Do your kids cringe when they ask you what’s for dinner and it doesn’t involve meat or pasta?

My teens don’t complain outright about vegetarian meals. Rather, after asking, “What’s for dinner?” they deflate if I reply, “Vegetarian.”

What’s a mom to do? For one, I’ve cut back my usage of the “V” word.

It’s not that Louis and Sophie don’t like eating vegetarian meals. Rather, I’ve come to realize that they associate the word “vegetarian” with “healthy” and by default “not yummy.”

So, I’ve begun focusing more on creating flavorful meals that happen not to contain meat.

“Bowl night” vs. “vegetarian bowls” evokes completely different responses.

And “bowl night” is a winner in our household!

Everyone gets to customize their own bowl, and I don’t have to watch my kids eat around or pick ingredients out.

Don’t like tomatoes? No problem!

Anti-olives? Good, more for me!

So the real key to our family bowl night is a freezer item I stumbled upon at Whole Foods- falafel you can bake.

I’ve never made falafel from scratch, but I imagine it takes time, which is in short supply during the work week. Plus, there’s no frying involved!

Nobody is paying me to endorse this product. My kids like falafel, so I went on a hunt and lucked out. It’s one of my go-to hacks for getting a wholesome dinner on the table during the week.

Brush a baking pan with a little olive oil before putting the falafel on it. Into a 425 degree oven they go. Flip after 15 minutes and cook until the falafel crisp up nicely.

Bowl night is also a great way to rid your fridge of odds and ends. Chop up that half a pepper sitting in your fridge. Better yet, ask your kids to help chop! Heat up leftover roasted veggies with the falafel towards the end of baking. The sky’s the limit.

Here are some of the things I’ve been know to set out for our bowl nights. It always varies depending upon what I can scavenge from our fridge.

  • Lettuce and/or spinach
  • Tomatoes
  • Cucumber
  • Carrots
  • Pickled or sautéed onions
  • Red peppers
  • Roasted or sautéed mushrooms
  • Cooked lentils (mine are often leftover)
  • Avocado, chopped or made into guacamole
  • Hummus
  • Tzatziki sauce
  • Olives
  • Feta
  • Whole grain, like brown rice or quinoa (Double up recipe earlier in the week for heat and go)
  • Roasted cauliflower

Basically, my family is eating a big salad for dinner, but I better not let them know that either.

Frozen falafelFalafel recipe

Interested in more recipe and meal tips?
Follow Companion Health on Facebook and Instagram.