Kid food preferences never cease to amaze me. Some won't eat anything too crunchy, others avoid anything green at all costs, and the pickiest will only eat Cheerios, please and thank you. Having a picky eater can make thinking of meals tough, but these recipes for kids who only eat red foods can help. (Yes, it's a thing.)
It's true that some picky eaters go through phases where they're only willing to eat one color food. But of all the color fixations your child may have, being a fiend for red food isn't the worst of them. (Purple would be a nightmare.) Tomato-based foods like spaghetti or artificial candies probably come to mind first for an all red meal, but there's actually a surprisingly high number of foods that will fit your kid's hue preferences. Cherries, raspberries, strawberries, red peppers, pomegranates, watermelon, and even carrots can all tint a dish. You just have to have the right recipes on your side to make it work.
So read on to get some ideas for ruby red dishes your kiddo will actually want to eat. They have the right color of course, but they'll sneak in some other food groups too. And check out Romper's Picky Eaters Issue for even more help.
1. Baked Cherry Cheesecake French Toast Casserole
This breakfast casserole will be the cherry on top of your week (pun very intended). The cherry pie filling combines with fresh French baguette, cream cheese, and maple syrup for a flavorful dish that will definitely have your kid asking for seconds. It takes five minutes to prep but an hour to cook, so I'd save it for a weekend morning. Recipe created by Mom On Timeout.
2. Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore
You've probably made a lot of spaghetti since the red phase started, but this Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore is a nice alternative. Courtesy of Well Plated, the chicken and hearty vegetables marinate in fresh tomato sauce, which will taste way better than store-bought. You can serve it over pasta or rice, whichever your kiddo is more likely to eat.
3. Carrot Tomato Soup
There are lots of good tomato soup recipes out there that your picky eater will eat, but the carrot twist on this take from Eating Richly will make it even tastier. The carrot puree lets you make the dish without dairy, so it's vegan-friendly too. It's a sweet and easy comfort food your whole family can enjoy.
4. Red Beans & Rice
5. Fresh Tomato Tart
6. Baked Homemade Pizza Rolls
These clever rolls can spice up pizza night and please your ruby enthusiast all at once. Created by Simply Scratch, these rolls are packed with kid-friendly ingredients like string cheese and pepperoni, and your little one can cover them in as much red sauce as their heart desires. And they're almost as fun to make as they are to eat, so have your tiny chef join you in the kitchen.
7. Watermelon Gazpacho
8. Roasted Red Pepper Soup
Tomato isn't the only kind of soup you can get your kiddo on board with. This Roasted Red Pepper Soup, created by Cookie and Kate, is best served with tortilla chips and avocado garnish on top, as it brings out the cayenne pepper, paprika, and cumin flavors. The recipe is gluten-free too, but it takes a while to make. So it's a good choice for Sunday meal prep sesh.
9. Stuffed Bell Pepper With Ground Beef
Stuffed peppers are a great weeknight option, especially because you eat the container they're made in, and you can opt for the red peppers your kiddo prefers in this recipe from Foodie Crush. Plus, the recipe calls for tomato sauce too, making it extra appealing. It makes six servings, so your whole fam will get what they need.
10. Creamy Tomato Macaroni And Cheese
Tomato Macaroni And Cheese is the sweet spot between traditional mac and cheese and spaghetti, giving you cheesy goodness and sweet tomato flavor. Elbow noodles make it extra comforting, and it's ready in under an hour. Plus, the tomato sneaks in some fruit, so your little one get extra nutrients. Recipe by A Pretty Life In The Suburbs.
11. Easy Chicken And Chorizo Chili
Chili is a favorite for red eaters, and this recipe from Climbing Grier Mountain puts a yummy barbecue twist on it. Your kiddo will love the combination of pulled chicken, chorizo, and beans, as well as the color of course. And since you serve it individually, you can add additional non-red toppings for yourself. Win win.
12. Easy Crock Pot Lasagna Ravioli
Your kiddo might want extra tomato sauce to make sure their helping of Family Fresh Meals' Easy Crock Pot Lasagna is red enough for them, but they'll definitely love the taste. You only need 15 minutes to prep it, and with less than 10 ingredients, dinner has never been easier. Just make sure you pop it in the Crock Pot six hours from when you want to eat.
13. Roasted Tomato Crostini With Walnut Almond Pesto
If your kiddo is all about that tomato life, let them try these crostinis as an afternoon snack. Courtesy of Good Life Eats, the homemade walnut almond pesto that the tomatoes rest in is flavorful and filling, so they won't be begging for dinner before it's ready. And you can serve the leftover baguette with dinner.
14. Cauliflower Lentil Sloppy Joes
Sloppy Joes are a crowd pleaser, and I love that this recipe substitutes cauliflower and lentil for the meat to make it a vegetarian option. The patty is packed with additional veggies to make it extra filling, and the marinade is elevated too, adding Worcestershire sauce, red wine vinegar, and more to the ketchup that gives it the red color. Just make sure the kids aren't wearing anything too fancy when they give these a try. Courtesy of Two Peas And Their Pods.
15. Chicken Tinga
You might not have known chicken could taste so good, but this Chicken Tinga recipe from Simply Scratch will have you singing a different tune. It gets its red color your little one will love from yummy roma tomatoes, and it roasts in garlic, onion, and Mexican seasoning for even more flavor. Serve it in tacos, enchiladas, or however your kiddo will eat it.
16. Cheesy Sausage And Pepper Pasta
And of course, you have to have one spaghetti option for your little red eater. This Sausage and Pepper Pasta is a flavorful twist on the traditional, as it brings ground pork and bell peppers together. It will only take you 30 minutes to make, so it's a no stress weeknight dinner. Pro-tip: swap out green peppers for red to make your kiddo even happier. Courtesy of Dinner Then Dessert.
17. Red Velvet Cake Krispie Treats
And to reward your kid for eating all of their dinner, treat them to these Red Velvet Cake Krispie Treats for dessert. Created by Cookie And Cups, the recipe combines marshmallows, Rice Krispies, and red velvet cake mix for tasty treats that are then filled with creme cheese icing in case they weren't already delectable enough. And they don't even have to bake in the oven, so you can have your sweet fix as quickly as possible.