Hidden veggie recipes are the easiest way to get picky eaters to eat well. These recipes to hide vegetables make feeding toddlers and picky kiddos less stressful. Just pick your vegetable and scroll to the section to find tons of options kids will love!
Vegetables for picky eaters
Despite my best efforts, my boys are picky eaters. Because of this, I’ve learned a lot over the years by researching seemingly non stop on the topic.
I know the exposures of the vegetable was the most important thing. Recent research says it can take over 30 repeated exposures before a child enjoys a flavor.
Even more, the wider the variety of foods kids eat before age 5, the more likely they are to have well-rounded palettes.
Hidden Veggie Recipes to the Rescue
This is why I adore recipes with hidden veggies. They get in those exposures, or, the vital ‘taste’ of a vegetable needed to encourage healthy eating and well rounded paletes. All without having to fight with your kids.
I know I’m not the only parent with this love, which is why hidden vegetable recipes are so popular. Because of this, I rounded up my favorites and sorted them by vegetable.
A lot of hidden vegetable recipes use purees. Make sure you read my post on how to puree vegetables to learn all about those!
Tips for veggie-packed food for kids
Hiding vegetables in your kids’ food doesn’t have to be difficult – here are my best tips.
- Use a puree. Pureed vegetables will be impossible to point out for picky eaters.
- Grate a vegetable. While a grated vegetable will be easier to spot, they will blend easier than chunks of vegetables.
- Remove the skin. If using
producewith a light-colored inside like a zucchini, try peeling it before using.
- Use similar colored foods. Use carrots in tomato sauce, butternut squash in mac and cheese, or spinach in pesto.
- Don’t make a huge deal about it. Just serve the meal like you would any other dish.
Hidden Vegetable Recipes with Carrots
Find my favorite Carrot Recipes for Kids here!
Carrot is a great “intro” to hiding veggies. It’s a simple vegetable to puree, it’s in almost everyone’s fridge, and it’s a sweet veggie. This means kids are much more likely to not even notice.
- Hidden Veggie Spaghetti Sauce. A HUGE staple in my house. I make big batches of this sauce and freeze.
- Homemade SpaghettiOs. This is a childhood favorite made healthy! It tastes the same as the canned version!
- Healthy Pizza Bagels. This bagel pizza is just like the junk food, but really they’re packed with carrots.
Go Gurt. If you have a yogurt lover likewe do, you’ll love this secretly good for you option.
- Carrot Cake Oatmeal. My boys aren’t big on oatmeal, but I could eat this one all alone and be happy.
- 4 Ingredient Cheesy Carrot Crackers. What kid wouldn’t love to eat these crackers? Smeared with nut butter they’d be a
- Carrot Orange Smoothie. This smoothie is packed with immunity boosting vitamins and kid pleasing flavors
Hidden Vegetable Recipes with Butternut Squash
Butternut squash is a fun vegetable to hide in food. Like carrots, it’s naturally sweet, but the texture adds a creaminess and thickness to recipes.
- Butternut Squash Fries. Not necessarily “hidden”, but it’s a familiar and kid-friendly shape.
- Hidden Veggie Quesadilla. Quesadillas on their own don’t have a ton of nutritional value. But add in some squash and it takes it to a new level!
- Chocolate Butternut Squash Muffins. Veggie muffins are a favorite in my house. These chocolate ones don’t even look good for you!
- Flourless Butternut Squash Peanut Butter Cookies. This is a great example of keeping the color similar!
- Butternut Squash Potato Tots. Such an iconic kids’ side! I love that they look similar but have more nutrients than a bagged of frozen potato ones.
- Hazelnut Butternut Squash Brownies. I could probably eat a whole tray of these, they look that amazing!
- Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese. The OG hidden veggie! I’ve made butternut squash mac and cheese both by stirring it in diced and by adding puree to the sauce. Both are amazing!
Kid Friendly Cauliflower Recipes
Cauliflower has gotten a very popular reputation as of late as the perfect vegetable to hide in food. Rice it and add it to a rice dish or blend it up and you can create creamy, veggie packed cheese sauces.
- Healthy Alfredo Sauce. Another kid favorite in my house, this creamy sauce tastes like Alfredo.
- Healthy Chicken Alfredo Baked Ziti. Uses the alfredo sauce above, but turned into a family-pleasing dinner.
- Pina Colada Smoothie. I’m not a huge smoothie fan, even though my boys love them. This one made me a convert!
- Cauliflower Tater Tots. Serving these might make you feel a little better about serving those dino nuggets, too!
Tips for substituting vegetable purees
It’s easy to substitute in hidden vegetable recipes, but you want the sugar content and texture to be similar.
