3 Easy and Nutritious Dip Recipes Your Toddler Will Love

What toddler doesn’t love dip?? Here are three nutritious dip recipes that are easy to whip up for your little one at a moment’s notice.

Title graphic for 3 Easy and Nutritious Dip Recipes Your Toddler Will Love.

If there’s one thing I can count on to get my toddler excited about eating, it’s offering her something delicious (and yes, messy) to dip her food into. I mean, what toddler doesn’t immediately spot (and demand) the bottle of ketchup on the table whenever you go out to eat? Or beg for the side of ranch dressing that comes with your salad?

Why not capitalize on it by making some of your own delicious dips that are not only tasty, but loaded with nutrients?

The three nutritious dip recipes I’m sharing with you today are just that. They’re all super easy to make, and don’t require any crazy ingredients.

If you’re struggling to get your toddler to eat certain things, dipping can be a great way to up the novelty and get him or her into the adventurous spirit. That’s why, for each dip recipe, I’ve also included ideas for “dippers”.

Finally, I encourage you to get your toddler into the kitchen to make these dips with you. The steps are all fairly simple, and while you always want to be careful around hot stoves and knives, getting your toddler involved will make them all the more excited to eat something when it’s served at a meal.

And for more toddler cooking inspiration, head on over to my Toddler Food board on Pinterest 🙂

Let’s get cooking!

Black Bean Dip

A jar of black bean dip with a spoon alongside it.

Hummus is a popular standby, but as far as bean dips go, why not mix it up by using alternate types of beans? This Black Bean Dip has some Mexican flair with cumin and fresh lime juice, and comes together quickly in the food processor with no cooking required.

Some great “dipper” ideas for Black Bean Dip include:

  • Jicama
  • Tortillas
  • Pita bread
  • Tortilla chips (if your toddler can eat them without choking)
  • Carrots
  • Zucchini
  • Radish
  • Chicken strips
  • Shrimp
Black Bean Dip
Prep Time
10 mins
Total Time
10 mins
 

Forget hummus, this black bean dip is going to be your new favorite condiment. With hints of cumin and lime, it's the perfect accompaniment to any sort of Mexican food.

Course: Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: black beans, condiment, dip, healthy, Mexican, toddler
Servings: 4 toddlers
Calories: 178 kcal
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 1 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
Instructions
  1. Add all ingredients to a food processor and process until smooth.

  2. Keep refrigerated or freeze for future use.

Tzatziki

A dish of homemade tzatziki with a spoon sitting next to it.

 

This popular Greek condiment is the perfect way to introduce some new flavors into your toddler’s diet. Fresh dill, grated cucumber and garlic are all adventurous, but become a bit more approachable when mixed into yogurt, which most toddlers are pretty familiar with.

Some great “dipper” ideas for Tzatziki include:

  • Pita bread
  • Pita chips (if your child can eat them without choking)
  • Zucchini
  • Cucumber
  • Tortillas
  • Pretzels (watch for choking)
  • Grilled chicken
  • Thinly sliced beef or lamb
  • Gyro
  • Crackers
Tzatziki
Prep Time
15 mins
Total Time
15 mins
 

Fresh dill, grated cucumber and garlic are all adventurous, but become a bit more approachable when mixed into yogurt, which most toddlers are pretty familiar with.

Course: Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Keyword: condiment, dip, healthy, Mediterranean, toddler, tzatziki, yogurt
Servings: 4 toddlers
Calories: 35 kcal
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 Persian cucumber, grated and water squeezed out with a paper towel
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh dill
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
Instructions
  1. Whisk together ingredients in a small mixing bowl until combined.

  2. Keep refrigerated or freeze for future use.

Marinara

A jar of homemade marinara sauce with a spoon next to it.

It’s not just for pasta! Marinara is also great for dipping. It’s also loaded with nutrients from tomatoes, and you can even easily sneak in some other veggies if you’re feeling adventurous. An added bonus? Marinara freezes well, so make a big batch on the weekend and freeze it up in ice cube trays or small food storage containers for quick and easy defrosting at a moment’s notice!

Great “dippers” for Marinara include:

  • Garlic bread
  • Breadsticks
  • Cheesy bread
  • Zucchini
  • Carrots
  • Pizza
  • Chicken strips
  • Sliders
  • Sausage
  • Roasted broccoli
  • Roasted cauliflower
Marinara
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
20 mins
 

It’s not just for pasta! Marinara is also great for dipping and loaded with nutrients.

