Six recipes to get your kids to eat their vegetables.

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March 10 2011 1:14 PM

Can I Have Some More Okra, Mom?

More recipes to get your kids to eat their vegetables.

Kid recipes. Click image to expand.
Veggie recipes for the kids

In January, chef Vered Guttman wrote about the recipes she invented to get her three young boys to eat—and enjoy—America's most hated vegetable: the Brussels sprout.

Many readers responded to our call for other kid-friendly, veggie-heavy recipes. Here are six of the most delicious-sounding ones we received. Three of them use Brussels sprouts while the rest tackle other vegetables normally reserved for more mature palates: squash, okra, and avocado. Try them out, and then let us know how they go over with your family.

Caramelized Brussels Sprouts with Mustard

Trim a pound of sprouts, then halve or quarter lengthwise. (The flat-cut surfaces brown better.) Dice a medium onion. Cook the onion in enough extra-virgin olive oil to cover the bottom of a heavy 10- to 12-inch skillet and a good pinch of sea salt for a few minutes. Reduce the heat to medium low and add the sprouts. Cook uncovered, turning occasionally, for about 45 minutes, until the sprouts have browned nicely. Add about a half cup of whole grain mustard, stir, and cook for another 10 minutes. Serve immediately.

From Jim Dixon.

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Brussels Sprouts with Cashews and Parmesan

Ingredients:

3 or 4 pounds fresh Brussels sprouts
1 cup raw cashews
Hard cheese (Parmigiano-Reggiano, aged Gouda, etc)—enough to yield 1/2 cup grated
3 tablespoons grapeseed oil
2 teaspoons allspice or pumpkin pie spice mix (allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves)
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
Salt to taste

Directions:

Grate the cheese. The sprouts should be dry, so if you washed them, dry them completely with paper towels. Cut off the stem ends and make them into quarter-inch slices. (Don't worry if some of them fall apart and you have loose bits—the goal is to give the vegetables a lot of surface area.)

Heat one-half of the oil to medium heat and throw in the cashews. Fry until nicely browned, turning constantly to avoid burning (perhaps three minutes). Scoop the cashews out into the heatproof bowl. (Make sure you get all the pieces of nut, or they will burn in the pan and ruin the flavor.) Leave some of the nut-flavored oil in the pan. Add the cheese to the hot cashews and stir quickly. Set the nut mixture aside.

Add the remaining oil to the pan and increase the heat to high. Before the oil starts to burn, toss in the Brussels sprouts. You want to cook them quickly, turning several times to lightly brown the cut surfaces, until they are softened slightly and a bit brightened in color. They should release a nutty aroma. You don't want them to start cooking down and releasing a lot of liquid. On my stove this took three minutes or so, but your stove may vary. Add the allspice and red pepper flakes about halfway through cooking. Add the cashew/cheese mixture and mix. Add salt to taste. (I threw in only a small amount, perhaps a quarter teaspoon.) Serve immediately.

From Paul R. Potts.

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Spicy Sautéed Brussels Sprouts

Ingredients:

1/2 pound Brussels sprouts, removed from stems
2 ounces spicy hard Spanish chorizo, 1/4-inch dice
1 teaspoon butter
1 tablespoon capers, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Directions:

Remove rough outer leaves from Brussels sprouts and chop each in half. Rinse sprouts in colander and drain, cut side down, on a clean towel.

Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add chorizo and stir frequently until just starting to brown. Remove the chorizo and set aside, leaving the rendered oil. Add Brussels sprouts, toss to coat in oil and then arrange cut side down. Allow to cook undisturbed over medium heat for approximately five minutes until cut sides of sprouts are deeply browned. Stir sprouts and continue to cook until sprouts are slightly charred on exteriors.

Return chorizo to pan allow to heat; toss frequently, about 30 seconds. Add capers, balsamic vinegar, and salt and pepper (to taste) to pan. Stir to mix before adding remaining teaspoon of butter. After butter is melted and incorporated into dish, remove from heat and serve immediately.

Vegetarian Adaptation

Ingredients:

1/2 pound Brussels sprouts, removed from stems
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon butter
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Large pinch of cayenne pepper (or to taste)
1 tablespoon hickory-flavored liquid smoke
1 tablespoon capers, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Directions:

Remove rough outer leaves from Brussels sprouts and chop each in half. Rinse sprouts in colander and drain, cut side down, on a clean towel.

Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add two tablespoons butter and stir frequently until bubbling stops. Add red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper, and approximately a quarter teaspoon of liquid smoke; stir to mix. Add Brussels sprouts, toss to coat in butter mixture and then arrange cut side down. Allow to cook undisturbed over medium heat for approximately five minutes until cut sides of sprouts are deeply browned. Stir sprouts and continue to cook until sprouts are slightly charred on exteriors.

Add remaining liquid smoke, capers, balsamic vinegar, and salt and pepper (to taste) to pan. Stir to mix before adding remaining teaspoon of butter. After butter is melted and incorporated into dish, remove from heat and serve immediately.

From R. Kirk Guy.

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Winter Squash and Polenta Fritters

You'll need about two cups cooked winter squash. I've used delicata and butternut, and acorn or pumpkin would work, but my favorite batch used part of an enormous banana squash. Unless I'm using leftovers, I cook the squash in the microwave. Cut it into halves or quarters, scoop out the seeds, and either wrap with plastic or put in a covered bowl. Microwave each piece about four minutes or until completely soft, then cool and scoop out the flesh.

Blend the squash with two eggs, about a cup of ricotta, a couple of tablespoons of freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, maybe half a cup each of  breadcrumbs  and uncooked polenta, a pinch of salt, and—if you like things a little spicy—some kind of red chili. (I use Piment d'Espelette from  Viridian Farms.) Some winter squash can be a bit watery; if your batter looks runny, add a bit more polenta or a little flour.

Cover the bottom of a heavy skillet with extra virgin olive oil and put it on a medium flame. Drop smallish spoonfuls (roughly walnut-sized) into the hot oil, gently flattening the tops as you go. Don't crowd them too much, and let them cook undisturbed for a few minutes. Flip carefully using a spatula and fork and cook a bit longer.

Sprinkle with flor de sal and top with a dollop of Romesco sauce and a bit of crème fraiche.

From Jim Dixon. More of his fritter recipes can be found here.

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Okra in Tomatoes

Ingredients:

4 slices bacon

1/2 cup chopped onion
1 1/2 pounds fresh okra, washed, stemmed, sliced about 1/2-inch thick
4 large tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and diced
2 teaspoons salt
Pepper, to taste
Dash crushed red pepper, or to taste

Directions:

Fry bacon in a skillet over medium heat until crisp and fat has been rendered; drain well on paper towels. Crumble bacon and set aside. Add the chopped onions to the skillet; reduce the heat to low. Cook onions for 10 to 15 minutes, until tender, stirring occasionally. Add the sliced okra, tomatoes, salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper; stir well and simmer for about 20 minutes, until okra and tomatoes are just tender. To serve, spoon okra into a serving dish and sprinkle with the crumbled bacon. Serves 6.

From Joni Marie Cruz.

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The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Ingredients:

1/2 avocado, peeled, pitted, and thinly sliced
1 1/2 teaspoon packed light-brown sugar
1 tablespoon light coconut milk
2 tablespoons diced mango
1/4 cup shredded rotisserie chicken
1/2 teaspoon lime juice
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
1 (6-inch) piece rice paper (available at Asian food stores)
Pretzel sticks
1 plum tomato
3/4 teaspoon dry mustard
2 dried currants
2 thin carrot matchsticks

Directions:

Combine the avocado, brown sugar, coconut milk, mango, chicken, lime juice, and soy sauce in a mixing bowl. Let sit for five minutes. Fill another bowl with warm water and place the rice paper in the bowl. Let it sit until the rice paper is soft and almost invisible. Remove the rice paper from the water. Let it sit on a clean plate for one minute. Don't worry—it should be kind of sticky.Place the avocado mixture on the lower center of the rice paper. Fold the outside in so it touches and roll the bottom of the paper up to form a log shape. Carefully slice the log into five equal pieces. This is the caterpillar's body. Place pretzel sticks around the body for legs.To make the caterpillar's head, carefully slice off one-third of the tomato. This piece will be the bottom part of his head.Balance the other side of the tomato on top to make a goofy grin. Use a toothpick to poke eyeholes in the tomato head and press in the currants for eyes. Poke two more holes on top of the head and push in the carrot sticks for the antennae.

Adapted from Kelly Parthen and Shannon Payette Seip's Bean Appetit: Hip and Healthy Ways to Have Fun with Food.