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Recipes

21 Kid-Friendly Salad Recipes

Do you have a kid who refuses to eat his greens? Try these picky-eater-approved salad recipes.

21 Kid-Friendly Salad Recipes

Grilled Chicken and Veg Chopped Salad

This is a fresh twist on a Cobb-style salad, with all of your ingredients served separately. A warm summer salad is the best. Even reluctant green-eaters can get behind perfectly marinated chicken and veg, with just a little lettuce on the side. This is the perfect salad for kids (or adults!) who don’t like to mix their foods because “eww”, you can’t eat tomatoes and chicken at the same time.

Boneless skinless chicken breast is a good source of protein due to its low fat and calorie content. This lean protein helps muscle growth and repair while maintaining a healthy immune system.

Get the recipe: Grilled Chicken and Veg Chopped Salad

plate with grilled chicken, zucchini, red onion, mushrooms and lettuce and tomato Photo: Jodi Pudge

Coconut-Crusted Chicken Chopped Salad

Do you have leftover chicken fingers from another meal? Cut them up and toss them in a salad. Yum! Kids will also love the thinly sliced carrots and the satisfying way you can slurp your veggies like a very long noodle.

This recipe comes with room to experiment as you can serve it deconstructed for kids who don’t like their food mixed up. You may also use the leftovers to create dishes such as Lime Sour Cream Dipping Sauce and Coconut-Crusted Chicken Fingers. These chicken fingers are a healthy choice for your next meal as coconut is high in healthy fats and adds delicious flavor.

Get the recipe: Coconut-Crusted Chicken Chopped Salad

21 Kid-Friendly Salad Recipes Photo: Jodi Pudge

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Greek Salad Pasta

This recipe allows you the privilege to eat one yummy veggie for every piece of pasta that you eat! Oh, the beauty of pasta salad. This Greek Salad Pasta recipe replaces mayonnaise with a light oil and vinegar dressing and gets bundles of flavour from feta, olives and raw vegetables.

If your kids enjoy their vegetables raw, then this salad-turned-pasta is perfect, and it can be served hot or cold. If served cold, toss the pasta with a bit of oil and vinegar and let it cool to room temperature before adding the cheese, vegetables and herbs. The recipe can also be customized to accommodate a different type of pasta such as gluten-free or refined pasta. You may also swap out the feta cheese for goat or a low-fat option.

Get the recipe: Greek Salad Pasta

plate of pasta with olives, tomatoes and cucumber Photo: Jodi Pudge

Salad in a Jar

Fun containers such as a jar may be the trick in getting your kids to eat their veggies. Salad in a Jar is perfect for parties, storage, and letting your kid have fun shaking up all the ingredients before chowing down.

Quinoa is a great healthy addition to this recipe as it is a good source of important nutrients such as folate, magnesium, zinc, and iron. Quinoa is also rich in fiber and protein. This delicious salad also allows substituting a couple of skinless, boneless chicken breasts you might have left over from Grilled Chicken and Veg Chopped Salad.

Get the recipe: Salad in a Jar 

21 Kid-Friendly Salad Recipes Photo: Roberto Caruso

SPONSORED: California Grilled Turkey Chef’s Salad

This colorful salad not only looks beautiful but is also a refreshing option for a sunny summer day. Avocado is always a favorite in any salad as it gives you nutrients usually lacking in your diet such as magnesium, B6, vitamin C, vitamin E, and folate.

The color yellow is represented by corn and pineapple which each have their own specific flavor but complement each other nicely. Corn is an excellent source of carbs, protein, and fiber. Pineapple is rich in vitamin C and manganese.

Get the recipe: California Grilled Turkey Chef’s Salad

21 Kid-Friendly Salad Recipes Photo courtesy of Ontario Turkey

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Salad Supper

Kids like having choices and this dinner gives them lots of options. Just want tomatoes and chicken? Go for it! Want to mix everything together? Delicious! Or eat each dish separately? Sounds good. It is similar to ordering something like Chinese takeout, where each family member has something that they enjoy. Treat yourself to something healthier than takeout, and grant yourself the satisfaction of making it all on your own!

Adding oil, herbs and flavourings transform these individual salad components into a deconstructed meal. You may also feel free to store whatever is left over and try a new recipe from the scraps for your next meal.

Get the recipe: Salad Supper

21 Kid-Friendly Salad Recipes Photo: Maya Visnyei

Kale, Carrot and Feta Salad

This is a superfood side dish your kids will want to eat. The thing about kale is that it tastes really good especially when cooked enough that the edges get crispy and easily crumbles, delicious. Your child would think so too and be all the better for it because this nutritious vegetable is high in vitamins C, K, and manganese.

