The Best Veggie Side Dishes for Kids

When making vegetables, kids' tastes are often the last thing parents have in mind. We typically spend more time thinking about how to get vegetables into our kids (often by stealth), than about creating vegetables for kids that will please their palates. These vegetable side dishes are all designed to tempt kids' taste buds. Some of these vegetables will appeal to your kids; some won't. Don't give up. Keep making the vegetable side dishes you like, keep offering your kids...MORE vegetables, and over time (it may be years), your kids will develop a taste for vegetables. I promise!
  • 01 of 16

    Cauliflower Twice Baked Potatoes Recipe

    cauliflower twice baked potatoes
    Cauliflower Twice Baked Potatoes. Mark Thomas/Getty Images

    One of my standard strategies for introducing kids to vegetables is combining vegetables with other foods kids already like. These cauliflower twice baked potatoes have all the creaminess of regular twice baked potatoes, with the addition of mashed steamed cauliflower. Garlic and bacon add additional layers of flavor to this popular kids vegetable recipe.


  • 02 of 16

    Roasted Broccoli with Soy Sauce and Peanuts

    StockFood/Getty Images

    One of the vegetables kids say they like best is broccoli. But whether your kids are fans of broccoli or not, they will like this vegetable side dish. Fresh broccoli is roasted in olive oil and soy sauce until caramelized, then tossed with peanuts. The saltiness of the soy sauce and peanuts really bring out a pleasant flavor in this broccoli.


  • 03 of 16

    Fried Brussels Sprouts Recipe

    Brussels sprouts
    sf_foodphoto/Getty Images

    You probably didn't expect to find a Brussels sprouts recipe on a list of vegetables for kids, but this fried Brussels sprouts recipe is one of my kids' favorite vegetables. Once you try it, you'll know why. They are crispy and golden and yes, they are actually pretty healthy.


  • 04 of 16

    Potato Croquettes with Vegetables

    Michael Rheault - Images

    Like most croquettes, these potato croquettes are fried, which makes this one of those vegetables kids like automatically. But these croquettes are also made with pureed peas and carrots, which adds a nice bit of nutrition to this vegetable side dish.


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  • 05 of 16
    Crispy kale
    Ina Tsitovich/Getty Images

    This is one of my kids' favorite vegetable side dishes. Kale is loaded with vitamins, minerals, protein and fiber, and it stands up well to roasting. The trick with this vegetable recipe is to check it frequently while roasting. You don't want the kale to get too browned, just crispy. A quick toss with sea salt adds incredible flavor to this kid-friendly vegetable recipe.


  • 06 of 16
    Butternut squash
    Zsuzsanna Békefi/Getty Images

    This vegetable side dish will warm the kids from the inside out. Like a mashed potato casserole, only made with butternut squash, this vegetable recipe is loaded with vitamins, calcium and protein. Kids won't even know it's good for them.

  • 07 of 16
    Green beans
    NightAndDayImages/Getty Images

    Roasting brings out the natural sweetness of vegetables, making them more pleasing to kids' taste buds. If your kids are particularly averse to green beans, go heavier on the oil for this recipe. The beans will soak up some of the oil during roasting, and when you toss them with sea salt, they'll taste almost like green French fries (well, if you have a good imagination.)


  • 08 of 16

    Sweet Potato Marshmallow Casserole Recipe

    Marshmellow potatoes
    Frances Twitty/Getty Images

    Why wait until Thanksgiving to serve this kid-friendly vegetable side dish? Kids love this sweet potato casserole, and even though it has plenty of sugar and butter, it has sweet potatoes, which are loaded with vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, calcium and fiber.


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  • 09 of 16

    Broccoli Salad with Bacon

    Broccoli bacon salad

    Whoever said bacon makes everything taste better knew a thing or two about the human palate. This broccoli salad is particularly appealing to kids, because the broccoli is raw and crunchy, it's tossed with juicy grapes and bacon, then bathed in a sweet and creamy dressing. I often make this vegetable side dish for parties, and there are never any leftovers!


  • 10 of 16
    Oven Fried Zucchini
    Oven Fried Zucchini. Stephanie Gallagher

    A light breading of Panko bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese adds the perfect texture and taste to this zucchini recipe to make this a melt-in-your-mouth vegetable for kids.


  • 11 of 16

    Broccoli Mashed Potatoes Recipe

    kids vegetable recipe - broccoli mashed potatoes
    Broccoli Mashed Potatoes. Stephanie Gallagher

    As with the cauliflower twice baked potatoes, this vegetable side dish combines a vegetable with something kids already like - mashed potatoes. Feel free to add more or less butter and salt to adjust to your taste.


  • 12 of 16

    Carrot Salad with Apples

    Carrot salad
    Poppy Barach/Getty Images

    Simple is often best when it comes to vegetables for kids. This carrot salad is basically just shredded carrots and apples tossed in a creamy yogurt-based dressing. It's fresh and flavorful and combines two foods most kids already like.


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  • 13 of 16
    Strawberry salad
    NightAndDayImages/Getty Images

    Some vegetables are naturally bitter, and kids' taste buds just can't accept bitter foods. One way to cope is by adding sugar to make the vegetables sweeter for kids. This strawberry spinach salad masks the sometimes bitter flavor of spinach with sweet strawberries, glazed pecans and a sweet and creamy dressing. The result is a tasty salad both kids and adults enjoy.


  • 14 of 16

    Green Beans with Walnuts and Browned Butter

    Green beans and walnuts
    Kurtwilson / Getty Images

    Butter gets wonderfully nutty and sweet when it browns, and that's what makes this vegetable recipe so appealing to kids. If your kids don't like walnuts, use pecans or peanuts instead.


  • 15 of 16

    Sweet Potato Crispy Fries Recipe

    Sweet Potato Crispy Fries
    Sweet Potato Crispy Fries. Stephanie Gallagher

    Sweet potatoes are packed with vitamins, fiber and minerals. They're one of the healthiest vegetables around. These sweet potato fries are crispy on the outside and soft inside. Kids will love this vegetable!

  • 16 of 16

    Cauliflower au Gratin Recipe

    Cauliflower gratin
    Robert Linton/Getty Images

    A lot of parents go by the "cover it with cheese" rule in preparing vegetables for kids. I can't think of a better idea, and this cauliflower gratin is a perfect example of taking a relatively bland vegetable and turning it into a creamy, cheesy food sensation.