28 High-Protein Vegetarian Recipes for Toddlers

Many toddlers are picky when it comes to eating meat, even if they’re not on a vegetarian diet. Here is an ultimate roundup of high-protein vegetarian recipes for toddlers, featuring quinoa, beans and lentils as primary ingredients.

When it comes to toddlers’ picky eating habits, one of the food groups I hear most about is meat. Meat can be tricky – it needs to be prepared a certain way that makes it easy for little ones to eat, and the texture can sometimes be offputting. While it’s important to continually expose your child to animal proteins (if your toddler isn’t on a vegetarian diet), there are tons of other ways to ensure your babe is getting this vital nutrient.

Here’s a roundup of 28 fantastic high-protein vegetarian recipes for toddlers, broken down by meal. Seriously, though, there is so much inspiration here! And if you want more tips on how to deal with a picky eater, check out these 9 Easy Ways to Combat Picky Eating in Toddlers.

Without further ado…

BREAKFAST

1. PB&J Quinoa Bowl

Just hold the crunchy almond slivers!

Two PB&J Quinoa Breakfast Bowls complete with toppings, sitting atop striped dish towels.
by CaliGirl Cooking
2. quinoa berry breakfast bowl instant pot
An overhead shot of two Quinoa Berry Breakfast Bowls.
by Green Scheme
3. quinoa blender pancakes
by The Saucy Fig
4. 5 Ingredient eggy quinoa cups
A pan of 5-Ingredient Eggy Quinoa Cups.
by Kidgredients
5. crispy vegan waffles with lentil protein
A plate of Crispy Vegan Waffles with Lentil Protein topped with berries and powdered sugar.
by My Pure Plants

LUNCH

6. baked zucchini, feta and Quinoa Bites
A board full of quinoa bites.
by Whole Food Bellies
7. broccoli cheddar quinoa bars
A stack of two broccoli cheddar quinoa bars.
by Served From Scratch
8. lentil falafel with lime yogurt
A cast iron pan of lentil falafel with lime yogurt dip.
by Greedy Gourmet
9. Veggie Bean Burger
A close-up shot of a veggie burger.
by Spice Cravings
10. easy 15-minute quinoa bites with peas
A stack of 5-ingredient quinoa bites.
by Bite-Sized Kitchen
11. black bean salad with avocado
A bowl of Black Bean Salad with Avocado.
by Dancing Through the Rain

SNACKS

12. roasted cauliflower hummus with rosemary and garlic
Roasted Cauliflower Hummus with Rosemary & Garlic | CaliGirl Cooking
by CaliGirl Cooking
13. easy basil lentil dip
A close-up shot of a bowl of Easy Basil Lentil Dip surrounded by chips.
by The Missing Lokness
14. lemon tahini lentil hummus
An overhead shot of a bowl of Lemon Tahini Lentil Hummus surrounded by fresh rosemary and lemons.
by Bucket List Tummy
15. 5-Minute pumpkin curry hummus
This 5-Minute Pumpkin Curry Hummus takes your average Mediterranean dip and kicks it up a notch with a ton of added flavor. The perfect appetizer or side dish for your next dinner party!
by CaliGirl Cooking
16. kid-friendly quinoa fritters
An overhead shot of a bowl of quinoa fritters with a bowl of marinara dipping sauce.
by Wendy Polisi

