How I Got My Kids to Eat Cabbage (And 4 Rules For a Kid-Winning Salad)

Ever since my kids got their teeth and they were past the choking stage for solid food, salads regularly appear on their plates. (Little babes only need one forkful on their plate. I always have bigger kids serve themselves to eliminate the excuses.) After they take their first bite, they can’t help but offer their compliments ratings. Double-thumbs up, double-thumbs down, or a combination thereof.

From the first day I saw a version of this salad over at GimmeSomeOven, it has been the most-requested – not just salad – but meal in my house by my kids. Apparently it obeys all of the rules of a good salad:

  • #1: add fruit
  • #2: limit the greens and go big on toppings
  • #3: add crunchy stuff
  • #4: include maple syrup or honey in the dressing (it’s best if they watch this part)

When a kid likes cabbage salad, it’s a big deal. Normally parents know not to talk about how healthy a food is, the #1 sure way of it never tasting good again. But after making my first slip and seeing my four-year-old flex his biceps, I’m not scared.

Now my kids want to know what’s so good about anything we’re eating. Because knowing that cabbage is super good for a strong heart (read: quickest forward on the soccer field/bucket list trip to Machu Picchu/visits to your grandkids at 7000 ft) may be the nudge to finish the yuckiest of salads.

Crunchy Asian Salad

Makes 4 servings

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 medium green cabbage, chopped
  • 2 oranges, peeled and chopped
  • 2 bell peppers, any color but green, chopped
  • 1 cup almonds, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup rice crackers, crumbled into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/2 cup mild cooking oil, such as avocado or grapeseed
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons liquid aminos or soy sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • Salt to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

Place chopped almonds on baking tray and toast in toaster oven or in small skillet over medium-high heat (with no oil). Shake tray or skillet frequently to keep almonds from burning. Toast until lightly browned. Set aside.

Place cabbage, oranges, and bell peppers in salad bowl.

In small bowl, combine cooking oil, vinegar, maple syrup, aminos, sesame oil and salt. Whisk well. Pour half of dressing onto cabbage mix and toss well. Taste and adjust with more dressing if needed.

Top with almonds and crushed crackers. Enjoy!

Change up this salad with whatever you’ve got! I’ve done these substitutions and they worked great:

ramen noodles, break up and toast with almonds (rice ramen for gluten-free)

avocados, sliced

mango, pineapple, or peach slices subbed for the oranges

edamame or peas

crunchy roasted chickpeas

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“Children need love, especially when they do not deserve it.” ~ Harold Hulbert

2 Comments

  • Reply Nancy August 5, 2020 at 2:30 pm

    Very creative! Does it work with husbands?😊

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