9 Prize-Winning, Kid-Friendly, Easy Vegan Recipes


In a world of soda and fast-food, how do we motivate kids to eat healthily?  We can put all the great suggestions from professionals into action:

• we can have nutritious food available

• we can teach (translation: nag) them about what to eat

• we can be good role models

• we can improve on their favorites

• we can make healthy food fun

•we can take them to the supermarket

• we can let them help us cook

Michelle Obama, in partnership with Epicurious, devised an ingenious plan to get kids to eat healthier! Hold a contest and offer a fabulous prize!


Kids from all 50 states and US territories were invited to create an original recipe for a healthy, nutritious and affordable lunchtime meal. The prize? Two seats to the Kids’ “State Dinner” hosted by Michelle Obama (and other VIPs), round-trip tickets to Washington D.C. and hotel accommodations. For 8-12 year-olds and their parents, I think this is a wonderful incentive to get the creative juices flowing.

0709-michelle-obama-kids-state-dinner_full_600I’m sharing this story with you because I’d like to unpeel another layer of it that’s fascinating to me. There’s a significant reason this story spoke to me! There were 54 junior chefs, representing their states and territories, whose recipes won, which translated into 54 creative, inspiring recipes. As I perused all of the recipes, which can be found in a printable “cookbook” on the “Let’s Move” website, I happily noticed an emerging trend….

Out of 54 recipes, 22 of them were meatless: 

9 of the recipes were vegan and 13 were vegetarian!

That would mean that 40% of the delicious, nutritious & affordable recipes dreamed up by 8-12 year olds from all over the country were meatless masterpieces! What could be more inspirational for parents and the older generations of this country who feel the need to put meat in every meal. These kids are the leaders and the future of a movement that is only just beginning!

images-4At Vegan American Princess, we are proud of the all kids who participated in this contest to promoting healthy eating, but we’re especially proud of the vegan recipes because of the passion and creativity displayed. They proved meatless is truly a great choice to make, on every level. Being showcased on Vegan American Princess may not beat shaking hands with the President Obama and the First Lady, but we’d like to show tribute to them just the same! And I’d like to share these vegan recipes with you (below) so that you can recreate them with your kids and for yourselves, because they look delicious, packed full of nutrients and simple to whip up!

Unknown-2We invite the kids whose vegetarian recipes won, to simply modify the animal derived ingredients in order to turn them into vegan dishes and then send them to us. Switch the eggs, dairy and honey ingredients into vegan alternatives and you’ve got it! In fact, if any of the winners would like to transform their prize-winning dishes into vegan versions, we would love to offer them the chance of getting their recipes on Vegan American Princess too!

Click Here To learn about vegan substitutions

images-2All of the people involved in the contest are truly visionaries who see that our future generation needs to turn their health around with the right food and exercise before they quickly become unhealthy adults. Epicurious editor-in-chief,Tanya Steel, and Executive Director of “Let’s Move” and assistant White House chef, Sam Kass, hosted this momentous occasion. President Obama surprised the kids and their parents by stopping by and giving a short speech, chocked full of stories, humor and charm, giving the kids a great thrill…

Click here to read more about the event

Click here to read more about Noah Koch, 9, from Maine, whose recipe was the only one with the word “vegan” in the title, Vegan Powerhouse Pesto Pasta, from a previous post

Click here to check out the Let’s Move website


And now the 9 prize winning vegan recipes…..

Black Bean Wrap with Jicama–Grilled Corn Salsa 

by TADDY PETTIT, 10, of Illinois

 Makes 10 servings


For the black bean wraps:

1 cup dried black beans 1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 medium onion, diced 1 medium carrot, diced

1 rib celery, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

3 cups water

1/2 cup cooked quinoa

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the jicama–grilled corn salsa:

1 cup diced jicama

1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced

1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced

1 jalapeño, seeded and minced

1 cup grilled or boiled corn kernels

1/2 medium red onion, diced (optional)

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup olive oil

To serve:

Whole wheat tortillas Baby spinach leaves Avocado
Fresh cilantro


Make the black bean wraps:

1. Soak the black beans in cold water in the refrigerator overnight. Drain and rinse the soaked beans.

2. In a medium saucepan pan over moderate heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion, carrot, celery, and garlic and sauté, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the beans and 3 cups water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer the beans, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes. Remove the beans from the heat and cool.