DINNER

17. goat cheese quinoa and broccoli casserole in the instant pot
An overhead shot of a bowl of Goat Cheese, Quinoa and Broccoli Casserole.
by Whole Food Bellies
18. vegan white bean mac-and-cheese
A bowl of Vegan White Bean Mac and Cheese with fresh vegetables.
by Rhian’s Recipes
19. pasta e fagioli
A spoonful of pasta e fagioli.
by Christina’s Cucina
20. Instant Pot Lentil Stroganoff
An overhead shot of Instant Pot Lentil Stroganoff.
by Nourish Nutrition Co.
21. enchilada quinoa casserole
A finished dish of Enchilada Quinoa Casserole.
by My Kitchen Love
22. cheesy lentil bake
A finished pan of Cheesy Lentil Bake.
by Love In My Oven
23. one-pot black-eyed peas and spinach rice in instant pot
A bowl full of Black-Eyed Peas and Spinach Rice.
by Piping Pot Curry
24. 15-minute lentil sloppy joe stuffed sweet potatoes
A Lentil Sloppy Joe stuffed sweet potato ready to be devoured.
by Lemons and Zest
25. lentil pizza crust
A sliced pizza featuring Lentil Pizza Crust.
by This Healthy Kitchen
26. lentil tacos
A plate full of Mexican Lentil Tacos.
by Recipes From a Pantry

TREATS

27. Healthy quinoa almond date truffles
A plate of Quinoa Almond Date Truffles.
by Ministry of Curry
28. oatmeal quinoa chocolate chip cookies
A gooey quinoa chocolate chip cookie broken in half.
by Served From Scratch

If you have or come across any other great high-protein vegetarian recipes for toddlers, please let me know about them in the comments below! xo

Miso Furikake Hummus for Next-Level Snacking

This Miso Furikake Hummus takes your hummus snack game to the next level. Umami-rich miso takes the place of traditional tahini and furikake – the favorite Japanese seasoning – is sprinkled on top to give your hummus a flavor like you’ve never tasted before.

A bowl of Miso Furikake Hummus surrounded by fresh vegetables.

I’ve mentioned it before, but I love being inspired for new recipes and flavor combinations by all my travels. While I’m most often inspired to make a travel-inspired dish AFTER I get home from a trip, today I’m sharing something I came up with recently while anxiously anticipating our vacation to Kauai next week. This Miso Furikake Hummus is pretty life-changing, so why don’t you pull up a seat and we’ll talk about it.

It’s no secret that homemade hummus is one of my favorite things to make. As long as you own a food processor or high-powered blender, it’s so easy to make! There are tons of recipes for it here on the blog, including this Mango Sriracha Hummus, this Pumpkin Curry Hummus, this Portobello Hummus and this Roasted Cauliflower Hummus with Rosemary and Garlic.

But today I’m stepping outside of the box even more than I’ve done in the past, and bringing you a Pacific island-inspired version with this umami-rich version featuring miso and furikake.

A close-up shot of Miso Furikake Hummus surrounded by fresh vegetables.

In case you’re not too familiar with either of these tasty Asian ingredients, here’s a quick run-down:

What is Miso??

Miso is a Japanese paste made from fermented soybeans and barley or rice malt. It’s considered a probiotic because of its live, active cultures, which means it not only tastes delish but is also great for your tummy! If you’ve ever ordered soup as a starter at a sushi restaurant, you’ve most likely already been exposed to the flavor of miso.

What is Furikake??

Furikake is a Japanese seasoning mix made of dried seaweed, dried fish, sesame seeds and other spices. It’s most often sprinkled on top of rice, but I also love adding it to grilled salmon or on top of avocado toast. I’ve even been known to add it to popcorn or high-quality butter from time to time.

Where Do I Buy Miso and Furikake?

Miso has become fairly mainstream, so you should find it at any “health food” store like Sprouts or Whole Foods.

Furikake is not quite so mainstream yet, but the good news is that it’s shelf-stable and lasts a fairly long time, so you can stock up the next time you find yourself at an Asian market or just order yourself some on Amazon [affiliate link].

How to Make Miso Furikake Hummus

When you combine miso and furikake in a creamy dish like hummus, the results are out of this world. The process is pretty easy, too.

Did I mention there are only six ingredients?

Simply add garbanzo beans, miso paste, lemon juice, garlic and olive oil to a food processor or high-powered blender and process until smooth.

Once that’s done, scoop the hummus out into your serving vessel and sprinkle on a generous dose of furikake. Can it get any easier than that?

