Kids Bring You Their Favorite Healthy Recipes – Kveller
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Kids Bring You Their Favorite Healthy Recipes

The faces of the talented young chefs.

Need some new healthy, kid-friendly lunchtime options in your repertoire? Michelle Obama and 54 little talented chefs have just the thing for you.

As part of a project called “The Healthy Lunchtime Challenge,” the First Lady paired up with Epicurious to ask kids  between 8-12 years old to send in their favorite healthy recipes. One recipe from each state (plus a few territories) was chosen and compiled in this free, online cookbook. You can check out the whole cookbook here, and we’ve picked out two of our favorites below. Happy healthy eating!

Stuffed Tomatoes, Jourdann Latney, age 12, Delaware

“My aunt introduced me to chickpeas, and I grow tomatoes and mint in the yard,” reports Jourdann. “This is a high-protein vegetarian lunch. I serve sliced cucumbers with this, and grapes or orange slices for dessert. Beverage choice is plain or flavored water or seltzer water.”

Makes 4 servings


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

1 garlic clove

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

Pinch of dried red pepper


4 medium tomatoes, halved

8 fresh mint leaves


1. In a blender, combine the chickpeas, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, red pepper, and 1 tablespoon water. Blend until thoroughly incorporated. If the hummus is too thick, gradually add more water to make it slightly thinner. Season to taste with salt.

2. Scoop as much pulp as possible out of each tomato half. Divide the hummus among the tomato halves and garnish with mint leaves.

Pesto Pasta, Jonah Schaik, age 12, Illinois

“My mom gave me a recipe challenge to come up with a healthy pasta dish that my little brother with food allergies could eat,” says Jonah. “This recipe is healthy and inexpensive, especially in the summer, when you could grow fresh basil in your yard or in a potting pot on the back porch.” Jonah likes to serve this with a strawberry-banana smoothie made with coconut milk and orange juice.

Makes 6 servings


For the pesto:

4 cups loosely packed fresh basil

5 ounces frozen chopped spinach,

defrosted and drained

5 garlic cloves, crushed

2 tablespoons olive oil

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

For the pasta:

1 pound whole-wheat rotini

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 pound ground turkey breast

½ teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black


2 (14-ounce) cans low-fat, low-sodium

chicken broth

½ onion, cut into small dice

½ red bell pepper, cut into small dice

3 garlic cloves, minced

¼ cup fresh basil leaves, chopped

¼ teaspoon dried red pepper flakes (optional)

¼ cup fresh basil leaves, chopped

¼ teaspoon dried red pepper flakes (optional)


Make the pesto:

1. In a blender or food processor, combine the basil, spinach, garlic, and olive oil. Blend until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Make the pasta:

2. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta until al dente, 8 to 10 minutes. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta cooking water, then drain the pasta and return it to the pot.

3. While the pasta is boiling, cook the turkey: In a large, deep skillet over moderate heat, warm the olive oil. Add the ground turkey and cook, stirring to break up the meat, until just starting to brown, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, then transfer the meat to a plate and reserve.

4. In the same large skillet over low heat, warm 3 tablespoons of the chicken broth. Add the onions and bell pepper, and sauté, stirring occasionally, until softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes. Add the basil and the dried red pepper, and return the cooked turkey to the pan. Add the remaining chicken broth, and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes.

5. Add the pesto to the pasta. Stir well to combine, adding the reserved pasta cooking liquid as necessary to loosen the pesto. Add the turkey sauce to the pasta and cook over low heat, stirring to combine, until heated through. Serve hot.

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