Brown rice complements this salad nicely as well. This whole grain has an expansive nutritional profile including vitamins B1 and B3, zinc, and copper.

Get the recipe: Kale, Carrot and Feta Salad

ramekin of shredded kale, carrots, zucchini and crumbled feta Photo: Jodi Pudge

Broccoli and Cranberry Salad

Let's not ignore the fact that not many kids enjoy broccoli—actually many kids hate it. However, the secret that you might have been attempting to seek out for some time is probably mixing it with dried cranberries (they taste like candy). The extra-creamy dressing also masks the regrettable texture of the broccoli. It is as if it is not even there!

In your successful covert mission of concealing the broccoli, your child will enjoy all the healthy nutrients the vegetable offers, such as vitamins C, A, K, and potassium.

Get the recipe: Broccoli and Cranberry Salad

21 Kid-Friendly Salad Recipes Photo: Maya Visnyei

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Kale Salad with Bacon and Dates

If it turns out your child does not enjoy kale, then this recipe is an excellent way to conceal yet another nutritious vegetable. This salad is sweet and savoury. Adding bacon and a poached egg feels like treating your family to breakfast for dinner. The sweet, honey-like flavor of the dates act like a maple syrup stand-in to seal the deal.

Dates have their nutritional upsides such as high contents of potassium, manganese, and copper. Kale is high in vitamins C, K, and manganese. These two ingredients lead to a delicious and nutritious meal!

Get the recipe: Kale Salad with Bacon and Dates

21 Kid-Friendly Salad Recipes Photo: Maya Visnyea

Sautéed Squash and Quinoa Salad

Sautéed cubes of squash are candy sweet! And we all know kids never say no to candy. They’re delicious teamed up with the creamy tahini dressing in this healthy salad. If your child can’t get enough of squash after this recipe, roasting squash with maple syrup is another delicious alternative.

Squash is low in calories and is a good source of calcium, iron, phosphorus, and copper. Its orange color is perfect for any fall dish. Its nutty flavor and silky texture also pairs well with pork or chicken to add some protein.

Get the recipe: Sautéed Squash and Quinoa Salad

21 Kid-Friendly Salad Recipes Photo: Maya Visnyei

Watermelon and Cucumber Salad

Picture this now, your child just got home from school dehydrated during a heat wave. You want to give them some electrolytes, but many drinks have far too much sugar and prefer to find a healthier option. This salad has no lettuce, its a massive innovation. Fruits and vegetables are in the same food group for a reason!

This bowl of red and green can also make an excellent desert after a hearty meal of proteins. While watermelon is great for keeping you hydrated it is also a great source of potassium, magnesium, and vitamins A and C. Cucumbers are just as refreshing as watermelon as they are made up of about 96 per cent water!

Get the recipe: Watermelon and Cucumber Salad

wedges of watermelon with cucumber and mint in a light oil-based dressing Photo: Andrew Grinton

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Grated Carrot Salad

Getting creative with how you serve your child vegetables has been the name of the game when talking about salads. Carrots are no different. Simple carrot sticks may not be doing the job. With this recipe, try grating carrots and topping them with a red wine vinegar dressing. It only takes 5 minutes! These thin carrot slices would make excellent toppings to your protein selection in a meal.

Another way your child may enjoy carrots is cooking them with butter. Carrots are a good source of beta carotene, fiber, vitamin K1, potassium, and antioxidants. Your child may also appreciate how this tasty vegetable improves their eyesight, maybe one day making them able to see through walls like a real-life superhero!

Get the recipe: Grated Carrot Salad

21 Kid-Friendly Salad Recipes Photo: Maya Visnyei

Hoisin-Glazed Salmon with Crunchy Apple Salad

Celery, cucumbers and apples may not sound like an appealing combo to a kid. The texture of salmon may also be something new for your child, so a good first impression is in order. This recipe’s creamy yogurt dressing will have them coming back for seconds.

Salmon is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids that decrease inflammation and support brain health, while its richness in vitamin B12 helps produce red blood cells. Apples also improve gut and brain health.

Get the recipe: Hoisin-Glazed Salmon with Crunchy Apple Salad

21 Kid-Friendly Salad Recipes Photo: John Cullen

Island Chicken and Mango Salad

Pretend you’re on a tropical island somewhere with this delicious salad combination. The citrus dressing is unparalleled; even your kids will love it, promise! Similar to the watermelon and cucumber salad, this recipe is an excellent option to stay hydrated, this time with some added protein.

