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Three easy recipes for fussy eaters

Running out of ways to sneak vegetables onto your kid's plate? Try one of these creative (and completely vegan) takes on comfort classics. Brownies as one of your five a day? Now we're talking.

Got a crew of little ones who think dinner begins and ends with chicken goujons? We know the slog. If you haven’t managed to reform them into mini gastro gourmands just yet, try one of these. Developed by chef and blogger Bettina Campolucci Bordi, all three recipes offer creative (and delicious) ways to sneak a bit of extra veg into discerning mouths.

Swedish Non Meatballs, Carrot Mash, Gravy, and Nan’s Quick Pickle

An old Swedish classic with a plant-based twist, topped off with my grandmother’s quick pickle. Truly, this is comfort in a bowl. Serves 4.

Ingredients

  • 1 packet shop-bought vegan meatballs, or you can try making Bettina’s using this recipe

For the quick pickle:

  • 1 cucumber
  • 125 ml (4 fl oz / 1/2 cup) apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon chopped dill

For the carrot mash:

  • 6 large carrots, peeled
  • 125 ml (4 fl oz / 1/2 cup) coconut milk
  • pink Himalayan salt and black pepper, to taste

For the gravy:

  • olive oil, for frying
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Maizena cornflour
  • 1 teaspoon coconut sugar
  • 375 ml (13 fl oz / 11/2 cups) coconut milk

To serve:

  • mixed greens
  • lingonberries (optional)

Method

First make the pickle. Slice the cucumber thinly on a mandolin or use a cheese slicer. Add the slices to a bowl, then the rest of the ingredients. Give it a good mix and set aside.

Next, make the carrot mash. In a large pan, boil the carrots until soft, then drain. Add to the blender with the coconut milk and blitz until you get the most beautiful orange mash. Add salt and pepper to taste.

For the gravy, heat the olive oil and fry the shallots until nice and soft, about 5 minutes. Add the soy sauce, cornflour, and sugar. Take off the heat and slowly add the coconut milk, a little at a time, to create a roux, whisking to avoid lumps. Put the pan back on the heat and let it simmer for 5 minutes until you have a shiny gravy, then set aside.

Now let’s put everything together. Put the mash on a plate, followed by the gravy, then the meatballs and serve with quick pickles, mixed greens and, if you have them, some lingonberries.

(If you don’t know where to get lingonberries or vegan meatballs, that big Swedish furniture shop sells them… Everything but the pickles is freezable.)

Parsnip Brownie With Chocolate Mousse Topping

Parsnips are naturally very sweet and you’d be surprised how well this works. Keep it simple, or go the whole way and add the decadent chocolate mousse on top. Makes 6-8 brownies.

Ingredients

  • 1 medium parsnip, peeled
  • 60 g (2 oz/1⁄2 cup) buckwheat flour
  • 237 ml (81⁄2 fl oz/1 cup)plant milk
  • 75 g (3 oz/1⁄2 cup) brown or coconut sugar
  • 6 tablespoons cacao
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
  • a little coconut oil, for greasing

For the decadent Chocolate Mousse:

  • 1 large avocado
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 6 tablespoon cacao
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla paste
  • 120 ml (4 fl oz/1⁄2 cup) coconut milk

To serve:

  • Berries

Method

Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/Gas 4) and grease a 20 cm/8 in square cake tin with coconut oil. Boil the parsnips until nice and soft, then drain. Weigh out 130 g (41⁄2 oz) and put in a blender along with all other brownie ingredients. Blend until nice and smooth.

Spoon the brownie mixture into the prepared pan, and bake for 20 minutes until just firm to the touch.

If you decide to go all the way and make the mousse topping, put all the ingredients in a blender and blitz until smooth. Transfer the cake to a wire rack to cool, then spread the mousse on top and decorate with the berries.

Fluffy One-Pan Apple Pancake

This batter keeps fresh in the fridge for several days, so double it to whip up on demand. It uses a ‘flax egg’: 1 tablespoon flaxseed meal and 2 tablespoons water. You can buy flaxseed meal or blitz flaxseeds in a blender. If you don’t have oat flour, try blitzing the same quantity of porridge oats until fine. Makes one large pancake, enough for two portions.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon flaxseed meal
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 pinch of bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla paste
  • 250 ml oat milk or other plant milk
  • 100 g oat flour
  • 100 g buckwheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1–2 large eating (dessert) apples, peeled, cored and sliced into wedges
  • Jam or plant yogurt, to serve

Method

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flaxseed meal and water and let it set for 1–2 minutes. Add the peanut butter, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, salt, and vanilla paste, and whisk everything together well. Add the plant milk and whisk again until well combined.

Next, add the oat and buckwheat flours, stir until combined, then let the batter rest for 5 minutes. Alternatively, the batter can be prepped for the next day; sometimes the pancakes are even tastier once rested in the fridge.

To cook the pancakes, preheat a small frying pan until hot, but not hot enough to make the oil smoke. Add a little coconut oil to the pan, then gently lay the apple slices in the pan and fry for 5 minutes until lightly browned on each side. Arrange the apples beautifully in the pan.

Give the pancake batter a stir, then pour into the frying pan and cook for about 5 minutes until the surface bubbles. Flip the pancake over with a large fish slice, and fry on the other side until cooked through. Serve with a dollop of jam or plant yogurt.

Find more recipes from Bettina Campolucci Bordi here.

Find more ideas here

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