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Fall Foliage Salad Recipe

Fall Foliage Salad

Serves: yields 1 kid-sized salad

Can a salad be not only fun but a treat too? Seriously? The answer is YES! Especially when you take the time to cut the veggies into fun, whimsical shapes like the leaf shapes here.

Now, I know what you're thinking: this is way too complicated to make for a fast school lunch. I hear you! I thought that too-especially when I saw some of the fun and funky lunch boxes people put together. But I have to tell you: making a fun salad like this isn't nearly as complicated as it looks. Turning veggies into leaf shapes adds mere minutes to the process, and the payoff (happy kids!) is too fabulous to pass up.

This simple, tasty salad combines sweet bell peppers with creamy, sharp cheddar cheese, and leftover chicken or turkey. Choose a salad dressing that your child loves and give your child a heads up that it's coming, so she knows to be careful when opening and dressing the salad.

For a well-rounded lunch, pack this with a carb such as crackers or a slice of bread, and a drink for hydration.

This also makes a healthy and fun after-school snack!

What you'll need

  • 3 leaves Boston Bibb lettuce ¼ orange bell pepper, in 1 piece (you can substitute red or yellow)
  • ¼ green bell pepper, in 1 piece
  • 3 ¼-inch thick slices sharp cheddar
  • ½ carrot
  • 2 ounces cooked, sliced turkey or chicken
  • 1 tablespoon salad dressing of your choice fall leaf-shaped fondant cutters (they look like mini cookie cutters)

Helpful Tip:

1. Fondant cutters look like miniature cookie cutters and can be purchased at craft stores and some kitchen-supply stores. 2. For older kids, this can also make a fab lettuce wrap. Don't tear the lettuce. Instead split the peppers, cheddar, carrots and turkey or chicken evenly among the three leaves of lettuce. 3. This recipe would also work with cheeses like Swiss and mozzarella. For the veggies, cucumbers are also great in this. 4. What about the remnants from the peppers and cheese? Save them to sprinkle in salad at dinner time. Or eat them as a midday snack. Either way, they won't go to waste.

How to make it

  1. Wash the lettuce leaves under cool water. Then, place on a paper towel to dry.
  2. Remove curved edges from the peppers, so that you have just a flat portion. Using the fondant cutters, cut leaf shapes from the peppers. For best results, cut through the skin first and into the flesh. Set aside.
  3. Use the fondant cutters to cut leaf shapes out of the cheese. Set aside.
  4. Wash and peel the ½ carrot. Slice it into thin discs.
  5. Tear your dried lettuce into bite-sized pieces.
  6. Assemble your salad in a reusable container for school: Start with the lettuce on the bottom. Arrange the peppers, cheddar, carrot, and turkey or chicken on top. Cover and chill until its time to send to school.
  7. Package the salad dressing in a separate container.