As a doctor I always have parent’s coming in to tell me, ‘my kids won’t eat any vegetables, they are so fussy’. Sometimes it can feel like a losing battle, as all they want to eat is chips, pizza or burgers. So sometimes to make life easier I give them what they want, make a quick sauce and sneak some veggies in. This sauce has the added benefit of lots of protein in the form of black beans. And unlike ready made, shop-bought sauces, you know this sauce will be sugar and preservative free.
Feeds 4-5 Ingredients for the sauce: 1 celery stick finely chopped 5-6 mushrooms 1 large carrot grated 1 large white onion 4 cloves of garlic 1 tin black beans ½ tin of chopped tomatoes
Seasoning 1 tablespoon roasted cumin 1 tablespoon coriander powder 1 tablespoon Mexican spice pinch of salt & pepper to taste
1. Heat a small amount of olive oil, sauté onions and garlic till the onions start changing colour. Add the grated carrots and the celery till they soften. 2. In a food processor mince up some mushrooms until they resemble a crumble, add them to onion and vegetable mix 3. Add the tinned tomatoes, 4. Drain the black beans and add to the mix. 5. Add pinch of salt, pepper, roasted cumin, coriander powder, and mixed Mexican spice. Stir and allow to simmer for 10-15mins 6. Take off heat, allow to cool. When cool enough blend in food processor till its fine. (be careful when putting hot liquid in a blender, as the pressure may cause hot liquid to spit out, instead covering the lid with a tea towel may help)
For the pizza base: Lots of options here depending on what is on offer at the shops or what you have in the freeze. Some options include: – ready made dough – pitta bread – tortilla wraps
Pizza toppings: Peppers red and green onions Mushrooms Courgettes Sweetcorn Pineapple Cheese
To be honest anything goes, the most important thing is letting the kids get their hands dirty. They love the experience of breaking up the mushrooms and cutting up the peppers, and they can safely use a plastic knife for this. My kids usually eat lots of sweetcorn and cheese whilst ‘cooking’. The rule in our house is they have to eat everything that they put on their pizza. To be honest whatever they eat is a bonus as I know the sauce contains tonnes of goodness.
Teaching kids to cook allows them to appreciate what food looks like and how it changes when you cook it. Cooking together also gives you a chance to talk about why food is so important and what makes a healthy diet.