A bowl of Miso Furikake Hummus nestled into a bamboo steamer surrounded by fresh vegetables.

This Miso Furikake Hummus is best enjoyed within the first day or two of making it, so be sure to have some fresh-cut veggies and taro chips at the ready [affiliate link].

Do you have a favorite recipe featuring miso or furikake? I’d love for you to let me know in the comments below!

Miso Furikake Hummus
Prep Time
10 mins
Total Time
10 mins
 

This Miso Furikake Hummus takes your hummus snack game to the next level. Umami-rich miso takes the place of traditional tahini and furikake - the favorite Japanese seasoning - is sprinkled on top to give your hummus a flavor like you’ve never tasted before.

Course: Appetizer, Side Dish, Snack
Keyword: appetizer, Asian, furikake, Hawaiian, healthy, hummus, miso, side dish, snack
Servings: 8 people
Calories: 139 kcal
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 1 15-ounce can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 tablespoon miso paste
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons furikake
  • Fresh vegetables, to serve
  • Taro chips, to serve
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients except furikake, vegetables and chips in a food processor or high-powered blender. Process until smooth with no chunks remaining.

  2. Transfer hummus to serving bowl and top with furikake. Serve with fresh vegetables and taro chips.

Recipe Notes

DISH DENSITY: Low

Cranberry, White Bean and Grain Salad with Fresh Herbs

This festive vegan grain salad is full of tart cranberries, protein-rich white beans, pine nuts, and the freshest herbs of the season.

This Cranberry, White Bean and Grain Salad with Fresh Herbs is the perfect vegan side dish for Thanksgiving.

We’re stepping a bit outside the Thanksgiving box today. Because, although not a traditional holiday side dish, this Cranberry, White Bean and Grain Salad with Fresh Herbs is completely worthy of a spot on your holiday table. It’s full of dried cranberries, whole grains, white beans and seasonal fresh herbs like fresh rosemary, sage and thyme. It’s quite literally a Thanksgiving explosion in your mouth. You’re going to get this one on the menu STAT.

Grain Salads FTW

I’ve been a big fan of grain salads for quite a while now, as evidenced by this Spring Fava Bean and Burrata Grain Salad, this Fresh Corn, Leek and Edamame Grain Salad and this Herbed Grain Salad with Broccoli Rabe and White Beans. I love them because they are filled with a ton of healthy ingredients and filling to boot. The whole grains give them plenty of heft to make them completely suitable as an entire meal, although they are equally delicious served alongside other delicious dishes you typically serve up for a holiday meal.

I’m not joking when I say tell you this Cranberry, White Bean and Grain Salad with Fresh Herbs tastes like your entire Thanksgiving menu in a bowl. Sure, there’s no turkey in there (although you could easily add some) but just the cranberries and the fresh herbs alone are enough to mentally transport you to arguably the most well-known food holiday of the year. I love allll the fresh herbs, but there’s also just something about fresh sage in a recipe that really screams fall and all the deliciousness that comes with it.

A bowl of this Cranberry, White Bean and Grain Salad with Fresh Herbs is filling enough to be a delicious vegan holiday meal.

Don’t Go Against the Grain

As far as making the dish goes, it couldn’t be easier. Not only does it come together fairly quickly (the longest step will be cooking up the grains) but it can also be made in advance and served cold or at room temperature. This means it’s easy to fit into an already busy cooking and kitchen schedule once T-day rolls around.

For the whole grains, I used a combination of farro and Italian couscous because they were what we had on hand, but feel free to use other varieties such as quinoa, barley or even wild rice. I also added in some toasted pine nuts, and I highly recommend you do not skip this step, even if you want to sub in some other type of toasted nut for that little extra crunch. (Pecans? Almonds? So many possibilities.)

This Cranberry, White Bean and Grain Salad with Fresh Herbs is an easy, make-ahead side dish for the holidays.

