Stoplight Salsa is one of my favorite recipes to make at Snack Attack in the summertime! The original recipe is called Stoplight Salad and is taken from the “Simply In Season Children’s Cookbook” by Mark Beach and Julie Kauffman*. This recipe utilizes a colorful variety of fresh summer vegetables that are easy to find at local farms, markets or even grow in your own garden!
When we make this snack at the Discovery Center I often take the kids out to our raised bed gardens where we typically have basil, tomatoes and peppers growing. This way the kids get to see and experience how the herbs and veggies grow; pick some of the ingredients straight from the garden; then use them right away in a tasty snack. The ingredients in this recipe also allow a great opportunity for kids to practice slicing and chopping. Young kids can use a plastic knife or butter knife to help chop tomatoes and green peppers and the littlest hands can help tear the basil into small pieces. As you make this snack I also encourage you to use your senses to explore the ingredients. Smell the basil, taste a bite of pepper, feel the smooth firm skin of the tomato. See how the colors reflect the colors of a stoplight! Talk with your kids about the way we use multiple senses when we cook and eat (sight, smell, touch, taste) and have fun making this fresh summer Stoplight Salsa!
1 handful of basil or cilantro
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 large tomato, chopped (about 1.5 cups)
1 can corn, drained
1 can cooked black beans, drained
1 clove garlic
1.5 Tablespoons olive oil
1.5 Tablespoons lime (or lemon) juice
Before you begin: Wash your hands. Gather your ingredients.
Adult: Open cans of corn and beans, rinse and drain. (If using fresh or frozen corn, cook as directed before adding to the mixture). Chop bell pepper.
Child: With a plastic knife, chop tomatoes into fine pieces (or use whole grape tomatoes).
Child: In a large bowl, combine pepper and tomatoes with drained corn and beans.
Adult or Child: Snip or tear basil or cilantro into small pieces and place in large bowl with veggie mixture. Set bowl aside.
Adult: Peel and finely chop garlic and place in a small bowl.
Adult: Measure oil and juice into the small bowl with the garlic.
Child: Whisk oil, juice, and garlic to combine.
Child: Pour dressing over salsa mixture in the large bowl.
Adult: Salt and pepper to taste.
Adult or Child: Toss gently and serve with tortilla chips, wrapped in a soft tortilla, or as a salad.
*I’ve adjusted the recipe slightly so that canned vegetables can easily be used without having to open and use partial cans. I’ve also started calling it Stoplight Salsa when we make this at Snack Attack since the kids don’t tend to get very excited about the idea of a salad for snack (anything to make vegetables sound more exciting helps motivate kids to try them!). I serve it with tortilla chips and kids and adults have a great time dipping them into this fresh salsa! It could also be used as a filling for quesadillas or a topping for nachos! So have fun and be creative with this recipe and share your creations on social media with #DCSnackAttack.