a peek inside the fishbowl

03 Aug, 2013

Guest post: Cheesy vegetarian meals for kids & meat lovers

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Guest postings

It’s guest post week here at the Fishbowl and we’re wrapping things up with a mouthwatering post by Ottawa blogger Karie Dufour. Her blog is called Pub Patio Playdate,and if that seems familiar it might be because she was featured in Capital Parent a few issues ago. I was thrilled when she approached me about the topic of kid-friendly vegetarian dishes. I’m always looking for new recipes, and I’m sure many of you are too! Thanks for your post today Karie!

I’ll eat, or at least try, anything… except olives.

But coming from a mostly meat and potatoes family my taste buds weren’t always so adventurous. It wasn’t until I met my partner, who was raised a vegetarian, that I really started to incorporate things like legumes, tofu and more “exotic” veggies into my meals, eventually converting to a mostly meat-free diet.

I’m lucky because, thanks to his mom, my partner is a great vegetarian cook. We have a little notebook-turned-cookbook at home that has all his favourite recipes, many from his childhood. We titled the book The Fat Vegetarian because although the recipes are all healthy; they’re not necessarily low fat due to the predominance of cheese. I’m a firm believer that almost everything tastes better with cheese! [Editors note: AGREED.]

Now that we have an active preschooler it’s become all the more important to prepare tasty and healthy food that’s packed with protein and somewhat kid-friendly. Combine that with some regular dinner guests and the question of what to make for supper can be tricky.

Here are two of our favourite go-to meals… both are cheesy, have been a hit with the little ones, and have even pleased some of our most meat-loving friends.

Sweet Potato Bean Dip Recipe

Sweet Potato Bean Dip

This is my own invention. It’s quick and easy and a great dish to bring to a summer potluck!

1 diced tomato
1 can of black beans
1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon of cumin
1 teaspoon of coriander
4-5 sweet potatoes
1 cup of extra old cheddar cheese
1 250 ml container of sour cream
1 bag of multigrain tortilla chips

Poke holes in the potatoes with a fork, coat them with a bit of oil or butter and cook until soft. They’ll taste best if done in an oven or toaster oven, but if you’re pressed for time you can zap them in the microwave. Remove and discard the skins, mash the flesh and place it in a shallow serving dish.

Rinse the beans and put them in a pot with the oil, tomato, cumin and coriander. Heat on medium until hot.

Pour the warm bean mixture into the serving dish over the sweet potatoes. Layer the sour cream on top and then add the cheese on top of the sour cream. Eat the dip with your favourite multigrain tortilla chips as a snack or appetizer or serve it as a meal with a side salad.

The Best Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie Recipe

Shepherd's Pie

This one was invented by my partner’s mom and is tasty comfort food. It takes more time but freezes well, so double the recipe!

2 cups of dry lentils
1 chopped onion
4-6 bay leaves
1.5 tablespoons of tamari
1/2 cup of oil
1/3 cup of honey
6 tablespoons of vinegar
2/3 teaspoon of allspice
1/4 teaspoon of ginger
1/4 teaspoon of cloves
1/4 teaspoon of salt
5-6 Yukon Gold potatoes
300 grams of Havarti cheese
2 tablespoons of butter
2-3 tablespoons of milk

Soak the lentils in 4 cups of water overnight.

After soaking, put the lentils in a large pot with the onion and bay leaves. Bring the pot to a boil and simmer until the lentils are almost tender (approximately 45 minutes).

Whisk together the tamari, oil, honey, vinegar, allspice, ginger, cloves and salt.

Put the cooked lentils into a casserole dish and add the sauce. Cover the dish and bake at 300F for 2 to 3 hours. Take the cover off for the last 30 minutes or so. If there is too much liquid, turn the heat up a bit.

Cook and mash the potatoes with the havarti cheese, butter and milk (optional). Spread the potatoes over the baked lentils in an ovenproof dish. Sprinkle some paprika and grated cheese on top and bake at 350F for 30 to 45 minutes.

Serve with Strubs bread and butter pickles (the pickles are key) and a salad or steamed green veggies.

Bon appétit!

1 Response to "Guest post: Cheesy vegetarian meals for kids & meat lovers"

1 | Blend

January 30th, 2014 at 3:11 pm


I just discovered your blog today, and have been reading and reading it while I’m (not) working – and I love your sweet potato dip recipe – I basically do this whenever I want a baked sweet potato (i.e. I put all the same toppings on a baked sweet potato, and just eat it like that). It’s healthy and delicious!

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My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human daughters: Emma (20) and Sarah (18). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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