The "Toss it together" simple salad

In our house we can be good at planning meals, we batch cook (sometimes) and we usually make enough for leftovers. However as the days are getting longer, and our kids don’t want to go in, we get late getting home and need to toss dinner together in a hurry.

I love eating as a family. It’s really important to me, and it’s my favorite place to connect with my kids, and especially my wife. I can selfishly push the bedtime envelope to get this in from the end of school/work to the time we all should be in bed.

So, as much as I love to prepare a meal all afternoon, the reality is that I usually have 30 minutes or less. So on the drive home, my wife and I were working through the short list of items in the fridge and this is what we came up with:

  • Kale
  • Carrots
  • Wheat berries
  • Almonds 
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Garlic
  • Olive Oil
  • Maple Syrup

I look to grains and legumes a lot, being we’re a vegetarian family and we eat a very limited amount of dairy products. Fortunately I was raised a vegetarian so this isn’t limiting or stressful for me. I usually think, what goes with beans or chickpeas? My kids sigh when it’s another “bowl” for dinner. I keep my head up knowing that they will be thankful one day, a long time from now, maybe. At least they’re healthy, and that’s my job for now.

My kids love spiralized carrots. They love using the spiralizer  and they love playing with the slinky like spiralized strings. Starting the meal preperation off with us playing in the kitchen sets the tone for a good meal and again, this fills my bucket.

I get our Wheat Berries from our friends at GRAIN. I get the water on right away and set them to cook as soon as I can as they need all the time I have to become “al dente”.  I have the kids wash and prep the veggies.

I used a chiffonade cut for the kale. The kids don’t dig big pieces of anything green.

The secret to this dinner salad being a hit? Chef Cosmo’s famous Garlic Almond Dressing. that is part of our new knife skills class menu in Victoria. Maybe one day he’ll let me post it online but is goes something like:

  • Almonds
  • Garlic
  • Nutritional Yeast
  • Olive Oil
  • Water
  • Salt
  • all in the Vitamix

Take all ingredients, in whatever proportions that look good to you – maybe add some nuts or seeds. Toss. Serve.

I get, “oh, my kids won’t eat that” all the time. Why do my kids eat this? To be straight with you, it’s not their first choice, or maybe even their tenth! But we make cooking at home (and in our kids classes) fun, and they both understand that there’s a balance in life. We LOVE our sweets and we don’t like to keep them from experiencing all of the amazing food that our diverse culinary community produces, so we’ve made a deal with them. If they want a donut from Cartems, or Ice Cream from Cold Comfort or a piece of pie from Whisky Creek Farm, then they need to understand that they need to eat the right food most all the time.  Most of the time this works just fine.

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