Course: Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: condiment, dip, freezer-friendly, healthy, hot sauce, Italian, pasta, toddler, tomatoes
Servings: 10 toddlers
Calories: 26 kcal
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup onion, diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
Instructions
  1. Bring all ingredients to a gentle simmer in a saucepan on the stove.

  2. Transfer to a blender and puree until smooth.

  3. Keep refrigerated or freeze for future use.

And that’s not it! I have a ton more nutritious dip inspiration here on the blog. Be sure to check out my recipes for hummus, guacamole, and peanut sauce the next time you’re looking for inspiration.

I’d love to hear if you have any nutritious dip standby’s you like to serve your little one. Let me know in the comments below!

Easy Meal Prep Mediterranean Bowl with Tzatziki Marinated Chicken

This easy Mediterranean Bowl is full of so much flavor, you’ll want to make it a regular part of your weekly meal plan. Loaded with tzatziki marinated chicken, tzatziki sauce, crispy chickpeas and more, most everything can be made in advance for quick weeknight assembly.

A Mediterranean Bowl loaded with chicken, tomatoes, cucumber and tzatziki.

I hope you’re ready for a life-changing, flavor-packed weeknight meal, because this Easy Meal Prep Mediterranean Bowl with Tzatziki Marinated Chicken is just that! I’ve been dreaming about creating a recipe like this for a while, and now that it’s finally here, I couldn’t be more excited.

The other exciting part? All of the components of this bowl that require ANY sort of cooking can be made well in advance. I mean, this meal can even be served cold without ANY reheating! That’s the ideal weeknight meal if you ask me.

I think it’s about time we start talking about all of the delicious things that go into this Mediterranean Bowl. Shall we?

What Goes into an Easy Meal Prep Mediterranean Bowl?

This recipe is so loaded with flavor, the real question should be, “What doesn’t go into an Easy Meal Prep Mediterranean Bowl?” Because there’s not much!

Let’s start from the top with the real star of the show:

Tzatziki Marinated Chicken

I consider this a pretty genius idea on my part if I do say so myself. Yogurt marinated chicken is nothing new. It’s a great way to infuse some moisture and flavor into grilled chicken. So, when we’re talking about a Mediterranean Bowl, why not marinate our chicken with everyone’s favorite Greek yogurt-based sauce – tzatziki!

You’ll want to mix up the sauce and start marinating the chicken at least a few hours before you want to cook it, so this is where you’ll have to plan a bit in advance. The good news is, once the chicken is cooked, you can keep it in the refrigerator for a few days before using.

Tzatziki Sauce

While you’re mixing up the marinade for the chicken, why not make the tzatziki sauce you’re going to top your bowl with? The ingredients vary only slightly, and there is a lot of overlap, so you can proverbially kill two birds with one stone.

You can store the tzatziki in a sealed container in the fridge for a few days before using as well. In fact, it gets better the longer it sits since the flavors have more time to meld.

An overhead shot of a healthy Mediterranean Bowl with Tzatziki marinated chicken.

Couscous

Since we’re going Mediterranean, we’re using couscous as the grain base for our tasty bowls. If you’re not familiar with making couscous, let me tell you, it’s so quick and easy to make! I just bought the whole wheat couscous from Trader Joe’s and whipped it up in less than 20 minutes. It’s also great to make in advance and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Crispy Chickpeas

Yes, crispy chickpeas! These are another food that, if you haven’t yet made them, you better hop to it because they are the BEST healthy snack. And the flavoring possibilities are endless. For these bowls, I kept the crispy chickpeas simple with a dusting of garlic powder and dried oregano. They tie in perfectly to the rest of the ingredients with the best crispy crunch. You may want to make extra, because you won’t be able to stop nibbling on them as you cook!

The chickpeas can be stored in a sealed container at room temperature for at least a couple of days. You’re going to have to practice your self-restraint to not eat them all before it’s time to top your bowls with them!

These are all of the ingredients for the Mediterranean Bowls that require any sort of prep, and as you can see, you can make them all in advance. Now you’ve got the hard part out of the way, let’s talk about how to make these bowls your own!

Two Mediterranean Bowls surrounded by fresh tomatoes, dill and cucumber.

