Kids are meant to hate salads. In my experience what most, very young, children hate is not salads but the textures to some salads, because they are not cut or shredded finely enough. I don't blame them. I don't like salads either unless there is real aesthetic variety to the vegetables in their color, the way they are cut and arranged or mixed on a plate.
I started my children on what my youngest calls `Spiderman Salad'. He came up with that name one day when I was explaining to him that if you wanted to be strong like Spiderman you needed to eat lots of raw vegetables. These first salads are more like vegetable pates. You can chop or puree them (depending on the age of the child) in a food processor or with a handheld blender.
The secret is in the `binding' such as avocado or ground cashews or pureed hard boiled eggs which makes them stick together.
The great thing about these `Spidermans' is that they are highly concentrated once they have been chopped or pureed. A dessertspoonful at a meal can give more nourishment than an adult side-salad. Experiment, but always taste your experiments yourself. If they are yummy to you, they are likely to appeal to a child. If not - re-season until you have created a real prize.
When you make any salad for yourself, including dressing, put a little of it into a food-blender, the sort that has a blade, add a spoonful of cashews or avocado or the yolk of a hard boiled egg, or even a little thick yogurt - something that will bind. Mix it all together and season with vegetable bouillon powder and herbs plus a little salt and maybe a drop or two of olive oil. What you have left is a "Spiderman", a pate which can even be spread on crackers for older children.
sprout magic salad
Make a base with alfalfa or other sprouts and around the dish arrange:
- Grated carrot
- Finely shredded cabbage
- Chopped apples
- Grated beetroot
- Add: Sliced mushrooms, black olives, spring onions
Sprinkle raisins over the grated vegetables and add a spoonful of seed or nut cheese.
basic french dressing
- 3/4 cup oil
- 1/4 cup lemon juice or cider vinegar
- 1 tsp whole-grain mustard or mustard powder
- 2 tsp honey
- A little vegetable bouillon powder and pepper to season
- A small clove of crushed garlic (optional)
Combine all the ingredients in a blender, or simply place in a screw-top jar and shake well to mix. Some people like to thin the dressing and make it a little lighter by adding a couple of tablespoonfuls of water.
avocado dip or dressing
This is my favorite of all salad dressings. Kids adore it; you can make it thick for them to spread on crackers, leave out the curry powder and feed it pureed to babies, or make it thin to pour over salad.
- 1-2 avocados
- 1 cup fresh orange juice (use more or less to give the desired consistency)
- 1 tsp curry powder
- 2 tsp vegetable bouillon powder
- Fresh herbs (e.g. lovage and French parsley)
- 1 small clove garlic (optional)
Peel and stone the avocados. Blend all the ingredients together in a food processor until smooth.