One of the benefits of going to the farmers’ market with kids is connecting them to the food they eat. It also might peek their interest and get them to eat more fruits and veggies. Especially if they were allowed to pick out a few on their own. Here are five simple dishes to make with your kids using food from the local farmers’ market.
- Simple Salads. Lettuce and other greens are some of the first produce to pop up in the spring. I know not all kids like lettuce, however, simply adding their favorite dressing may make it more appealing. One of my favs from my childhood, that my grandmother made is, Wilted Lettuce with Hot Bacon Dressing. To make: Wash lettuce. Fry 3 slices of bacon. Remove bacon and crumble. Add 1/3 cup red wine vinegar, 1 tablespoon sugar and ½ teaspoon salt and mix with bacon grease in the pan. Bring to boil. Take pan off of heat, add lettuce and crumbled bacon. Toss.
- Grilled Zucchini. Grilling tends to bring out the sweetness in the vegetable. This dish is so simple to make that kids can prepare it on their own, with some help cutting. To make: Cut a couple of zucchinis in half and then into spears. On a cookie sheet mix the zucchini spears with a couple tablespoons of olive oil, salt and pepper. Lay the zucchini on the top shelf of a preheated grill or slightly off the heat and grill until tender. Turn them after five minutes. You can also sprinkle with some grated parmesan cheese while they’re still warm.
- Corn on the Cob. There’s nothing better than Iowa sweet corn in the summer and most kids love it! I think it’s served best simply prepared with a little butter, salt and pepper. We also like to eat fresh corn in a salad with black beans that both of my kids gobble up. Mix a couple cups of cooked corn kernels with a can of rinsed and drained black beans. Add ½ cup of diced red onion, two tablespoons olive oil, one tablespoon red wine vinegar, salt and pepper to taste. You can also add some cilantro if you picked that up at the farmers’ market too.
- Sliced Tomatoes. Okay, I may have misspoke above. There’s nothing better than a red juicy Iowa tomato in the summer! Again, they’re served best simply sliced with a little salt and pepper. Sliced tomatoes served with corn on the cob is my all-time favorite summer meal! The next best way to serve up summer tomatoes is on a BLT. I’ve found that if you add bacon to a dish, kids will almost always gobble it up. Lastly, another easy way to serve tomatoes to kids is diced and added to cottage cheese with a little black pepper.
- Pickled Cucumbers. Making pickles with kids can be a fun summer time activity. You can make them sweet or dilled and pick up the pickling spices along with the cucumbers at the farmers’ market. We prefer dilled pickles. Here is a simple refrigerator dill pickle recipe that kids can help out with. Depending on the size of your cucumbers and your preference, you can cut them in half, into spears, slice or leave whole. To make: Stir together 3 ½ cups of water, 1 ½ cups white vinegar, one tablespoon sugar and one tablespoon salt in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, remove from heat and cool completely. In a glass jar or plastic container, combine four cups prepped cucumbers, two cloves whole garlic and two heads fresh dill. Pour vinegar mixture over cucumbers, seal and refrigerate for at least three days.
What are your family’s favorite farmers’ market dishes? Tell us below!