I would also like to point out that said Cranberry, White Bean and Grain Salad with Fresh Herbs is completely vegan, which makes it a delicious, high-protein option for anyone in your group that may have certain dietary preferences. It’s a great way to serve them up some protein and filling flavor without having to bend over backwards trying your hand at a Tofurkey creation.

Since I was developing recipes so far in advance this holiday season due to our little one’s arrival, I served this up as a side dish at my mother-in-law’s birthday celebration we held down here in Santa Barbara at the beginning of October. Let’s just say my sisters-in-law were already requesting I make it as our contribution to the Thanksgiving meal when we go celebrate with them in a couple of weeks.  I hope you decide to add it to your menu as well!

Serve this vegan Cranberry, White Bean and Grain Salad with Fresh Herbs as a hearty side dish or light, healthy meal during the holidays.

Cranberry, White Bean and Grain Salad with Fresh Herbs
Prep Time
10 mins
 

This festive vegan side dish is full of filling whole grains, protein-rich white beans and pine nuts, and the freshest herbs of the season. 

Course: Main Course, Salad, Side Dish
Servings: 6 servings
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 2 cups cooked grains of your choice (I used a combination of farro and Italian couscous)
  • 2 15.5-ounce cans Great Northern or white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • 3/4 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh sage
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 1/2 cups dried cranberries
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Instructions
  1. Toss all ingredients together in a large bowl. Serve immediately or refrigerate up to two days before serving.

Cranberry, White Bean and Grain Salad with Fresh Herbs | CaliGirlCooking.com

Pear and Plum Breakfast Polenta with Maple Syrup

This breakfast polenta features pears and plums sauteed in cinnamon and brown butter, crunchy toasted almonds and a drizzle of maple syrup. 

Pear and Plum Breakfast Polenta with Maple Syrup is hearty, filling and delicious.

If you’re looking for the perfect dish to change up your morning meal game, this Pear and Plum Breakfast Polenta with Maple Syrup is the answer!

If I had to choose to eat just one meal for the rest of my life, it would probably be breakfast. There are just so many possibilities! You can go sweet or savory, carb- or protein-heavy, big or small…pretty much anything goes. And you could say I’ve really run the breakfast recipe gamut here on CGC – posting everything from a Savory Bacon Oatmeal to these Breakfast Banana Splits to these Maca Chia Cocoa Protein Pancakes. I hope you’re not sick of breakfast recipes, because they are just gonna keep on a-comin’.

But really, what we’re here to talk about today is my latest breakfast obsession: this Pear and Plum Breakfast Polenta with Maple Syrup! It’s got the perfect balance of cozy fall flavors while still hanging on to the last few hints of summer, and did I mention it tastes amazing? Seriously, if you haven’t enjoyed polenta loaded with your favorite roasted fruits for breakfast yet, your life is going to change completely as soon as you put a spoonful of this in your mouth.

A bowl of Pear and Plum Breakfast Polenta with Maple Syrup is the perfect start to a busy morning.

So here’s the scoop (literally): You’ll want to find some quick-cooking polenta and get a hold of the ripest, juiciest fresh pears and plums you can find. You’ll also need some almond milk, maple syrup and plenty of cinnamon (we’re talking sticks AND ground – no holding back here!)

Quick-cooking polenta is pretty magical in that you can make it in no time at all, so our Pear and Plum Breakfast Polenta with Maple Syrup is totally achievable even on weekday mornings.

While your polenta is cooking (in some glorious unsweetened vanilla almond milk to give it an extra creamy flavor), you’ll want to get your pear and plums sautéing in their delicious bath of browned butter and cinnamon. You’ll also want to be sure you have some toasted slivered almonds on hand –  these babies are the perfect finishing touch and add a nice hit of texture to the rest of the dish.

Oh! And we can’t forget the maple syrup. I know it’s a bit indulgent, but adding some to the polenta as it cooks adds the perfect hint of sweetness to the base of the dish, and I MIGHT also highly recommend drizzling some on top of the assembled dishes when you’re ready to dig in. Can one ever have too much maple syrup as we officially find ourselves celebrating fall in all its glory? I think not.

