Written by: Stephen Chavez
Do you ever go to your refrigerator and see small pieces of vegetables that by themselves would not make a meal? I’m talking about half an onion in a plastic sandwich bag, a peeled zucchini that has already been diced, a half cup of spinach sitting lonely in a bag that you didn’t use the night before. I always have great, lofty intentions to use these vegetables somehow, but alas, I’ll open up my refrigerator a few days later and find a brown mushy mess in my vegetable crisper. I just end up throwing them away and feeling guilty about it. I would think moms and dads with a number of mouths to feed face this issue every week.
Here’s a recipe that will get your kids excited about vegetables and relieve you from your overwhelming guilt of throwing away that science project sprouting in your fridge. With individualized veggie pizzas, you’ll clean out your refrigerator and make room for the next trip to the Farmers Market.
The key ingredient to successfully have children eat their vegetables is to get them involved and excited about working with you in the kitchen. If they are old enough to handle a knife, let them dice and chop away with your very close supervision. If they’re too young to handle a knife, let them choose what vegetables they want on their individualized pizza. It’s important to remember that your kids need to make the pizza their own creation to be excited about eating it later. An older tween (about 10 to 12 years old) will want to mirror what the adults eat. Show them on your pizza you are adding spinach, broccoli, zucchini and other “exotic” vegetables. Wanting to act like an adult, they will be more adventurous with their vegetable choices. A younger child may not and that’s okay. Little by little, they’ll be adding more and more vegetables, making the pizza look like a junk yard of veggies.
Homemade Individual Veggie Pizzas
1 tbsp. olive oil
¼ cup of zucchini, chopped
¼ cup of bell peppers, chopped
2 tbsp. of yellow or red onion, diced
Whole Grain flat bread (Or any whole wheat pita or frozen pre-made pizza dough)
1/3 cup of marina sauce (your favorite from the grocery store will be just fine)
¼ cup of spinach
½ cup of mozzarella cheese or any other white cheese, shredded
Salt and black pepper to taste
(Optional: sliced jalapeño peppers or red pepper flakes)
Pre-heat oven at 375 degrees. In a medium frying pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add zucchini, bell peppers, and onion. Add the spinach and season with salt and pepper. Cook until tender (about 3 minutes). Remove from heat.
Place the pizza dough on a cookie sheet and spread the marinara sauce to cover completely up to the edge. Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese to evenly cover the pizza dough. With a spatula, evenly spoon the vegetable mixture over the cheese. Place the cookie sheet into the middle rack of the oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes.
As a mother of twin tweens in 2011 and an active Girl Scout Troop leader, Cristy realized there was a need to develop bilingual digital content and foster a community facing the challenges of raising kids after first grade. That year she founded and remains co-Publisher of Los Tweens & Teens, to support multicultural parents and mentors with content related to raising Gen Z- tweens & teens ages 7-18. Through the Los Tweens & Teens LIVE events such as Teens & Me – the growing team aims to provide our community with essential resources from chats with therapists to battle anxiety and bullying, to understanding social media and technology.