Ask A Washington DC Expert: Healthy Recipes Kids Can Make

July 2, 2014 8:00 AM

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

Sometimes it is hard to convince kids to eat what is good for them, but one of the best ways to engage them is to invite them to help you cook in the kitchen. Once they get involved, the ingredients start to seem less intimidating and they may be more willing to try new dishes. Here are three healthy recipes created by well-known DC chefs, all of which are designed to encourage youngsters to take part in the cooking process.

Chef Frederik De Pue
405 8th St. N.W.
Washington, DC 20004
(202) 347-7491

De Pue first came to Washington in 2001 as the Executive Chef of the European Commission Delegation Ambassador. He now owns and operates two notable DC restaurants: Menu/MBK and Table. He is known for creating satisfying and sophisticated food that highlights his international background.

Eggplant Pizza 


  • 2 large eggplants
  • 4 heirloom tomatoes
  • Olive oil
  • Thyme
  • 1 cup of grated parmesan
  • 2 tbsp. basil pesto


Thinly slice the eggplant and tomatoes and place the sliced eggplant on the grill seasoned with a little salt and pepper and olive oil. Using a knife, square both sides of each eggplant slice and place on a sheet pan next to each other. Cover all of the pieces with thinly sliced tomatoes. Season with pesto and fresh thyme. Cover all with the grated Parmesan and place in the oven at 385 degrees until the cheese is toasted.

Related: Best Places For Grilled Cheese In Washington, D.C.

Chef Joe Goetze
Founding Farmers
1924 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W.
Washington, DC 20006
(202) 822-8783

Chef Goetze has over a decade of culinary experience which he brings to the wildly popular Founding Farmers. His approach is simple and rustic, with a focus on farm-to-table cuisine. A compilation of his recipes is available in the Founding Farmers cookbook, and here is one of his favorites, enjoyed by kids and adults alike. 

Founding Farmers’ Grilled Cheese Sandwich 


  • 8 slices of your favorite bread, about 3/8” thick each
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 4 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 4 ounces Gruyere cheese, sliced
  • 4 ounces Muenster cheese, sliced
  • 4 ounces white cheddar cheese, sliced


On the outside of each slice of bread, spread butter evenly. Place bread, buttered side down, on a medium-hot griddle pan. Evenly spread mayonnaise on each slice of bread while pieces are in the griddle pan. Top each slice of bread with equal portions of cheese. Heat bread on a griddle pan over medium-high heat until toasted and golden brown. Then top one slice of bread with the other to create a sandwich. Remove from pan and cut in half from corner to corner. Serve immediately. Makes 4 sandwiches. 

Chef Doron Petersan
Sticky Fingers Bakery
1370 Park Road N.W.

Washington, DC 20010
(202) 299-9700

Petersan, owner of Sticky Fingers Bakery, has a degree in nutrition and food science, which means she is truly an expert in creating healthy recipes. Her bakery is entirely vegan, and it happens to be one of the most popular spots in the city. Here is her recipe for a chickpea melt, an alternative to tuna that gets your kids playing with their vegetables, and eating them too! 

Chickpea Melt 


  • 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained 
  • 3/4 cup dairy-free mayo, like Just Mayo or Vegenaise
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp mustard
  • 1 tsp brown miso
  • 1 tbsp pickle relish
  • 1 tsp dried dulse or wakame, reconstituted until soft (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 carrot, shredded


Drain the chickpeas and pour into a mixing bowl. Using your bare hands, mash and crush the peas until they are smooth. Mix in the shredded carrots, and set aside. In a separate bowl, measure the rest of the ingredients and mix with a whisk or fork until evenly blended. Add to the chickpeas and carrots, and mix with your hands until evenly blended. Refrigerate and enjoy as a dip or spread, or as a melt. Spread 1/2 cup of the chickpea salad on your favorite bread and top with dairy-free cheese such as Daiya Cheddar, and top with another piece of bread. Using a fry pan or grill, spray with canola oil and grill on medium heat until cheese is melted and bread is toasted to your desired crunch. Enjoy!

Related: Ask a Chef: Breakfast Recipes For Mother’s Day

Priya Konings is a freelance writer and restaurant critic in Washington D.C. Her work can be found at

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