If you don’t have a specific vegetable on hand, chances are there is a similar vegetable you can use instead. Here are some simple swaps.
- Sweet potatoes for pumpkin or butternut squash
- Spinach for just about any other green
- Carrots for beets
- Broccoli for SOME cauliflower. Broccoli will rice in the same way more or less, but it doesn’t offer the same creaminess.
- Bell peppers for carrots
Hidden Vegetable Recipes with Broccoli
Broccoli gets such a bad rep. I love love it, and one of my boys does as well. My oldest? Eh.. not so much. Recipes where I can hide it away to get the ever so important exposures in? A total win!
- Healthy Hidden Veggie Meatloaf
- Teriyaki Turkey Rice Bowl
- Broccoli Cheese Quesadilla
- Mini Crunch Wraps with Hidden Veggies
- Broccoli Cheese Mini Muffins
- Hidden Broccoli Berry Smoothie
- Broccoli Pesto
- Broccoli Stuffed Shells
Hidden Vegetable Recipes with Zucchini
Come summer, everyone is making zucchini recipes left and right, but it’s the perfect option to get your veg intake up. Grated zucchini works in just about every recipe. Not only does it add a serving of vegetables, BUT it also brings a ton of moisture to whatever it’s in.
- Meatballs with Zucchini. This is the ULTIMATE zucchini meatball recipe. You can’t see or taste the zucchini at all, but they’re super moist and flavorful. My kids GOBBLE them up.
- Oatmeal Zucchini Cookie. This one is perfect for getting some zucchini in first thing in the morning! They also freeze well.
- Cheesy Zucchini Rice. My boys loved this one and I was shocked. The cheese makes it creamy and irresistable.
- Secretly Veggie Sloppy Joes. One of my most popular recipes, this is a kid favorite made healthy. No canned mix here!
- Healthy Fudge Pops with Hidden Veggies. These are decadent! they look and taste like a cool treat.
- Italian Fried Rice. Cheese, rice, sausage, and chopped veggies make this simple, quick dinner
- Zucchini Fudgy Brownies. Healthy brownies. Yes, i said it. It’s a thing, and this is one of them.
- Taco Shells with Zucchini. What a genius way to add unexpected veggies to taco Tuesday!
- Zucchini Breadsticks. Pair these with my hidden veggie spaghetti sauce and you’ve got a veggie packed meal your kids will love.
- Glazed Lemon Zucchini Bread. Lemon Loaf from Starbucks is one of my favorite decadent treats. This version looks like the perfect compromise so I can have it every day!
Hidden Veggie Recipes with Pumpkin
Another seasonal favorite, pumpkin is the mascot for fall. But it might not come to mind that pumpkin, a member of the squash family, is actually a vegetable! While I can’t say chugging a PSL will up the amount of veggies you’re eating in a day, I can say these pumpkin recipes will help get you to that number!
- Whipped Pumpkin Cream Cheese
- Pumpkin Zucchini Chocolate Chip Bread
- Mac and Cheese Hidden Veggies
- Easy Bean Burritos
- Black Bean Enchiladas
- Pumpkin Coconut Granola
Hidden Vegetable Recipes with Spinach
Spinach can be a really hard vegetable to get kids to try. That’s why so many moms love hiding spinach in kids’ favorites. Add in the fact that spinach is such a simple thing to slip into recipes, and you’ve got a winner.
You can substitute most of the spinach in these recipes for any greens – kale is a popular one!
- Veggie Pesto Pasta Sauce. This is on our meal plan at least once a week, more in the summer. It’s simple, satisfying, and super versatile.
- Super Sneaky Spinach Brownies. The perfect compromise between tasty dessert and eating your veggies.
- Chocolate Spinach Cookies. Seriously, you would NEVER EVER know these decadent cookies have spinach. Just make them, trust me.
- Easy Spinach Smoothie Recipe. The easiest and most common smoothie! If the color freaks your kids out, just put it in a solid colored cup.
- Hidden Veggie Chicken Enchiladas. I love the idea of this – especially since it’s a super simple
- Spinach and Ricotta Stuffed Shells. Stuffed shells are an absolute favorite in our house. It’s one of the few meals that I can serve my kids very visible spinach and they’ll gobble it.
- Creamy Pesto Mac with Spinach. I already mentioned pesto in our house is popular. Mixing it with another favorite, mac
andcheese? Total win.
- Spinach Pancakes. These are light and fluffy and kids love silly green color.
- Grinch Christmas Smoothie. We loved these last holidays = just a simple green smoothie with a strawberry heart!
