Sunday, November 12, 2006

Like-a-Lunchable Pizzas

This year Pizza Lunchables seem to be The Big Thing everyone at school is eating; kids build their own little pizzas out of small, flat rounds of prebaked pizza crust, a squeeze tube of pizza sauce, shredded "cheese product" and "pepperoni flavored sausage". Then, they sprinkle their pizza creations with a special "Poppin' Packet" filled with what appear to be Pop Rocks. Wowee!

Okay, so here's a veganized version: I made a batch of my Pizza Shop Breadstick dough (yes, from Vegan Lunch Box), shaping it into little rounds instead of sticks. I poked them full of holes before baking to avoid any big bubbles, then baked them on a parchment lined baking sheet at 375ºF for just 5 minutes or so.

I filled a ziplock bag with tomato sauce, cut a very small hole in one corner, and sealed it with a little sticker. (The bag of sauce sits right on top of the pizza rounds when packing.) At lunch, peel back the sticker and squeeze out the sauce, then top the pizza with cut-outs of vegan cheese and pepperoni.

Oh, and what about the "Poppin' Packet"? I draw the line at food that explodes in your mouth, but I did pack a little container of the same topping I use in my breadstick recipe -- a blend of yummy nutritional yeast and sesame seeds that we sprinkle on foods à la parmesan cheese.

For the rest of lunch: three Brussels sprouts, a blackberry applesauce cup, and a dark chocolate Bug Bite.

Verdict: The ziplock bag worked well, with no troubles getting the sticker off the cut corner and squeezing sauce out onto the pizza rounds. Making his own pizzas was messy but fun! Of course, he didn't notice the new polka-dot baggie with adorable matching polka-dot napkin. Some of these things I do just for me. 5 stars.


Cheri said...

That's a great idea!

mira said...

Thanks for sharing, that is a great idea. Can't wait to try it out on my little vegetarian daughter who misses taking lunchables.

vickie said...

I SO LOVE this idea. For a long time I've been thinking about how much healthier and economical it would be to make your own "lunchables" and this is a great revamp of the pizza one. I'm definitely going to do this. BUT!!!!! I have a biq question for you...In the pictures you post the lunch looks so great with the little paper cups filled with sauce but in transport to school do you/your child have to hold the box like a laptop or else everything spills??...OR if you close this thing will everything stay in place when opened and not be a big mess?

Please let me know because this is the only thing holding me back from buying one of these laptop lunch bento boxes.

Thanks for all the awesome ideas...I have started making some great lunches that actually come back eaten some of the time!!!


Jennifershmoo said...

Hi, Vickie -- The containers stay snugly in place when the lid is closed. The smallest container (filled here with nutritional yeast) has a lid, and the larger container that the toppings were in also has a lid. So everything travels well.

If you are packing things that you especially don't want shifting around, you can cover them with plastic or parchment, or even wad up a paper towel to take up any extra space.

Hope that helps!

Megan the Librarian said...

You want to horrify yourself? ran a story back in September, comparing various premade snack-pack lunches. Not that I ever was inclined to eat them, but now I will never allow those in my home. The first one in the article seems closest to the ones in your son's school, but they were allfairly awful for you. Wow.

Alexis said...

Awesome...I'm going to have to try these at work. I can even melt the cheese in our toaster oven...yum!


Pop Rocks on pizza? Now I've heard everything. Health issues aside, sesame seeds and nutritional yeast combo sounds much tastier!

Unknown said...

My kiddos love for me to send them to school with our put together at home "lunchables". Thank you for showcasing them on your site.

Also, I just now walked in the door with my very own autographed copy of "Vegan Lunch Box". I'm so excited. I can't wait to flip through it with my schoolagers when they get off the bus today. We've all been eagerly awaiting its arrival. Thank you, thank you, thank you! Because of your site I got us our very own Laptop Lunchboxes and my kids now know there are other vegan children out there. BTW: they love the pics you post of the lunches.

lucy said...

Your lunches just get better and better!! Yep those lunchables are really big over here too (UK -Scotland), so devoid of any goodness :( Yours are much better - will be ordering the book :)

By Other Means

hyphen_helena said...

That looks really good! I'm in high school, and all of my friends eat Lunchables and they're just disgusting. Everything's so overprocessed and has all sorts of artificial everything and, well, you know all about that. But I could definately go for that-- I love it when my food is "fun."

Cheri said...

It came!!!! And my mailman didn't destroy it (he's ruined more than one item by forcing it into my mailbox)!! My youngest son is having surgery Thursday and his lunches are spoken for this week, so I'll have a week and a half to peruse the book and plan menus for after Thanksgiving.


Oh and none of my 4 kids would eat lunchables (I think my oldest one did a couple of times). My youngest was given one of those cheese and cracker snacks at kindergarten one day. She finger painted with the processed cheese spread (and got in trouble....but not much trouble, the teacher actually thought it was funny)

christianne said...

I appreciate your matching baggie and napkin! They are very cute.

Koby said...

That's so awesome that you made a healthy(healthier) version of those horrible Lunchables! (And cruelty-free, to boot!) That polka dotted baggie and matching napkin is so cute! And megan, I saw that article too, and was shocked at what we're feeding kids nowadays. Whatever happened to real food?

Eat Peace Please said...

My cookbook came! I am so happy. Of course I thought about the fact that my very first meal from it (fondue) has been posted up here for months. And I've known about it! Oh well, I love the book, it's way longer than I thought and you have so many great ideas and variations.

