Serving Vegetables: Fresh Salads for Lunch

My 2-year old with food allergies can be quite a picky eater, particularly when it comes to vegetables. He rarely eats anything green—unlike his older brother who absolutely loves broccoli. I just started reading the NY Times Motherlode’sPicky Eater Project” series, so I’m hoping to get some good advice! In the meantime, I’ve been serving salads for lunch with some basic Swiss recipes for Sauce à salade from my Croqu’menus cookbook: Italian, French and yogurt dressings (see the recipes below sans dairy, eggs, peanuts and tree nuts).

In the following photos, you’ll notice the Swiss versions of French and Italian salad dressings differ from those in the United States. For example, French dressing in the United States typically has a reddish-orange color, while it’s white or cream-colored in Switzerland.

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French and Italian salad dressings in the United States

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French and Italian salad dressings in Switzerland

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Salad #1 – Salade Niçoise with Italian Dressing

On Saturday, I made a salad reminiscent of Salade niçoise. Of course, I didn’t have any olives on hand for which this recipe gets its name, but black olives aren’t a favorite in my household anyway. My little guy loves fish, so I used fresh tuna. The Italian dressing recipe, or Sauce à salade à l’italienne, was easy and didn’t make a huge amount, so I will definitely make this again. Thumbs up from both the boys!

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Italian Salad Dressing

Adapted from Croqu’menus (9th edition, 2005, p. 163).

(dairy/egg/nut-free)

2-3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
4-5 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon fresh herbs, such as basil or cilantro
1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
Zest of half a lemon
Salt, pepper to taste

Place all the ingredients into a blender jar. Use an immersion blender (or stand blender) to blend all the ingredients together until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate in a sealed jar and use within 3-4 days.

 

Salad #2 – Beet, Pepper and Toasted Pumpkin Seed Salad with French Dressing

My homemade version of Sauce à salade à la française took on a slightly yellow hue from the Dijon mustard and tarragon I threw in. We liked this dressing a lot. Even though my oldest thought it was a bit tangy, we’ll make this one again too.

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French Salad Dressing

Adapted from Croqu’menus (9th edition, 2005, p. 162).

(dairy/egg/nut-free)

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar (I used white balsamic vinegar)
3-4 tablespoons olive oil
1-2 tablespoons roughly chopped onion
1 clove of garlic
Salt, pepper to taste

Place all the ingredients into a blender jar. Use an immersion blender (or stand blender) to blend all the ingredients together until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate in a sealed jar and use within 3-4 days.

 

Salad #3 – Crispy Chicken Salad with Soy Yogurt Dressing

Finally this week, I made a soy yogurt dressing. Unfortunately, this was our least favorite dressing, so I won’t be sharing the recipe. However, the boys LOVED the “crispy chicken” I made—even the picky eater who doesn’t usually eat chicken, unless it’s hidden in something like a quesadilla! This salad will be appearing on our table more often, but likely with one of the other dressings mentioned above.

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After many salads this week, I don’t want to give you the impression that my kids ate all their vegetables. My oldest complained about the beets. My youngest wouldn’t touch the green beans. I still think we made some progress though, and hopefully it will continue this year as I push vegetables to the forefront of our meals a little more often and reduce the need for that commonly heard phrase from parents everywhere—“Eat your vegetables!”

If you have any good allergy-friendly, veggie-focused recipes or if you have advice for how you’ve dealt with picky eaters, please leave a comment below. Thanks, and bon week-end, everyone!

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