This week the sixth graders and I made a salad from kale, broccoli and mint they harvested from our school garden. Every single one of them ate it and they all said it was so good, some said it was the best salad they have ever eaten! Yes, an entire class of 12 year olds LOVED kale salad! The secret for getting children to eat raw greens is two- fold: make a delicious dressing to put on it and have them grow all the vegetables themselves! The latter is the most important and why EVERY school should have some kind of garden!
Seriously, it’s so important to get them involved in the growing and making of some of their food. One girl said it so clearly, “I probably would not touch this at my house but it tastes so much better here”. ‘Here’ meant in gardening class where she just cut the kale and broccoli right from the plants she helped start last fall and has been caring for all winter, then chopped them up here in the garden and added some fresh herbs and made a yummy dressing together with her friends and sat around a table outside and ate what they just created! She was invested in her food. She helped produce it and harvest it and prepare it and suddenly that kale tasted really good to her!
Now, back to the second way to get children (or just about anyone) to eat raw greens: put a delicious dressing or sauce on top of them! This dressing is so good it will have the most greens-avoidant folks asking for seconds! Well, maybe we should just be content if they eat one serving, right?
RECIPE for Spicy Peanut Dressing (makes about 1 cup)
- 4 TBSP peanut butter (preferably organic)
- 4 TBSP hot water
- 1-2 TBSP Pomegranate molasses
- 1 TBSP soy sauce or Tamari (wheat free for a gluten-free dressing)
- 4 TBSP rice wine vinegar
- 2 small cloves garlic, minced
- 1 inch piece of fresh ginger, finely chopped or grated
- 2 tsp sesame oil (toasted is best)
- 1-3 tsp dried chili flakes, depending on how much heat you like
- 1 tsp Harissa paste (optional but adds a nice hot kick, too)
- 1 tsp agave or maple syrup (optional)
Mix everything together in a bowl & whisk until creamy. Add more water if you want a thinner consistency.
RECIPE for KALE-BROCCOLI SALAD (serves 4-6)
- 1 bunch Kale (Lacinato is best but you can mix several types together), rinsed well and chopped into small pieces
- 1/2 cup finely chopped raw broccoli florets
- 1 cup fresh mint, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup toasted sunflower seeds or chopped walnuts (chopped peanuts would be good,too)
- Remove stem ad “rib” from kale & chop leaves into small pieces and put in large salad bowl. Massage the kale with your hands until it begins to soften. Kids LOVE to do this part😀.
- Chop broccoli into very tiny pieces, add to kale.
- Finely chop mint and add that to other ingredients.
- Toss it all together and pour some of the dressing over top, mix well and add more to make sure everything is well-coated.
Garnish with sunflower seeds, walnuts or chopped peanuts and watch your children and/or the adults devour it!
This is seriously healthy food that is easy to make with children and they will love it. 😋
Hint: You might want to tone down the chili flakes a bit if your kids don’t like it too hot.