there to help you get started growing easily with your kids! Plus, there are so many varieties of microgreens available with many of them being child friendly flavors.
Sunflower microgreens are nice and crunchy and loaded with iron. Basil microgreens have four to five times the nutrition of a mature basil plant. Most microgreens in fact, have 4 to 40 times the amount of nutrition that their mature counterparts have, and that means you don't have to eat as much of them, which makes them perfect for kids! Kids love the sweet crunchiness of pea and sunflower microgreens raw! Other microgreens such as broccoli, radish, and mustard varieties can be put into cooked foods, as well as in cold salads!
Of course, there are some kids out there that really do love their veggies! With others, you have to be a little more, let's say, creative! There are two kinds of creativity when it comes to food and mealtimes. With some children you just have to make it fun! For others, you have to go with sneaky- creative ways of sneaking them in! Let's face it, as parents, we do what we have to do to get nutrition into our little guys/girls. because they don't always make perfect choices. Don't forget how hard it must be to simply be learning how to eat while your taste buds are doing their own thing and telling you if you like something or not!
Below I have created 5 free recipes that may help you get Microgreens into your kids diets so that they can start enjoying their vegetables too! These recipes are also great for Adults! 😉
We hope you enjoy these recipes, and if your curious about more Microgreen Recipes we have check out our book below!
Remember, you can absolutely substitute some of the items for vegan or vegetarian options, just keep in mind that it may change the flavor, texture and/or cook time for the Recipe!
Micro-Veggie Stir Fry
2 cups prepared pasta (bowtie, linguine, Chow Mein noodles)
1 cup baby spinach (optional, for plating)
½ cup sliced leeks.
½ cup chopped assorted bell peppers.
½ cup broccoli pieces and carrot slivers
¼ cup yellow squash and zucchini, sliced.
¼ cup fresh or frozen peas
1 Tb. minced garlic, about 2-3 cloves
2 Tb. olive oil
¼ cup fresh Pea Microgreens, chopped into 2-inch pieces.
2 Tb. fresh Clover Microgreens
2 Tb. fresh Purple Kohlrabi Microgreens
2 Tb. fresh Swiss Chard Microgreens
For the sauce:
¼ cup low sodium soy sauce
3 Tb. orange juice
1 Tb. honey
1 Tb. olive oil
1 tsp cornstarch
¼ tsp onion powder
¼ tsp garlic powder
Salt and pepper, to taste
Recipe Notes: This is an extremely versatile, quick, stir fry that will satisfy even a picky eater! The hint of orange juice in the sauce compliments the veggies so nicely! The addition of a few red pepper flakes would take it to another level for Mom or Dad! Choose your child’s favorite vegetables or introduce them to a few new ones! Add some thinly sliced chicken or beef strips, or tofu bits, if you like! The cooking part of this recipe happens very quickly, so have everything chopped and ready before you turn on the stove-top burner!
~Clean, cut and slice or chop all of the veggies and microgreens. Make sure you get all of the dirt/sand off of the leek, as they tend to have a lot stuck in the layers!
~Make the sauce. In a small bowl or cup, stir the cornstarch into the orange juice. Add the honey, soy sauce, olive oil and seasonings and mix well. Set aside.
~Using a wok or large, nonstick skillet, heat the 2 Tb. olive oil over medium heat. Add the leeks to the pan first, then cook a few minutes while stirring. Cook until they begin to soften. Add in all of the other vegetables, cooking and stirring until they are as tender as you like.
~Stir in the pre-cooked pasta until well mixed, and then turn the heat up to medium-high. Stir your sauce mix again and then while stir-frying, add it into the pan. Depending on the type of pasta you use, not all of the sauce may be needed, so start with about ¾ of it, and add more, if needed. Remove the pan from the heat.
~Stir in your fresh Pea, Clover, Purple Kohlrabi, and Swiss chard microgreens. Salt and pepper to your taste. Serve on a bed of baby spinach and enjoy! This makes enough for 2-3, depending on age and appetite!
Oven-Baked Chicken Chimichangas with Microgreens
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into about 2-inch pieces.
½ cup water
1 can Rotel tomatoes and chilies, mild (use whatever level of heat you like)
2 Tb. butter
1 Tb. olive oil
½ cup chopped white onion.
½ cup chopped bell peppers (Add poblano or Jalapeno for a grown-up version, with heat!)
1 Tb minced garlic, 3-4 cloves
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
½ tsp onion powder
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
1 tsp lime juice
½ cup black beans, rinsed and drained.
