It’s not pasta, but they ate it

I’ve have heard of children who will eat things other than pasta or rice, but always assumed them an urban myth. I can shove a fish finger or a slice of pizza in mine without too much protest, but vegetables usually only gain access when they are chopped up almost invisible and stuck to little tubes of penne.

So in the spirit of sharing the kind of parenting tips I’d like to receive, here are two meals that my kids have eaten recently that do not contain pasta, but do contain SPINACH and LENTILS. They are not rocket-science recipes, but they did perform miracles.

1) Spinach pancakes

This is a basic pancake mix with spinach blended in to the mix. Trust me, it is surprisingly tasty. I found it on a blog under the headline ‘Spinach pancakes your kids WILL eat‘ – and they were right.

Spinach pancakes for kids

Yum… honest


Two handfuls of spinach
120g plain flour
120ml milk
1 egg
1 tbsp melted butter
Pinch of salt
Bigger pinch of sugar
Small amount of grated nutmeg (1/4 tsp)


Put all the ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth. It’s that simple.
I use about two tablespoons of the mixture for each pancake. Drop them on to the hot pan using the pointy end of the tablespoon. I make them small – more like scotch pancakes, so not super thin.
Cook for about a minute or so on each side.

Give them a go, you might be surprised. Stanley (4) gobbles about five at a time.

2) Dhal

This is a River Cottage Veg Everyday recipe. I hope Hugh doesn’t mind me reproducing it. There’s also a leek risotto in this cook book that the kids love, but I haven’t included it as risotto is basically pasta, in nutritional terms. I use this dhal to replace mashed potatoes – yummy with sausages.


250g red lentils
1 tsp ground turmeric
large pinch of salt
2 tbsp sunflower oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 onion, halved and thinly sliced


Put the lentils in a pan with 800mls of cold water and bring to the boil. Skim off any scum and then add the turmeric and salt.
Simmer on a low-medium heat for 15 mins, stirring every now and then to break down the lentils. You want to keep cooking until the lentils are completely broken down and pureed.

Meanwhile heat the oil in a frying pan and add the cumin seeds. Fry for a couple of minutes until you can smell the fragrance being released. Add the onion and fry ‘fairly briskly’ for 5-10 minutes until golden brown, even a little burnt.

Tip the onions on to the lentils and leave covered for five minutes (not on any heat) before stirring in and serving.

Please let me know if you have any tricks of the trade – or how you get on if you try these ones



Filed under Family, Recipes

6 responses to “It’s not pasta, but they ate it

  1. Using chopsticks, playing at being the waiter (or the diner) making the dinner with you, trying new fruit or veg (buy together at a grocer/farmers’ market) or reverse psychology (I bet you could never eat that) are all methods that sometimes work… I love your spinach pancake recipe and will try it. My tip is always offer healthy (and/or delicious) and if all else fails use dippers (sliced apples etc) in yoghurt. (Ps see my comment on your last entry as I’ve given you a prize!!) Nicola x

  2. I’m going to try the pancakes and bet you could get other veggies in their too! Not so sure re the dhal but it might be worth a crack.

    • The pancakes are well worth a go – the spinach flavour almost becomes sweet, it’s strange. And honestly, I was surprised by the dhal. Admittedly my one-year-old liked it more than the four-year-old, but they both gave it a go.

  3. Mary at Keynko

    I used to feed mine a similar version of the spinach pancakes. Served with ham and a little grated cheese, it was our version of the Dr Seuss “green eggs and ham’

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