Whip up some Pear and Plum Breakfast Polenta with Maple Syrup the next time you're looking to change up your breakfast routine.

Speaking of fall and all its glory, I can’t believe it’s already October! Where in the world did September go? I’m continuing to hustle to get some yummy recipes lined up for you while I’m out in maternity leave, but if you have anything specific you’d like to see here on the blog for the holidays, please send suggestions my way!

I hope you all have a wonderful week filled with delicious breakfasts, filling breakfasts like this Pear and Plum Breakfast Polenta! Xx

Pear and Plum Breakfast Polenta with Maple Syrup
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
30 mins
 

This new take on polenta features pears and plums sauteed in cinnamon and brown butter, crunchy toasted almonds and a drizzle of maple syrup.

Course: Breakfast
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 3 cups water
  • 3 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups quick-cooking dry polenta
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup, plus more for drizzling
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 plums, thinly sliced
  • 2 pears, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup toasted slivered almonds
Instructions
  1. Combine the water and unsweetened vanilla almond milk in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add the salt, then sprinkle in the dry polenta. Cook according to polenta package directions. Once polenta is almost through cooking, stir in maple syrup. Keep warm.

  2. Place butter and cinnamon stick in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat and cook until butter is melted and takes on a golden-brown hue, then add sliced plums and pears and sprinkle on ground cinnamon. Sauté until fruit is soft but not mushy, then remove from heat and take out the cinnamon stick.

  3. Spoon a hearty scoop of the polenta into a bowl, top with sautéed fruit and then sprinkle on toasted almonds. Drizzle on more maple syrup if desired.

Pear and Plum Breakfast Polenta with Maple Syrup | CaliGirlCooking.com

Fall Harvest Chopped Salad with Apple Cider Vinaigrette

This Fall Harvest Chopped Salad is full of fresh figs, roasted sweet potatoes, toasted pumpkin seeds and savory pumpkin spice roasted chickpeas.

This Fall Harvest Chopped Salad with Apple Cider Vinaigrette is the perfect healthy meal for fall, featuring loads of fresh produce and savory pumpkin spice roasted chickpeas!

What’s green and orange and purple all over and tastes perfectly in season? This Fall Harvest Chopped Salad with Apple Cider Vinaigrette!

I know it’s not technically fall yet (just a few more days!) but after I took a little trip to the Farmer’s Market this past weekend I just couldn’t resist all of the fall produce I was seeing. Okay, maybe I just became obsessed with the fact that here in Santa Barbara we are deep in the throes of a very short fresh fig season, and I can’t help snatching a bunch of them up whenever I see them because I know they may be gone the next time I head out for groceries.

So yes, this salad stars plenty of fresh figs, but it features so many other fun fall things as well. We’re talking sweet potatoes, pumpkin seeds (aka pepitas) and – wait for it – SAVORY PUMPKIN SPICE CHICKPEAS!! You guys, they’re amazing. Perfectly crispy with all that fun pumpkin spice flavor and then a savory hit of garlic. Even if you don’t make the entire Fall Harvest Chopped Salad, please, please, PLEASE make these savory pumpkin spice chickpeas for a healthy, protein-packed snack. You will not be able to get enough!

Savory pumpkin spice roasted chickpeas are the perfect addition to a Fall Harvest Chopped Salad.

And can we talk for a minute about chopped salads? I love salads served in this way (i.e. all of the ingredients already chopped up into bite-size pieces) for multiple reasons, mostly because (a) you can get a taste of every single ingredient in each bite and (b) you don’t have to worry about looking like a complete dinosaur with a giant piece of lettuce hanging out of your mouth when you try to take a bite. Easy to eat, full of flavor – that’s my kind of healthy meal!

Usually I like to keep things simple with salads and keep the cooking to a minimum, but since we’re heading into fall I figured you wouldn’t mind just a little bit of oven/stove time to really make some of these flavors pop.

