I knew this time would come and that Z would eventually become a picky eater. Toddler taste buds change daily, so I am constantly adjusting recipes to make them Z-friendly. Sauces can be a battle, and I can no longer make vinaigrette due to her distaste for mustard. The focus now is to push the healthy foods that she loves – beans, peppers, cucumbers, etc. And because pretty foods are always more fun to eat, this Chopped Italian Salad is a huge hit. And seriously, the salad looks like confetti. How cool is that?
After a long day at work, I love having Z help me in the kitchen. Because she is more likely to eat foods that she has helped to make, she is always involved in salad making. Finding tasks that are safe for a 3 years old can be a challenge, but she has mastered several skills now:
*Tearing lettuce leaves
*Using tongs to toss a salad (ok, “mastered” may be a stretch.)
*Using a crinkle cutter to chop veggies.
The crinkle cutter is a super cool trick for kids too young for knives. They still require parent supervision, but this tool allows kids to chop veggies. This salad requires a lot of rinsing and prep chopping, making this salad into a fun activity. We have this version at home, but I’m sure that there are tons of other versions available.
This is a simple salad that can be glammed up into a dinner salad easily. Increase the mozzarella, add a bit of salami, maybe some lettuce and serve with some good crusty bread for a light dinner. Actually, we regularly make this with whatever leftover veggies we have on hand, and it will frequently contain baby spinach or kale. The key is for it to be easy and pretty. Feel free to use your favorite Italian salad dressing, but I think simple oil and vinegar works beautifully here.
|Italian Chopped Salad|| |
- 1 cup canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- ½ bell pepper, diced
- A handful of black olives, sliced
- A handful of marinated artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
- 1 small zucchini, diced
- A couple handfuls of grape tomatoes, halved
- About a cup of fresh mozzarella, torn into bite-size pieces if needed
- A handful of fresh basil leaves, sliced
- 4 tablespoons olive oil (use the best stuff you have)
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Toss together and serve.
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