So the lunch menu today is roti, sabzi, dal & rice. Didnt that sound highly unappetizing? we may not admit it in the hope of setting a good example for the kids, but lets face it we could do with variety as well!

So how does one make lunch for the kids interesting & something they would love as well as healthy & nutritious like our staple roti, dal & sabzi? I'm thinking wraps, grilled skewers, pasta, stew & stroganoff. Point is you can make ANYTHING healthy & nutritious all you need is to want to look beyond the regular.

Wraps are the perfect substitute to roti & sabzi. Infact it could be the same roti & sabzi you were planning to make just dressed up nicely. Work with the regular roti, add the chicken tikka or paneer / aloo / mixed veggies filling into the roti, add some crisp sprouts & tomatoes & onions and we have a wrap!

Another way to serve veggies is on a skewer, use chicken/paneer with onion, tomato, baby potato, capsicum slices to start with. To marinate you can use various styles – tikka masala, coriander chutney paste or pesto. Grill on the grill pan in 1/2 tsp olive oil and you can serve the same with roti/rice. Other veggie options could be cauliflower, broccoli, mushrooms, baby tomatoes & zucchini.

Pasta need not always be looked upon as un healthy, there are umpteen ways to make pasta at home completely your own way. To begin with you could use wheat coloured pasta, use all the veggies you would like – think green here it could work wonders. Spinach is an ingredient kids might not eat too often, but if served a canneloni with spinach & paneer stuffing served on tomato basil sauce, im pretty sure they are going to ask for more! Spinach pesto spaghetti is a great alternative too. If making regular pasta load it up with veggies – broccoli, mushrooms, carrots, spinach, tomatoes, bell peppers, babycorn etc & use tomato basil sauce with little sprinkling of cheese.

Stroganoff & Stew are other options to serve veggies with rice. Replace the cheese sauce of a Stroganoff with a spinach base or tomato sauce. Stew can be your pool of veggies just not cooked the indian style – try asian flavours for this.

Recipe for Layered Potato Rosti
Ingredients:
– 4/5 boiled & peeled potatoes
– 2 bunches spinach
– 1 Aubergine / Brinjal
– 6/7 boiled, peeled & chopped tomatoes
– 2 chopped onions
– 4 tsps garlic chopped
– 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
– 2 cups Milk
– 2 tsp maida
– Olive oil
– 2 tsps shredded cheese (any will do – preference is Parmesan)
– salt, pepper & chilli flakes
– 2 tsp butter

Method:
– Preheat Oven for 10 mins @ 250C
– Mash the potatoes, add butter, little salt, pepper & chilli flakes
– Put this mix in an oven proof bowl and put in the oven to bake for 25 mins (until you see the top slightly browning)
– Heat water in a deep pan, once boils add the spinach for 2 mins. Dry the spinach completely and set aside, spinkle slight oregano & basil on the same
– – Slice the brinjal lengthwise about 2mm thickness. Add slight salt to each of the slices and set aside for 20 mins
– In another pan, add 2tsps olive oil & maida stir till you see a pasta (if its thick, add 1 tsp olive oil) and then add the milk & stir constantly. Once it thickens add salt to taste & oregano flakes.
– Heat olive oil, add 2 tsp garlic and onions cook till soften. Add chopped tomatoes, salt, pepper & basil leaves to the same, let simmer for 10 mins.
– Heat a grill pan.
– Return to the brinjal, wash off the slices and the salt, pat dry.
– Add olive oil to the grill and chopped garlic, Once sizzling, grill the brinjal slices turning both sides
– Remove potatoes from the oven, layer the spinach top up with the tomato basil sauce.
– Add the brinjal slices & top up with white sauce & spinkle cheese & remaining basil & chili flakes.
– Return to oven for 8 mins OR bake in microwave for 4 mins.
– Serve hot.

P.S: Dont tell the kids about the brinjal in this bake 😉

Tip: All daily food & veggies need not be cooked indian style. Use the same ingredients except garam masala and play with asian, italian & american flavours.