(Family Features) 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, which calls for green grapes, spinach, banana and pineapple.
Find more recipes and other not-so-scary fun at dole.com/Disney
Green Slime Nacho Cups
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
1 green starting to turn yellow DOLE(r) Plantain, peeled and thinly sliced on bias
1 1/2 teaspoons canola oil
1/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1 Dole Avocado, halved, pitted and peeled
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup thinly shredded Dole Purple Cabbage
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 18-20 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(r) Spinach
1 Dole Banana, peeled and frozen
1/2 cup Dole Green Grapes, frozen
1/3 cup cucumber, diced
1/2 cup Dole Pineapple
1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1/2 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
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.