Advice Column, Health, Nutrition, Recipes

Happy Kids; Healthy meals!

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Happy Kids; Healthy meals! (and they’re also super delicious!)

Before you say, “My kids will never eat them”, read on because, although mushrooms often seem to be the “not on my plate” vegetable right up there with Brussels sprouts, we’ve got good reasons and great ways to get kids to eat them.

Firstly, the great way to add mushrooms:

A selection of studies have found that the meaty taste of mushrooms make them easy to blend unobtrusively into any minced protein (beef, chicken, lamb, turkey and even fish work equally well) by chopping them into the same consistency.  Mushrooms then immediately increase the nutritional value of your child’s meal without compromising on the flavour kids would expect from their favourite burger, lasagna or cottage pie.

Secondly, the good reason to add mushrooms:

By blending mushrooms into their favourite meat or fish options, you are able to decrease their total calorie, fat and saturated fat intake without losing any of the flavour.  In fact, mushrooms have a rich umami flavour profile that actually enhances and deepens the flavour of the meat naturally whilst adding healthful nutrients such as potassium, fibre, minerals, vitamins and antioxidants to every bite. You will also be reducing their sodium intake by 25%! 
Now that’s good news coming from our favourite Superfood!

But as we know with kids, who can be picky eaters, the proof is in the pudding (in this case in the blend!) So, we’ve developed a range of recipes, blending mushrooms into kid friendly favourites for an easier and much healthier way  to dish up delicious options even they will love!

SAMFA Chicken, Mushroom & Corn Meatloaf

Makes 1 standard sized loaf tin (± 20cm x 10cm)


  • 400g white button mushrooms
  • 2 shallots, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 XL free-range egg, lightly beaten 
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • 1 large marrow, grated, salted, degorged & squeezed dry 
  • 1 corn on the cob, steamed and cut off the cob
  • ¼ cup parsley, chopped
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • ¼ cup spring onions, sliced
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 400g chicken mince
  • Extra virgin olive oil 
  • Salt and pepper, to taste 

Pink sauce:

  • 4 Tbsp mayonnaise
  • 4 Tbsp tomato sauce
  • Fresh lemon juice, to taste


To make the pink sauce:

Mix mayonnaise and tomato sauce together in a bowl. 

Add a little squeeze of lemon juice and salt, to taste.

Set aside in the fridge for serving. 

Preheat oven to 180˚C.

Lightly spray a ± 20cm x 10cm loaf tin with non-stick olive oil spray.

Using a food processor, pulse the mushrooms until they are finely chopped. 

In a large pan sauté the mushrooms with a little drizzle of olive oil until they have sweated off most of their water, about 10 to 15 min. Set mushrooms aside.

Add a fresh drizzle of olive oil to the pan and add the shallots. 

Cook until soft. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant. Season well and set aside. 

In a large bowl combine the cooled mushrooms and shallots and the rest of the ingredients except the chicken, mix very well. 

Add the chicken mince and season with salt and pepper. 

Mix to combine. 

Spoon mixture into loaf tin. 

Bake for 30 minutes until browned on top and cooked through. 

Remove from the oven and remove from the loaf tin. 

Return to the oven on a baking tray for another 10 minutes to brown the sides. 

Slice and serve with pink sauce and a side salad. 

SAMFA Mushroomy Chicken Burgers 

Makes 6 burgers 


  • 500g white button mushrooms
  • 500g free-range chicken mince
  • ½ onion, grated
  • ½ cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 XL free-range egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • To build the burgers: 
  • 6 burger buns, lightly toasted
  • Tomato slices, for serving
  • Lettuce, for serving
  • Sliced mild cheddar cheese, for serving
  • Mayonnaise, for serving
  • Tomato sauce, for serving


Using a food processor, pulse the mushrooms until they are very finely chopped. 

In a large saucepan sauté the mushrooms in a drizzle of olive oil. 

Sauté until the mushrooms are fully cooked and have lost most of their liquid, 10-12 min. 

