The latest in this year’s cool school supplies are already lining store shelves, heralding in the beginning of the end—of summer, that is. My toddler doesn’t need much in the way of markers and notebooks as he heads back to daycare in the fall, but there is something important we are preparing for: lunch.
Walking through the frozen food section of most grocery stores, pizza pockets and bite-sized options filled with meat and cheese are everywhere. However, with a little preparation, it’s simple to pack some familiar kid-sized and cruelty-free noms that will have your compassionate kid’s classmates jealous.
Here are some of my son’s favorites that will work for toddlers all the way to teens. Who am I kidding? I eat them, too. I value time, so many items I use are pre-made and are accidentally-vegan at a lot of stores. You could certainly make your own from scratch!
Two packages of crescent rolls (check the ingredients)
Tofurky slices or your favorite veggie dog
Your choice of vegan cheese (I use Daiya because it melts and is easy for me to find, locally.)
Non-stick cooking spray
1. Unroll one package of crescent rolls and press the perforated edges together to make a solid sheet. Push the edges out to create as uniform a rectangle as possible.
2. Slice the dough into the size “pocket” that is just right for your child. Remember to leave a little room to seal the edges. Spray the cookie sheet with a non-stick spray and then place one layer of cut dough on the sheet.
3. Place Tofurky or veggie dog slices and vegan cheese in the middle of the dough squares. Top with another square and press edges together. You could use a fork to get a good seal.
4. Repeat with the other package of crescent rolls and bake according to the roll instructions on the package.
5. These are easy to reheat, good in packed lunches, and travel well if you are heading out on a road trip! We also use this idea with chocolate chips, blueberries, strawberries, and sometimes vegan cream cheese to make dessert bites, too.
Chick’n Pot Pie Pockets
Can of jumbo biscuits (check ingredients)
Choice of vegan chick’n (I use Boca or Beyond Meat because it’s easy to find in my area, and my son likes the taste. Gardein, which is available at Target, would also be good.)
Can of mixed veggies or small package of frozen mixed veggies
Vegan Alfredo sauce (optional) or vegan cheese (optional)
1. Separate the biscuits and flatten them out, but take care to not make them too thin. It’s a good idea to look for the jumbo biscuits to give you more room, but regular-sized work as well.
2. Place small pieces of vegan chick’n in the center of the biscuit, along with about a teaspoon of veggies, and vegan Alfredo sauce or cheese (optional).
3. Carefully fold the biscuit in half, creating a moon-shaped pocket. Bake according to the directions on the biscuit package.
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon garlic
1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley, rosemary, or a combination
½ cup flour
½ cup non-dairy milk
1 tablespoon oil
1. Finely grate all veggies and place in one bowl. Combine all other ingredients, except oil, in a separate bowl.
2. Pour now-wet mixture into veggie bowl and combine. You could also place all ingredients, except oil, in a food processor and blend. I’ve made this both ways; it depends on what texture you and your kiddos prefer.
3. Heat oil in frying pan. Spoon 2-3 tablespoons of the mixture into the frying pan. You can make several at a time, depending on your pan size and the size fritter you make.
4. Let the fritters cook about two minutes; press lightly with a spatula and flip. Let the fritters continue to cook another two minutes, or until golden.
5. Remove from pan and let cool.
1 package ready-made pizza crust (read ingredients)
1 jar pizza sauce
Olives, mushrooms, ground beefless crumbles, or whatever pizza toppings you prefer
Shredded vegan cheese (e.g., Daiya or Follow Your Heart)
Non-stick cooking spray
1. Unroll pizza crust and cut into the size squares your prefer, then place on a sprayed baking sheet.
2. Place sauce, cheese, and toppings in the middle of squares. Cover with another pizza dough square.
3. Press edges together and bake according to crust directions.
Enjoy! Have some ideas to share? We’d love to see what you’re sending in lunchboxes this year.