Plant Powered Recipes by Monika Dykas

Plant Powered Recipes by Monika Dykas


We are so excited to feature a guest blog post by Monika Dykas of @kidsgovegan. Monika has compiled some of her favorite, easiest snack and lunch ideas. And with back-to-school here (whatever that looks like for you!) we need all the ideas we can get!

When preparing lunches for kids, it’s all about balance. A healthy balanced meal would include at least one food from each food group:

  • Grains and starches
  • Legumes
  • Vegetables (non-starchy) and fruits
  • Healthy fats

To get the most out of each meal, you should choose if you want to focus on calcium or iron. Since both nutrients fight for absorption, it’s best to serve them separately.

Here are some examples of iron focused meals:

Quinoa Buddha Bowl


1 cup cooked quinoa
1 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 tbsp lemon juice
½ cup steamed zucchinis 
½ cup steamed carrots
¼ cup tomatoes, raw, diced
¼ cup avocado, cubed
Salt or other spices for seasoning


Combine cooked quinoa with black beans and lemon juice and give it a stir. Add steamed zucchinis and carrots. Top with fresh diced tomatoes and avocados.

Fried Pineapple Rice


2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 cup broccoli florets, cut in small pieces
1 ½ cup pineapple, canned or fresh
2 cups brown rice, cooked
1 cup green peas, cooked
Salt or other spices for seasoning


Heat olive oil in a pan and saute onion and bell peppers for 5-8 minutes or until soft. Add broccoli and 2 tbsp of water. Cover and simmer for 3 minutes. 

Add cooked rice, pineapple and peas and give it a stir.

Serve warm.

Lentil Soup


3 tbsp olive oil
1 cup onion, brown, finely diced
1 tbsp garlic, minced
1 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp cumin
1 cup lentils, brown, dry
1 cup water
2 15-oz cans canned tomatoes
1 ½ tsp salt
½ cup spinach, blanched for 1 minute


Heat olive oil in a pan. Once hot add onions and saute until soft. 

Add spices and saute for another minute. 

Add dry lentils, water, canned tomatoes and salt. Simmer for 20 minutes.

Add blanched spinach and give it a stir. 

Serve along with roasted potatoes.

Here are some ideas of calcium-rich meals:

Vegetable Curry with Wild Rice


2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion
2 bell peppers
2 tbsp red curry paste
1 can coconut milk, full fat
3 cups broccoli
1 14oz package tofu, firm, broiled or fried
Wild rice for serving

Heat olive oil in a pot. Add onions and bell pepper and saute until soft.

Add curry paste, coconut, broccoli and tofu. Bring to a boil and simmer for 3 minutes. 

Serve with wild rice.



2 cups plant-based milk
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
1 tbsp tapioca starch 
1 tbsp arrowroot starch
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp turmeric
1 box of whole grain pasta, cooked
2 cups broccoli, steamed


Combine all ingredients except for the pasta in a pot. Whisk well. 

Bring to a boil, simmer for 30 seconds while whisking constantly. 

Add cooked pasta and turn off the heat. Stir until all pasta is coated in sauce. Serve with steamed broccoli.

And let's not forget about snacks!

For snacks, pick at least two foods from the food groups mentioned above and build your meal according to it. The same principle applies here, choose which nutrient you want to focus on: calcium or iron.

Examples of iron-rich snacks:

  • Hummus and veggie sticks
  • Black bean dip with corn tortilla chips
  • Whole grain almond butter and apricot jam sandwich

Examples of calcium-rich snacks:

Peanut Butter Chocolate Smoothie


1 1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 tbsp peanut butter
1/2 tbsp. cocoa powder
1 banana
1 tsp flax seeds
2 dates (optional)


Put all ingredients in a blender and mix until smooth.

Chia Pudding


2 cups plant-based milk
¼ cup chia seeds


Combine milk with chia seeds and give it a good stir.

Store in the fridge for a few hours. Serve with fresh fruit and lemon juice. For extra sweetness, you can drizzle with maple syrup. 

Keep in mind that ideally, you would alternate between an iron-rich meal and calcium-rich meal. And give yourself grace when that doesn't always happen!

For more help on how to balance and prepare nutritious meals for the whole family, grab the Plant Based Guide. If you want to make sure your child is getting 26 essential nutrients, grab the Perfect Plant Based Meal Plan for Kids.

Monika Dykas, @kidsgovegan