Buying and preparing in-season produce is part and parcel of maintaining a balanced diet, but it’s much easier to eat nutritiously when the whole family is on board. In a world full of boxed mac and cheese and freezer-friendly dinners, we can understand why packaged or prepared foods are a reliable fallback. But we’re hopeful that the right seasonings and preparation methods can turn spinach, carrots, asparagus and more into healthy homemade dishes for the whole family to enjoy. Here are six recipes that incorporate spring produce in ways that will appeal to even the pickiest eaters.
Carrot Mac and Cheese
We’ve never known a kid to turn down mac and cheese, so in our eyes, it’s the perfect dish for camouflaging vegetables! You can get really sneaky with it by mixing pureed carrots in with your family’s favorite recipe: Before baking, just stir in one tablespoon of carrot puree for every serving of mac. Not only does it fortify the dish with an extra serving of vegetables, it also lends a beautiful boost of color.
Asparagus and Jack Cheese Frittata
If your kids turn cranky at the mere mention of asparagus, try presenting them with this fluffy frittata during your next round of bargaining. Trimming and chopping the spears into smaller, more-manageable pieces may do the trick.
Lemon Meringue Bars
These bite-sized lemon bars hardly count as health food, but we love the idea of portioning them out as a sweet reward for adventurous eaters who agree to try new veggies. Plus, they’ll absolutely flip for the pillowy meringue topping!
Cheese and Spinach Puff Pastry Pockets
Selling kids on spinach has been a challenge since time immemorial, but these delicate puff pastry pockets stuffed with a cheesy spinach mixture might be able to sway them.
Agnolotti with Artichoke Sauce
Agnolotti, a moon-shaped pasta, are similar to ravioli in that they’re stuffed to the brim with ricotta and other cheeses. Here, they’re doused in a creamy homemade artichoke sauce that includes peas and red pepper flakes — but you can certainly leave out the pepper if your kids are opposed to spice!
Risotto with Yogurt and Peas
It takes just a tiny bit of Greek yogurt to thicken this wholesome risotto dish studded with tender green peas. Plate and garnish the dish with a little bit of grated Parmesan and — if your kids are really adventurous — some fresh minced herbs.