Well Fed, Flat Broke: A Vegetarian Meal Your Kids Will Beg For

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unnamedWith a three-year-old who “DOESN’T LIKE THAT!” every time a plate of food is placed in front of him, sometimes you just have to go with what’s easy, with something you know will go in without too much of a fight. The picky eating stage wears you down, but it also makes you re-evaluate your culinary priorities. “Will he eat it?” can be more important than almost any other consideration, and so you find yourself in your kitchen on a Tuesday at 6:00 p.m., wearing last year’s faded Christmas pajama pants (in March), stirring hot dog slices into a pot of lukewarm canned beans and wondering what happened to your life. So it goes.

Other considerations? It can’t take too long to put together, should have some reasonably healthy stuff in it, should be satisfying on its own or with simple accompaniments, and it should reheat well for Sad Desk Lunch the next day. It cannot contain hot dogs. You need a dish that does it all? This is just that dish.

(Related: Well Fed, Flat Broke: One Pan Roast Chicken Dinner)

This riff on a vegetable-based Indian rice dish is good on its own or with a good chewy flatbread, but if you like a bit of meat with dinner it’s also excellent with a simple pork or chicken sausage. It works as a side with roast chicken or pork chops, or even salmon or trout. Toddler likes his with a few slices of cucumber, a sigh of resignation, and that one specific Cookie Monster cup filled with mango juice, not apple. We don’t have mango? Apple is fine. Another sigh.

Recipe perks: Gluten & soy free (if not using homemade stock, check ingredients on package), easily made vegetarian or vegan. Kid-friendly. Note: If you are using homemade or low-sodium stock, you may want to add an additional half teaspoon of salt.

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