Kids sure do love simple (but not always healthy) foods. I bet you were the same when you were a kid, and those first foods always stay with you well into adulthood. Many of those old foods aren’t vegan though, which is a problem when you’re reminiscing and you want to take a bite of your past. Check out these 10 childhood favorites made vegan:
1. Macaroni and Cheese
Creamy and yellowish orange, macaroni and cheese is as American home-style as it gets. Kids’ menus usually feature some variation of this dish, and so why not make it vegan? Don’t take a block of cheese and shred it into gluten-filled noodles — that’s a gut bomb waiting to explode. Instead, make this vegan recipe that’s still decadent but not as bad.
Kids love the ooey-gooey cheese piled atop the crispy (or soft!) bottom layer of pizza. Pizza seems to be ubiquitous at all kid parties and school events, which is why you probably crave it now even as a vegan! Your memories are probably swimming with pizza occasions. To solve this issue, here is a wonderful recipe for vegan mozzarella cheese and pizza.
3. Fish Sticks/Sandwiches
Fish sticks have a unique, velvety inside and a crispy outer coating which most kids adore and you, as a kid, adored. Baked or fried fish fillets offer about the same amount of enjoyment too, especially when they’re slathered in tartar sauce and stuffed between two sesame seed buns. Making vegan fish sticks/fillets is not very difficult — all you really need is cornmeal, wheat flour, and a brick of tofu. Check out this recipe for more info on how to create your very own vegan fish sandwich!
4. Chicken Fingers
Crunchy, salty, and fun to hold, chicken fingers and chicken nuggets are the go-to meal for families when their kids are starving. To veganize these little buggers, you can use different grains, pea protein, and flax seeds, as delineated in this recipe. Sure, vegan “chicken fingers” aren’t identical to the real deal, but they still taste delicious and are better for the environment.
5. Pork n’ Beans
My mom used to work late sometimes when I was a little kid, and on those days, my dad would have to cook dinner. His dinner would usually consist of opening a can of pork n’ beans and heating it up in his favorite old pan. I loved those slightly sweet and ultimately savory beans, and thinking about them brings me back to those times. Because pork n’ beans are sweet, most kids enjoy them, but the pork is not at all vegan friendly. Don’t fret, though, substitute the pork for fake meat or leave it out and pair it with these beans after you’ve spiced them up!
If there is one thing kids seem to enjoy, it’s probably fresh-baked bread (who doesn’t love the smell and taste of homemade bread?). Memories abound in my own mind of when I was a child and my mom made pans of rolls. If you’re not celiac, then you should make this fun-shaped bread, created by Mayim Bialik, for them to pet and devour! If you maintain a gluten-free household, here’s a different recipe!
7. Banana Bread
My dad is the ultimate baker: he makes cookies, bread, quick bread, and cakes like a pro. Whenever we have spotty bananas, he always likes to puree them for banana bread. I remember when I was a kid, banana bread was my absolute favorite. A memory comes to mind when I was having digestive issues, and my dad sliced me a fresh piece of his bread and a cup of milk to help. I felt so loved because of his kindness. If you weren’t into banana bread as a kid, that’s ok, but this recipe is really special, so give it a try.
8. French Toast
We would sometimes watch the Food Network as a family, and my dad saw this one show that featured banana and peanut butter stuffed French toast. He absolutely had to make it for himself and my brother after seeing the stunning image of the dish on TV. So, he got out the bread and the rest of the ingredients and whipped it up the next morning. The only problem with traditional French toast in the vegan world is its’ use of eggs and milk, but that’s just a minor issue that can easily be righted: check out this recipe for the solution!
When my brother was about seven, we went to Disneyland, and all he would eat was cheeseburgers for lunch and dinner and even once for breakfast. I’m not saying all seven year olds are like my brother, but some kids do crave cheeseburgers possibly because of the spices and creamy cheese that comes with it. To transform a cheeseburger into a vegan burger, check out this marvelous recipe!
10. Spaghetti and Meatballs
Slimy yet satisfying, spaghetti is a kid’s best friend! This quintessential combo of noodles, tomatoes, and mounds of goodness is a quick meal that’s fun to eat and twirl and easy to fix. This lovely, old world concoction can simply be made vegan by a mere ingredient swap: vegan pasta, tempeh or soy meatballs, vegan cheese, and dairy free tomato sauce. Check out this recipe that is sure to please that little kid bubbling inside of you!
Make all of these nostalgic recipes from your childhood past. They are simple and fun to eat as an adult just as they were when you were a kid.
Lead image source: Bad Ass Vegan Fish Sandwich