Kid-friendly Emerald Isle Salad + Shamrock Ranch Dressing Recipe - Sticky Fingers Cooking
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Recipe: Emerald Isle Salad + Shamrock Ranch Dressing

Recipe: Emerald Isle Salad + Shamrock Ranch Dressing

Emerald Isle Salad + Shamrock Ranch Dressing

by Erin Fletter
Photo by Marie C Fields/Shutterstock.com
prep time
15 minutes
cook time
makes
4-6 servings

Equipment Checklist

  • Cutting board + kid-safe knife
  • Dry measuring cups
  • Measuring spoons
  • Medium mixing bowl
  • Blender (or pitcher + immersion blender)
  • Grater
scale
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Ingredients

Emerald Isle Salad + Shamrock Ranch Dressing

  • 1/2 green onion
  • 2 1/4 C spinach leaves
  • 3 T mayonnaise **(for EGG ALLERGY sub egg-free vegan mayonnaise)**
  • 3 T whole milk **(for DAIRY ALLERGY sub dairy-free/nut-free milk)**
  • 1 tsp vinegar
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp sugar/honey
  • 1 carrot
  • 2 to 4 T grated cheddar, Monterey jack, or Parmesan cheese) **(Omit for DAIRY ALLERGY or sub dairy-free/nut-free cheese)**

Food Allergen Substitutions

Emerald Isle Salad + Shamrock Ranch Dressing

  • Dairy: Substitute dairy-free/nut-free milk and cheese (or omit cheese) in Ranch Dressing.
  • Egg: Substitute egg-free vegan mayonnaise in Ranch Dressing.

Instructions

Emerald Isle Salad + Shamrock Ranch Dressing

1.
mince + measure

Mince 1/2 green onion and 1/4 cup spinach and add to a bowl. Measure and add 3 tablespoons mayonnaise, 3 tablespoons milk, 1 teaspoon vinegar, **3/4 teaspoon salt*, and 1/2 teaspoon sugar into the bowl.

2.
blend + adjust

Blend everything up in your bowl with an immersion blender, or add to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Taste and adjust—does it need more vinegar? Salt? Mayonnaise? Honey?

3.
chop + grate + toss

Chop up 2 cups of spinach, grate 1 carrot, and combine in a bowl. Pour your Shamrock Ranch Dressing over the salad, divide onto plates, and sprinkle with 2 to 4 tablespoons of grated cheddar cheese.

Surprise Ingredient: Spinach!

back to recipe
Photo by BearFotos/Shutterstock.com

Hi! I’m Spinach!

"I'm Popeye the sailor man … Oh, excuse me. I like to sing that song because Popeye loved me! Yep! I'm Spinach! I'm a dark green, leafy vegetable, the kind that's so good for you! I may not make you as strong as Popeye, but I'll definitely make your body healthier and stronger. Plus, I'm delicious in so many dishes, including salads, sandwiches, soups, spanakopita, and even lasagna! Don't tell anyone, but sometimes I even get sneaked into muffins and cakes." 

History & Etymology

  • Spinach is a native plant of Persia (modern-day Iran). China produces the most spinach anywhere in the world, and in China, spinach is still known as The Persian Green. 
  • Spinach was grown in Spain during the 8th century, and Spaniards eventually brought it to the United States. 
  • Medieval artists extracted green pigment from spinach to use as ink or paint.
  • China is the world's largest spinach producer, with 85 percent of global production, and California produces 74 percent of the fresh spinach grown in the United States.
  • In the mid-1900s, a cartoon character named Popeye the Sailor Man caused the popularity of spinach to explode! This is because he would turn strong and powerful immediately after eating a can of spinach. 
  • The English word "spinach" came from the 14th century French "espinache," through Latin and Arabic, originally from the Persian "aspanak."

Anatomy 

  • Spinach is a member of the amaranth family, making it a close relation to beets and chard. 
  • Spinach plants are hardy and annual (meaning they need to be replanted each year). They can grow up to one foot tall. 
  • Larger leaves grow at the base of the plant, while smaller leaves are at the top (like basil). Spinach has dark green leaves that, depending on the variety, can be either curled or smooth. 

How to Pick, Buy, & Eat

  • When buying fresh spinach, choose leaves that are crisp and dark green with a nice fresh fragrance. Avoid those that are limp, damaged, or have yellow spots. 
  • Refrigerate spinach in a plastic bag for up to three days. 
  • Spinach, which is usually very gritty because it is grown in sand, must be thoroughly rinsed.
  • Spinach can be eaten raw in salads and added raw to smoothies. Spinach doesn't have a strong taste, so it's a wonderful fuss-free addition when you want to pack in more nutrition to whatever you're cooking. It can be chopped and added to soups and stir-fries, baked into gratins, quiches, and pies, or pureed and added to dips. Spinach is super versatile. Frozen spinach is an easy substitute and works brilliantly in many recipes that call for fresh spinach.

Nutrition

  • Dark leafy green vegetables are some of the best foods to feed our bodies. Specifically, dark greens like spinach keep our hearts, blood, and brains healthy. 
  • Just half a cup of raw spinach counts as one of the five servings of fruits and vegetables you should eat daily.
  • Spinach is another source of vitamin K1. Do you remember that K1 helps with blood clotting? How's this for interesting: French soldiers consumed wine mixed with spinach juice during the First World War to recuperate from excessive bleeding! 
  • Spinach is high in chlorophyll! In fact, all green vegetables (and plants) contain chlorophyll. Chlorophyll's job is to absorb sunlight and use it for energy—a process called photosynthesis. In addition, chlorophyll helps the body make red blood cells. These cells carry oxygen through the blood to our organs. 