3. Transfer the beans to a food processor and purée until smooth. Transfer to a large bowl, add the cooked quinoa, and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper.

Make the jicama–grilled corn salsa:

1. In a medium bowl, toss together the jicama, green and red bell peppers, jalapeño, corn, and red onion, if using.

2. In a blender combine the vinegar, lime juice, garlic, mustard, salt, and pepper. Blend well then slowly add the olive oil. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the salsa and stir to combine.

To serve:

Warm the tortillas in the oven or microwave. Spread 1 tablespoon of the black bean purée down the middle of each tortilla then top with spinach, avocado, salsa, and cilantro. Roll up and enjoy.

363 calories; 9g protein; 44g carbohydrates; 16g fat (2g saturated fat); 446mg sodium

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Sneaky Chili Surprise

by LYDIA FINKBEINER, 9, of Indiana

Makes 10 to 12 servings


4 carrots, diced

1 sweet potato, peeled and diced

1 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil

1/2 large onion, cut into small dice

1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 tablespoon chili powder

1/2 tablespoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground chipotle pepper

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 (15-ounce) cans tomato purée

2 (15-ounce) cans petite diced tomatoes

2 (15-ounce) cans black beans, drained and rinsed

2 (15-ounce) cans cannellini or other white beans, drained and rinsed


1. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Add half the carrots and potato and boil until soft, about 10 minutes. Mash the carrots and potato by hand or purée them in a blender.

2. In a large stockpot, over moderate heat, warm the olive
or vegetable oil. Add the onion, bell pepper, garlic, and the remaining carrots and sweet potato and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the chili powder, cumin, chipotle pepper, salt, and pepper and cook for 3 minutes. Add the tomato purée and tomatoes, as well as the sweet potato and carrot purée and
stir well to combine. Add the black and cannellini beans and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes.

181 calories; 8g protein; 32 carbohydrates; 2.5g fat (.25 saturated fat); 863mg 

• • • • • • • • • • •

Stone Curry with Brown Rice


Makes 8 servings


3 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion, diced

3 cups water

2 (14-ounce) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed

2 medium red-skinned potatoes, diced

1 medium sweet potato, peeled and diced

1 medium tomato, chopped

4 cups finely chopped spinach

1/2 cup jarred mild curry sauce or 1 tablespoon curry powder

4 cups cooked brown rice


1. In a large saucepan over moderate heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion and sauté, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the water and bring to a boil.

2. Add the chickpeas, red-skinned potatoes, sweet potato, tomato, and spinach, one at a time, while talking about the colors and nutrients in each vegetable and how they keep us healthy.

3. Reduce the heat to low and simmer the vegetables until tender, about 10 minutes. Add the curry sauce or powder and simmer for 5 more minutes. Serve over brown rice.

299 calories; 8g protein; 49g carbohydrates; 8g fat (1g saturated fat); 288mg sodium

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 Sweet and Spicy Stir-Fry

by BRYNNA ROBERT, 12, of Louisiana

Makes 4 servings


1 tablespoon canola oil

1/2 fresh pineapple, peeled and sliced

2 medium carrots, sliced on the diagonal

1/2 cup broccoli florets

1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced into thin rings

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger

2 cups cooked brown rice

1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

3 scallions, thinly sliced

3 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce

1 tablespoon chili-garlic sauce (optional)

1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh parsley leaves

1 orange, separated into sections


1. In a medium sauté pan over moderate heat, warm 2 teaspoons of the canola oil. Add the pineapple slices and cook until golden and softened, about 3 minutes. Transfer the pineapple to a plate and set aside. Do not clean the pan.

2. In the same pan, warm the remaining 1 teaspoon of oil. Add the carrots and cook for 3 minutes. Add the broccoli, red bell pepper, garlic, and ginger and sauté, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender and brown, 3 to 4 minutes.

