Coleslaw – That My Kids Actually Eat!!

If you have kids, you know how hard it can be to get them to eat vegetables. Even if they were introduced to them early, there is always that picky stage that most kids go through and introducing new veggies can be tough.

The other day I needed to come up with a salad for lunch and all I had was cabbage and carrots, so I made a coleslaw, hoping my kids would at least taste it, since they love carrots (and it had a few raisins, too). Well, they loved it. Logan surprised me by saying it was his favorite – he had never had it before. Ha.

Yesterday I decided to try serving it again, though I threw in a few things the first one didn’t have. It was beyond successful, and they ended up eating some veggies they normally would toss aside. So I’m sharing the recipe with you in the hopes that you will have the same success with your kids. I’m calling it:

A Coleslaw My Kids Will Eat

You will need:

1/2 of a medium head of white cabbage.

3 medium carrots

1/2 a medium cucumber, seeded

1 large handful of clean spinach leaves

1 handful each of moong dhal sprouts (or whichever sprouts you have), peanuts, sunflower seeds, and raisins

For the dressing:

1 tbsp. mayonnaise

3 tbsp. plain yogurt

salt and pepper to taste

First, grate your carrots using the smallest holes on the grater.

Mine looks like this.

Mine looks like this.

Finely slice the cabbage, making the strips as thin as possible. (You could also grate it, as I have done before. Grating it this fine makes it a bit soggy, but still good to use, and the kids ate it without knowing it was there.)

Stack the spinach leaves on top of each other and slice into thin ribbons.

Quarter the cucumber, de-seed it, and then dice.

Toss in the sprouts, nuts and raisins.

Make your dressing right on top of the salad, just like I did in my pasta salad. Throw the ingredients on top of the salad, then mix well.

Serve in the same bowl, or transfer to a nice bowl if serving to guests.

Serves 4 – 6.

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And prepare to be amazed. I’m still in shock that my kids loved it so much.

 

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Pasta Salad

Pasta is at the top of my most favorite foods. I like it prepared in most any way, but a pasta salad is great for when it is hot and you want to eat something cool and fresh. Today I will show you how I prepare a pasta salad. It is simple and easy to do, and can be made in advance.

You’ll notice that I haven’t put many quantities. That is because I do it by eye; if the amount looks right, then I use it. That being said, there are always leftovers.

Begin by putting the pasta on to cook. Here I’ve used macaroni but you can use any small pasta that you have on hand. Shapes like shells, bows, spirals, and tubes are fun for kids and look good. I used 150 gr. of pasta, and for 5 of us, it is more than enough.

To save time and water, I first put into the water the veggies that need to cook. I use frozen peas and corn, so I put the peas first and let them cook ’till nearly done. At that point I add the pasta and corn. Depending on the type of pasta you are using, you may or may not want to add the corn yet as it cooks quickly.

Next, choose the veggies you want to use. I tend to use whatever I have on hand, so my salad changes each time. For this particular salad (the one in the photos) I used:

  • spring onion
  • cucumber
  • peas
  • corn
  • carrot
  • bell pepper (capsicum)
  • coriander leaves
  • moong dhal sprouts (sprouts made from green lentils, found in most veggie shops here)

Other veggies that I have used before include spinach, green beans, onion, lettuce, and more.

Wash the veggies well and chop small. You want them smaller than bite size, both to make eating easier and to make it look nicer. Throw them in a large serving bowl as you go.

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Once the pasta and veggies are done, drain and rinse with cold water. You will want to cool them down so you can add them to the raw veggies.

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Choose your protein items. I like to use paneer, chickpeas, chunks of cheddar cheese, peanuts and beans. The sprouts mentioned above are also protein. You could also opt for boiled eggs, shredded chicken, canned tuna (or other cooked fish), etc., whatever your personal favorite is.

I often mix 2 or 3 protein items into the salad, depending on what I have on hand. Paneer gets used the most, as do chickpeas. I love adding a handful of peanuts as they add crunch and texture. My salad is generally vegetarian since we eat lots of chicken for dinners.

Shown below is 200 gr. of paneer, and I don’t cook it. It is cheese so you don’t have to cook it (but you could lightly fry it if you prefer). Just give it a wash when you take it out of the packet. The dressing will give it lots of flavor.

