From Marla Vargas-Mundey
We’ve learned to practice these two ideas in our house:
1. Kids who grow veggies eat veggies.
2. Kids who cook veggies eat veggies.
In other words, we try to get the kids involved.
A fun game I like to play when I don’t feel like making dinner is to tell the kids to pick an ingredient which we then add to a dish. This works well if you are making a stir fry, soup, or pizza. The other day my oldest son choose the spinach he had picked (of course), and my youngest son grabbed strawberries. My 9 year-old daughter made a phenomenal dressing using avocado and tahini — which I can only assume she picked up from one of the many cooking magazines and cookbooks in the house. I was so impressed I encouraged her to enter it into a contest . . . . Even if she doesn’t win, this recipe is a winner!
This salad is a good base recipe. Ingredients are easily substituted — you can use radish or carrot instead of jicama. I just love using berries in salads, and strawberries are about to be in season, but any berry can replace the strawberries. The tempeh bacon is just a salty element you can switch out with roasted nuts or seeds.
Spinach Salad with Awesome Delicious Sauce
Awesome Delicious Sauce
½ Cup Water (or more if necessary)
2 Tablespoons Tahini
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
½ tsp salt
Cut avocado in half, take out the seed, and remove flesh. Place in bowl with other ingredients and mash until smooth, adding water if necessary.
3 cups spinach chopped
½ jicama peeled
3 strips Tempeh Bacon
2 stalks asparagus
- Place tempeh bacon in a hot pan and cook on both sides for 4 minutes each or until crunchy.
- Remove strawberry greens and slice thin.
- Peel jicama and then shave into slices.
- Slice asparagus spears in half (asparagus is really tender right now, so no need to even steam).
To assemble salad – dress spinach in Awesome Delicious Sauce, place jicama, asparagus, strawberries and bacon on salad. Serve!
I love going to you-pick at Great Country Farms with my kids. It’s such a great way for children to take ownership of their food and learn what real food is. I feel like so many kids see spinach as a color of pasta and don’t connect it with the delicious leafy plant that it is, but when my son picked his own, he was so excited and so proud that he couldn’t wait for me to make something with it.
I chose to make spinach balls because I love finger foods, and this dish can work as a meatball substitute or a just a snack. My kids ate them up and loved going sans silverware!
This recipe also gave me the opportunity to try out a gluten-free flour I found at GCF called 7-4 Peace, which is produced in Purcellville. I recommend it!
Spinach Balls (makes about 16 balls)
1 ½ tsp neutral oil (I used avocado)
3 cups spinach washed and chopped
¾ cup grated carrots
4 cloves garlic minced
1 handful of basil chopped
1 cup cooked quinoa
¾ cup flour (I used the 7-4 Peace gluten-free)
2 flax eggs (2 Tbl of flax meal with 6 Tbl water added and allowed to sit 5 minutes)
2 tsp cumin
Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees
- Heat oil in a pan, add spinach, carrot, and garlic. Heat until spinach has reduced and carrots are soft.
- In a bowl mix quinoa, flour, and cumin together.
- Add vegetable mixture to the dry ingredients along with the basil.
- Add flax egg to this mixture (this acts as a binder for your balls). Allow to sit for a few minutes – taste it now to determine how much salt and pepper you need.
- Take a pan lined with parchment paper and use about two tablespoons of the mix per ball.
- Heat for 20 minutes or until balls are golden and have a nice crust on the outside.
- Serve over pasta or as a snack with a marinara dipping sauce!