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9 Great Ways To Hide Vegetables In A Meal

9 Great Ways To Hide Vegetables In A Meal


When it comes to the food I serve my family, I lie through my teeth.

My husband won’t eat onions, which he loves but fears will make his breath stink.

I, on the other hand, can’t cook (or live) without onions. Ever since our first week of marriage, I’ve told Greg those tiny, translucent specs in his food are celery bits.

Our son never ate a vegetable until he was 12 — or so he thought. I’d lace his cookies with pureed carrot, and his brownies with pureed sweet potato.

Do I feel guilty lying about food? Nah. A mom’s gotta do, what a mom’s gotta do to get her family to eat nutritiously  – whether they know it or not.

Here are some food capers I’ve pulled over the years. Try one out tonight.

1. Veggie Meatballs: Add chopped spinach or shredded carrots to chopped beef or turkey. Throw in some raisins or pine nuts for extra punch.

2. Root Fries: Instead of frying white potatoes, julienne other root vegetables, like turnips or celery root; sprinkle with a little salt, and bake.

3. Mashed Potatoes Surprise: Mash together half potato, half white vegetable like parsnip or cauliflower. If your family is easily fooled, forget about the potato, and just mash the other vegetables.

4. Zucchini Crunch: Coat zucchini strips with a seasoned batter, and fry (or bake).

Oven baked zucchini fries Image credit: willfolsom via flickr

Get the recipe: Zucchini Oven-Baked Fries

5. Fruit (and Vegetable) Juice: Juice together just about any fruit with any vegetable to get a sweet, vitamin-packed beverage. My family’s favorites are apple/carrot and pineapple/celery juice.

6. Tomato Sauce-Plus: Add pureed broccoli, carrots or cauliflower to your child’s favorite tomato sauce, and pour over bow-tie pasta.

7. Vegetable-Topped Pizza: Instead of topping pizza with vegetables (too obvious), spread sautéed onions, mushrooms, or peppers onto a pizza crust, cover with tomato sauce, and top with mozzarella.

8. Taco Night: Somehow veggies seem less vegetable-like when they’re shredded and stuffed into a crunchy taco shell.

9. Carrot Cake: It’s cake; it’s carrot; what could be bad serving this dessert as a special treat?

OK, fess up. How have you tricked your family into eating vegetables?

Zucchini Chocolate Chip Cookies
Chocolate Beet Cake
The Secret to Killer Green Smoothies
Zucchini Oven Fries

Read more: Food, Children, Diet & Nutrition, Eating for Health, Fitness, General Health, Side Dishes, Teens

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Lisa Kaplan Gordon

Lisa Kaplan Gordon, creator of, is an award-winning journalist, avid gardener and fly-fisher. She lives in Northern Virginia on a half acre that always needs weeding. Please visit her on Twitter (@kaplan_lisa) and Facebook (Lisa Kaplan Gordon)


+ add your own
7:08PM PDT on Jul 22, 2015

Great ideas, thanks.

11:57PM PST on Jan 25, 2015

If my partner was rude enough and juvenile enough to refuse the food I'd prepared him on the grounds he doesn't like one of the ingredients in it he'd be my ex. Simple as

3:15AM PST on Jan 9, 2015

Lisa, I bet those picky eaters are so addicted to sweets that they refuse to eat all non-sweet food.

3:03AM PST on Jan 9, 2015

Why hide? Vegetables taste great.

12:53AM PDT on Oct 12, 2014

Thank you!

12:40AM PDT on Oct 8, 2014

Thank you!

12:07PM PDT on Sep 20, 2014

Humm, why hide veggies?? I suppose that anyone that has to ask that question has never encountered a very picky eater! Nor have they sat & watched a child scream & cry, begging & pleading to not have to eat onions or green peppers! How long can your child go without food, mine can go a very long time! I'll also bet that they have never lived with a spouse that absolutely refused to eat the meal you worked hard to cook if you put beans in it! Yes, I hide veggies & beans! If that's the worst thing I ever do to my family I think I can live with it. :)

1:34AM PDT on Jul 23, 2014

When I read this article I find myself on alien territory. My parents had the final say in our house and we ate what was cooked and served up at meal times. We had no choice. Treats like sweets, chips and fizzy drinks were a once a week event which we keenly looked forward to. My mom understood nutrition for growing children and prepared tasty meals which were no hardship to eat. Thanks mom!

7:05AM PDT on Jul 16, 2014

I don't have human kids only furry ones, so I don't have the issue of having to hide veggies in food, but funny enough, my cat's L-O-V-E all kinds of greens! When I break open the salad container they all come running & will actually vocalize their want for some!, even steal some from the bowel I am preparing! Likewise for my bag of "power greens"! I swear they go bonkers if I don't give them some, which of course, I do!, since it is good for them! Anyone else have cat's or dog's that go crazy for greens? Thanks for the great tips I will pass along to my family member's that have kids.

9:16AM PDT on Jul 15, 2014

Also zucchini bread

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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