- Spinach Tortillas. If you’re a family that does tacos often, try out these funky spinach tattoos.
- Green Banana Ice Cream. Banana ice cream is fun because it’s natural and easy. How have I never thought to toss in some spinach?
- Spinach Lemon Bars. These look simple and fun. The spinach is in the crust but it doesn’t look too obvious or obnoxious.
- Spinach Egg Sandwich. I love the spinach feta sandwiches at Starbucks. Adding a little green to a breakfast sandwich is so smart.
- Baked Ziti with Hidden Veggies. Baked ziti is always a win – how can you go wrong with cheese, sauce, and noodles? Add in a hidden veggie sauce and you’ve got an even better meal.
- Spinach Raspberry Pancakes. Raspberry pancakes sound luxurious and fancy. Who would think they’d go well with spinach?
- Spinach Sesame Crackers. These crackers look like the perfect crunchy way to curb a craving while getting in a veggie.
- Cheesy Spinach Tots. Tater tots, cheese, and hidden vegetables? YES
- Spinach Banana Bread. I love making banana bread when it’s chilly and bananas are on their way out. This is so smart.
- Spinach Hummus. Who doesn’t love a good dip?! My boys do, and I think this would be a perfect choice for chips, crackers, or, more vegetables.
- Spinach Crepes. We normally do pancake Sunday, but now I’m thinking we need to try crepes!
- Potato Spinach Gnocchi. Gnocchi seems fancy and hard, but it’s actually super simple. These look awesome!
- Easy Spinach Pizza Crust. Another pizza option, just in case you’re over arguing about meal planning.
- Spinach muffins. Finally, these green muffins are fun and packed with veggies.
- Hidden Spinach Healthy Guacamole. Uhm. YES PLEASE, I ate little more than Chipotle for two pregnancies and both boys adore guac.
For more spinach recipe for kids, check out this post!
Recipes with Sweet Potato
While many of us might not have a problem getting kids to eat sweet potatoes, it’s often in a ‘fry’ version. Your kids will love the subtle sweetness and creaminess that it offers, and you’ll love that they’re eating their veggies
- Leftover Sweet Potato Muffins. These are super moist and decadent. They definitely do NOT taste healthy, much less veggie packed.
- Sweet Potato Donuts. Less “hidden” and more “fun”. But you really can’t go wrong here.
SavouryWaffles. I never remember to make waffles. I’m not sure if it’s because I’ve hidden the iron in Albania, or what. But these look amazing!
- Sweet Potato Bread. Quick
breadsare always a win in my house. A quick bread packed with veggies? Yes, please.
- Chocolate Cake. Sweet potato blends well and adds lots of moisture. The sweetness will let you reduce the sugar in this recipe!
- Flatbread. Got a kid like mine who loves all things carbs? This sounds like a great medium!
Hidden Vegetable Beet Recipes
Beets are usually the vegetable that most of us make an “eek!” face at. Super earthy and packed with vitamins, this uncommon vegetable can be a great addition to your diet.
- Healthy Donuts with Hidden Veggies. The chocolate overpowers any lingering bet flavor in this donut. Your kids will just think it’s a fun treat!
- Layered Strawberry Beet Smoothie. Perfect for the pretty princess in your family – the pink color is absolutely magical.
- Strawberry Fruit Leather. If your kids love Fruit
Roll ups, try this healthier version!
- Healthy Homemade Fruit Snacks. I’m totally trying these out ASAP. My boys love those little packets, but they are so not great for you.
- Pink Dip. Plain and simple, kids love dip. Even if your kids just lick the dip and leave the veggies, this will still be veggie packed!
- Healthy Homemade Red Velvet Cupcakes. Is there anything better
thata decadent red velvet cupcake? Pssst – these have beets!
- Beet Applesauce. What kid doesn’t love apple sauce? This is a genius was to kick it up a notch!
There you have it – well over 100 different hidden vegetable recipes that will help you get your kids eating veggies without the stress. Which is your favorite? Which do you think your kids would love best? Let me know in the comments!
Sarah @ The Fit Cookie says
Such a great roundup, thanks so much for including my orange creamsicle smoothe recipe!
thank you! we tried it and my boys love it!
Mother of 3 says
This is wonderful! I often need to sneak veggies into my kids diet! They love cauliflower alfredo and I recently realized I could cream broccoli into our pesto pasta without them noticing either. I will be pinning and trying these!
You are so sweet! We love doing spinach and peas in pesto – totally need to try broccoli!
Fitoru Keto Support says
Perfect! Been looking for veggie recipes to add to my list! Will certainly try all of these someday! Thanks for sharing!