Easy Side Salad recipe alert! This salad is scrumptious and adaptable to suit your family taste preferences and age. A family favourite!
* This post was updated February 2022 with new content, recipe updates, and image adjustments.
How to Build a Kid-Friendly Salad is the salad we enjoy 2-4 times per week.
It’s the salad my kids ask for (yes, all 3), it’s quick and easy to loaded up at least half your plate with vegetables, and above all else, it tastes really freaking good.
No other vegetable dish goes down as easy as this side salad recipe does.
Why is that? I think it’s because I truly love it. It’s fresh, packed with different flavours and textures, and is so easy to customize that everyone gets a bowl of vegetables they enjoy.
As my girls are growing I let them make this salad as often as they’d like or are able to. This buys in their desire to eat the salad as well since they’ve lent a helping hand.
There’s deep satisfaction in filling at least half your kid’s plate (and your own!) with salad. Bursting with nutrients, these salads are customizable to a certain extend making them an ideal alternative to the usual steamed vegetable.
What do you put in a salad? The ingredients shown below are included in all our salads. Some we love more than others, but they all have their nutritional value so we try to eat the whole variety when we can.
One child adores tomatoes so we load up her side salad with those, another bell peppers, and finally my toddler who gets a bit of extra cheese (because she’s a toddler and since she’s eating a salad she can have as much cheese with it as she wants in my opinion). We customize each salad to taste, but only within the parameters above, ensuring I’m not a short-order cook.
What goes well with a side salad for dinner?
- Stews, like this Belgian Beef Stew
- Chicken with noodles
- Chicken with potatoes
- Weekday Pasta
- Burgers, like this Pork Apple Mustard Burger
- And so many more recipes …. if you find an amazing combo be sure to comment on this post and share!
A couple of pro-tips for introducing salad to babies, toddlers, and kids:
- serve salad first before any other food hits the table (and don’t serve anything else till it’s gone, hardcore but effective);
- cut down on snacking between meals to make sure kids are hungry;
- don’t include any vegetable they detest (especially at first);
- cut all pieces into age appropriate sizes (very small for babies and toddlers);
- use Romain, Bibb, or Green/Red Leaf Lettuce in much smaller bites than what seems normal, almost shred the lettuce. I know this comes off as weird, but ice berg lettuce isn’t substantial enough and spinach or arugula can come off as too strong;
- use softer vegetables with peel removed for babies/toddlers (e.g. cucumber); and
- garnish with kid-favourites such as cheese or fresh herbs, and favourite vinaigrette.
When my older kids originally became interested (they were 2 years old), I would make myself this side salad recipe and relish over how amazing it was to them. They of course wanted in on the delicious dish I was enjoying … and voilà. Kids addicted to salad.
Easy Side Salad recipe alert! This salad is scrumptious and adaptable to suit your family taste preferences and age.
- 1 head romain lettuce trimmed and cut into 1/4″ wide stripes (or chopped smaller for babies/toddlers)
- 1 medium bell pepper preferably red, orange, or yellow, cut into thin stripes
- 1/2 long English cucumber quartered and chopped into 1/4″ wide pieces (remove skin for younger babies and kids)
- 1 stalk celery sliced into 1/4″ wide pieces
- 1/2 pint cherry tomatoes or other smaller tomatoes, halved or cut smaller for younger babies and kids)
- 100 grams feta or other cheese crumble over salad (optional)
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/3 cup red wine vinegar or white wine vinegar
- 1/2 clove garlic, finely grated
- 2 pinches sea salt
- 1 pinch ground black pepper
Combine salad ingredients in one large bowl or into personal sized bowls/plates.
Place all vinaigrette ingredients into a small jar or container with lid and shake until combined. Drizzle over salad (may be extra leftover, can be stored in refrigerator for 1 week).
Be sure to check out the pro-tips for building salads for kids in the post above. The bullet on cutting down the vegetables to age appropriate size is probably of the upmost importance.