How to Customize Your Bowl

The ingredients I mentioned above are the basic building blocks of your Easy Meal Prep Mediterranean Bowl, but they’re certainly not all there is to it. Here are the other ingredients – that require no prep at all – that you can mix and match to really customize this recipe to your own personal taste:

Tomatoes
Cucumber
Avocado
Olives
Hummus
Fresh dill
Fresh oregano

Serving Your Mediterranean Bowl

Since we’re still in the heat of summer, I highly recommend serving these bowls cold. Sure, they’re a great weeknight dinner option, but they’d also be great to pack for lunches for both yourself and the kiddos. I think they’d be the perfect picnic fare! Heck, you could even make a full Mediterranean feast for a crowd and serve these bowls with my Loaded Mediterranean Hummus Board with Pulled Lamb.

I hope you give these Med Bowls a shot ASAP because they are seriously bursting with flavor. And if you’re looking for more great meal prep recipes, be sure to check out my Meal Prep board on Pinterest!

An overhead shot of two healthy Mediterranean Bowls flanked by gold forks, fresh tomatoes and dill.

Easy Meal Prep Mediterranean Bowl with Tzatziki Marinated Chicken
Prep Time
1 hr
Cook Time
30 mins
Marinating Time
3 hrs
Total Time
4 hrs 30 mins
 

This easy Mediterranean Bowl is full of so much flavor, you’ll want to make it a regular part of your weekly meal plan. Loaded with tzatziki marinated chicken, tzatziki sauce, crispy chickpeas and more, most everything can be made in advance for quick weeknight assembly.

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Keyword: bowl, chicken, family-friendly, Greek, marinade, meal prep, Mediterranean, weeknight, yogurt
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 739 kcal
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
For the chicken:
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
For the tzatziki:
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 Persian cucumber, grated and water squeezed out with a paper towel
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh dill
  • Dash of salt (to taste)
For the crispy chickpeas:
  • 1 15-ounce can chickpeas
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
Other ingredients:
  • 5-6 cups prepared couscous
  • 1 Persian cucumber, sliced
  • 2-3 medium tomatoes, cut into sixths
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • Olives
  • Hummus
  • Fresh dill and oregano
Instructions
To make the chicken:
  1. Place chicken breasts in Ziploc. In a small bowl, whisk together all of the marinade ingredients, then pour into Ziploc. Seal Ziploc, smoosh around to coat the chicken with the marinade, and refrigerate for a few hours, or ideally overnight. 

  2. When ready to cook, turn grill on medium heat. Place chicken breasts on grill and cook until done, about 10 minutes on the first side and 8 minutes on the second side (but use your best judgment.) Let cool before storing.

  3. Before adding the chicken to your bowl, dice it up.

To make the tzatziki:
  1. Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl. Place in a resealable container in the refrigerator to store until ready to use. 

To make the crispy chickpeas:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

  2. Using a sieve, drain the chickpeas and rinse off with water.

  3. Pour the chickpeas onto a dish towel and rub until dry. It’s okay if some of the skins come off.

  4. Place chickpeas in a small bowl and coat with olive oil and salt. You’ll add the other seasonings after cooking.

  5. Pour chickpeas out onto a rimmed baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until crispy.

  6. Remove from oven and sprinkle on garlic powder and oregano, toss to coat. Store in an airtight container at room temperature until ready to use.

To assemble the bowls:
  1. The couscous will form the base of your bowl. Then, just top with diced chicken, a dollop of tzatziki, a sprinkle of chickpeas, and whatever other toppings you decide to use. Enjoy!

Recipe Notes

DISH DENSITY: High

Quick-and-Healthy Tuna Salad Sandwiches

Once you try this easy recipe for Quick-and-Healthy Tuna Salad Sandwiches, you’ll never wonder what to make for lunch again!

A Quick-and-Healthy Tuna Salad Sandwich cut in half on a plate with produce behind it.

Sometimes the simplest things are the best things.

Does anyone else have fond childhood memories of tuna salad sandwiches? They’re a classic lunchbox staple – perfect for field trips and picnics – however, in our house they were usually reserved for the weekends because Dad worked during the week and, well, Dad made the absolute best tuna salad sandwiches!

On the rare weekend we were actually home relaxing and not at some volleyball tournament or dance competition, my Dad would pop out to the garage around 12:30 or so and come back with a trusty can or two of tuna to whip up some salad sammies in just a few quick minutes. They were simple, but they were oh-so-good. And they had one secret ingredient that I’m going to let you in on in today 😉

SO HOW DO YOU MAKE TUNA SALAD HEALTHY?

While my Dad’s tuna salad sandwiches were delicious, they definitely weren’t what I would consider “healthy.” The tuna salad had a decent amount of mayo, and I’m still quite sad that my unnecessarily strict relationship with food in some of my early teen years held me back from enjoying those sandwiches every time my Dad made them. BUT, one good thing that came out of those struggles with food was the idea that things like Dad’s tuna salad (and many other indulgences he made) could be lightened up by just a couple of simple swaps.

A Quick-and-Healthy Tuna Salad Sandwich held together with a toothpick with lettuce, tomatoes and slices of bread in the background.

It didn’t take me long to realize that plain Greek yogurt was a great stand-in for most mayonnaise-based salads, and it has become one of my favorite “lightening up” hacks to this day. For example, I’ve made a couple of great chicken salads that are lighter in calories than the original, like this Healthy Curried Chicken Salad with Apples and this Protein-Packed Healthy Chicken Waldorf Salad. And you want to know my secret? I still add in a little bit of mayonnaise!

I sometimes find the tang of Greek yogurt to be a bit too much, and I find myself missing the good stuff, so I still throw some in. I find it helps trick my brain into thinking I’m eating the indulgent version of something, with a lot fewer calories.

WHAT’S THIS “SECRET SAUCE”?

No, it’s not the Greek yogurt. I hinted earlier at a secret ingredient I felt really took my Dad’s tuna salad over the top and now I’m going to tell you what it is!

KETCHUP.

That’s right, my friends, we put ketchup in our tuna salad. Sacrilegious? No. Delicious? Yes.

It adds a slight sweetness and almost umami taste to the mix, and I honestly no longer like most tuna salads that don’t have this secret sauce. Give it a try, my friends. You won’t be sorry.

WHAT ELSE DO I NEED TO MAKE A HEALTHY TUNA SALAD SANDWICH?

The easy answer: Not much!

A Quick-and-Healthy Tuna Salad Sandwich cut in half and ready to enjoy.

Seriously, the tuna salad itself uses just the four ingredients I’ve mentioned (tuna, Greek yogurt, mayonnaise and ketchup) plus a little garlic powder, salt and pepper. You can also add in some diced celery if you like, I’m just not a huge celery fan so I choose to omit it. But it’s so easy! You can’t afford NOT to make this ASAP.

The only other components you need to make these delicious Quick-and-Healthy Tuna Salad Sandwiches are some good bread (anything works, but I like soft sliced multigrain bread like Dave’s Killer Bread), sliced fresh tomato and crispy green lettuce.

And if you find yourself REALLY missing the mayo, go ahead and spread some on the bread. (Oooo…or for some extra creaminess, some nutrient-dense avocado!) I know there are strong camps on either side of the toasted bread equation, but I personally find a tuna salad sandwich on lightly toasted bread (not too crunchy, not too soft) the absolute BEST.

Do you have any secret ingredients you put in your tuna salad sandwiches? I want to know in the comments below!

Quick-and-Healthy Tuna Salad Sandwiches
Prep Time
10 mins
Total Time
10 mins
 

Once you try this easy recipe for Quick-and-Healthy Tuna Salad Sandwiches, you’ll never wonder what to make for lunch again!

Course: Main Course
Keyword: after-school, healthy, kid-friendly, portable, sandwich, school lunch, tuna
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 372 kcal
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
For the tuna salad:
  • 2 5-ounce cans water-packed tuna, drained
  • 1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Diced celery (optional)
For the sandwiches:
  • 8 slices soft sandwich bread (I prefer Dave's Killer Bread) Lightly toasted, if desired
  • Lettuce
  • Sliced tomatoes
  • Avocado (optional)
Instructions
  1. Place all tuna salad ingredients in a medium bowl and stir until thoroughly combined.

  2. Spread mixture onto prepared bread to make 4 sandwiches. Add lettuce, tomato and avocado (if using) to complete the sandwich and serve!

Recipe Notes

DISH DENSITY: Low

Peanut Butter Banana Breakfast Cookies: Toddler-Approved!

These Peanut Butter Banana Breakfast Cookies are the perfect treat for your toddler to kick off the day on the right foot – he or she won’t even know they’re healthy!

Four Peanut Butter Banana Breakfast Cookies stacked alongside a carafe of milk.

I mean, who doesn’t want cookies for breakfast?