This Fall Harvest Chopped Salad with Apple Cider Vinaigrette is going to quickly become your go-to nutritious lunch or dinner for the season, and those savory pumpkin spice chickpeas are probably most definitely going to become your new favorite healthy snack.

This Fall Harvest Chopped Salad with Apple Cider Vinaigrette is the perfect light lunch or dinner to usher in the fall season.

So let’s talk about what all exactly needs to go on here to make this salad come to life.

The only oven time required is for roasting both our sweet potatoes and chickpeas, and the good news is that they can be roasted together, at the same oven temperature, for the same amount of time. How convenient is that?

The only other “cooking” required is toasting up our pepitas, because if there’s one thing I learned during my time as a pastry assistant, it’s that you should be toasting your nuts WHENEVER you are adding them to any sort of recipe. It seriously adds so much flavor and is most definitely worth the extra 10 minutes or so of toasting over the stove.

Aside from the roasting and toasting, all this Fall Harvest Chopped Salad requires is a good tossing in a huge bowl and a drizzle of shallot-tinged apple cider vinaigrette. And speaking of vinaigrette, this one couldn’t be easier. You may have noticed from the other salads I have here on the blog (like this Fall Kale Salad with Easy Balsamic Vinaigrette and this Fresh Fig and Burrata Salad with Toasted Hazelnuts) that I like to keep my dressings simple. I feel like you should really let all of the flavors of whatever produce and other goodies you’re using in the dish shine through and not coat it in a blanket of heavy, creamy, or otherwise overwhelming flavor.

This Fall Harvest Chopped Salad with Apple Cider Vinaigrette feeds a crowd!

The apple cider vinaigrette we drizzle over this fall-forward salad adds the perfect touch of acidity (with a nice apple-y hint of flavor) while the shallots add an extra dimension to all of the other flavors in the mix. My only caution would be to wait and add the dressing right before serving. Since we’re using regular lettuce (as opposed to a heartier green like kale) it will wilt quickly if you leave it soaking in the dressing for too long.

But that’s it! Having this Fall Harvest Chopped Salad with Apple Cider Vinaigrette prepped and ready for dinner tonight is not just a possibility, it’s a necessity!

This Fall Harvest Chopped Salad with Apple Cider Vinaigrette is the perfect healthy meal or side dish for the busy days of back-to-school.

Fall Harvest Chopped Salad with Apple Cider Vinaigrette
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
40 mins
Total Time
50 mins
 

This seasonal, healthy salad is full of fresh figs, roasted sweet potatoes, toasted pumpkin seeds and savory pumpkin spice roasted chickpeas. 

Course: Main Course, Salad
Servings: 4 servings
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
For the savory pumpkin spice chickpeas:
  • 1 15.5 ounce can chickpeas, drained, rinsed and patted dry
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
For the roasted sweet potato:
  • 1 sweet potato, diced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Sprinkle of salt and pepper
Other salad ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds (pepitas), toasted
  • 8 cups chopped red and green lettuce
  • 6 purple figs, quartered
For the apple cider vinaigrette:
  • 1 small shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup avocado oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. In a small bowl, toss together all of the chickpea ingredients. Spread mixture over a small jelly roll pan.

  2. In a separate small baking dish, combine all of the roasted sweet potato ingredients.

  3. Place both the chickpeas and the sweet potato in the oven and roast for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, open the oven and give the chickpeas a little shake. Roast for an additional 15-20 minutes, or until the chickpeas are crunchy and the sweet potatoes are golden brown and fork tender. Remove and let cool while you prep the rest of the salad.

  4. Place the chopped lettuce in a large salad bowl. Add the figs, pumpkin seeds, sweet potato and chickpeas. 

  5. Combine all vinaigrette ingredients in a Mason jar. Seal and give a good shake. Drizzle dressing over salad right before serving. 

Fall Harvest Chopped Salad with Apple Cider Vinaigrette | CaliGirlCooking.com