Some kids like salad. But many, many kids see something that’s green and leafy and they freak out. That’s too bad, because in most cases salads are good for you AND taste great. Plus, the definition of salad is now so broad that it doesn’t necessarily have to mean a big plate of greens.
Case in point: Two salads that caught our attention recently are a little more fun than your typical lettuce-and-dressing, and they have great kid appeal. First, this mouth-watering Quinoa Shirazi Salad from Family Spice would make a perfect late-summer meal. It’s got cucumbers, tomatoes, parsley, onions – and healthy, flavorful quinoa to give it a little heft. Call it a “confetti” salad and you will probably have kid takers.
We also like this Salt and Vinegar Potato Salad from Joy the Baker because, as she puts it, it’s a “salad that tastes like chips.” Most kids would probably love that – and when they eat it, they’ll also have the benefit of red onions, green beans, and red, white, and blue potatoes.
Inspired by these friends, we’re giving you our own favorite “un-salad” salad: panzanella. This Italian salad is a classic end-of-summer dish because it lets you use up your tomatoes and other fresh produce, along with your day-old bread. See, kids? It’s not a salad at all. It’s more like a chopped up sandwich. We decided to get even more crazy with our usual panzanella by serving it inside some of the wonderful heirloom tomatoes of late summer.
4 medium-to-large heirloom tomatoes
2 cups chopped high-quality day-old bread
1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted and halved
1 small red onion, sliced and chopped
1/2 yellow bell pepper, cored and diced
1/2 red bell pepper, cored and diced
1 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves, torn
3 T. olive oil
2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
Pepper and salt to taste
Carefully make a circular cut around the top of each of the tomatoes and then scoop out enough flesh to create a “bowl” inside each tomato. Dice the fleshy parts that you have removed. Combine the diced tomato in a bowl with the bread, olives, onions, peppers, and basil. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the olive oil and vinegar. Stir the dressing into the salad and until the ingredients are just combined. Distribute the mixture among the hollowed-out tomatoes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, if desired. Serve immediately. Serves four.