3. Add the cooked brown rice, chickpeas, scallions, soy sauce, and chili-garlic sauce, if using. Stir and continue cooking for 4 more minutes. Add the parsley and the reserved pineapple and stir to combine. Serve the stir-fry with orange wedges to squeeze juice on top.

286 calories; 8g protein; 53g carbohydrates; 5.7g fat (.46g saturated fat); 519mg sodium

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Vegan Powerhouse Pesto Pasta

by NOAH KOCH, 9, of Maine

Makes 8 servings


1 pound quinoa pasta (we like macaroni)

2 ripe avocados, pitted and flesh scooped out

1 cup fresh baby spinach leaves

4 cups fresh basil leaves, plus a few leaves reserved for garnish

1/2 cup walnuts

1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 clove garlic, minced

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup olive oil

1 cup grape tomatoes, cut in half


1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and boil until al dente, about 10 minutes. Drain the pasta and return it to the pot.

2. While the pasta is boiling, combine the avocados and spinach in a food processor and pulse briefly (about 6 times). Add the basil, walnuts, 1/4 cup cannellini beans, lemon juice, garlic, and pepper and pulse about 6 more times. With the food processor on, gradually add the olive oil in a slow, steady stream.

3. Add 3/4 of the sauce to the cooked pasta, tossing gently to coat the noodles. Add the remaining sauce, as desired, and stir to coat the noodles evenly.

4. To serve, transfer the pasta to a big pasta bowl (family- style) and top with the remaining cannellini beans and grape tomatoes. Garnish with the reserved basil.

431 calories; 8g protein; 58g carbohydrates; 20g fat (2.5g saturated fat); 83mg sodium

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 Shefali’s Scrumptious Spring Rolls

by SHEFALI SINGH, 12, of Massachusetts

Makes 2 to 4 servings


For the spring rolls:

8 brown rice paper rounds

1 medium carrot, finely chopped

1 medium cucumber, finely diced

1/2 cup tofu, thinly sliced 1 cup shredded lettuce 1 cup bean sprouts

8 to 10 fresh mint leaves

For the sauce:

1/4 cup peanut butter

1 tablespoon hot water

1 teaspoon vinegar

1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon reduced-sodium soy sauce


Make the spring rolls:

1. Fill a pie dish with warm water. Immerse 1 rice paper round
in the water until pliable, about 15 seconds, then transfer to a cutting board. Place some carrot, cucumber, tofu, lettuce, and bean sprouts in the center of the rice paper round. Each filling should amount to about 2 tablespoons. Add a mint leaf on top. Fold the bottom of the wrapper over the filling then fold both sides into the center, and roll the wrapper up tightly to form a spring roll. Transfer the spring roll to a plate and keep covered with a damp paper towel. Repeat with the remaining rice paper rounds and filling.

Make the sauce:

In a small bowl, whisk together the peanut butter, hot water, vinegar, sugar, and soy sauce. Add more hot water, if needed, to thin the sauce to the desired consistency. Serve the sauce with the spring rolls.

335 calories; 17g protein; 33g carbohydrates; 18g fat (3.5g saturated fat); 552mg sodium

• • • • • • • • • •

Super Rescue Soup

PETER MURPHY, 9, of New York

Makes 6 servings


1/2 cup dried cannellini beans or 1 (15-ounce) can, drained and rinsed

1/2 cup pearl barley

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 small onion, finely chopped

2 medium carrots, scrubbed and finely chopped

2 medium stalks celery, finely chopped

1 medium zucchini, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1/2-inch pieces

3/4 cup green beans, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1 russet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1/2 cup tomato sauce or one medium tomato, chopped

1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)


1. If using dried beans, soak them overnight or do a quick soak (boil for 2 minutes, then remove them from the heat and let soak for 1 hour).

2. In a medium saucepan over moderate heat, cover the presoaked beans with 2 inches of water and cook until tender, about 30 minutes. Add 1 1/4 cups water, bring to a boil, and add the barley. Lower the heat and simmer for 45 minutes. Set aside. (If using canned beans, wait to add them to the soup until step 4.)

