The Green Machine: A Veggie-filled Meal Your Toddler Will Actually Eat

How to make a veggie-filled meal your kids will actually eatHow to make a veggie-filled meal your kids will actually eatWhen I'm creating food in the kitchen, a heavy calm trickles over me. Whether it's a planned meal or something I throw together in a mad dash…I derive great pleasure from grocery shopping, thinking about ingredients, washing and cutting, sautéing and layering flavors.

The most difficult part of my meal planning is coming up with nutritious meals to cook that my toddlers will actually eat. It's always a toss up, one day I could serve them something I thought they loved, and the next day they won't touch it. It's the baby and toddler way.

Related: 5 meal-planning tips for busy moms

As my Stage 1 baby eaters have progressed into Stage 2 and Stage 3 - I've had a bit of experience with getting extra creative in the kitchen. Recently I've been making a green pesto dish served up with pasta and veggies that has been unbelievably easy to throw together and incredibly popular with my picky little eaters (19 months and 3 years old), making a great week-night last minute meal.

Kale, swiss card, sunflower seed pesto my friends. That's right. Quick, ridiculously good for them (and you) and easy! Recipe below.

Healthy, Kid-friendly Pesto Pasta Recipe:

Ingredients:
Equal parts of the following ingredients (adjust size based on desired quantity): Kale, Swiss chard, Sunflower seeds, Olive oil
Crushed garlic to taste
Pasta (use whatever kind you like!)
Any additional veggies or ingredients you want to add (the pesto is versatile enough to complement just about anything!)
Approx. 1 cup asiago or parmesan cheese, shredded

Directions:
1. Combine kale, chard, sunflower seeds, and olive oil in a blender or food processor. Blend until the mixture reaches the the creamy consistency of a thick and shiny pesto. Add smashed garlic to your personal taste as you're blending.

2. Choose whichever kind of noodle you like (we've been using healthy rice pasta) and cook according to the directions. We ate ours hot, but this recipe could also be served as a cold salad garnished with cucumbers and tomatoes.

3. Sauté any other additional ingredients you'd like to add to this dish (I went with peppers, mushrooms and roasted cherry tomatoes, but any veggies you have on hand will do!).

4. Combine cooked pasta and veggies in a large bowl. Toss in pesto until fully coated. Divide into serving sizes and sprinkle cheese on top (kids will love it if you give them the chance to "help" by adding their own cheese!).

Enjoy!

- By Selena Burgess
Follow Selena on Disney Baby

For 19 make-ahead meals for busy parents, visit Disney Baby!

MORE ON DISNEY BABY
30 guilt-free St. Patrick's Day snacks your kids will love
8 healthy recipes for kids who love peanut butter
10 tasty soups even toddlers will eat
10 gluten-free twists on your favorite desserts

Disney Baby | DisneyBaby.comDisney Baby | DisneyBaby.com
Stay connected. Follow Disney Baby on Facebook and Twitter.