Introducing kids to unfamiliar flavors doesn’t have to be a frightful experience. Getting creative and taking cues from some beloved characters may be all it takes for families to explore produce in a new way and discover how delicious, satisfying and enjoyable fresh fruits and vegetables can be.
A passion for produce may begin with America’s favorites, like bananas, apples, citrus, celery, carrots and broccoli, but that’s just the beginning.
Whether it’s their angry names and tough exteriors, or simply a fear of the unknown about taste and preparation, dozens more diverse and exotic fruits and vegetables like dragon fruit, horned melon and Brussels sprouts are often the sources of produce paranoia.
An initiative from Dole, in collaboration with Disney and Pixar’s Monsters, Inc., is helping to take the scare out of specialty fruits and vegetables and widen America’s produce horizons. That’s because, like a good book or the characters in a beloved film, you can’t judge a fruit or vegetable by its appearance; nature’s true beauty often lies within.
The campaign offers character-inspired recipes, serving suggestions, digital and social activations, family-friendly activities, fun trivia and influencer partnerships that celebrate the not-so-scary world of the planet’s more unusual fresh bounty.
One easy way to introduce new flavors is by trying a variation of a familiar fruit or veggie. For example, there are more than 500 edible banana varieties in the world. You might sample a red banana or a Manzano, or even an ice cream banana, with a taste resembling vanilla custard.
These fun and kid-friendly Green Slime Nacho Cups feature plantains, for example, a member of the banana family with a different taste and texture than everyday yellow bananas – more firm and starchy like a potato. Increase your family’s produce intake even further with a Slippery Slimy Smoothie and Chicken Stuffed Roz Heads, which call for green grapes, celery, avocados, strawberries and blueberries.
Find more recipes and other not-so-scary fun at dole.com/Disney, and follow #Dole and #DoleRecipes.
Chicken Stuffed Roz Heads
Prep time: 15 minutes
1 cup cubed, cooked chicken breast
1/2 cup DOLE® Green
1/4 cup chopped Dole Celery
1/3 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 Dole Avocados, halved, pitted and peeled
6 whole-wheat pretzel twists
18 whole-wheat pretzel sticks
1 Dole Strawberry, sliced
3 dried, sweetened blueberries
In bowl, stir together chicken, grapes, celery, yogurt, salt and pepper.
Scoop three equal portions onto serving plate. Shape each into oval.
Top each with upside down avocado half.
Decorate each avocado half to resemble Roz’s face. Using sharp paring knife, trim each pretzel twist to create horn-rimmed glasses lens by cutting off double loop section of each pretzel twist and discarding or enjoying as snack, keeping single loop portion, which will become one lens. Two lenses are needed per Roz Head.
Place two pretzel lenses on each avocado to form glasses. Add pretzel stick to each side of avocado to form arms of glasses. Push four pretzel sticks into top of each avocado to form hair. Add strawberry slice, trimmed to look like lips for her mouth, and place blueberry on lower left side of face to form mole.
Green Slime Nacho Cups
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
1 green starting to turn yellow
DOLE® Plantain, peeled
and thinly sliced on bias
1 1/2 teaspoons canola oil
1/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1 Dole Avocado, halved, pitted
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup thinly shredded Dole
Preheat oven to 375 F. Toss plantain slices with canola oil and season with pinch of salt. On parchment paper-lined baking sheet, arrange slices in single layer with no overlapping.
Bake 1820 minutes, or until crispy and lightly golden. Cool completely and set aside.
Using spoon, scoop flesh of avocado into small bowl and mash, reserving one half avocado shell. Stir mashed avocado with lime juice, garlic and remaining salt. Stir in slaw, reserving some for garnish. Scoop into reserved avocado shell and smooth top with back of spoon. Stick reserved cabbage shreds out of avocado mixture to look like hair.
Serve slime nacho cups with plantain chips.
Slippery Slimy Smoothie
Prep time:10 minutes
Servings: 2 (8 ounces each)
1/2 cup DOLE® Spinach
1 Dole Banana, peeled
1/2 cup Dole Green
1/3 cup cucumber, diced
1/2 cup Dole Pineapple
1/2 cup unsweetened
vanilla almond milk
1/2 cup nonfat plain
5 ice cubes
In blender, blend spinach, banana, grapes, cucumber, pineapple, almond milk, Greek yogurt and ice cubes until smooth.
Pour smoothie into two glasses and serve.
By DONNA ERICKSON
Wrap up the last of summer’s harvest with colorful ribbons of orange, green, yellow and red. Abundant zucchini, summer squash and carrots can be woven together with fettuccine pasta for a tasty supper your family will enjoy from preparation to the last bite.
Hand each of your preteen kids their own vegetable peeler, give them a few tips for honing ribbon-making skills, and they’ll keep busy and feel useful cutting vegetables while you cook up the pasta. A healthy supper will be ready in minutes.
8 ounces fettuccine pasta, cooked, drained and rinsed in cool water.
1 to 2 small-size green zucchini
1 yellow summer squash
2 medium-size carrots
1/2 fresh red pepper (optional)
1/2 cup of your favorite vinaigrette style salad dressing or traditional Vinaigrette (see recipe below)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Chopped parsley or basil
1. Trim off the ends of the zucchini, squash and carrots. Use a vegetable peeler to cut the vegetables lengthwise into long, thin, ribbon-like strips. When you reach the inner seeds of the zucchini and summer squash, stop and continue slicing the other side. Discard the centers. Place all the vegetable ribbons into a large bowl.
2. Trim off the green ends of the scallion. Tear them into thin long strips with your fingers. Add to the vegetables.
3. Add pasta and toss lightly with your favorite vinaigrette dressing or prepare the basic recipe below. Cut thin slices of the red pepper and arrange on top, if you wish. Top with grated Parmesan and parsley or basil. Serve with French bread. Serves 4 to 6.
TIP: If your kids love apples, add one to the salad for sweetness. Peel, core and cut an apple into 4 slices. Peel strips from each slice and add to the vegetable ribbons.
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup white wine or sherry vinegar
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
In a small bowl, let one child whisk the salt, mustard and vinegar together. While whisking, another child may slowly add the oil in a stream until the mixture is well-combined. Makes 1 cup.
Store covered at room temperature for a week or in the refrigerator for a month.
©2020 Donna Erickson King Features Syndicate