My toddler is on a vegetable strike. At one time she would gladly gnaw on roasted Brussels sprouts, sauteed spinach, baked sweet potato fries, and other veggies of every shape and size. Don’t mistake me, she’s been on this strike for quite a while, but I keep reminding her that she loved broccoli when she was little. She says she used to eat it when she was very little, but now she eats pizza.
At least she’s got good taste.
Anyway, I try to add vegetables in whenever I can to foods she WILL eat. She actually cooks with me a lot, so I am not hiding them. But somehow zucchini pancakes (we like the Smitten Kitchen version) are a million times easier for her to consider eating than even carmelized carrots. She knows there are veggies in there, but she doesn’t care.
I also try to cut the sugar in most recipes (although the pancakes above don’t need any adjustment) because we cooked with very little sugar and salt for her first year or so of eating. After that, most regular recipes are kind of overwhelmingly sweet or salty, so we are super careful. Trust me, she got candy at Halloween and has carefully picked a piece every day since, so I am not denying her. 😉
Anyway, when your toddler refuses dinner and asks for a cookie instead, you start thinking creatively. I actually made a version of these a few months ago when we were watching my best friends’ daughter, but today’s batch was even better. I am the type of cook who tosses in a little of this and a little of that, so the amounts aren’t an exact science, but the results should still be delicious.
I asked her if she wanted banana cookies, and she was excited. Then I asked if she wanted banana or “green banana” cookies, and she went running through the house squealing about green cookies. What can I say? Colored food is a hit!
What is fun about these is that they are really green. The photos don’t do them justice. They would be right at home at an Oscar the Grouch birthday party or on a Saint Patrick’s Day buffet. But despite all the spinach in them, they really taste like a light banana oatmeal cookie! I tried to pack as much flavor and nutrition into these as possible, but don’t stress. If you don’t have the seeds I list, just add a little more oatmeal.
Elisa’s Banana Oatmeal Green Cookies
- 2 very ripe bananas (ok if frozen)
- 1 1/2 cups frozen spinach (if using fresh, use approx. 2 cups)
- 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1/3 cup milk
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 2 to 4 tbsp brown sugar (I used 2)
- 3 large eggs
- 1/4 melted butter or oil
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 2 tbsp chia seeds
- 1/4 cup flax meal
- 1/4 cup hemp hearts (seeds)
- 1 1/3 cups whole wheat pastry flour (you could use stone ground whole wheat flour but I would probably use some white flour in place of some whole wheat)
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp baking powder
In a blender or food processor, blend spinach, banana, yogurt, and milk until a thick smoothie consistency is formed. Add to a large bowl and whisk in eggs, vanilla, butter, and sugar. Add oatmeal and seeds and blend well with a spoon. Add salt, baking powder and soda, and flour. Mix well. Should be about the same thickness as pancake batter.
Spoon onto a baking sheet (we use a medium scoop and parchment paper, but a teaspoon and clean baking sheet will be just fine) and bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes.
These cookies are soft and chewy, with lovely body because of the seeds. My daughter had FOUR, dunked in milk, four dinner. I wasn’t complaining. 🙂