Tomato Bread Salad
When you grow your own fruits and veggies it’s so exciting to see what will pop up in your garden next. My kids have become little detectives, searching amidst the leaves and vines in our pots and planters and pointing out whenever things look ready to be picked. We’re growing a variety of different tomatoes like yellow, red, heirloom, cherry and more so coming up with a lot of different recipes to use them in is essential so nothing goes to waste. Between the abundance of tomatoes, cornucopia of cucumbers and bountifulness of basil covering our yard, I reckoned this summery salad would be something everyone in my house would love….and I was right!
The recipe is simple to prepare and isn’t expensive to make because the crusty bread cubes go a long way towards feeding a large family a super fresh meal. If you’re looking for a dish that screams “summertime,” you have to try this. And if I can’t convince you to start your own edible garden, this salad certainly will.
Tomato Bread Salad (Serves 4-6)
4 Cups Crusty Bread (French Bread or Artisan Rustic Bread), cut into 1-inch pieces
1/4 Cup Olive Oil, divided
4 Heirloom Tomatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 Cup Cucumbers, sliced
1 Ear Corn (uncooked), sliced off the cob
1/2 Red Onion, sliced thin
2 Tbsp Fresh Basil, chiffonade
1/2 Cup Kalamata Olives, sliced
2 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
1 Tsp Kosher Salt
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Place the bread cubes on a sheet tray, drizzle with 2 tbsp of oil and toss to coat.
3. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden and set aside to cool.
4. Place the tomatoes, cucumber, corn, onion, basil, olives and bread in a large bowl.
5. In a small bowl, whisk the remaining 2 tbsp of olive oil, balsamic, salt, pour onto the salad and toss to coat.
Okra, Corn and Tomato ‘Caponata’
I’ve been eating okra since I was a wee one. When you grow up in the south, it’s an every day vegetable that people eat. Now that I live in California, it’s funny to see peoples faces when you say, “want some okra?” A lot of my friends haven’t even tried it before. Maybe they never had the opportunity. It’s not exactly a vegetable that you see on restaurant menus unless it’s been deep- fried and no longer resembles a green vegetable. But when cooked simply for minimal time, it’s a rich source of fiber and vitamins A and C.
Okra is in season and started popping up at the farmers’ market about 3 weeks ago. The first time I saw them I actually gasped with excitement, so fond are my childhood memories of it. When I came home I steamed up a batch for 4 minutes, let them cool and Kenya and I sat there and munched away. I was kind of shocked, but he loved them. He wasn’t so keen on them whole, however, so I cut up each one into several pieces for him. My husband can’t stand their somewhat sticky texture (which actually has thickening properties, perfect in a dish like this), but that’s what I love about them, so to each his own. Mixed in this caponata, the okra is transformed into a salsa-like dish minus the spice.
Okra, Corn and Tomato ‘Caponata’ (Makes 8 Toddler Servings)
2 Tsp Olive Oil
2 Tbsp Onion, chopped
1 Garlic Clove, minced
1 Cup Okra, chopped into 1/4 inch pieces
1/2 Cup Tomatoes, chopped
1/3 Corn, fresh or frozen
1/2 Tsp Vegit (or Spike)
1. In a medium saute pan heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and saute for 2 minutes until clear and translucent (do not brown).
2. Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute.
3. Add the vegetables and Vegit, saute 1 minute and cover.
4. Cook for 3-4 minutes or until the vegetables are fork tender.
5. Cool and serve.
Kenya has had an unusual transition from purees to solids. Sometimes
he only wants solids to feed himself and other times he only wants purees for me
to feed him. This recipe is for one of the first solid foods I fed him
and he loved it. It was especially fun for him to feed himself the
tiny pieces of vegetables, grains and meat (delicious and good for fine motor skills!). This is also a great dish because it contains a vegetable, protein and several grains.
As I’ve written time and time again, I’m a huge fan of Trader Joes when it comes to food shopping. The prices are usually lower than most
stores, they carry a huge array of organic products and items that are
very kid friendly. The Harvest Grains I use here are healthful,
fast and easy to cook. Sometimes I cook them longer then the package
calls for so the grains stick together. Kenya really likes to take a handful when he feeds himself. He always looks at me like he’s so proud to be part
of the process.
Mediterranean Medley (8 Baby Servings)
1 Tsp Olive Oil
1/4 Lb. Ground Organic Meat
1/4 Cup Zucchini, chopped
1/2 Cup Tomato, chopped
1/2 Tsp Fresh Thyme, chopped
1/2 Cup Harvest Grains (a mix of Israeli couscous, orzo, baby garbanzo
beans and red quinoa from Trader Joes), cooked per the instructions on
1. Heat the oil in a saute pan over medium heat.
2. Add the ground meat and cook for 2 minutes.
3. Add the vegetables and thyme and cook for 3 more minutes or until
all the ingredients are fork tender and the meat is cooked through.
4. Mix the meat and vegetable mixture with the grains.
5. Cool and serve.
*Place in Baby Cubes and freeze.
I have to admit that I ripped off the idea for this salad from my friend, Annika. She made a similar version at a birthday party and Kenya gobbled it up. The best part is that you can buy pre-cooked lentils at Trader Joe’s (my favorite) or most supermarkets if you don’t have time to cook your own.
Lentils are a rich source of iron, needed for the production of white blood cells, the lynchpins of your child’s immune system. They’re a great alternative to meat as well as being high in fiber and easy to digest.
Since lentils are so tiny and soft, this recipe is perfect for babies with just a few teeth. Make sure to cut the tomatoes in an appropriate size, depending on your baby’s level of chewing ability. This salad is so beautiful and can quickly be prepared for your baby as well as your family, just by adding a little salt and pepper to taste.
Lentil Salad (6 Baby Servings)
1 Cup Lentils, cooked
1/4 Cup Tomatoes, small dice(I used cherry tomatoes)
1/2 Avocado, small dice
2 Tsp Lemon Juice
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl.
Halibut with Summer Vegetables
It’s been really warm in Los Angeles and summer feels like it’s just around the corner. The first tomatoes and zucchini are just popping up at the farmers market and I know corn can’t be far behind. For now I’ve been using frozen corn since you can find it “organic” and it’s super sweet. The flavors in this recipe are so delicate and marry beautifully.
Every week at the market there are two ladies selling fish that smells like it came straight out of the sea. You have to wait in line, what feel like forever, but it’s totally worth it.
Feel free to use any mild white fish you find and think your baby will enjoy.
I threw some basil in and was shocked at how it really gave the dish some extra lovin’. I put this puree together in minutes which is perfect for busy parents.
Halibut and Summer Vegetables (15 Baby Servings)
1 Halibut Fillet (1/4 pound)(You could also try cod, tilapia, snapper or any other white fish)
1/2 Cup or 1 Large Tomato (or use organic canned tomatoes)
1 Zucchini, chopped
1/4 Cup Corn (fresh or frozen)
1 Garlic Clove
1/2 Cup Edamame (frozen)
4 Basil Leaves
1. Place all the ingredients except for the basil in a saucepan over boiling water.
2. Let steam for 6-8 minutes or until fish is fully cooked through and flakes.
3. Place all the ingredients, including the basil, in a food processor.
4. Puree until smooth.
5. Cool and serve.
We used these to make this recipe: