Ah, there’s that buzzword again. Superfoods. We hear it a lot. We eat it a lot. We are all for it! But how about our kids? Now there’s your toughest critic right there!
Parents can rejoice at this cookbook – Superfoods For Kids (RRP $24.99, New Holland Publishers) – a healthy guide to preparing nutrient-rich foods that even the fussiest little eaters will love!
Simply put, a superfood is any food that is naturally grown and fresh – food that has not been processed, filled with chemicals, additives, preservatives, artificial flavours, colours or enhancers.
Rena Patten uses superfoods that are appealing to children, and the results are irresistible recipes, whether they are meals for breakfast, school lunch boxes, and dinners or special treats.
Try these three delicious recipes with your little ones, and see if you receive the thumbs up!
Chicken Tacos with Kale-Slaw and Avocado Salsa (Gluten/Wheat Free)
- 500 g/ (16 oz) chicken tenderloins 1⁄2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1⁄2 teaspoon ground oregano
- 1⁄2 teaspoon ground sweet paprika 1 clove garlic, finely chopped pinch of chili (optional)
- 1 teaspoon extra olive oil pinch of salt
- 6–8 corn taco shells
- 1 large avocado, seed removed and chopped into small pieces
- 1 tomato, finely chopped
- 1⁄2 small red onion, finely chopped extra virgin olive oil
- lime juice, to taste
- salt and black pepper
- 6–8 stalks Cavolo Nero (Tuscan) kale 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1 medium carrot, coarsely grated
- 1⁄2 red onion, halved and finely sliced 1 stalk celery, finely sliced
- 3 scallions (shallots), finely sliced
- salt and freshly cracked pepper
- 2 tablespoons gluten-free mayonnaise 1–2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
- Trim the chicken tenderloins and place in a bowl with the cumin, oregano, paprika, garlic, chili (if used) and oil. Season with a little salt to taste. Leave to marinate for about 1 hour if possible.
- Heat a large non-stick frying pan or griddle pan and cook the tenderloins for 3–4 minutes each side depending on size, then shred. You can also broil (grill) if you prefer.
- To make the avocado salsa, simply combine all the ingredients together.
- To make the kale-slaw, thoroughly wash the kale, remove and discard most of the lower thick part of the stalk and finely shred the leaves.
- Place the kale into a bowl and pour in the red wine vinegar. Using your hands rub the vinegar into the kale. This helps to soften the kale.
- Add the carrots, onion, celery, scallions and mayonnaise. Season with salt and pepper and mix well to combine.
- Assemble the tacos by placing some kale-slaw on the bottom of each taco shell followed by a strip or two of chicken then top with the avocado salsa and a dollop of sour cream if you wish.
Chocolate Mousse (Gluten/Wheat Free)
- 45 g (11⁄2 oz) raw cacao powder
- 125 ml (4 oz) coconut water oil
- 1 large ripe avocado, peeled and seed removed
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon pure organic raw coconut oil, melted crushed toasted almond flakes
- fresh strawberries
- Mix the cacao powder and the coconut water together in a blender then add the avocado, vanilla, honey and coconut oil.
- Puree until you have a very fine, whipped mixture. Keep in mind that the cacao powder is quite bitter so taste and adjust the level of sweetness at this stage.
- Pour into individual dessert glasses or small coffee cups and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
- To toast the almond flakes, place almonds into a small non- stick frying pan and lightly toast over a medium heat until golden or roast in the oven. Cool then place in a plastic bag and lightly crush with a rolling pin.
- Serve with the toasted almonds and strawberries.
Although this is a healthy dessert, it is quite rich so you may want to stretch this quantity to serve 4 people and serve it in small coffee cups or shot glasses. For something a little different, you can flavour this chocolate mousse with orange zest or a little freshly grated ginger added to the blender in step 1.
Sweet Potato and Spinach Pancakes
Makes about 12 pancakes
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 small red (Spanish) onion, finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, finely grated
- 2 good handfuls baby spinach, chopped
- 125 g (4 oz) self-rising (self-raising) flour
- 1⁄2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon baking powder 500 g (16 oz) sweet potato (kumera), cooked and mashed
- 2 extra large eggs
- 375 ml (12 fl oz) milk
- salt and freshly cracked black pepper
- butter or extra virgin olive oil maple syrup
- Heat the oil in a large frying pan and sauté the onion until soft. Stir in the garlic and spinach and cook for 3–5 minutes until the spinach has wilted. Remove from the heat, place into a bowl and cool slightly.
- Sift the flour, cumin and baking powder together and add to the spinach with the potato.
- Whisk together the eggs and milk and season with salt and pepper if you wish.
- Pour into the flour and vegetable mixture and stir well until all the ingredients are thoroughly mixed together and you have a thick batter.
- Heat a non-stick frying pan on medium heat until hot and brush with butter or oil.
- Pour about 3–4 tablespoons of the batter at a time into the pan and cook the pancake until bubbles start to appear and the top is set, about 2–3 minutes.
- Flip over and cook until the other side is set. Keep the pancakes warm as you repeat until all the batter is used.
- Serve with maple syrup drizzled over.
I like to cook the sweet potato by baking it whole with the skin on in the oven until soft when tested with a skewer. Peel when cool enough to handle then mash with a fork. You can also boil or steam the potato if you prefer. If preparing these for breakfast on a school day, you can do most of the preparation the night before up to the stage where you add the milk and egg mixture.