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3 Healthy Dishes Using Agar-Agar that will look like Magic to your Kids

I am not a fan of the commercially available puddings and other kiddie snacks, as I find that these are always full of extra unneeded sugar, as well as artificial colors, preservatives and what have you.
Even the ones that strive to be natural, don’t really comply to good nutrition standards, as one must compromise the quality and nutritional values of a product in order to enhance it’s shelf life.
However, I don’t want to burden my kids with the feeling of being different, and as they see these treats in their friends’ homes, I try to have sane alternatives for them.
3 Healthy Dishes Using Agar-Agar that will look like Magic to your Kids
While it is not as easy as picking up a product and throwing it into the grocery cart, I almost never make complicated food, as I am busy as the rest of us, and what I try to do is include my girls in the cooking process as much as possible. Everyone can contribute in a way, even a 2 year old can mix, and older kids obviously can do much more. The fact that they make the food with you, other than letting them feel important and useful, makes them much more prone to try it and then to like it. And the plus is that the cooking changes status from “burden cooking time” to “fun activities time with the little ones”. And yeah, it will take much more cleaning when done, as they will spill and they will touch all the cupboards, especially if you just made something with beets 🙂 , but to me, it is worth it.

The agar-agar, which is what I’m using in the recipes below, is a great vegan substitute for gelatin, for its thickening and gelling abilities. Yes, it is expensive, however with agar agar a little goes a long way, and you’d usually just use a teaspoon or 2 for any dish so a package should last long.

I would use agar-agar instead of gelatin regardless of my vegan diet preferences, as it provides more vitamins and minerals than gelatin, and some sources claim that agar-agar also helps sooth the digestive system and can help us feel more full as it absorbs water.

For another healthy sweet treats you can make with your kids, check out my dates and puffed quinoa (home made!) larabars.

The 3 recipes below are:

Easy healthy jellow: You can pretty much use any juice or even ripe fruit for this one to play with the colors and taste as long as you keep the proportions the same.  Notice that citrus will require a bit more agar agar to set though.

3 Healthy Dishes Using Agar-Agar that will look like Magic to your Kids

Dairy Free Pudding: An easy, homemade, healthy version to the commercial ones.

3 Healthy Dishes Using Agar-Agar that will look like Magic to your Kids

Sandwich Dressing Stripes: – If you ever prepared a sandwich in the morning and only ate it a few hours later, then you know how the dressing can affect the vegetables and make them all soggy.  By using agar-agar, you can create stripes of your favorite dressing (I’m sharing mine below, but this would work for your favorite dressing as well), then place them in your sandwich to keep it fresh for hours.

3 Healthy Dishes Using Agar-Agar that will look like Magic to your Kids 3 Healthy Dishes Using Agar-Agar that will look like Magic to your Kids
Easy Healthy Jello
Ingredients:
  • 1 cup apple juice (made from 3 table spoons 100% apple juice and water)
  • 1 tea spoon agar agar powder
Instructions:
Place the juice and agar agar powder in a pot over medium heat and bring to a boil.
Simmer for 2 minutes, continuously stirring.
Remove from heat, let sit for 5 minutes, then pour into desired molds. Be creative 🙂
Place in the fridge to set.
Makes:
Roughly 50 small pieces
Note:
You can pretty much make the jellow with any juice you want, or use fresh fruit. Notice that citrus will require a bit more agar agar to set though. The red ones in the picture are made of 1 cup cubed plums blended with 1/4 cup water, 1/4 cup pure maple syrup and 1 1/4 tea spoons agar agar powder, using the same instructions as above.
Dairy Free Pudding:
Ingredients:
For the macadamia milk:
  • 1/2 cup macadamia nuts
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 tea spoon vanilla extract
  • 1 pitted madjul date
Other:
  • 1/4 cup 100% pure apple juice
  • a pinch less of 1 tea spoon agar agar powder
Instructions:
To make the macadamia nut milk:
Blend all ingredients and pass through a sieve.
To make the pudding:
Place 3/4 cup macadamia nut milk and the 1/4 vup apple juice plus a pinch less of 1 tea spoon agar agar powder in a pot over medium heat and bring to a boil.
Simmer for 2 minutes, continuously stirring.
Remove from heat, let sit for 5 minutes, then pour into mason jars.
Place in the fridge to set.
Makes:
2 small puddings
Sandwich Dressing Stripes:
Ingredients:
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/8 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/8 cup mirin
  • a pinch more than half a tea spoon agar agar powder
Instructions:
Place the balsamic vinegar and agar agar powder in a pot over medium heat and bring to a boil.
Simmer for 2 minutes, continuously stirring.
Remove from heat, and stir in the rest of the ingredients.
Let sit for 5 minutes, then pour into a pan.
Place in the fridge to set. When set, cut into desired size stripes.
Makes:
About 12 stripes

Moran is a wife, a mother of 2 little girls, a full time high tech employee, and a savvy home cook. In her blog, VeganHightechMom, Moran shares easy and quick vegan recipes, targeted for busy people (like all of us..) that still want to feed their family healthy, colorful, nutritious and tasty food.


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