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Toss in the pasta. The order in which you add stuff to the bowl really doesn’t matter. As you can see, I put the pasta in already but the carrots are still waiting to be chopped.

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Once everything is in the bowl, it is time for the dressing. You could make the dressing in a separate bowl, but I prefer to make it right on top of the salad since the salad itself is still waiting to be properly mixed.

Below you can see all the ingredients (except for the garlic paste) that I use in my dressing – yogurt (that is my very large container of homemade yogurt), olive oil mayonnaise (regular works fine too), salt, pepper, and chili powder.

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For the dressing I use roughly 1 part mayonnaise to 3 parts yogurt. That serving spoon is what I used to measure so it was one spoon of mayonnaise to 3 of yogurt. Add a small amount of garlic paste, about a 1/2 tsp., and the spices. You will have to judge according to your taste, so if it makes it easier to do so, prepare it in a small bowl so that you can add more salt, pepper or chili powder if needed.

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Now slowly mix the dressing into the salad. If your bowl is overflowing like mine, take your time. Slowly turn the bowl as you mix the dressing in and combine all the ingredients. Everything should be covered with dressing. Make sure to get down to the bottom of the bowl so nothing is missed.

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If you didn’t pre-mix and taste your dressing, now is the time to do a taste test, just to be sure there is enough salt and spices. You can always add a little more if needed.

This salad can be served right away, or you can chill it in the fridge until needed. I find it actually tastes better the next day, as the flavors in the dressing have had time to blend together.

So there you have my pasta salad. If you try it, let me know how it comes out. I hope you like it.

Salad Ideas

Here are some salad combo ideas that you may like to try. Though I am listing ingredients, one of the best things about salads is that they can be adapted using your favorite veggies and omitting ones you don’t like. For example, Glad and I both dislike raw tomato, so I never serve it raw, but I do use it for cooking.

– Green salad. I love this one for the color. I am listing what I use but you could use any green veggie that you like: spinach, corriander, green pepper, green beans and peas (precooked), spring onion, cucumber (seeded and chopped small, leave the peel on), sprouts (I use moong dhal sprouts). Other ideas would be lettuce, brocolli, and zuchinni. I also find that adding fruit to a salad brings out the flavor even more. For this green salad I recommend guava, green grapes, or green apple (peel left on). You could use all three fruits but usually one or at most two is enough, since this is not meant to be a fruit salad. The grapes are especially nice.

This salad is beautiful served in a glass bowl. If you find it is too green, a slight hint of red from pommegranite seeds sets it off beautifully. To get the seeds from a pommegranite, slice in half, hold face down in your hand over the bowl and hit the shell with a soup ladle. This loosens the seeds and they fall out. Make sure to wear an apron as the juice stains and it will splatter.

– Spinach and papaya. Since spinach has a strong flavor, the papaya helps to balance it out. Use fresh leaves and a very ripe papaya (firm, dark red, but not falling apart) for the best flavor. Sprinkle with lemon juice. I have also added salted peanuts or sesame seeds to this for some crunch.

– Beet salad. Precook and chill the beets. If you leave them to chill in the water they were cooked in, the color that drained will return, leaving you with brightly colored beets. Cut into bite-size pieces. Mince some onion and garlic. Mix in with your favorite vinagrette dressing. I haven’t tried fruit with this as anything you add to it would take on the color and might not look so good, but I think it would taste good with orange or tangerine.

– Sometimes I just mix up whatever I have on hand, like so: cucumber, tangerine and corriander leaves.

Cucumber, carrots and corriander leaves with lemon juice work nicely. I do like lettuce in salad but it is hard to find locally, so I make do with spinach and corriander leaves for the leafy green part. If you like some crunch in your salads, peanuts and sesame seeds work nicely, as would most any nut. Experiment with your favorites. I can’t get them here, but I used to love adding bacon bits to salads, along with a rich dressing.

– For dressing I often just add lemon juice. If I want something thick, I mix one part mayonnaise to two parts yoghurt, with some salt, pepper, chili powder, and occasionally, garlic paste.

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