More specifically, what toddler doesn’t want cookies for breakfast? And what if I told you I’ve come up with a hearty and healthy cookie that is both toddler-approved and also perfectly acceptable to enjoy as the most important meal of the day?  Because that’s what you’ll get with this recipe for Peanut Butter Banana Breakfast Cookies.

If you know me at all, you know I’m all about enticing my 18-month old to eat a healthy, balanced diet in any way I can. I’m no stranger to mixing vegetables and other superfoods into popsicles, muffins, pancakes and mac-and-cheese that she gobbles up on the regular. Now I’m proud to say I can add these Peanut Butter Banana Breakfast Cookies to my healthy homemade toddler food arsenal.

A tray of freshly baked Peanut Butter Banana Breakfast Cookies.

Not only are they chock full of healthy ingredients like peanut butter, bananas, oats and chia seeds, but I also love that they’re portable. This makes them the perfect on-the-go healthy breakfast for rushed mornings because, let’s face it, sometimes we just need to resort to that car seat breakfast.

There’s some other great news about these Breakfast cookies, too:
  1. They come together in under 30 minutes (baking time included),
  2. They’re extremely low on the Dish Density scale, and
  3. They’re freezer-friendly!

Simply mix all of the ingredients together in one bowl, scoop out even size amounts of dough onto a parchment-lined baking sheet (saving on dishes wherever we can), and pop them into a preheated oven for 15-18 minutes. That’s all there is to it, folks!

An overhead shot of a stack of Peanut Butter Banana Breakfast Cookies on a wooden cutting board.

I think we all know by now how important it is to start our day off on the right foot nutrition-wise, but in case you forgot…

Benefits of a Healthy Breakfast for Kids

  • More energy
  • Improved alertness and concentration
  • Maintaining a healthy body weight
  • Improved memory and mood

You can read more about each of these benefits here.

Looking for More Healthy Breakfast Ideas?

You can find more healthy toddler breakfast ideas in this roundup of Easy Breakfast Recipes That Are Baby-Led Weaning Approved, and in my e-cookbook, 30 Freezer-Friendly Recipes for Babies and Toddlers.

A stack of Toddler-Approved Peanut Butter Banana Breakfast Cookies with a carafe of milk and bunch of bananas in the background.

What are your favorite breakfasts to feed your little ones? Let me know in the comments below!

Peanut Butter Banana Breakfast Cookies: Toddler-Approved!
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
18 mins
Total Time
28 mins
 

These Peanut Butter Banana Breakfast Cookies are the perfect treat for your toddler to kick off the
day on the right foot – he or she won’t even know they’re healthy!

Course: Breakfast
Keyword: baby-led weaning, breakfast, cookies, gluten-free, kid-friendly, meal prep, oatmeal, toddler
Servings: 14 cookies
Calories: 138 kcal
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 3 bananas
  • 1 egg
  • 2 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter (or nut butter of your choice)
  • 3 teaspoons chia seeds
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup chopped dried fruit (optional)
Dishes:
  • Medium mixing bowl
  • Mixing spoon
  • 1/2 cup measure
  • Teaspoon
  • Cookie scoop or regular spoon
  • 2 cookie sheets (lined with parchment paper to prevent washing)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

  2. Place bananas in a medium mixing bowl and mash them up with a mixing spoon until no large chunks remain. Add all other ingredients to bowl and stir to combine.

  3. Using a cookie scoop or regular spoon, scoop out even mounds of dough (about 2 tablespoons each) and place on parchment-lined cookie sheets, leaving a bit of space in between so the cookies can spread as they bake.

  4. Using the back of your mixing spoon, lightly smash down each mound of dough.

  5. Place in 350 degree oven and bake for 15-18 minutes, or until cookies are set and lightly golden. Let cool at least 10 minutes before enjoying.

Recipe Notes

DISH DENSITY: Low

No Guilt Southwestern Corn, Kale and Quinoa Salad

A healthy, make-ahead salad that’s low on guilt yet full on flavor, this Southwestern Corn, Kale and Quinoa Salad will become a new family favorite in no time.

This No Guilt Southwestern Corn, Kale and Quinoa Salad is the perfect healthy, make-ahead meal that will please the whole family!

