Ask your typical kid about Easter and probably the last thing you'll hear is a wish for more vegetables. But hey, isn't there something weird about a bunny—the ultimate healthy salad eater—only delivering jelly beans?
Now, to be sure, if you're thinking of having your Easter bunny show up with a basket of lettuce and cucumbers, chances are you’re going to catch some serious moans from your child. But that doesn't mean you can't lay out an Easter brunch with some seasonal vegetables, such as carrots, that both your child and any visiting bunnies would love.
So, with a salute to health and a hop to the store, farmers market, or perhaps even your backyard garden for ingredients, here's a classic carrot salad served in a “basket” made from fresh, seasonal asparagus. Invite your child to help you measure, chop, and mix, and you've even got a way to sneak in some valuable hands-on math and science learning while you're at it.
What You Need:
- 3 cups shredded carrots, packed (about 1 pound of carrots)
- ¼ cup light mayonnaise, ¼ cup nonfat plain yogurt, blended
- ½ cup raisins
- 1–2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
- 1 deep, straight-edged bowl, about 5 inches in diameter, to hold 3 ½ cups of carrot salad
- Large bunch of fresh, medium-stalked, sturdy asparagus spears (at least 28)
- Clean raffia ribbon
What You Do:
- Start by having your child cut the ends off approximately 28 medium or thick (not skinny!) asparagus spears, so that they each stand up about 5 inches high. Steam them until they are just tender, and no further; they should still be crisp and firm. Remove them from the steam and chill.
- While the asparagus is cooling, make a classic carrot-raisin salad. Peel and clean about 1 pound of carrots, and then have your kid shred them with a grater, or food processor. Whichever method you choose, you should end up with approximately 3 cups of grated carrot, firmly packed.
- In a small bowl, blend ¼ cup light mayonnaise with ¼ cup nonfat yogurt. Mix in the rice wine vinegar, adding the full 2 tablespoons if you like a tart edge, and less if you want your carrot salad to be just plain sweet.
- Blend the carrots, mayonnaise/yogurt mixture, and raisins, and add a bit of salt or a pinch of sugar to taste.
- Now you're ready to assemble your “basket.” Measure out a 24-inch piece of raffia and keep it ready. Place the carrot salad in your straight-edged bowl, and place the bowl on a decorative plate. Then stand the asparagus up around the edge, creating a natural green “basket” around the carrot salad. (Note: for this step, it's good to have at least one extra set of helping hands. A kid or two can be a crucial source of help!) Once you've got the asparagus spears assembled, quickly secure them with the raffia, and tie it in a bow in front. Serve with a bowl of simple dip on the side for the asparagus—most kids will love ranch dressing, while the grown-ups are partial to blue cheese or curry. And of course, enjoy the classic flavor of the carrot-raisin salad. It may not be chocolate, but it sure is sweet and delicious.
Julie Williams, M.A. Education, taught middle and high school History and English for seventeen years. Since then, she has volunteered in elementary classrooms while raising her two sons and earning a master's in school administration. She has also been a leader in her local PTA.