With four kids in our family it’s no surprise to me that each of them has a different food preferences. You would think by now that I’d have all their like and dislikes down pat. After all I’ve been a mom for over 19 years. And as a homeschool mom I spend a lot of time with my kids.
But every once in a while I’m thrown for a loop, like the other day as I was getting ready to make lunch. We hadn’t had eggs for a while, so I planned out a batch of scrambled eggs with a little cheese for our main course. My kids have always liked eggs, so I was a bit shocked when one of my daughters announced she didn’t like scrambled eggs. What, since when? Turns out she doesn’t like my scrambled eggs. Ouch. Oldest daughter has been making them a little different than me and she won her sister over with her own method. What’s the difference? She uses shredded cheese and I use chunks of cheese.
Not to be outdone I changed course and used shredded cheese. It was an easy fix and everyone was happy again. You never know with kids. Just when you think you have it figured out they change it up and you’re back at square one again. It pays though, to dig a little deeper on why they don’t like something. It might be as simple as changing how that something is prepared.
Changing plans for this pesto pasta salad was a little different. I like onions and use them in a lot of recipes, but this same child doesn’t care for them (though she’s eaten them plenty of them without realizing it). She loves this salad and last time requested that next time it be made without onions. I told her I would, and as promised there are no onions in today’s salad.
But I did sneak in some kale and spinach, and used whole grain pasta – all healthy options, and heard no complaints about that. Salmon provides protein as well as healthy omega-3 fatty acids, and is so tasty when it’s grilled. Pesto is another favorite in our family so I used it as a base for the vinaigrette. If you have trouble getting it mixed with the lemon juice and oil try using a hand blender. I have a Cuisinart CSB-79 Smart Stick. It works perfectly for blending together vinaigrette ingredients. It’s seriously one of my favorite kitchen tools.
Secretly, I think a few sliced green onions on top would be delicious. You choose – onions or no? Have your kids surprised you with changing food preferences? How did you handle it? I’d love to hear what you have to say in the comments below.
Pasta salad takes on a new look with spinach and kale, and tossed with a pesto vinaigrette. Delicious topped with grilled pesto salmon.
20 minPrep Time
15 minCook Time
35 minTotal Time
- 13.25 oz. box of whole wheat or whole grain penne pasta, cooked till al dente, drained and rinsed
- 1 1/2 c. baby kale
- 1 1/2 c. spinach
- 2 c. halved grape tomatoes
- 1 1/2 c. diced fresh mozzarella (about 8 oz.)
- 1/4 c. sliced kalamata olives
- juice of one lemon (about 3 Tbsp.)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 Tbsp. pesto (divided)
- 3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 1 lb. salmon fillets
- Prepare salad by tossing together cooked pasta, kale, spinach, tomatoes, mozzarella, and kalamata olives.
- In a small jar mix together lemon juice, garlic, and 3 Tbsp. pesto. Add olive oil and blend vinaigrette together with a hand blender or by capping the jar and shaking all ingredients until well blended.
- Take a paper towel and lightly pat the salmon dry. Then spread the last tbsp. of pesto evenly on the flesh side of each salmon fillet.
- Preheat grill to medium high and place salmon on grates flesh side down. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes and then check to see if the salmon will easily release from the grates. If so, flip the fillets over so the skin side is down. Cook another 8-10 minutes or until flesh flakes easily. Remove from grill and let rest.
- Drizzle vinaigrette over salad ingredients and tossed gently. Divide salad onto plates.
- Gently cut salmon into bite size pieces and arrange on top of each plated salad. Serve immediately.