Caprese Salad for Kids

August 10, 2011

As I mentioned yesterday, I am a big believer in children eating real food. In my new kid’s cookbook, We Can Cook, there is a variety of recipes including kid favorites like grilled cheese and fish sticks and more grown-up dishes such as roasted root vegetables and veggie quinoa salad. One of my favorite recipes in the book is caprese sticks.

What I love about this recipe is that it’s interactive for kids and introduces them to an advanced taste profile that they have likely never before tasted – tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil, aged balsamic vinegar, and olive oil. While this recipe may be too advanced for some children, exposing them to these foods early on will make them aware of the flavors and as they get older they will hopefully learn to love it!

How do I know this works? My 7 year old nephew loves caprese salads! (This is the same kid who was eating edamame when he was almost 6.) Last week I was on vacation with my husband’s family, and at almost every dinner my nephew started his meal with a tomato and mozzarella salad. At one particular meal the salad consisted of different colored heirloom tomatoes, which he had never seen. At first he was skeptical and did not want to eat the salad, but I let him know that the yellow and purple tomatoes were just as delicious (if not more!) as the red ones and I encouraged him to at least try them. He was a great sport and tasted the yellow ones. I can’t say he loved them right away, but at least he gave it a shot. I predict that in just a couple of years he will be devouring heirloom tomatoes just like he currently does with red ones!

caprese salad
My nephew and his heirloom tomato & mozzarella salad

What is the most adventurous food your child or a child you knows eats?

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  1. Like your nephew, my son (almost 5) is a big fan of edamame. He also likes the seaweed salad served at most sushi restaurants. Recently he surprised me by requesting blue cheese, which he gobble up when we served it to him on pear slices. All this from the kid who refuses to eat foods I thought were kid staples (carrots, strawberries, peanuts)!

    I’d love to see if Miles likes a caprese salad. Might be a tough sell on tomato, but he does like mozzarella and fresh basil.

    1. It’s so great your son eats these foods and funny that he doesn’t eat some of what are considered kid staples! That’s why it’s always so important to consider each child on his or her own and another reason why I’m not a fan of children’s menus – they just reinforce the idea that kids need something different than adults do and that all kids eat the same foods! Hope your son likes the caprese salad!

  2. I’m embarrassed to admit that my 3-year-old daughter begs for sushi (she calls it Shu-Shi). She eats tuna rolls and salmon rolls dipped in soy sauce. Or sometimes just the soy sauce. I know…yuck. She also eats Pad Thai (she calls them “pink noodles”). And when my 6-year-old niece was visiting us last, she asked if we had any truffle salt.

    1. I love it!! You shouldn’t be embarrassed by that at all. I think it is amazing when kids have such advanced palates and are adventurous when it comes to food. Makes me so happy to hear stories like yours! Thanks for sharing!

  3. My 4 and 6 year old love caprese salad — I’ll try your recipe but already know it will be a hit. I completely agree about children’s menus – they’re horrible food and often children can find something more healthy on adult menus.

    1. That’s great your kids already love caprese salad! Hope they like the Caprese Sticks from my book!