Thursday, October 20, 2011

Diwali Festival Recipes for Finicky Vegetable Eaters

I'm sure it comes to no surprise that many children are not fans of veggies. According to a survey commissioned by VH Sauces, households across Canada have some moms trying to find clever new tactics to get their kids to eat their veggies.

"And it’s not just the kids, as 16 per cent of the respondents said their spouses are the veggie-phobes. The surveyed moms reported trying everything from intense negotiations to extreme camouflage, cutting vegetables into fun shapes or hiding them in other food.
But VH believes there may be a more straight-forward, fun and Canadian way to increase vegetable approval ratings."

Many of our friends have children who refuse to eat anything that does not come in the form of chicken fingers and french fries.  Finding ways to get veggies into kids can be a challenge sometimes.

One great way to bump up the veggie intake in children can be to introduce a little excitement with some cultural and flavour diversity! Think of it - we can teach our children about other cultures and food at the same time!

{Excerpt from survey findings}

“Canadians have a great appreciation for cultural diversity; the traditions, sights, sounds and flavours that new Canadians have brought with them from all over the world,” said Tony Angelucci, Senior Brand Manager, Meal Enhancers.  “That creates a wonderful opportunity to make mealtime a celebration of cultures, and at the same time change the humdrum meal-time habits we can fall into.”

For example, October 26th marks the beginning of Diwali, also known as the festival of lights.  This five-day festival is one of the most important festivals on the calendar for Hindus, Sikhs and Jains. It is typically celebrated with the preparation of vegetarian dishes to be shared with family and friends."

“Families who may not traditionally celebrate Diwali can use meal-time as an opportunity to learn about a beautiful cultural tradition and a new way to enjoy vegetables,” said Mr. Angelucci.  “And for moms who are not familiar with Indian cooking, we’ll be your ally in the kitchen. Just open a bottle of VH Indian Market Vindaloo Sauce or Mango Curry Sauce to add exciting, delicious-tasting new flavours that just might win over some of those picky eaters.”

VH Indian Market Sauces are available in six flavours: VH Indian Market Vindaloo, VH Indian Market Mango Curry, VH Indian Market Butter Chicken, VH Indian Market Korma, VH Indian Market Tikka Masala and VH Indian Market Tandoori.  The sauces are available at most major grocery retailers for a suggested retail price of $3.69."

You're probably going to hate me for saying this - and, I am totally not trying to be smug here, but our toddler actually likes her veggies. Well, love is a more appropriate word.  She loves chickpeas, spinach, okra, tofu, squash, cucumber, seaweed...and she eats hummus and babaganouj by the spoonful and right out of the bowl.

I know. She's a weird kid, right?

When I read that a not surprisingly high percentage of children have a strong dislike for their veggies, I smiled. Why? This reminded me of my husband!  He actually loves veggies, but only raw veggies. He absolutely abhors cooked veggies! He is also new-ish to culturally diverse foods, but welcomes them wholeheartedly. He's a beef farmer. A real meat and potatoes kind of guy. Having married someone of Filipina/Chinese/Caribbean roots, he has been introduced to food from all over the world.

My husband now loves cooked veggies when they're in dishes that are made with VH Indian Market Sauces. His favourites are VH Indian Market Vindaloo, Korma, Butter Chicken, Tikka Masala, and Tandoori.

Here are some delicious recipes you can try out with your family for your Diwali dinner night!
Sweet Potato and Corn Vindaloo with Spinach
Total preparation time:   15 minutes

4 cups (1 L) sweet potato, peeled and cut into ½ inch cubes
1 ½ cups (375 mL) frozen corn, thawed
1 bottle VH® Vindaloo Cooking Sauce
2 cups (500 mL) baby spinach
1 cup (250 mL) green onions, finely sliced

1.         In a large pot of boiling water cook the potatoes until tender, about ten minutes. Drain, but do not rinse.
2.         In the same pot add corn, sauce, spinach, onions and ½ cup (125 mL) water. Cook two minutes then stir in sweet potatoes. Warm through and serve over rice.

Serves 4. 
Tomato and Chickpea Vindaloo
Level of Difficulty: Easy

Prep time:  2 minutes
Cook time:  13 minutes
Total time:  15 minutes

PAM® Original Cooking Spray
2 pints Grape Tomatoes, sliced in half lengthwise
1 can Chick Peas (about 540 mL), drained
1 bottle VH® Vindaloo Cooking Sauce
1/3 cup (80 mL) fresh Cilantro, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup (80 mL) Green Onions, finely sliced
¼ cup (60 mL) Pumpkin Seeds (optional)

1.         Spray large pot with PAM® Original Cooking Spray.
2.         Heat tomatoes over medium-high heat, cook until tender [about 10 minutes].
3.         Add VH® Vindaloo Cooking Sauce, chick peas and ½ cup (125 mL) water, cover and simmer 3 minutes.
4.         Stir in cilantro, green onions and pumpkin seeds, warm through and serve over rice.

Serves 4.

Tip: This recipe works wonderfully with a variety of the VH® Indian Market Sauces.
Try it with VH® Butter Chicken Cooking Sauce or VH® Korma Cooking Sauce.

Don't these dishes sounds deeeelish?!?! If you don't already do "Meatless Mondays", this is a great way of incorporating vegetarian dishes into your family's dinner practices. Yes, I am "The Beef Farmer's Wife", but we also have vegetarian meals! :)

To find out more about the VH Sauces product line, visit their website:
For more information about the survey, visit VH at .

Disclosure - Information for this post was provided by survey findings at the ConAgraFoods website. I was sent some VH Sauce samples for writing this post.


caninecologne said...

Thanks for sharing those recipes - so easy! I'll have to look for that sauce brand because I'm not sure it's here in the U.S. If not, there are lots of Indian markets in certain parts of S.D.

I'm also glad your LO loves vegetables. Imagine what a Pain in the --- it would be to have to resort to "hiding" or "disguising" or even avoid vegetables due to dislike or allergy. i'm lucky as well in that TC was never a picky kid and is willing to eat any vegetable.

C said...

Hahaha! Yes, that WOULD be a pain in the ---! Some friends of mine were telling me that their kids are on "strike" and not eating anything except chicken fingers and fries. Oh, and fruit. I was telling them that I do believe that kids will eat when hungry and that they won't starve themselves. It's just been hard on them with a really crazy battle of the wills. Toddlers/Pre-schoolers seem to be very willful! ;)

C said...

If you don't have VH sauces in the States, maybe I can send you some?

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City girl moves to the country, falls in love, and marries a farmer. She tries to incorporate her city ways with her new country lifestyle and blogs to keep in touch with friends, family & students who live far, far away :) Can this city girl go country? Watch as she learns all sorts of exciting things about life on the farm and in a small rural community. *UPDATE* We are now parents! Our baby girl was born on Nov. 11, 2008 (at 28 weeks gestation- 12 weeks premature, but she's quite the trooper)!!!
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