Invent Your Own Summer Salad: A Healthy Dinner Recipe for Kids
Looking for a Healthy Meal That Your Family Will LOVE?
This is the best healthy dinner recipe I know of for adults, kids, and families because it’s so flexible—you can work with any ingredients you have on hand, and it’s relatively quick and affordable.
Kids love it because there’s a huge variety of food to keep them interested in eating a whole plateful, plus they can also help prepare it. I’ve also found husbands and partners enjoy it, as well, and find it more interesting than what they’d consider to be “rabbit food."
I usually make this recipe when it’s roasting hot outside. I buy the ingredients to last the entire week in summer and make it every night, with slight variations. There’s no need to have a headache over what to eat tonight (which is quite a relief for us family cooks), and the washing-up is fairly minimal.
- fresh vegetables
- meat, cheese and/or eggs
- fruits & nuts
- pasta or rice
- canned & packaged foods
- salad dressing(s)
- Start cooking all foods that need to be cooked first. This includes eggs, halloumi, pasta, rice or anything else you need to fry, steam, boil or bake.
- While the hot food is cooking, create the salad. Pick a plate that is the right size for each family member that you intend to fill.
- Prepare each part of the salad and place it on the plate so you can see how much food you need. Leave a space for any hot food.
- Finish off hot food and add to the plate. Garnish, add dressing and serve!
Try It and See What You Think!
I guarantee if you invent your own summer salad every night for a few weeks, you’ll feel a massive boost in your energy levels and alertness. You’ll be getting greater nourishment and it’s a good way to get fussy eaters to be less fussy as well as helping parents feel good and shape up for summer.
Ideas For Ingredients
Fresh / Raw
Canned / Packaged
Celery & Leaf
Deli Cheeses (e.g., Brie)
Satay Rice Packet Mix
Dried Figs & Other Fruits
Walnuts, Almonds, Pistachios, Other Nuts
Biscotti & Dried Bisuits
Fried Zucchini or Mushrooms
Yogurt & Dips
Chicken Wings / Drumsticks
Honeydew / Melon
Quick Egg Salad Recipe
- Boiled, peeled eggs
- Milk or water
- Fresh or dried dill
- Wholegrain mustard
- Ground pepper
Mash boiled and peeled eggs in a bowl with a fork. Mix a teaspoon of wholegrain mustard into milk or water and add it to the mashed eggs. Stir in ground pepper and dill.
You can make your own easy mini salads within the summer salad plate and use them over a few nights. Here are some examples:
- Zesty Grated Carrots: Mix grated carrot with orange juice for a citrus flavour kids will love!
- Minty Pea Risoni: Chop fresh mint and add with peas to risoni pasta. Add a few drops of olive oil and lemon juice for extra flavour.
- Tzaziki Dip: Add minced garlic and finely chopped cucumber with dried dill to natural yogurt and stir for a refreshing dip that goes with just about everything.
- Capsicum Pasta: Cook some macaroni or spiral pasta and add finely chopped red capsicum, oregano, fresh parsley, ground pepper, or a combination of above for an interesting pasta add on.
- Tomato Bulgur: Boil bulgur (cracked wheat) with chopped tomatoes until cooked. Add chopped fresh parsley.
- Green Salad: Combine lettuce, parsley, spring onion, finely sliced celery, finely chopped green capsicum, thinly sliced purple onion, grated cucumber or a combination of above. Squirt lemon juice over the top.
- Seafood Salad: Use a seafood mix and add minced garlic and olive oil to it and fry.
Salad Dressing Suggestions
- lemon juice
- orange juice
- olive oil + herbs
- apple cider vinegar + water
- pomegranate syrup
- natural yogurt
- honey + soy sauce
- minced garlic + olive oil
- wholegrain mustard + water
- sesame oil + sesame seeds
- flavoured iced tea (cooled)
How to Make Each Salad Night Different
Try different methods of chopping and grating the food. For example, one night I might have grated carrot and the next I might make carrot sticks. One night I might chop cheese into small cubes and the next night I might fry the cheese in breadcrumbs.
You could grate the cucumber or slice it, boil and peel eggs as whole, slice the boiled eggs or make a mini egg salad. Herbs and dressings can be very helpful in making the food taste different each night too.
If you are going to make these salads for an entire week, work with canned and packaged foods so you can alternate the nights on which you have them. Since you only use a small portion for each meal, cans can last 2–3 meals if you buy a large can of each ingredient.
Lastly, it's fun to explore the supermarket aisles and try a couple of new ingredients every now and again.
A big thank you to my mother (also known as "Nanna") for this recipe. She created it one year when the budget was a bit tight, and we’ve all enjoyed it so much that we now eat it every summer while adding new and exciting ingredients to it.
I posted a few photos of my salads on Facebook, and my friends thought it looked fantastic, so I decided to share it with the world.
The more I make this recipe, the more I enjoy eating and cooking it. It's a great fun food for kids to make, too. I hope you get as much enjoyment from this healthy dinner recipe for summer salad as I do!
© 2013 Suzanne Day