How, oh how is it August already?? This summer has just flown by but, hey, we still have at least a month left, so let’s make the most of it, shall we? It may mean different things to different people, but I think one thing we can all agree making the most of summer does NOT mean is spending a ton of time in the kitchen – which is why you need some of this No Guilt Southwestern Corn, Kale and Quinoa Salad in your life.

With the little one keeping me busy and the beautiful weather keeping us outside, I’ve personally found myself in the kitchen less than I have probably ever been in my life, which means I am loving anything that I can make a big batch of in advance. I need to be able to come home from a morning at the beach, reach into the refrigerator and have lunch there waiting for me – because goodness knows the little one will NOT wait for me to whip up any sort of elaborate meal!

This Southwestern Corn, Kale and Quinoa Salad is just what my summer-loving heart ordered. Full disclosure, this recipe was inspired by a Trader Joe’s salad I grabbed in complete haste one day when I knew there was nothing waiting for me at home for lunch. Yes, it was a quinoa salad (which, on its own can be quite drab) but somehow the sweet corn, juicy tomatoes and creamy poblano-cilantro dressing all complemented each other just perfectly. So I set out to make my own version!

A healthy, make-ahead salad that's packed with protein and nutrients.

The salad part was pretty obvious – quinoa, corn, kale, tomatoes and some chunks of poblano pepper for good measure – but then came the dressing. I loved the creaminess of the dressing in the TJ’s version, but if this was going to be my go-to grab-and-go lunch, it needed to be as healthy as possible – which meant, Greek yogurt! I love how thick and creamy it is while also having so many nutritional benefits. And, honestly, I knew that all the other ingredients I’d be adding in were so packed with flavor that that was all I needed.

Speaking of those other ingredients – garlic, cilantro and roasted poblanos, I’m looking at you! I knew that would be all I needed to make this No Guilt Southwestern Corn, Kale and Quinoa Salad of mine a reality.

So, it’s pretty obvious that this recipe is packed with flavor, but the other thing I love so much about it is how much of it can be prepped in advance. Literally each of the steps that requires cooking can be done up to a few days ahead of time, so you can work on it whenever you have a free minute (or 10) in the kitchen. And, once it’s done and assembled, you’ll have enough Southwestern Corn, Kale and Quinoa Salad to last you at LEAST a week.

Meal prep lovers unite! This No Guilt Southwestern Corn, Kale and Quinoa Salad is nutrient-rich and will give you an entire week of healthy lunches.

If those aren’t all signs of a winning recipe, I don’t know what would be!

Maybe it’s time you see for yourself… 😉

No Guilt Southwestern Corn, Kale and Quinoa Salad
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
30 mins
 

A healthy, make-ahead salad that’s low on guilt yet full on flavor, this Southwestern Corn, Kale and Quinoa Salad will become a new family favorite in no time.

Course: Main Course, Salad, Side Dish
Keyword: make-ahead, meal prep, quinoa, southwestern
Servings: 8 people
Calories: 355 kcal
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
For the salad:
  • 2 cups uncooked quinoa
  • 1 poblano pepper
  • 2 ears of corn, kernels cut off the cob
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 cups kale, destemmed and cut into bite-size pieces
For the dressing:
  • 1 cup plain, non-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1 poblano pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 3/4 cup cilantro leaves
  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
Instructions
  1. Cook the quinoa according to package directions. (I usually put one part quinoa to two parts water in a saucepan, bring it to a boil, turn it down to a heavy simmer and let cook with the lid on for about 10 minutes, or until water is absorbed.) Fluff gently with a fork and let cool completely.

  2. Next, you’ll want to cook the peppers (both of them) and the corn. If you have a gas stove, simply cut the stem off of the peppers and hold them over a burner until they are lightly charred. If you have an electric stove, you may have to head to your grill to get that nice looking char. Let cool and then cut one pepper into large chunks and one into a small dice.

  3. For the corn, heat 1 tablespoon of butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Once the butter is melted, add the corn kernels and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are golden brown and smell caramelized. Remove from heat and let cool. 

  4. The final thing you’ll want to prep before assembling the salad is the dressing. Combine all dressing ingredients (including the charred poblano that is in large chunks) in a blender, omitting the olive oil and salt for now. Blend until ingredients are fairly creamy, then start streaming in the olive oil, until you come to a consistency you like. Finally, season with salt. 

  5. In a large bowl, combine all salad ingredients – quinoa, corn, diced poblano, kale and tomatoes – then pour on dressing and stir to combine. Salad will keep for up to a week in the refrigerator!