The mango slices are an absolute treat. Great for your taste buds but also your eye health, and immune and digestive systems. Be sure to use yellow varieties, such as Alphonso or Ataulfo, which are generally less fibrous and more flavourful than the red-and-green type.

Get the recipe: Island Chicken and Mango Salad

plate of salad with romaine hearts, shredded chicken, cucumber, red onion and mango Photo: Jodi Pudge

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Jewel Salad

This salad is perfect for those with little fingers. They can pick each bean up one by one. And topping it with oranges and pomegranate seeds gives this salad a sweet and tart finish. It may be best to reseason this salad if left out, as flavors tend to absorb quickly.

Edamame is a great low calorie snack, especially when mixed together with other colorful fruits and vegetables. The green veggie has high amounts of vitamin K and folate.

Get the recipe: Jewel Salad

bowl of salad with beans and oranges Photo: Maya Visnyei

Pan-Seared Steak Salad

Have a little meat and potatoes lover? Throw the good stuff on top of spinach and watch your tyke eat his greens with glee. If your kid is not into salad, keep all the components of this dish separate without the dressing and it’ll look like a “safe” meal.

While steak is an excellent source of protein, it also is high in zinc which improves brain health, builds muscle, and aids digestion. Ribeye steaks which are used in the recipe are sure to melt in your mouth, but feel free to use your favorite cut.

Get the recipe: Pan-Seared Steak Salad

21 Kid-Friendly Salad Recipes Photo: Jodi Pudge

Chopped Cucumber Salad

Cucumbers are fun and easy. Kids love them. Chopping and tossing only takes 10 minutes. Why not make a salad entirely out of this Vitamin-A-filled, refreshing veggie? Your little guy can eat the salad by itself or in a pita.

While being made up of about 96 per cent water, cucumbers are also a great source of vitamin K and magnesium. On ridiculously hot summer days, cucumbers are your best friend.

Get the recipe: Chopped Cucumber Salad

bowl of chopped cucumber and hummus Photo: Maya Visnyei

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Roasted Beet and Apple Salad

Crunch, crunch, crunch! Your little one will love chomping on this salad. Beets aren’t usually a kid favourite, but pairing apples with beets gives a perfect amount of sweetness as a side dish to a protein-rich meal.

Beets are a great source of fiber, folate (vitamin B9), manganese, potassium, iron, and vitamin C.  Apples also improve gut and brain health.

Get the recipe: Roasted Beet and Apple Salad

vintage plate with harvest salad Photo: Maya Visnyei

Warm Salad of Salmon, Baby Spinach, Orzo and Crispy Capers

How do you get your kids to eat their greens? Put a little maple syrup on them! This extra-sweet dressing is yummy on this warm salmon and orzo salad. You might want to skip the capers, but add a little extra salmon so your kid gets their daily dose of omega-3s.

Never thought of introducing kids to capers? It may be a sophisticated choice, but frying them creates a great crunch. Capers help alleviate inflammation and promote healthy blood sugar levels.

Get the recipe: Warm Salad of Salmon, Baby Spinach, Orzo and Crispy Capers

21 Kid-Friendly Salad Recipes Photo: Maya Visnyei

Sicilian Chopped Broccoli and Cauliflower Salad

Eat your broccoli! And your cauliflower, too. This isn’t hard to convince kids to do when adding yummy raisins and a creamy dressing. The toasted pine nuts seem like a small addition, but their nutty sweetness adds a delicious crunch.

Broccoli gives your child many healthy nutrients and minerals such as vitamins C, A, K, and potassium. Cauliflower has high amounts of vitamin C, folate, and vitamin K.

Get the recipe: Sicilian Chopped Broccoli and Cauliflower Salad

bowl of raw broccoli and cauliflower with nuts and dried fruit Photo: Ryan Szulc

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Wheat Berry Salad

Wheat berries take a while to cook, but there is a satisfying element in the effort that is put into this recipe and seeing your child admire the finished product. Now, you may be asking yourself, what’s a wheat berry? They are the edible part of the wheat kernel before the grain undergoes processing. Your child will surely enjoy this chewy, nutty, high-fiber whole grain.

If you are making a large quantity of this salad for a party, it is best to make it ahead of time, refrigerate it, and bring it to room temperature before serving.

Get the recipe: Wheat Berry Salad

bowl of wheat berry salad Photo: Ryan Szulc
This article was originally published on Jun 18, 2019

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Andrew is a master's student at Toronto Metropolitan University. His work has been published in University of Toronto's student newspaper, The Mike. He specializes in arts and culture writing. He lives in Toronto where he enjoys watching movies and spending time with friends.

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