Grated Vegetable Salad

Some kids simply don't want to eat their vegetables. I don't believe that should be the case.

Have you ever put out big bowls of grated vegetables and let everyone build their own veggie salad? You've probably heard the saying that possession is nine tenths of the law. Well I've found that when it comes to kids and their veggies, presentation is nine tenths of the law. At your next meal, instead of pushing a bowl of salad at your little ones, try shredding the ingredients and allowing them to make their own instead. It makes them active participants and I bet they'll enjoy their food more as a result.

The idea for this recipe came to me when I tried to put my finger on why both of my kids always devour the vegetable slaw from our local Vietnamese restaurant. Even though they love veggies, I think the shape and texture is the most appealing part for them.

Since my kids love anytime I put out ingredients for them to assemble their own meal -- be it Chicken Fajitas or Fish in Parchment -- I thought that approach might work here too. I was right. The first time I put out all the bowls on the dinner table, it was an instant hit. To me this approach to eating is the same difference as putting a picture in front of your kids for them to appreciate versus giving them each blank pieces of paper and a box of crayons. Kids' engagement level goes way up when they are asked to be the artist.

A handful of this here, a sprinkle or squeeze of that there and before you know it, dinner is just the way they want it. Simple, but spectacular. How "grate" is that?!

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Grated Vegetable Salad (serves 6)

Prep Time: 10 mins Cook Time: 0 mins

egg free

nut free

dairy free

Ingredients

  • 2 raw carrots, peeled
  • 1 raw beet, peeled
  • 1/2 head purple or white cabbage (or 1/4 head of each)
  • 2 tablespoons Rice Vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice (about 1 small lime)
  • 1 teaspoon Sugar

Preparation

1. Combine the carrots, beets and cabbage (including whatever accompaniments, if applicable) in a large bowl and toss to combine.*
2. Whisk the vinegar, lime juice and sugar in a bowl to combine, pour over the vegetables and toss.

* Alternatively, place each ingredient in a separate bowl and allow everyone to build their own salad!

Accompaniments

chopped cilantro, chopped mint, chopped basil, chopped peanuts, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, cooked shrimp, chicken or tofu

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Hi, I’m Catherine. Mama of three. A Kentucky girl living in California. Here’s what I know: all kids can be great eaters and mealtime must be easy. My passion is creating simple, healthy recipes that can be enjoyed by the whole family.

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12 comments

  • April

    I love this idea. I am curious about one thing and maybe other commenters could answer and give input. How old were your kiddos whn they started eating raw veggies? I have tried salad cut up very small with my two year old and he choked and started crying. Maybe the shredding would work better. Thanks!!

    leave a comment

    • Catherine

      Aww poor guy! My kids did start eating raw veggies pretty young (two is young, in my opinion), and all kids develop at different speeds. The grated veggies might be a better option for your son. It is also great for finger foods and getting him to practice pinching and picking up small items. Of course, always monitor your child when trying new things. If he isn't ready for this sort of thing then just wait a little longer and try again!

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    • Ludicrous Mama

      Torn lettuce is very different from slivers of cabbage though too. Cabbage is much firmer and thicker, so the instinct is to bite it first, like with carrots. Lettuce needs to be chawed on for a while with the back teeth unless shredded fine, and still gets clogged up and gets inhaled easily, since it's lighter and bendier.

      leave a comment

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  • Miachel

    What a brilliant idea! :)
    It makes healthy veggies a fun meal.

    leave a comment

  • Aida Mollenkamp

    Yes to this! We still make a version of rainbow salad (similar to this) when we're in Hawaii and everyone (kids, included) love it!

    leave a comment

  • Lisa With Style And Grace

    love the idea of having the kids make their own salad - great idea!

    leave a comment

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