Irini’s Veg Souvlaki Salad Sticks & Red Pepper Dip
Serves: 8 (but easily adjusted)
Prep time: 30 mins
Cook time: 15 mins
For the souvlaki:
2 medium red onions
2 medium sized courgettes
1 punnet of button mushrooms
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Fresh or dried oregano
For the dip:
150g Greek feta cheese
75g Greek yogurt
1 oven roasted red pepper in olive oil from a jar
1 tbsp good quality white wine vinegar
½ fresh red chilli, finely chopped
Veg Portions / Serving: 1
Recipe and photography from Irini Tzortzoglou | irinicooks.com
Salad sticks are a fun, attractive and engaging way to get kids more excited about veg! Perfectly portable, they are great for summer campouts, travel, picnics, lunchboxes and BBQs. Get the kids making these salad sticks this summer – it’s as fun to make as it is to eat. Why not come up with your own favourite combinations and share them with us on social, tagging @VegPowerUK and #SaladSticks.
(When making souvlaki, it is important that all individual components are of similar size to ensure same level of cooking all round. Marinating the vegetables in a little oil and herbs for 30 minutes before cooking adds a lot of flavour and helps caramelisation during the cooking process.)
Cut the aubergine in rounds 1.5cm thick and then each round slice into bite sized squares. Put the aubergine pieces in a colander and sprinkle with some sea salt. Leave for 15 minutes for the salt to draw out any bitterness and excess moisture. After that time, rinse well and squeeze the pieces as dry as you can.
Trim the courgettes and cut into 1.5cm round slices. Wipe the mushrooms with a damp cloth to remove any soil. Cut the onions into quarters and separate each quarter into two pieces. Put all the chopped vegetables in a bowl, drizzle with the olive oil and the juice of half a lemon, season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and sprinkle with some oregano and the zest of the whole lemon. Massage with your hands and leave to marinate.
To make the dip, put all the ingredients in a small blender and blitz. Season with some salt to taste and adjust the heat by adding more chilli if you like your food really spicy.
If using wooden, put the BBQ skewers in a shallow dish and cover with water.
When ready to grill or BBQ, thread the vegetables on the skewers and cook under a hot grill, on a griddle pan or a BBQ turning around so as to cook all over.
Serve with the dip.
Kids who engage regularly with veg through veg-themed activities, such as arts and crafts, sensory experiences, growing and cooking are shown to be more likely to eat the veg they engage with. Encouraging kids to engage and play with veg is the handy first step to them developing a good relationship with veg and life-long healthy eating.
Kids in the kitchen
Kids can really take charge here, which is part of why salad sticks are so popular with them! Make sure to prep any chopped ingredients for them, and keep an eye on their fingers around the sharp end of the skewer, but otherwise let them build it themselves. Help them with any harder ingredients, then cook. Let kids help you make the dip, too.
While getting kids to interact with veggies for real and using their senses to explore them is best, encouraging hands off activities like arts & crafts, puzzles & games or at-home science experiments can be a great start, particularly for those who are fussier eaters or struggle with anything too sensory. Use these veg-themed activities as a stepping stone to interacting with the veg themselves. We have loads of crafty downloads here, puzzles here, and quirky science with veg here.
Once you feel your child is ready to engage a little more, you can show them how to explore the veg you have on hand with their senses, coming up with playful silly descriptions of how a veg smells, feels, looks, sounds and perhaps even tastes. Find ideas, videos and some simple sensory education session ideas to get you started here.
The moments before food is offered can be a perfect opportunity for engagement that can help make it more likely a child will eat it! Giving children a sense of ownership in the meal can make a big difference to their feelings going into it and the pride they take in it. You know your child best, but if you aren’t sure where to start, we have some fun and simple ideas for easy roles you can give them in the serving process over here.