My kids love salad. They love small side salads, and big dinner salads are a favourite. While I realize a love of salads is not typical for kids, it’s something that I specifically cultivated as a parent. Salads are a great way to pack a load of vegetables into your diet. They are also so much easier to make than soup or pasta.
If your kids aren’t fans of salad, here’s a few ways to get them excited for leafy greens:
1. Preschoolers are not likely to naturally love salad. The best way to get them on the salad bandwagon is to serve it when they’re hungry. Avoid snacks for at least 2 hours before mealtimes, then serve the salad first. Honestly, I think my kids love salad because I spent 5 years serving it to them when they were at their hungriest!
2. Boring salads are not appetizing. Make sure to include at least one fun ingredient. Fun ingredients can include favourite vegetables, berries or other seasonal fruit, or grated cheese.
3. Don’t include any hard-to-eat vegetables. If you want to serve firm vegetables like broccoli or cauliflower make sure to cook them first. Carrots and beets are easiest to eat when they’ve been grated. I also like to use a peeler to make paper-thin slices of carrot.
Here are three simple and delicious salads that can be served as a side or a complete meal. To make a dinner-sized salad be sure to include the suggested protein and serve with a slice of bread.
(Total time: 15 minutes)
Adding berries to a salad is a great way to make it feel like a treat! Use a mix of whatever berries are available: blueberries, raspberries, blackberries or sliced strawberries. I’ve even made this salad with frozen berries.
1⁄2 cup olive oil
3 Tbsp of apple cider vinegar
2 tsp Dijon mustard
pinch of salt, to taste
3⁄4 cup of berries
1 red pepper
1 large carrot
1⁄2 cup of soft goat cheese
1 head of lettuce
added protein: toasted pecans
1. Mix the salad dressing in the bottom of your salad bowl. Add in the berries and mash slightly with the back of a spoon.
2. Finely dice the red pepper and grate the carrot. Add the pepper and carrots to the salad dressing. Toss to combine.
3. Wash and dry the lettuce. Rip the leaves into bite-sized pieces.
4. When you’re ready to serve the salad, toss the lettuce into the dressing, then top the salad with the goat cheese.
Choose Your Own Toppings Cobb Salad
(Total Time: 15 minutes)
A Cobb salad is a hearty meal-sized salad served with a mix of hard-boiled eggs, meat and cheese typically laid out in rows over top of a bed of lettuce. When making Cobb salad for kids, I recommend serving them a plate of salad, then letting them choose their own toppings. It’s a great way to deal with a picky eater.
Cobb salad is usually served with French dressing, however, we enjoy a homemade Ranch-style dressing instead. So easy and delicious!
1⁄2 cup mayonnaise
1⁄2 cup yogurt
1 tsp dried dill weed
1⁄2 tsp garlic powder
1 Tbsp fresh chopped chives
pinch of salt
1 package of mixed salad greens
1. Mix the salad dressing in the bottom of the salad bowl.
2. Dice the tomatoes and stir them into the salad dressing. Top with the salad greens.
3. Decide which toppings you want to serve, and prepare them.
4. Toss the salad and serve it to each person, then allow them to help themselves to the toppings.
Roasted Vegetable Salad
(Prep time 15 minutes, Cook time 45 minutes)
Roasting vegetables for a salad does require a bit more time. However, it’s easy and delicious. The vegetables can even be roasted a few days in advance for a super easy salad dinner.
Roasted vegetables 2 medium sweet potatoes
1⁄2 head of cauliflower
4 cloves of garlic
1⁄4 cup of olive oil
1⁄2 cup of olive oil
3 Tbsp toasted tahini
3 Tbsp cider vinegar
1 tsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp chopped chives
pinch of salt
1 red pepper
1 head of lettuce
added protein: chickpeas and toasted pumpkin seeds
1. Preheat the oven to 400˚F.
2. Dice the sweet potato and cauliflower into bite-sized pieces. Finely dice the garlic. Toss the vegetables in olive oil. Spread them out on a roasting pan and place in the oven. Roast for 45 minutes, tossing once halfway through.
3. Meanwhile, prepare the rest of the salad. Mix the salad dressing ingredients in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Shake the salad dressing until the tahini is well mixed in and the salad dressing is emulsified.
4. Place the salad dressing in the bottom of a large salad bowl. Dice the red pepper and tomatoes and add to the salad dressing.
5. Wash and rip up the lettuce.
6. When the vegetables are finished roasting, allow to cool slightly before mixing into the salad.
7. Toss everything together and serve.