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  • Veronica Velez Burgess

Kids Cooking

Updated: May 19, 2020

A plastic chef’s knife can revolutionize the way your kids eat. A child is more likely to eat vegetables if they helped chop them up before putting them in a pot. The chances increase if they choose the vegetables at the food store. They increase even more if you tell them that they will help them be strong and healthy, and they become almost irresistible for them if you help cook them with delicious herbs and flavor, and have kids plate and present their veggies proudly for the family to enjoy.

Ratatouille is a stewed vegetable dish that originates from Southern France, and is a favorite of my family. My kids love to chop up the vegetables, and smell the thyme, oregano, garlic, and any other herbs they want to add to the mix.

This weekend, order your kids some plastic chef’s knives and take your kids to a market and buy tomatoes, zucchini, eggplants, bell peppers, onions, and fresh herbs. Come home, and have them chop the veggies, having a conversation about how colorful and pretty they are. Follow this recipe with them, encouraging them to stop and smell the herbs along the way. Cook a side of brown rice, multigrain pasta, or quinoa, and ask the kids to think of a creative way to plate the food. Perhaps they’d like to place a small bunch of basil or thyme as a plating garnish?

Sit at the table together as a family, and enjoy your meal over a conversation about the vegetables and where they came from, about the recipe and where it came from, and also share two great things about your day.

*Make enough for left-overs to put in a Thermos and send to school in a lunch box the next day!


serves 4-6

1 large onion, chopped

1 large eggplant, cubed

4 medium tomatoes, chopped

2 medium zucchini, cubed

2 bell peppers, chopped (try different bell pepper colors!)

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 sprig thyme1 bunch basil

1 sprig oregano

sea salt

crushed pepper

In a large pot, sauté the chopped onion with a pinch of sea salt and a tablespoon of water until onion is translucent. Add cubed eggplant and add another pinch of salt. Add tomatoes, zucchini, bell peppers, garlic, herbs, and pepper, and let simmer until all vegetables are soft and supple and there is marinating liquid at the bottom of the pot. Serve with brown rice, quinoa, or pasta.

-- I recommend Curious Chef plastic knives

-- You can also buy good quality Herbes de Provence, which is a mix of dried herbs from Southern France

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