SERVING STRATEGIES•Grate or dice the vegetables and add them to chili, hamburgers and meat loaf.
•Don't forget muffins and quick breads as vehicles for grated carrots and zucchini or mashed squash and sweet potatoes.
•Make your own pasta sauces by pureeing flavorful vegetables like red peppers. Kids who won't eat plain cauliflower might eat pasta with cauliflower sauce. (Or, then again, they might not.)
•Kids love finger food, so serve small raw vegetable pieces with low-fat dips and salsas. (Or with that ever-popular kids' dip, ketchup.)
•Sneak leftover vegetables into your child's favorite soup.
•Melt cheese on top of vegetables before serving.
•Use wraps. Try mashing up beans, spreading them on a flour tortilla topped with grated cheese, rolling it and heating in the microwave. The result is a delicious, healthy lunch dish or snack disguised as a fast-food burrito.
If after all your best stealth efforts your child still detects a pea in his soup and threatens to run away to a distant star planet, don't be discouraged. Did you like olives when you were a child? Coffee? Eggplant? Wine? Tastes change and mature as we do. Luce suggests introducing the loathed vegetable again at a later time. "Have patience and expect a lot of trial and error," she says.
And may the Force be with you.
Tracie Richardson and Monique Hooker are the authors of COOKING WITH THE SEASONS: A YEAR IN MY KITCHEN (Henry Holt).
I've made these for my kids a number of times and they never did know until one day they caught me adding the spinach to the batter! They are just as yummy as regular brownies!
Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Line a 9"x13" pan with parchment paper or spray with cooking spray.
Squeeze out the liquid from the spinach.
Place spinach, vegetable oil, milk and carrot juice in a blender and puree until smooth.
In a large bowl, combine the brownie mix, 3 eggs, and the spinach mixture until well blended.
Spread batter into pan and bake 40 minutes.