Keep calm, it’s back to school ! Bonne rentrée à tous! Tuesday morning kids all over France started a new school year. My baby (who would of course correct me that she’s not a baby any more although I do explain to her every single time that even when she’s going to be my age I’ll be still calling her my baby) is starting 2nd grade (CE1 in France)! She is such a mature, opinionated girl, questioning everything, correcting us all the time which makes me quiver at the thought of what the future would bring. Do children these days begin preadolescence at such an early age? Eeeyouch, let’s talk food instead, it’s a subject much easier to digest.
So, you want to know if at seven my daughter is still a picky eater? Well, yes and no. She likes different types of cuisines – crazy about some Hungarian dishes (which mostly include potatoes), loves loves loves her grandma’s couscous (and also the Sicilian fish version), would eat blue cheese without bread and would easily swallow one or two oysters as well (this obviously marks her Frenchiness). But when it comes to veggies, well, she is still one of the most difficult and pickiest eaters out there! I have to be really clever to make sure she has some fresh or cooked veggies with every meal. So I prepared this quinoa salad especially for her as it contains all the raw veggies she likes: carrots, cherry tomatoes and avocado. If I manage to mix well and hide the fresh sprouts, she would also eat that with the quinoa – which she loves, by the way – and recently she’s been willing to try pomegranate seeds, so I topped the salad with some of those red gems.
This salad makes quite a nutritious dish with these healthy all-star ingredients and there isn’t a better moment than this first week of school to stock up on some good nutrition to keep her energy levels steady. I have no choice but to redo this salad with the same ingredients over and over for my little princess (“I’m not a princess mommy, don’t call me that, and I don’t want any more pink dresses!”…), and you should feel free to play with it, adding vegetables, nuts and herbs to your taste.
As for the dressing, hmmm, that’s what makes this salad so tasty! I use this delicious tahini-apple cider vinegar dressing – again a nutritious powerhouse. I’m sure you’ve already come across somewhere the long list of benefits of apple cider vinegar. Just make sure to buy organic, unpasteurized apple cider vinegar (you know it’s good quality when you see brownish web-like residue on the bottom of the bottle, just lightly shake the bottle before use). Tahini has also great benefits as sesame seeds are chock-full of vitamins, minerals – including calcium – protein and good fat. This dressing truly does tastes wonderful, so prepare a big batch, you can refrigerate it for a couple of days and use it as a dip for any other raw veggies.
Ingredients for the tahini-apple cider vinegar dressing :
- 5 tbs tahini
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- Juice of half a lemon
- 60ml water
- 1 tsp maple syrup or honey
- 1 tsp tamari soy sauce
- 1 tsp curcuma
- 6 tbs extra virgin olive oil
- Himalaya salt, freshly ground black pepper
Make the dressing by combining all ingredients in a food processor and processing for 30 seconds.
Ingredients for the salad (serves 4):
- 150g quinoa
- 2 shredded carrots
- a handful of cherry tomatoes
- 1 avocado
- a handful of fresh sprouts
- a handful of pomegranate seeds
- Himalayan salt, freshly ground black pepper
- a dash of laughter
- Cook quinoa according to package instructions. Don’t forget to rinse quinoa in a mesh strainer before cooking to avoid the bitter taste. You can cook quinoa in vegetable or chicken broth to give it a boost and add a pinch of salt. Make sure not to overcook the grains so that they stay fluffy instead of letting them become too mushy.
- In large glasses layer quinoa, shredded carrots, halved cerry tomatoes, sprouts, one more layer of quinoa and diced avocado. Dress with pomegranate seeds. Pour over tahini-apple cider vinegar dressing. Take a photo, it’s so pretty! And now enjoy!