3. In a large saucepan over moderate heat, warm the olive
oil. Add the onion, carrots, and celery and sauté, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the zucchini and green beans and sauté until beginning to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the potato and sauté, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes.

4. Add 6 cups of water and the tomato sauce, raise the heat, and bring the soup to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Add the beans and barley and continue to simmer for 5 more minutes. Season with salt, and purée with an immersion blender, if desired.

187 calories; 5g protein; 31g carbohydrates; 5g fat (1g saturated fat); 440mg sodium (does not include banana split fruit salad)

• • • • • • • • • •

Lentil-Spinach Soup and Mint Chutney

GANESH SELVAKUMAR, 9, of Pennsylvania

Makes 6 servings


For the mint chutney:

1/2 cup soaked dried split chickpeas

1 teaspoon olive oil

2 cups packed fresh mint leaves

1 cup chopped onion

2 fresh green chiles, seeded and thinly sliced

1 clove garlic, minced

1 teaspoon tamarind paste

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup water

For the lentil soup:

2 cups cooked red lentils

2 cups chopped spinach

1/4 cup chopped onions

1/2 teaspoon salt

6 cups water

1 teaspoon olive oil

2 fresh green chiles, seeded and thinly sliced

1/4 teaspoon mustard seed

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

Pinch of turmeric

Pinch of cumin seeds


1. In a medium bowl, soak the split chickpeas in 4 cups of water for 30 minutes. Drain the chickpeas and set aside.

2. While the chickpeas are soaking, in a small sauté pan over low heat, warm the oil. Add the mint, onion, green chiles, and garlic and sauté, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let the mixture cool. Transfer to a blender, add the tamarind paste and salt along with the soaked chickpeas and 1⁄2 cup water and blend to make a paste.

Make the lentil soup:

1. In a large saucepan over moderate heat, combine the red lentils, spinach, onion, and salt and cook for 10 minutes. Add the 6 cups of water, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 20 minutes.

2. While the soup is simmering, in a small sauté pan over low heat, warm the oil. Add the green chiles, mustard seed, crushed red pepper, turmeric, and cumin seeds and toast, stirring, until the mustard seeds pop, about 2 minutes. Stir the spice mixture into the soup, divide the soup among bowls, and top with the mint chutney.

352 calories; 23g protein; 58g carbohydrates; 4g fat (.5g saturated fat); 452mg sodium 

• • • • • • • • • •

Bring It On Brussels Sprout Wrap!

CORBIN JACKSON, 9, of South Carolina

Makes 10 servings


2 tablespoons chili powder

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1/2 tablespoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons coconut oil

10 ounces Brussels sprouts, trimmed and finely chopped

1 (15-ounce) can organic pinto beans, rinsed and drained

2 small avocados, pitted

Juice from 2 limes

2 tablespoons chia seeds

10 whole wheat tortillas


1. In a medium bowl, stir together the chili powder, cumin, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, salt, and pepper.

2. In a large sauté pan over moderate heat, warm the coconut oil. Add the Brussels sprouts and the seasoning mixture and cook until the Brussels sprouts soften and wilt slightly, about 5 minutes. Add the beans, lower the heat to low, and cook, stirring often, until the beans are heated through, about 3 minutes.

3. In a small bowl, use a fork to mash the avocados and lime juice into a creamy paste. Add the chia seeds and stir to combine.

4. Spread a thin layer of the avocado mixture on each tortilla then top with the Brussels sprout–bean mixture. Roll up the tortillas, tucking the sides in as you roll.

289 calories; 7g protein; 35g carbohydrates; 13g fat (3g saturated fat); 455mg sodium


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xox Ellen









  1. It’s so exciting that there were so many vegan and vegetarian recipes submitted. These recipes look easy & amazing! If kids can create simple, healthy & delicious plant-based meals, then why can’t we?

  2. This story is truly inspiring! I am glad to see kids coming up with vegan recipes. There is hope for the animals.

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