Veggie & Quinoa Burritos (& Picky Kids!)


Hi, Welcome to the Ritz Carlton for Kids!

Oh, I mean my kitchen.

I’m pretty sure that my boys are some of the pickiest eaters out there.  And I’m also sure that I am largely to blame.

In the last seven years I’ve become the accommodating  mom that I swore I’d never be.

When I was a kid, it was eat your butter beans or get a spanking.  I didn’t want to be that mom either.

But somehow I’ve created food-fussy kids.  (Food-fussy is a word by the way.)

Now, let me just say that I wouldn’t consider either of my boys to be difficult children. I almost never take them out without getting some kind of compliment on their behavior.  They are happy, help out without complaining, have great manners and are extremely loving.  All in all, great kids.

But everything changes when when we start talking about food.  Oh sure, when they are refusing my latest creation they will say “no, THANK YOU” in the sweetest voice possible.

A small consolation to a mom who is worried about her kids getting enough to eat.  (And consistently tough on my ego.)

You know the whole, “They will eat when they get hungry enough” thing?  Um, yeah.  Not at my house.

Both of them will willingly miss meals or under eat to the point of losing weight when they are not given something they want.

It’s a constant battle because I’m so focused on keeping them on a mostly whole foods diet, but struggle to keep them both in a healthy weight range.  In a world of childhood obesity I never thought I’d be battling single digit BMI’s.  (Yeah, I kinda hate ’em for that too…)

I’ll give you some examples of their food persnickety behavior  just so you understand how much work it creates.

My oldest won’t touch pasta (except for mac n cheese) but my youngest loves it.

My youngest, on the other hand, won’t touch beans unless they are re-fried.  And then only sometimes.

One likes white cheese.  It’s only yellow for the other.

One likes brown rice, the other wild.  Neither will touch their “brother’s rice”.  (Not such an issue since the whole arsenic in rice thing.)  Same goes for white and sweet potatoes.

One won’t touch anything with any type of nuts.  His brother won’t touch nuts every other day.

Last month, they loved soy yogurt.  This month it is “gross”.  The month before that it was pudding. (Typical toddler behavior, right?  Did I mention I’m preparing for Alex’s 8th birthday and that little brother is only littler by 14 months?)

Oh, and my oldest only likes ONE brand of organic mustard.  I have four other bottles in my fridge that I’ve got to try to find a way to work into recipes.  So if anyone ever needs me to ship them a bottle…

I could go on all day here.

If you ask Alex what he wants the response will likely be something like this:  “I’d like a Chick’n Bagel Sandwich with Gardein Tenders, not Scallopini.  Toast the bagel, but not so it’s brown and make sure you remember to turn the Chick’n when you cook it so it doesn’t get soggy.  Dad sets a timer to flip them at the perfect time.  I’d like mustard but remember to use the mustard I like.  On the side I’d like baby carrots and strawberries.  Are the strawberries really fresh because I don’t want them mushy?  If they are mushy, I’ll take a green apple.”

I kid you not.  Boy, am I glad I had that conversation a year ago with him about asking for exactly what he wants?!  (Thank God he’s not like this about anything else!)

Pizza night sounds easy, right?  Especially since my freezer is always packed with frozen dough and sauce I’ve made.

Pizza night in my house means rolling out and preparing four completely different pizzas.  God forbid my boys eat the same thing.

My oldest is by far the most difficult about food and will not touch red sauce on pizza.   So for him I must prepare a Mexican pizza.  My youngest loves plain cheese pizza but will not touch vegetables willingly and will refuse to eat if I try to do 1/2 his pizza and half someone elses. Even if there is absolutely nothing touching his pieces.

And my husband….well, since he handles all things technical around here, maybe it would be unwise to go there?

Something I’ve realized as of late is that I just can’t continue at the rate I’m going.  With a new baby on the way something has got to give.

I’ve already tried and failed at the “you’ll eat what I give you are starve” thing.  That landed my 7 year old in a size 4 swimsuit, thanks.

So instead, I’m going to be focusing on family meals that are versatile without too much effort.  Because as picky as they are, they had to get it from somewhere and I’m not willing to sacrifice on taste.  I’m also trying to find recipes where I can chop veggies up small and hope they aren’t noticed.

Today’s Veggie & Quinoa Burritos are a perfect example.