½ to 1 Tb. fresh Cilantro Microgreens (depending on cilantro preferences)
¼ cup fresh Swiss Chard Microgreens
2 Tb. fresh Chive Microgreens, cut in shorter pieces.
¼ cup fresh Fenugreek Microgreens
¼ cup fresh Purple Kohlrabi Microgreens
8 Flour tortillas and vegetable oil
1 ½ cups prepared Spanish rice.
Colby-jack cheese slices, 1 ½ slices per chimi
Recipe Notes: My homemade chicken “taco” filling is so versatile in the ways it can be prepared, as well as how it can be used for a delicious, satisfying, Mexican food night at home! Oven baked chimichangas are just one of our favorite ideas! The recipe, as it is, is perfect for kids’ palates, and is not too spicy, but can be modified with more spice and a change of peppers for more grown-up taste buds! For an even quicker meal, use pre-cooked rotisserie chicken, or cook your chicken ahead of time and refrigerate until you are ready. To cook your chicken ahead of time, simply put it in a small pan, covered, with ½ cup water in a 350-degree oven for about 45 minutes, or until done, 165-170 degrees. Cool, saving the liquid with it, as you will need it in the recipe.
~If you have not cooked the chicken ahead of time, start by putting it in a large skillet with ½ cup water. Put a lid on the pan and simmer slowly on medium heat until the chicken is tender, about 30-40 minutes. Take the chicken pieces out of the pan and shred them and return to the pan with the cooking liquid. If you have prepared your chicken in advance, shred it, and put it, with the cooking liquids, in the large skillet.
~Add the butter and the Rotel tomatoes and chilies, along with the dry seasonings into the skillet with the chicken. Simmer on medium heat.
~While the chicken is simmering, in a separate smaller skillet, sauté the onions and peppers in a tablespoon of olive oil until tender. Add the garlic to the pan and sauté for another minute. Then, add this mixture to your skillet of chicken and stir. Simmer until the liquid reduces to almost none, stirring occasionally.
~Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the fresh Cilantro, Fenugreek, Chive, Swiss Chard, and Purple Kohlrabi Microgreens! Add Cilantro Microgreens to this dish sparingly, as many kids are sensitive to the flavor of cilantro, and in the microgreen form, it is even more concentrated!
~Now, at this point, you can just dive in and have tacos, or take it a bit further and make oven baked chimichangas! So, if you choose chimis, go ahead and preheat your oven to 425 degrees while you assemble them.
~This recipe will make about 8 regular sized chimichangas, with regular sized tortillas. Start by brushing oil on one side of each tortilla. Lay them on your clean work surface, oil side down. Lay about 1 ½ slices of cheese in the middle of the tortilla. Top that with about ¼ cup of the chicken filling and then about 2 to 3 tablespoons of the rice. Because tortilla sizes vary, this might vary a bit also. Just be sure not to overfill these, or you will not be able to roll them closed.
~Fold up the bottom edge, and then the sides, and then roll over completely, leaving the seam on the bottom. Transfer the chimichangas to your baking sheet and bake for about 20-30 minutes, depending on how crispy you prefer them to be. I sometimes need to brush with a bit more oil halfway through baking. Serve topped with queso or salsa, or chopped lettuce and tomato, if you like.
Tip: This recipe is even easier if you simply roll the tortilla like a taquito and bake them!
Homemade Microgreen and Veggie-full Pizza Sauce
¼ cup diced zucchini.
¼ cup diced yellow squash.
¼ cup diced red and yellow bell peppers.
2 Tb. diced onion.
2- 6-ounce cans tomato paste (seasoned with garlic, basil, and oregano)
1-8 ounce can tomato sauce.
1 Tb. honey
1Tb. olive oil
1Tb. plus 1 tsp. oregano
1 ½ Tb. Italian seasoning
½ tsp onion powder
2 tsp. garlic salt
¼ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp. white pepper
1 ½ Tb. fresh Chive Microgreens
1/3 cup fresh Genovese Basil Microgreens
2 Tb. fresh Fennel Microgreens
Recipe notes: No one needs to even know how good this pizza sauce is for them! It is so tasty and packed with nutrients at the same time. It also is rather simple to make, with the help of a hand blender or blender! This sauce is great on pizzas, in calzones, or as a pasta sauce! Dipping your garlic bread in this sauce is literally like spreading vegetables on it!
~Start by sautéing the peppers and onions, zucchini, and squash in the olive oil until they are soft.
~While they are cooking, put everything else in your blender except the fresh Microgreens. Or, if you are using a hand blender, just put everything in a large bowl.
~Add the cooked vegetable mix to your blender or bowl and pulse to mix well, but not totally pureed. Toss in the fresh Genovese Basil, Fennel, and Chive Microgreens and pulse again, enough to chop them all enough to blend in. That’s it! Now let your imagination go crazy!