A lovely summer salad that your toddler can enjoy with the rest of the family. All the nutritional components are there: protein + fiber + good fats and tons of flavor.
Zucchini are at the top of the season, delicately sweet and easy to find locally at a very low price. They are a great baby and toddler ingredient for many recipes. Today I want to share with you a family recipe that can please your little ones too.
I grilled the zucchini before preparing the salad. We love grilled zucchini and I like to grill a nice quantity of zucchini so that they are ready to be used as an ingredient for a recipe (sandwiches, pasta dressing..) or to be enjoyed just like that.
Chickpeas are my favorite ingredient of this recipe: loaded with proteins (bricks for your toddler’s muscles) with a delicate taste and a creamy texture that will keep the quinoa grains under control gluing them together and avoiding messy floors 🙂
This salad can be prepared ahead and enjoyed later. Perfect for a lunch or a picnic.
Let’s start trimming the zucchini ends and slicing them lengthwise.
In a small cup mix the olive oil with the salt and the oregano. (Skip the salt for babies under 12m). Using your fingers lightly coat the zucchini with the oil mix on both sides.
Grill the zucchini on a grill on the stove, 2/3 minutes on each side. Set them aside on a plate.
Chop the zucchini in small pieces.
Drain the chickpeas and rinse them well under running water. Transfer in a cup and mash with a fork into a chunky texture. This will avoid any chocking hazard for little ones and will also serve as glue for the quinoa grains.
In a large bowl combine all the ingredients starting from the quinoa, grilled zucchini, chickpeas, tomatoes, basil pesto and mozzarella. Mix and serve!
This is a lovely make ahead meal too!
What can I switch quinoa with?
If you don’t want to use quinoa you can switch with couscous or brown rice. Farro and orzo are lovely substitution too or an easy short shape pasta for a pasta salad.
What can I switch mozzarella with?
For a saltier option you can substitute mozzarella with Feta or Asiago or Gouda cheeses. For a dairy free option you can try tofu cubes. For a creamier option ricotta will be perfect.
Can I skip basil pesto?
Basil pesto really gives a flavor kick to the salad. For a more delicate flavor you can switch to a zucchini pesto (recipe here) or dress the salad with olive oil and a drizzle of balsamic reduction.
- 3 medium zucchini
- 2 cups cooked quinoa
- 1 can organic chickpeas, no salt
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, chopped in small cubes
- 1/4 cup mozzarella, chopped in small cubes
- 2 or 3 Tbsp basil pesto
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp dried oregano
Trim the zucchini, slice them lenght side. In a small cup combine the olive oil, salt and dried oregano. Brush the zucchini with the oil mix.
Grill the zucchini 3 min per side. Once cooled down, cut the zucchini in tiny pieces. Set aside.
Drain the chickpeas and rinse them under runnign water. Transfer in a cup and mash them with a fork into chuncky texture.
In a large bowl combine the ingredients: quinoa, zucchini, chickpeas, tomatoes, basil pesto, mozzarella. Serve cold or warm.