Getting kids to try new foods—even kale—is easy if you (a) involve them in the preparation process and (b) give them lots of choices.
I work with a program in Lexington, MA called Kids Cooking Green, and last month during this preschool class, the kids made a kale salad, which they happily ate.
The trick to our kale salad success?: The kids got to (a) get messy by massaging olive oil into the kale leaves (this makes the fibrous leaves more tender) and (b) choose from a number of toppings including hard-cooked eggs, goat cheese, and sliced veggies. And yes, the kids scrubbed their hands first, and yes, evoo smells great 😉
All of those adorable kiddos got me thinking that it was time to shake up my salad routine at home, so I ditched my usual romaine lettuce and “cooked up” this Make-Your-Own Kale Salad Bar instead.
To make the salad, set out a bunch of salad toppers and let everyone grab whatever floats their boat. The choice is totally yours, but here’s what I used: roasted delicata squash slices, feta cheese, dried cranberries, cooked edamame, chickpeas, pecans, and sliced pears.
Next up, take a small head of kale or half a large bunch and strip the leaves from the stalks, chop the leaves into bite-size pieces, rinse well, and dry. (You’ll have about 4 cups of kale, which should make 4 salads.) Place in a large bowl with 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and a few pinches of kosher salt and massage the leaves until tender, 2 to 3 minutes. (This is good exercise.)
Set out a favorite salad dressing or two …
AND GET YOUR KIDS INVOLVED!
That’s it. You don’t really need a recipe; it’s just fun to lay out the toppings and see how everyone builds their salad. Here’s what my salad looked like .. filled with flavorful fall ingredients.