They are easily made vegan for me.  It’s also easy to make with one kind of cheese for one of them and one for the other.  No need to skip flavor for me because I can just use plain sour cream for them.  And it’s easy to add Chick’n and toppings for the hubby.  (Oh, yeah we aren’t going there – forgot.)

It’s still not a perfect solution, but it’s progress.

It’s a WHOLE lot easier than having pizzas in the oven for 1 1/2 hours straight! :)

Veggie Quinoa Burritos

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 55 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 5 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Serving Size: 1 burrito

Calories per serving: 385

Fat per serving: 12.9g

Veggie Quinoa Burritos

Make this dish more kid friendly by substituting plain cooked quinoa and plain sour cream.


  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and minced (optional)
  • ½ cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2/3 cup vegetable broth
  • 1/3 cup vegan or low fat sour cream OR Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice
  • 1/8 tablespoon chipotle chili pepper powder (optional)
  • 1 cup frozen corn, thawed
  • ¾ cup shredded zucchini
  • ¾ cup chopped tomatoes
  • 4 whole wheat or gluten free tortillas
  • 1 cup Daiya Pepper Jack or Cheddar Cheese
  • For serving: Salsa and/or Guacamole (optional)


  1. Spray a medium saucepan with organic canola spray. Add onion and jalapeno and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, until tender. Add quinoa and garlic and sauté for one minute. Add vegetable broth and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and cover. Cook for 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to sit covered for 5 more minutes.
  2. In a small bowl combine sour cream, cilantro, lime juice and chipotle chili pepper.
  3. Heat a large skillet to medium high heat and spray with canola oil spray. Add corn and zucchini and cook for 2 minutes. Add tomatoes and cook for one additional minute. Remove vegetables from heat and wipe pan carefully with paper towels.
  4. Heat tortillas a few minutes per side. Spread with a thin layer of sour cream. Top with ¼ cup cheese, ¼ of the quinoa and ¼ of the vegetable mixture. Roll up using toothpicks to secure.
  5. Return skillet to medium heat and spray with olive oil. Add 2 burritos to pan and cook each side until browned.


With Daiya: Servings 4, Calories 385, Fat 12.9g, Carbohydrates 57.8, Protein 9.5g, Cholesterol 8mg, Sodium 558mg, Fat 6.6g, Sugars 3.7g With Cheddar Servings 4, Calories 409, Fat 16.3g, Carbohydrates 51.1g, Protein 15.5g, Cholesterol 38mg, Sodium 483mg, Fiber 5.6g, Sugars 3.9g Without Cheese Servings 4, Calories 295, Fat 7g, Carbohydrates 50.8, Protein 8.5g, Cholesterol 8mg, Sodium 308mg, Fiber 5.6g, Sugars 3.7g Nutritional information assumes 130 calorie wrap

Post featured in Wellness Weekend.

  • Nicole

    What a great mom trying to make everyone happy. :) I know it is not easy. These look great btw. I will have to give them a try.
    My recent post My First Rustic Wood Table

    • Wendy Polisi

      Aww, thanks! I TRY to be a great mom. Some days its easier than others. :)

  • susan g

    Ah, the picky kids problem… My kids were remarkably good eaters (4, born 15 months apart, then 5 years, then 4 years — 3 boys, then a girl). We went from omnivores to veg when the oldest was 8 without much trouble. Then exposure to other kids' food and puberty ruined them! I kept a jar of peanut butter on the table — if you don't like what's for dinner, help yourself. At some point all the boys learned to cook, which made us all happier._There was pizza night, sub night, and wraps with Mex-style beans or hummus filling, with a platter of veg and cheese for make-your-own. Those worked for us (most of the time). Of course, food allergy/sensitivity issues crept in, but that one was willing to take the non-dairy part of the pizza. And this is before the advent of commercial non-dairy products — we were in the era of 'make do or do without.'_

    • susan g

      Now I have some of the world's pickiest grandchildren, some from birth, some from the influence of the culture. And some who eat pretty well! Really, they will work it out, but it has to work for you!_And, personally, the last pregnancy was the only one where I was vegetarian, and in spite of having 3 active boys and a huge vegetable garden, I never felt better._Today's burritos look like tonight's supper — thanks!_