Set aside to cool.

In a large bowl combine the remaining ingredients and the cooled, cooked mushrooms. 

Form into 6 equally sized patties.

In a hot cast iron pan or on the braai, cook the patties until golden brown on both sides and fully cooked through. 10-12 minutes. 

Assemble burgers with all your favourite fixings and serve warm. 

SAMFA Mighty Mushroom Bolognese with Hidden Veg

Serves 6


  • 500g portabellini or white button mushrooms
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 2 stalks celery, finely diced
  • 1 large carrot, finely grated
  • 1 large zucchini, finely grated 
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 x 400g tinned crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup mushroom or vegetable stock
  • Salt and pepper, to taste 
  • Extra virgin olive oil 
  • 350g dried spaghetti
  • Parmesan cheese, for serving
  • Fresh parsley, for serving 


Using a food processor, pulse the mushrooms until they are very finely chopped. 

In a large saucepan add a drizzle of olive oil and the mushrooms.

Sauté until the mushrooms give off all their water and begin to brown. 

Remove from the heat and set aside in a bowl. 

In the same saucepan sauté the onion in a little olive oil. Cook until soft. 

Add the celery, carrot, zucchini, garlic and dried oregano. Cook until the vegetables are very soft. Use your spoon or spatula to mash them in the pan so they break down. 

Add the tomato paste and cook stirring constantly for 2-3 min. 

Add the tinned tomatoes and stock, bring to a gentle simmer. 

Allow to simmer for 30 min until reduced and thickened. 

Taste for seasoning. 

In a large pot of boiling salted water, boil the spaghetti according to package instructions. 

Once al dente, drain the pasta. 

Divide the spaghetti between bowls and top with the mushroom bolognese. 

Sprinkle bowls with Parmesan cheese and fresh parsley. 

SAMFA Mushroom, Carrot & Quinoa Fish Balls 

Makes ± 24 fish balls / Serves 6 


  • 500g hake fillets (or any firm white fish) 
  • Extra virgin olive oil 
  • 500g white button mushrooms
  • 1 large carrot, peeled & grated
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 2 XL free-range eggs, lightly beaten 
  • Zest of 1 lemon 
  • ½ cup flour
  • ½ cup spring onions, sliced 
  • Salt and pepper, to taste 

Tomato rice:

  • 2 Tbsp / 30g butter 
  • ½ onion, diced 
  • 1 x 400g tin diced / chopped tomatoes 
  • Salt and pepper, to taste 
  • 1 ½ cups long grain rice

Herbed yoghurt sauce:

  • 1 cup Greek-style / double cream yoghurt 
  • 1 handful fresh herbs, roughly chopped (dill, parsley & chives work well)
  • ½ lemon, juiced 
  • Salt and pepper, to taste 


For the herbed yoghurt sauce:

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl and set aside in the fridge until ready to serve. 

For the tomato rice: 

Cook rice according to package instructions. 

Heat butter in a saucepan. Add the onion and cook gently until softened. 

Add the tinned tomato and season well. Simmer until the tomato has thickened and reduced. 

Stir through the cooked rice and fold it gently into the tomato sauce. 

Keep the lid on and the rice warm until ready to serve. 

Preheat oven to 180˚C.

Place hake fillets on a lined baking tray. 

Lightly brush with olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. 

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until fully cooked through. 

Allow to cool slightly before removing any bits of skin. 

Lightly flake the cooked fillets into a large bowl and set aside to cool completely.

Using a food processor, pulse the mushrooms until they are finely chopped. 

In a large saucepan heat a drizzle of olive oil and add the mushrooms.

Sauté until the mushrooms give off all their water and begin to brown. 

Remove from the heat and allow to cool. 

Add the cooled mushrooms to the flaked fish along with the rest of the ingredients. 

Season and mix well.

Roll into balls about the size of a golf ball. 

Place on a lined baking tray and bake for 25 min.

Serve fish balls on tomato rice with a dollop of herbed yoghurt sauce. 

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