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3 Healthy Kid-Friendly Dinner Recipes: Salmon Teriyaki, Chicken Schawarma, Fish and Chips

Salmon teriyaki

Jo Eike

Here are three healthy recipes that will likely be loved by both grown-up and small eaters and best of all, don't take much time to prepare.  


Salmon Teriyaki


Forget the stuff that comes from your local take-out, homemade teriyaki is a healthier and more delicious version that will have the whole family coming back for seconds (and thirds).  Wild salmon is a delicious and nutritious choice, adding a double-punch of protein and important omega-3’s to the dinner table.  (Shiso is a Japanese herb found in many local supermarkets, but if you can’t find it, snipped chives or even a little basil would make a fine substitute.)


Serves 4


½ cup sake

½ cup soy sauce

¼ cup mirin

1 tablespoon canola oil

1 ½ lb fillet of salmon (skin-on)

1 small bunch of shiso, thinly sliced (optional)

Cooked rice for serving


Combine the sake, soy sauce and mirin in a bowl and set aside.   Cut the salmon crosswise into four long pieces (keeping the skin on).  


Place the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Once it’s hot, add the salmon pieces skin-side down.  Cook for 4-5 minutes until skin is crisp and browned, then flip and cook for 2 minutes more.  Remove to a plate and set aside.  


Add the bowl of combined sauces to the pan and bring to a boil.  Cook until it has reduced by about half and it starting to thicken.  Add the salmon back to the pan and cook for around 2-3 minutes more, basting with the sauce as you go, until salmon is cooked through.  Serve salmon and remaining sauce over rice and top with shiso, if using.


Oven-baked Chicken Shawarma


Yes, the traditional Shawarma involves meat slow-roasting on a spit over an open flame, but there’s nothing to say that it can’t be done in an oven as well.  Low-fat chicken breasts sub for the traditional lamb here, and a long marinade makes for flavorful and tender meat with minimal oil used in the cooking.  Quick-pickled red onion adds a bright note, and a deeply-savory caramelized garlic yogurt sauce rounds it all out.  Serve with whole wheat pitas for a make-your-own meal that appeals to kids of all ages.  (Note: the chicken tastes better the longer it sits in the marinade, so if you have the opportunity, prep it the night before.)


Serves 4


2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Zest and juice of 1 lemon

4 tablespoons olive oil

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon ground coriander

Pinch of cinnamon

Pinch of ground allspice

1 teaspoon salt

½ red onion, thinly sliced

½ cup red wine vinegar

1 head garlic

1 cup Greek yogurt

Salt to taste

½ head crunchy lettuce (such as romaine or iceberg), shredded

4 whole wheat pitas


Cut each chicken breast into 3 equal pieces, then place between sheets of plastic wrap and pound with a mallet or rolling pin until around ½” thick.  Set aside.  Add the lemon zest and juice, olive oil, garlic, spices, and 1 teaspoon of salt to a bowl and stir together.  Add chicken, mix so it’s all coated, cover and refrigerate for a few hours or up to overnight.


To make the pickled onions, add the onions to the red wine vinegar and leave at room temperature for an hour, or covered in the refrigerator for longer (where they will keep for up to a week).


When ready to cook, remove chicken from fridge to bring to room temperature and heat oven to 425°F.  Remove the outer papery husks of the garlic, but don’t peel it all the way.  Trim off the top of the garlic head, then wrap it in foil and place in the oven for around 45 minutes until completely tender.


Meanwhile, line a baking sheet with foil, then add chicken and marinade, making sure all chicken pieces are in a single layer.  Place in oven and roast until cooked through, usually around 25 minutes (depending on the size of the chicken breasts).  Remove from oven and slice into bite-sized pieces.


When garlic is done, remove from oven and squeeze garlic from cloves into a bowl.  Add the yogurt, mix well, then season to taste with salt.


Place shredded lettuce in a large bowl.  Place chicken on top, then pour over remaining juices from the pan.  Serve with warmed pitas, pickled onions and yogurt sauce on the side.



Healthy  Fish & Chips


Fish and chips as part of a clean-eating regime may seem like a bit of a surprise, but with a few tweaks this kid-favorite can proudly take a seat at the healthy table.  Dredge your fish in quinoa instead of an oily batter for a crunchy protein-packed crust that your kids will love.  For the fries, sweet potatoes are lower in carbs and higher in fiber than white potatoes, and pack a crazy double-punch of vitamin C and vitamin A (especially the skins, so don’t peel them), landing them firmly in “superfood” territory. 


Serves 4


2 large sweet potatoes

5 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 cup water

½ cup quinoa

½ cup flour

2 eggs, beaten

1.5 lbs meaty white fish (cod or halibut work great)

2 tablespoons butter


Heat the oven to 400°F.  Scrub the sweet potatoes but don’t peel them, then pat them dry with a clean towel.  Cut them in half crosswise, then cut lengthwise into skinny sticks, roughly ½ - ¼ inch wide.  In a large bowl, toss the sweet potato with 3 tablespoons of the olive oil and the rosemary, then season with salt and pepper.  Spread out in a single layer on a baking sheet (use two if necessary), then bake for 30 minutes.


Meanwhile, place the water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.  Add the quinoa, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for around 20 minutes until all water has been absorbed.   Spread out on a clean chopping board, season with salt and pepper, then leave to cool.


After 30 minutes in the oven, gently flip the fries and rotate the sheet.  Return to oven for another 25-30 minutes.


While fries are baking, place flour and eggs in separate shallow bowls.  Cut fish into 4 equal portions.  Working one piece at a time, dip the fish in flour, then egg, then coat with the quinoa, making sure all sides are covered.  Place coated fish on a clean plate until all are done.  Place the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and once it is hot, add the butter.  When the butter has melted, add the fish and cook until the underside is golden and crunchy, around 4 minutes.  Flip the pieces of fish and cook for around 4 minutes more, until cooked through.


When fries are crispy and brown on the outside and tender in the middle (around 55-60 minutes total, remove from oven.  Serve fish and sweet potato fries with the vegetable of your choice.

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