 

Let's Learn About Ireland!

Photo by Thomas Bresenhuber/Shutterstock.com (Rock of Cashel)
  • Ireland, or the Republic of Ireland, is on the island of Ireland, called Éire in the Irish language. Its nickname is the Emerald Isle because it is very green and lush! 
  • Ireland is a country in northwestern Europe, west of Great Britain, another island.
  • The Republic of Ireland shares a border with Northern Ireland, which belongs to the United Kingdom. England, Scotland, Wales, which make up Great Britain, and Northern Ireland are all part of the UK.
  • Irish is one of two official languages, with English being the second; however, English is more commonly spoken.
  • Over 5 million people live in Ireland, and its total area is 32,595 square miles. Their currency is the euro. 
  • The capital city, Dublin, and its environs are home to about 40 percent of the population of Ireland.
  • Ireland has a long, complicated history, but people called the Celts made their home in the region about 700 years BCE and thrived for almost 2,000 years. Then, in the Middle Ages, Vikings arrived on ships and started settling the area, which led to conflict.
  • The Rock of Cashel is one of several popular tourist sites in Ireland. It is a rocky, limestone outcropping. At the top, you will find medieval buildings, including a Gothic cathedral; a Romanesque chapel called Cormac's Chapel, named for a King of Munster; the Hall of the Vicars Choral; a 15th-century Tower House; an abbey; a round tower; and a high cross. Saint Patrick, of St. Patrick's Day fame, is associated with the Rock of Cashel.
  • Ireland was part of the United Kingdom from 1801 until December 6, 1922, when it became a self-governing nation but still part of the British Empire, known as the Irish Free State. In 1937 it became a republic, which was made official in 1949. The British had been involved in Ireland since 1169, when the Anglo-Normans invaded, and English kings claimed sovereignty there.
  • The Great Famine (or Irish Potato Famine) affected Ireland from 1845 to 1849. Potatoes were a staple food, and when the potato blight decimated the potato crop. As a result, many people got sick, died, or fled the country, and the population decreased by 30 percent.
  • The green on the Irish flag represents Ireland's nationalists, orange represents the Protestant followers of William of Orange in Ireland, and white represents peace between the two groups.
  • Some of the well-known symbols of Ireland include the shamrock, Celtic knot, Celtic cross, and the Celtic harp.
  • Famous Irish authors and poets include Jonathan Swift, Bram Stoker, Oscar Wilde, W. B. Yeats, James Joyce, and George Bernard Shaw.
  • Ireland is also famous for its Irish Celtic music and Irish dancing.
  • Green is associated with St. Patrick's Day because it is the color of spring, Ireland, and the shamrock. Saint Patrick's Day on March 17 is a public religious and cultural holiday in Ireland. Many other countries around the world also celebrate it.
  • St. Patrick's Day was celebrated in the United States for the first time in 1737 in Boston, Massachusetts. However, the city to hold the first official St. Patrick's Day parade was New York City, starting in 1766. Over 100 US cities now have Saint Patrick's Day parades. After all, on St. Patrick's day, "everybody is Irish!"
  • Traditional Irish sports are Gaelic football and hurling, and they are also the most popular sports in the country. Association football (soccer) is third in popularity. Additional sports include rugby, cricket, and horseracing. At the Olympics, boxing is Ireland's most successful sport.
  • Irish cuisine includes "boxty" (potato pancake), "colcannon" (mashed potatoes with cabbage), "coddle" (a dish of potatoes, sausage, thin bacon or "rashers," and onion), and Irish soda bread.  
  • A "full Irish breakfast" consists of bacon, pork sausage, fried eggs, black pudding (blood sausage), baked beans, sliced tomato, sautéed mushrooms, soda bread or toast, and tea or coffee.

What's It Like to Be a Kid in Ireland?

  • If kids in Ireland live in Irish-speaking communities, their schools teach classes in the Irish language. If they live in English-speaking areas, instruction is in the English language, unless kids attend an Irish-language school called a "gaelscoil," where classes are in Irish.
  • Most Irish schools require students to wear uniforms.
  • Irish children may play "rounders," a bat and ball game, "skipping" or jumping rope, marbles, and Irish "skittles," a bowling-like game where kids try to hit pins that are set up on the ground with pieces of wood called skittles.
  • Kids may participate in some of the following sports: Gaelic football, handball, hurling or camogie, association football (soccer), rugby, boxing, and swimming.
  • For breakfast, kids may eat the full, traditional Irish breakfast or have pancakes or scones. For a snack, they may eat potato chips or Irish flapjacks, which are granola bars made with oats. A favorite sweet treat is a fairy cake, a small cupcake with icing drizzled on top

That's Berry Funny

What did Papa Spinach say to Baby Spinach? 

"Be-LEAF in yourself!"

That's Berry Funny

Why are spinach leaves never lonely? 

Because they come in bunches!

THYME for a Laugh

What’s a dancer’s favorite kind of vegetable?

Spin-ach!

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