On favourite four-children-approved suppers

I’m never sure what’s a more irritating description of our family: that we are pescatarians (accurate but a little too technical?); or that we are vegetarians who eat fish (an oxymoron?).

What I’m saying is; we’re awkward, but not that awkward.

In any case we are; we don’t eat meat – and so far, so good with growing children who aren’t completely picky (some of the time) but I do always appreciate reading other family go-to supper ideas and thought I’d start sharing some of ours, in case you also fancy some four-child-approved-no-meat-meals, of the smug and lazy variety.

An overview

Cheese and pastry: a thumbs-up, times four

Our children are fairly good with fruit and vegetables (see this ultimate side dish for a broccoli fave); adore dairy, eggs and cheese (this is our failsafe cheese sauce for cauliflower/macaroni cheese); inhale carbs so long as they are white and involve the words ‘pasta pesto’ – and happily eat fish – from fish fingers/sticks to salmon fillets, fish cakes, fish pie.

This twist on cheesy pasta was a huge hit except for the entirely unacceptable inclusion of courgette * zucchini.

I am always keen, though, to find new recipes that include slightly less-favoured beans, seeds, nuts and pulses (and tofu, but apart from a friend-recommended Gwynneth Paltrow recipe I have had very limited tofu success).

These granola bars include seeds but also a pretty hefty dose of sugar

Having said that, they all love hummus, although I keep failing to make a decent batch of homemade hummus (too garlicky? Not salty enough?). Do you have a failsafe hummus recipe that my struggling expat food processor can handle? (As an aside, this hummus hack from ‘Dinner a Love Story’ has been a fantastic saviour of not-great hummus)

Who knew I could write a paragraph with that many mentions of hummus.

All that to say: any successful Bean-seed-nut-pulse recipe is treated with appropriate respect and appreciation in this household so I felt like I should share some with you.

All four of our children will eat:

Black bean burritos/tacos/quesadillas

Black bean ‘burgers’

White Bean and Vegetable Pie

Kidney bean “meatloaf”

You’ll notice this ‘All-four-will-eat’ category is relatively short. I really love how different our children all are, how unique their emerging personalities: but I also wish they would be a little more obliging with liking the same foods.

So different! So unique! Why can’t they just agree on which foods to like!

Varying numbers of children will eat:

Lentil spaghetti ‘Bolognese’

Lentil cheesy bake


Roasted chickpeas

Carrot and Lentil Soup

More details on these recipes and more to follow over the weeks ahead – but let me know if any in particular are of interest either in the comments or via email and I’ll get on the case.

(Next on my list to try: white bean burgers by Martha Shulman for the NYTimes.) Obviously minus the parsley/sage/thyme/lemon/anything that adds flavour. Said with a gentle eye roll after 8 years of feeding four lovely ‘discerning’ children.

tMatM x



  1. Lyndsee
    February 10, 2018 / 2:49 pm

    Super off topic, but your boot are very cute in the top pic!

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