Deconstructed burritos

IMG_5395.JPG

I was at the grocery store with my son yesterday and I asked him which vegetables we should buy. Brussels sprouts, zucchini, cauliflower, broccoli? I asked. He chose all of them. Plus asparagus, cherry tomatoes, peppers and avocado. It wasn’t along ago that he didn’t eat much aside from cucumber but I’m glad to report he’s broadened his taste.

So how did I get my picky eater to eat more than just cucumbers and white rice? Obviously there were many factors and it helped to have a big sister who loves vegetables. But there are two things that I credit the most with his transformation to a little rabbit.

My vegetable garden

I have a vegetable garden. And the kids help me choose what to plant and they’re welcome to eat anything from the garden at any time (as long as I get the first ripe tomato). There was a year that (thanks to my daughter) we planted purple varieties of everything: peas, broccoli, carrots, beans. And that was the year my son decided he would only eat orange carrots. I guess a guy’s got to draw the line somewhere! So the next year I bought orange carrot seeds and planted more traditional varieties of vegetables. Goodbye lemon cucumbers!

My kids get really excited about the veggies growing in the garden. They graze on whatever they find. They eat pea shoots, berries, and they love parsley stems. One year I thought I had a regular rabbit visitor but it turned out my daughter thought the carrot tops were parsley.

I try to get them to help in the garden as much as I can but if all they’re doing is eating from the garden, that’s great too. And when we pull a nice orange carrot from the ground, it’s something everyone is excited about. I think being involved and eating from the garden has made my son appreciate fresh vegetables.

Setting a good example

The other thing that I think we’ve done to encourage him to eat a bigger variety of vegetables is to eat them ourselves. The three of us love all kinds of vegetables and we eat them all the time. When my son turned his nose up at most vegetables, we always made sure we had his favourite vegetables at every meal but we also fit in the zucchini, beets and squash. We enjoy them – and he sees us enjoy them. And I think if he tries them a few times, he warms up to them.

IMG_5397

You’ll notice a few ingredients in my bowl that I don’t put in his. Onions, mushrooms, salsa, cashew cream and even orange vegan cheese are on his list of things he won’t touch at the moment. But that list is shrinking every day and I’m proud of him for following our example and being adventurous at the dinner table.

Black bean and corn enchiladas with Mexican rice

vegan enchilada
The enchiladas are topped with a tofu sour cream.

Got home today to the spicy, tomato smell of dinner almost ready. My husband, who has been craving Mexican food since we went to see Coco over the Christmas holidays (we’ve had a few meals that just didn’t satisfy his craving apparently), made enchiladas from scratch with a side of Mexican rice. And I had to take pictures and share them since it was so good!

The enchiladas are stuffed with refried black beans, corn and vegan cheese. The enchilada sauce is made by blending my hot homemade salsa with diced tomatoes and onions into a smooth sauce. It’s poured over the enchiladas and baked, covered in foil for 40 minutes. It turned out delicious.

vegan enchilada without sauce
The enchilada sauce is a bit spicy for the kids so their version is plain but topped with vegan cheese.

The spanish rice was inspired by this recipe.┬áIt was (not surprisingly) not appreciated by my picky eater. He only eats his tomatoes as cherry tomatoes and whole. Tomato sauces don’t always make the cut but sometimes they do. I’ve tried to understand it but I don’t.

In the summer, we pick the sun-warmed, vine-ripened tomatoes from our garden and eat them like apples. If the seeds squirt and juice drips down our faces, we don’t mind. But this seems to be the very thing my son doesn’t like. If a tomato doesn’t fit in his mouth whole, he won’t touch it. There’s something about those slimy seeds that turns him off tomatoes.

The enchiladas are topped with my quick sour cream made from silken tofu. It doesn’t taste as good as a cashew sour cream but it’s the quickest way to get sour cream on the table and it’s delicious when combined with salsa and topped with vegan cheese melted under the broiler. I also use it as a base for a French onion dip.

Vegan sour cream

  • package of soft silken tofu
  • 2 Tbsp grape seed oil or other neutral oil
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp salt

Put it all in a blender and blend until smooth. That’s it!

Enjoy!