  • Rhonda

    Wendy, Bless your heart for doing all that you do for your boys. At least you realize that no doubt they know you will do whatever you can to please them. My only recommendation that could be helpful is to implement daily smoothies. You can get some greens in them without them tasting them, just by adding in bananas which will cut the taste. Add in berries for flavor and color, nut milk or yogurt, maybe a scoop of Raw Meal powder for more greens and plant protein and a date or two for more sweetness. Totally healthy and they are getting some fruits and veggies into their diet and they will grow to love them.
    Best of luck to you as you bring your newest one to the tribe.
    My recent post Benefits of Nuts

    • Wendy Polisi

      That's a great idea Rhonda! I tried smoothies a while back and they ended up not drinking them half the time, but to be perfectly honest I haven't tried in forever. I need to do that! I haven't ever tried Raw Meal powder but I have tried their protein powder and it is my favorite. I'll have to give that a try. (For me too!) My oldest (who is actually the pickiest eater) does ok with vegetables but still won't do anything green.

      Thanks so much for your well wishes!

  • Gabby

    Awww you poor thing! you are such a good mom though for making sure everyone likes what they are eating. I can't even imagine- sometimes I have a hard time even coming up with something I would like 😉

    These look delicious, doesn't surprise me that it's well liked 😉
    My recent post split pea soup with rutabaga croutons

    • Wendy Polisi

      I have a hard time coming up with what I want to eat too….and sometimes when I'm done figuring out what they are going to have I'm just too tired to think about what I'm going to eat. That's when bad choices generally creep in.

  • vievey84

    They look really tasty, and I bet the quinoa makes them really satisfying and filling too.

    • Wendy Polisi

      Thanks so much -they were very filling!

  • Rachel

    Omg these are amazing! I made it exactly according to the recipe and they turned out sooo yummy! My husband was very pleased :-)

    • Wendy Polisi

      Yeah! So glad you and your husband liked them Rachel! :)

  • Susan

    These were fabulous! I made them for dinner this evening, and I just wanted to keep eating. We got 5 burritos out of the recipe. And we used a sweet onion to sweeten it up. I also added fresh pepper to the veggies. Other than that we pretty much followed the recipe. I had been thinking about these all day, saving up my weight watchers points, and they did not disappoint! Thank you for sharing.

    • Wendy

      So glad you liked it Susan! Peppers sound great in this – that's something I really wish I could get the boys to eat. Glad to know that people are using the WW points. :)

  • Yvearl

    These look pretty dang good! And that is coming from a Mexican/Italian that loooooves Mexican food! :) I have never been here, but will be stopping again because I love quinoa and how versatile it can be! Thanks!
    My recent post Power Quinoa

  • gahalley

    Been there too at my house. I cook with all the veggies I like just cut them in large chunks. Then when serving up plates just toss veggies on mine and hubby plates. I enjoy my veggies and the kids eat up too.

    • Wendy Polisi

      Glad to know I’m not alone! Interestingly, my boys will happily eat veggies straight from my dads (organic) garden. May be time to plan one myself!

  • gahalley

    :) my son came home from visiting grandpa and was eating raw onions after 12 yrs of turning his nose up in my cooking. But I know I didn’t start liking onions and peppers till I was in my teens. It will all work out. My daughter would prefer all her veggies raw instead of cooked- maybe your boys too??

    • Wendy Polisi

      Kids are so funny! :) One of my sons is getting better, the other not so much.

  • Wendy Polisi

    HI Susan! We went to omnivores to veg without an issue but trying to take the boys vegan (which we did for almost a year) was pretty much a disaster. The both started out at the low end of healthy weight and then lost 10+ pounds. So, we had to make some adjustments. (It probably would be a different story if they'd started out vegan.) I would give anything to be able to do the peanut butter thing – really, it would solve so much for me. My oldest has a peanut allergy and I can't get either of them to touch almond butter.

    You are right – I'm sure that it will work out and by the time they are 13 or so I'll be laughing as I remember that I ever worried about them getting enough to eat. (In the same way I was insanely worried that Alex didn't talk until he was 18 months at which time he came out with full sentences and hasn't been quiet since.) This is my first veg pregnancy but I've been feeling pretty awful. Just this week (after a B12 shot) I've started to feel better so I'm hoping it continues.

    Hope you enjoy the burritos.