Toddler Approved: Quinoa, Mint, Avo-Apple Salad

It’s been a long two weeks in the Mills-Burgess household. With our near 4 year old (November!) having just started Kindergarten, I’ve been on a new mission lately to create diverse, delicious yet nutritious lunches for my little guy.

I’ve been serving up his favourites and he’s been coming home a lot having barely touched his lunch. But today? Today my friends we experienced sweet victory and it happened in the form of quinoa.

I know.

Little ones are strange aren’t they? They’ll love a certain food one day and hate it the next. Now, I’m not saying your little one is going to gobble this dish up – but chances are good. In the very least, you’ll love it – I know I did! Recipe below…


Ingredients/Measurements:
4 cups of cooked quinoa (great source of protein!)
1.5 cups of diced and cubed cucumber
1.5 cups of diced and cubed tomatoes (I used heirloom ones from our garden, yep – totally bragging)
1 cup minced red pepper
2 cups of diced and cubed apple (your choice of type)
1 cup of dried cranberries
3/4 cup of fresh minced mint
1/4 cup of lime juice
1/4 cup of maple syrup
1/4 cup of grapeseed or flaxseed oil (I used flax, omega rich!)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt or Herbamare
2 cups of diced avocado

Instructions:
1. Cooking quinoa is so so easy if you haven’t done it before. It’s just equal part water to the quinoa. It will essentially double when cooked, so 2 cups of water (brought to a boil), and adding in 2 cups of quinoa will render you approximately 4 cups. Once the water has boiled and you’ve added the quinoa, cover and simmer on low for approximately 20-30 minutes, until all of the water is dissolved.

2. While the quinoa is cooking you can prep the rest of your ingredients! Wash and cut all the vegetables, mint and apple, putting it all into a medium sized bowl when done. Cut the avocado and set aside. (You don’t want this to be mixed with everything else, you want to save it to top the salad.) If you’re quinoa is done at this point, you need to chill it. I made this the morning of, in a rush – so I put it in the freezer and kept turning it over every couple of minutes to get it cold quickly.

3. Combine the cold cooked quinoa with the rest of the ingredients that you prepped in Step #1 into a bowl. Drizzle the oil you chose, maple syrup and lime juice all over that fragrant, mouth-watering display of colour. Add the salt and toss. Serve individually and let peeps top with the avocado themselves, or leave it in the bowl and put all of the avocado on top. 

You may note that this makes a big salad! Quinoa keeps excellently in the fridge for up to 2 days – this is a great snack or meal or even breakfast for any Stage 3 eater and up. My whole family loves it!

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Selena is a crafty, culinary mom. Creative Director. Social Media & Branding Consultant. Part-time big-mouth & frequent foot-eater. Daily Babble.com contributor. Proud of her Anishinaabe roots.

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