One of the beautiful things about starting baby led weaning right off the bat is how it often develops a child that is willing to eat (literally) anything. To my dismay, sometimes this may be something old found on the kitchen floor, a rogue cat hair, or something else of the frightening sort that is the perfect size for a baby’s curious little hands. However, to it’s benefit, BLW for many reasons gives a child the independence and comfort necessary to keep them from being overly picky eaters (generally speaking). As parents, we must be careful to consistently introduce (or reintroduce) new flavors and textures to keep them willing and expecting of new culinary adventures.
Today I embarked on a type of “chinese chicken salad” inspired meal for my daughter. If you’re familiar with my blog however, you will already know that this recipe would not include chicken (or any other animal product), oil, or grain.
Let me tell you… it. was. stellar.
-1/2 zucchini, spiralized
-2/3 small carrot or so, shaved
-1 green onion, minced well
-1/2 kale leaf
-1 handful fresh parsley
-1 thumb of fresh ginger
-1/5 lime (1 wedge)
-1 med. orange
-3 (give or take) snow peas (not pictured)
- Having rinsed/cleaned all your produce, first make up your dressing. Halve your avocado and place one half in a high speed blender (preferably like a Nutribullet or Vitamix) or a food processor. Shave some of the peel from your thumb of ginger, and slice off a piece about the size of one of your smaller fingernails. Add to blender. Halve your orange and toss half in the blender, setting the other half aside for later. Toss in a few leaves of your fresh parsley, and then squirt your lime wedge inside the blender. Blend until smooth – it will be quite thick and should taste rich and citrusy.
- Using your spiralizer, create your “pasta” noodles by using your half of zucchini. If you do not own a spiralizer, you can also make “fettuccine” type noodles simply by shaving the zucchini with a potato peeler. Cut these pieces up a bit if you have long strings so that they are easier for baby to handle. Add to this some carrot shavings done also with your peeler in a medium sized bowl.
- Dice your kale very finely so that it will blend well with the mixture and add it to the bowl. To this, add some more fresh parsley for added greens (did you know fresh, green herbs are detoxifying and good for the circulatory system?).
- Lastly, nip off both ends of your snow peas just at the edge with your knife and set that aside for composting as they are a bit hard. Add the snow peas to the bowl (you may cut these up a bit if you wish to do so). Dice the other half of your orange and toss in alongside it.
- Stir well with your dressing. This amount of dressing matched the salad perfectly, so as always adjust this recipe depending on the age/appetite of your child. My 9.5mo old was able to eat about half of this recipe.
Let me leave you with some other thoughts on how to tweak this:
-I really had hoped to make this recipe with fresh bean sprouts, but my local market only had the canned-but-barely-still-food kind from the international aisle so I skipped it. If you happen to be making a trip to your local health food store, fresh bean sprouts would be a fantastic and healthful addition.
-If your little one is quite good at gnawing harder things, water chestnuts might be a fun extra texture for them to try.
-Do let the dressing sit atop the zucchini just for a few minutes; It helps to soften the noodles a bit and allows them to absorb the various flavors.
-If you would rather make this a true salad rather than a “pasta salad”, a lettuce like Boston Lettuce or even BokChoy would suit quite well. Something like this could even be done with different colored cabbages, if you really want to go all out (though it would need to set up in the fridge awhile to soften a touch, I imagine).
-If you have a baby or toddler ready for nuts, something like slivered almonds is a traditional nut in oriental salads that would be a great way to add more healthy fats and protein.
I am really falling in love with making ethnic dishes. One of the beautiful aspects of them is that you can make all manner of similar dishes but only use the produce you really love by easily subtracting a flavor you don’t care for in substitution for another that works just as well.
To your good health,