Oh, and this is way better than those pre-made ones. Not only are the premade ones not nutritious, totally bad for you, take up so much waste and unneccessary packaging, they are costly. I like what you have here.

x said...

Those lunchables are GROSS. The sodium content alone is enough to give a kid a heart attack. The lunch you made looks so good that I want to eat it.

Susan said...

My book came yesterday. Daughter had pup in a blanket with tater tots and applesuce for lunch today. Fondue is ready for dipping tomorrow's play pretzels (plan to make kids' names!) and apple chunks. My daughter looked at the book last night and told me "those lunches look almost as good as mine". I didn't tell her the cook book's author has been my inspiration this year. Thank you for making me a lunch box (though not always vegan) hero!

Unknown said...

Nicely done, Jennifer. I've been working with parents who aren't sure how to go about transitioning their kids from junk to healthy food, and one of the keys is making the new real food look, smell and taste as much as possible like the junk they're currently addicted to.

Here's how I'm going to adapt this idea for my kids' lunchboxes, so I don't have to spend a ton of time preparing:

Crust - whole grain lavash wraps, cut into circles by drawing a knife around an inverted glass

Sauce - store-bought organic marinara, in a plastic container (I expect the squeezy baggy with the sticker won't be necessary for long)

Toppings - chopped Follow Your Heart cheese, chopped Tofurky Kielbasa, baby spinach leaves

Pop rocks - let's not even go there

Howie Jacobson
For parents struggling to raise fit kids in a crazy-busy world

Matt and Bobbie said...

I am so thankful my parents never bought me those horrific Lunchables. How disgusting those things are. I cringe when I think of all those millions of kids eating them everyday for lunch! Thanks for posting this fun and healthy alternative, Jennifer.

DailySAHM said...

My book came today and my husband and I fought over who gets to read it first. :-)

Jennifershmoo said...

I actually suffer from Post-Traumatic Pop Rock Stress. The only time I had them was when I was very, very young. Someone, I think it was my mom, called me into the dining room where all the adults were sitting at the table laughing. She told me to close my eyes and open my mouth, and put some Pop Rocks on my tongue. Then she told me to close my mouth and wait. When they started sizzling and crackling I burst into terrified tears, certain that my brain was exploding.

Ana said...

Awesome idea!! My son has been asking about those sort of kids meal, but I refuse to buy that sort of junk!
He is still in preschool and is back home for lunch, but I guess making him this would be really cool!
I can't wait for my book and for my son's kindergarten next year, so I can use all the great ideas you share with us!!
Thanks again!!

momto5 said...

I just had to say... I ORDERED THE BOOK!
I haven't been to the site in a bit and was so happy to refind it! Thank you so much for continuing to do this. You rock you vegan beauty!


Bradley said...

Classic, I love the little sticker on the zip lock. Besides, who does not like pizza in any form?

Michelle said...

my vegan lunch box cookbook came in the mail today! so excited :)

funwithyourfood said...

that's a good idea, fun to eat too!


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the book! It came today and we've already started using it.

Mary said...

Jennifer, I love your book. I've made the corn bread with great sucess, but due to my error we (my boyfriend and I) used coarse cornmeal, so we got chunks of dried corn which was really hard on our teeth! But the taste was really good. I made your chili and I thought it needed some spice. I'm making your cashew squares and they look so fantastic. Just to let you know, I've from some errors in the book, such as listing the wrong page number. Didn't know if you saw that or not! I love the book and can't wait to make more recipes. :D

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the promptness with the book, I look foward to reading it. I am going on a long trip (6 hours) and will need some healthy snacks. I am going to use your book.

Jennifershmoo said...

>>I made your chili and I thought it needed some spice.

Yes, I mentioned elsewhere in the book (see the comment box on page 42) that I designed these recipes with children in mind, so some recipes won't be as spicy as adults might like. Feel free to kick it up with extra spicy or chiles if you know you like it hot.

>>Just to let you know, I've from some errors in the book, such as listing the wrong page number.

Yes, I'm starting a list for the next printing. I'll be making an "errata" page for the website to list all the known typos, and folks can email me to add to it. Thanks!

VeggieLawyer said...

I can't believe that kids actually eat uncooked pizza with candy on top. I wasn't a picky eater when I was little, but there is no way I would have put candy on my pizza. Ick!

Anyway, this meal looks good and I'm looking forward to trying out your breadstick recipe when I get my copy of the book.

Beth Lemon said...

Great idea with the lunchables!! This looks tasty for my own vegan lunches.

Derek Wall said...


all good stuff...I get my sons to make pizza bases, easy to make with some yeast and flour and olive oil.

kneading only takes a few minutes and uses up some youthful energy.

I think it is important to get kids cooking as young as possible.

I think I will cook more vegan stuff with my sons this year, they are very aware of the health benefits and importance of kindness to animals.

best wishes,

Dr Derek Wall

Unknown said...

Definition: Vegans do not eat meat of any kind and also do not eat eggs, dairy products, or processed foods containing these or other animal-derived ingredients such as gelatin. Many vegans also refrain from eating foods that are made using animal products that may not contain animal products in the finished process, such as refined white sugar and some wines. Although there is some debate as to whether certain foods, such as honey, fit into a vegan diet, if you are cooking for other vegans, it is best to err on the side of caution and avoid using these foods.