School lunches… like we need another hurdle in our day! You want to provide nutritious, filling food that your child will actually eat, BUT it has to be packable.
What’s a way to encourage most kids to eat veggies? Making them dippable! Here are 5 dairy-free dippable, packable school lunch ideas approved by my kindergartener.
1) Eggplant dippers
Cucumber slices, bell pepper strips, grape tomatoes, and whole wheat pita are perfect for dunking in this eggplant dip. Pile half of an apple — sliced — into a snack size container for an energy boost later in the day.
Eggplant dip: 1 chopped eggplant and 6 peeled whole cloves of garlic drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper, then roasted at 425F until softened. Add the roasted veggies, 1/4 cup of tahini, and 1/4 of olove oil to your food processor and blend. Scrape food processor sides with a spoon. Add a handful of raw grape tomatoes, 2 spoonfuls of olive spread, a hefty handful of fresh basil, and blend. Scrape down the food processor sides and taste. Add salt, pepper, and garlic powder if desired. Blend and serve.
2) Asian Sunbutter Sauce Dippers
Veggie dipping gets international, peanut-free flare with this take on crudite. Add sliced radishes, sugar snap peas, baby corn, dairy-free sesame crackers, and a few sheets of dry roasted seaweed (like this) to a container with a side of Asian Sunbutter sauce for dipping. Toss some washed red grapes in a snack container for later.
Asian Sunbutter sauce: Place 2 Tbl Sunbutter, 2 Tbl mirin, 1 Tbl reduced sodium Teriyaki sauce, 1 tsp sesame oil in a ramekin. Microwave for 20 seconds to soften the Sunbutter. Mix well then transfer to a small container.
3) Black Bean Dippers
Hearty and healthy, black bean dip is a multi-use dish. Stuff, spread, or scoop… it’s a great back-pocket protein-rich, tummy-filling recipe to have on hand. For this lunch, add a few spoonfuls of the homemade bean puree to a small container. Serve bell pepper strips, celery sticks, and plantain chips for dipping. Add fruit salad to a small container for a sweet snack.
Black Bean Dip: grab a blender cup and pour in 1 can of drained and rinsed black beans, 2 spoonfuls of pico de gallo, the juice of 1 lime, 2 Tbl olive oil, 1 Tbl cumin, 1 Tbl chili powder, 1/2 Tbl garlic powder, as well as salt and pepper to taste. Blend. Scoop, dip, serve, or refrigerate for later use.
4) Marinara Dippers
Scoop your favorite dairy-free marinara into a small container. Toss a couple of raw broccoli florets, some dairy-free bread sticks, and a few dairy-free meatballs in a container for dipping. (If your containers slosh, tuck the breadsticks into a plastic baggie.) Place some grapes in a snack size container for later noshing.
5) Creamy Teriyaki Dippers
To make Teriyaki less spill-prone, let’s thicken the sauce. In a blender, whir together 1 Tbl of reduced sodium Teriyaki sauce with 2 Tbl of Tofutti Better Than Ricotta. Pour the sauce into a small container. Add radishes, sugar snap peas, baby corn, dry roasted seaweed, and a few sesame crackers for dipping. Tangerine segments and grapes make a refreshing snack. (If your sauce tends to spill over in the container in transit, pop the crackers and seaweed in a plastic baggie.)