With kids and food, I find it all comes down to marketing. For an adult audience I would advertise this as a Slow Simmered Marinara Sauce, but where my kids are concerned, it is Shrek Spaghetti Sauce.
My kids have a selective relationship with kale. While they love Kale Chips, they are not a fan of big chunks of greens in dishes. Does this mean I don’t use kale in my cooking? Not at all, I include greens in almost all of my savoury dishes. I just make sure to cut it into fine pieces, purée it, or use positive advertising, catering meal labels around whatever my kids happen to be into at the time.
I also invite them to see something they are not sure about as a version of something they love. My kids weren’t sure about broccoli stems, so I thinly sliced them, and called them broccoli cookies. Now they fight over who gets to eat the “broccoli cookies” whenever I pair this dish with Roasted Broccoli. As I mentioned above, it is all about the marketing. I prefer this to hiding vegetables in dishes, as I would like my kids to have a positive relationship with the veggies they are eating, especially the green ones. I did mention pureeing greens above, however this is to shift the texture rather than to hide the fact that I am including greens as one of my ingredients.
Pasta with Slow Simmered Marinara Sauce
2 Tbsp olive oil
5 cloves garlic, crushed
1 medium onion
1 red pepper, finely diced
1½ tsp each of thyme, oregano and rosemary
28 oz BPA-free can organic crushed tomatoes (a glass jar is even better!)
⅓ cup almond flour
¼ cup nutritional yeast
1 lg handful fresh basil, finely chopped
2 lg handfuls kale, finely chopped
Small drizzle lemon juice
Drizzle of truffle oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
Warm olive oil in a sauté pan over medium/low heat. Sweat onions, peppers and garlic with a pinch of sea salt over low heat for 15 mins to a half an hour. The longer you slow cook the veg, the richer the flavour of the sauce will be. Add spices and sauté for another 5 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Add almond flour, nutritional yeast, fresh basil and kale, stir to combine and cook for another 5 minutes. Purée in a blender for a smooth sauce, or leave as is for a chunkier sauce. Remove from heat, and add lemon juice & truffle oil. Check seasoning, and adjust with a bit of salt and pepper, as needed.
I love to pair this with gluten free pasta, either spaghetti, fettuccine or penne.
What is your favourite way to market more challenging foods to your kids?