Published by Amy Snyder.

Several years ago, I spent my summer break working in a day care. The funniest part of the day was when all the 3- and 4-year-olds in my class would share little secrets about their home life. There were never any bad tales told, just stories that would embarrass the parents slightly if they ever found out, such as a certain parent’s secret love of bad metal music or that one father only wore tighty-whities around the house and nothing else. The best was when one little girl shared that her family watched The Nutty Professor every night for a week; she memorized all the lyrics to KC and the Sunshine Band’s “Get Down Tonight.” She went on to perform the song during show-and-tell every day the next week. Oh, good times.

The absolute worst part of the day was trying to get the children to eat a healthy lunch, especially if there was a vegetable anywhere on the plate. I often thought they would rather starve than eat anything green.

A few weeks ago, I came across a recipe for a mashed potato sundae and realized just how perfect it would be for 3- and 4-year-olds. It’s made by layering mashed potatoes, gravy, veggie burger crumbles, and a vegetable of your choice in a sundae glass—a sneaky way to add healthy items to a child’s diet.

To make this a 10-minute meal, you can always sub instant mashed potatoes, quick-mix gravy, and frozen veggies. A balanced meal with minimal effort.

Kids’ Mashed Potato Sundae
For the Potatoes:
4 potatoes, diced3/4 cup soy milk
2 Tbsp. margarine Salt and pepper, to taste

  • Cook the potatoes in lightly salted water until done. Drain.
  • Mash with the remaining ingredients.

For the Gravy:
1/2 white onion, diced
3 Tbsp. melted vegan margarine
3 Tbsp. flour
2 1/2 cups vegetable stock
3 Tbsp. soy sauce
Salt and pepper, to taste

  • In a saucepan over medium heat, sauté the onion in the margarine until translucent. Whisk in the flour and cook, whisking constantly, until lightly browned.
  • Whisk in the remaining ingredients and simmer until thickened, stirring constantly.

For the ‘Beef’:
1 lb. vegan burger crumbles
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
Salt and pepper, to taste

  • In a skillet over medium heat, sauté the vegan burger crumbles in the oil until browned. Add the garlic powder and season with the salt and pepper.

To Assemble:
2 cups vegetables of choice, cooked
4 cherry tomatoes
4 sundae cups

  • Place 1/4 cup of the “beef” in the bottom of a sundae cup. Top with some of the mashed potatoes, vegetables, and gravy. Repeat, ending with the mashed potatoes. Top with a tomato and a little gravy.
  • Repeat until all the ingredients are used.

Makes 4 servings

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