A couple of years ago, we got into the habit of eating Sunday lunch at a nice salad place after my son’s weekly piano lesson. It was one of those places where they have a million fresh ingredients that you can customize into your own salad. They start with lettuce and then add whatever you want.
The restaurant got to know us pretty well for two reasons:
- There are not that many little kids out there so excited to eat salad.
- My son would be the only one there whose instructions were- “I would like to order a salad but hold the lettuce please.” (He’s referring to the standard iceberg lettuce.)
I have to agree with him though. While iceberg lettuce does add some nice crispness to a salad, its nutritional value (and taste) is pretty much non-existent. There are a lot of other greens that are tasty and a have a lot of vitamins- arugula, baby spinach, chard, frisée and radicchio are great. Romaine lettuce is also better than iceberg lettuce in the nutritional area.
If removing lettuce is still not enticing enough for your kids to have a salad, it’s time to take a different approach. How about serving it in an edible bowl– made of crispy, melted parmesan?
Trust me, you’ll get their attention.
Little edible cups of parmesan cheese, filled with a simple salad—and remember mixed greens are fine…but hold the iceberg lettuce!
Parmesan Cheese Cups
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Put about 2 tablespoons of cheese on a lined cookie sheet for each parmesan cup you want to make. Leave a few inches between the cheese batches as they will spread when the melt.
Bake for about 8-10 minutes.
Remove from oven and fit onto the back of a small cup or bowl and let set until you get the shape you want. You can even set them in muffin/cupcake pans.
Wash some mixed greens (~3 ounces), cut to desired size (if you like).
Cut a handful of cherry tomatoes in half and a small cucumber into semicircles.
Julienne a small carrot.
Add all to mixed greens, along with a handful green olives.
Add 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar. Salt and pepper to taste.
Put the parmesan cups in individual plates/bowls.
Add some salad to each cup.