Carrot Salad

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Blend the carrots, mayonnaise/yogurt mixture, and raisins, and add a bit of salt or a pinch of sugar to taste.
  5. 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.

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