Kid-Friendly Fourth of July Recipes


Ask Our Experts fourth of july

In addition to celebrating our independence, July 4th is often associated with fireworks, family, friends, and of course, good food! Looking for a last minute recipe you can make with your kids to bring to the neighborhood potluck or family picnic? For this week’s Ask Our Experts blog, we’ve asked our authors to share their favorite go-to Fourth of July recipe that’s kid-friendly. Their responses make up a fantastic menu for any get together –Red Quinoa Tabouli, Chicken-Avocado Cucumber Roll Ups, Simple Crab & Spinach Calzones, and Strawberry Shortcake. Enjoy!

Stefanie Sacks’ Red Quinoa Tabouli

Red Quinoa Tabouli

(photo credit: Stefanie Sacks)

This is one of our summer (actually, year round) staples. I will typically grill some local fish and add this as a side. The best part is sending the kids to the garden to grab the parsley and/or mint for this alternative tabouli creation. I use red quinoa, considered a grain, that is high in protein. Super simple, nutritious and delicious. So for those carb-conscious citizens, this should fall well within your “zone.” Enjoy the delicate crunch lavished with lemon and fireworks of flavor in between.

Makes 4-6 servings

For the tabouli:
1 cup red quinoa
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 pint grape tomatoes, quartered
1/2 seedless cucumber, small dice
2 large scallions, thinly sliced
2 cups flat leaf parsley, de-stemmed, loosely packed and rough chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced

For the dressing:
– 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
– 1/4 cup lemon juice, fresh squeezed
– 1/2 teaspoon salt

  1. Combine quinoa and water in medium pot. Cover and bring to a boil on medium; reduce to simmer and cook until water is absorbed and grain is fluffy (about 8-10 minutes).
  2. Prep all vegetables and add to large bowl. When quinoa is finished, combine with vegetables and toss. Finish by adding dressing ingredients directly to same bowl and mixing well.

Can store in fridge for up to 3 days.

9780399167966_What the Fork

Recipe excerpted from WHAT THE FORK ARE YOU EATING? An Action Plan for Your Pantry and Plate by Stefanie Sacks. © 2014 by Stefanie Sacks. Jeremy P. Tarcher/Penguin, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.


Dr. Robert Melillo’s Chicken-Avocado Cucumber Roll Ups

The Fourth of July is usually hot and steamy where I live so I like to serve something cool and refreshing, yet filling and healthy. I encourage a low carb diet focusing on protein, healthy fats and unprocessed carbs to help fuel the brain. Cucumber is a bright and refreshing summer treat and kids love it. Think of these roll ups as a chicken sandwich without the bread. Perfect for active kids on the go, they can run around on the beach or in the back yard and just grab one of these roll ups on the way by. This is the way kids used to eat and it makes me happy to see kids run around and enjoy food, friends and family. Happy fourth!

Makes about 10-12 roll ups

1 medium cucumber, preferably English
1 cup shredded chicken
½ cup mashed very ripe avocado
2 tablespoons diced sundried tomato (optional)
1 ½ ounces goat cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Cut the cucumber in half horizontally. Using a mandolin or potato peeler, peel a few slices from each half and discard. Continue slicing until you come to the seeds, laying out each slice on a cutting board. When you hit the seeds, peel from the other side in the same manner.
  2. Combine the chicken, mashed avocado, and sundried tomatoes in a mixing bowl.
  3. Spoon a dollop of goat cheese near the end of each tomato slice. Add a heaping teaspoon of the chicken on top and roll from one end to the other. Secure with a toothpick (or place on tray or plate with the tail end on the bottom so it doesn’t unravel).

9780399171789_Disconnected Kids

Dr. Robert Melillo is the author of THE DISCONNECTED KIDS NUTRITION PLAN: Proven Strategies to Enhance Learning and Focus for Children with Autism, ADHD, Dyslexia, and Other Neurological Disorders.


Amy Cramer and Lisa McComsey’s Simple Crab-and-Spinach Calzones

spinach calzone

(photo credit: Susannah Feiler)

This is an ideal, kid-friendly family favorite. You can make a day in advance, refrigerate, and serve room temperature on a picnic. No forks needed. It’s also easy to adapt (leave out crabmeat) for picky eaters or those with allergies. Wrap each calzone separately or cut in half and wrap in smaller portions.

Makes about 4 for dinner or 8 for appetizers

1 (12-ounce) box silken extra-firm tofu, drained
1 pound fresh baby spinach, steamed to wilt, and squeezed to remove all excess water (or frozen, defrosted, and squeezed)
1 tablespoon sweet sherry
1 teaspoon salt
10 ounces flaked crabmeat, fresh or canned (picked and drained)
6 to 8 (8-inch) whole-wheat tortillas

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°.
  2. Pulse the tofu, spinach, sherry, and salt in a food processor or with an immersion blender until just blended, or mash together with a fork. Fold in the flaked crabmeat.
  3. Lay each tortilla on a flat surface. Spoon ⅓ to ½ cup of spinach mixture into the center of the tortilla. Fold the bottom half of the tortilla up to the center of the mixture. Fold each side into the center. Fold the bottom up to the top to form a square.
  4. Place each packet on a nonstick or parchment-lined baking sheet.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the tortillas begin to crisp.

These don’t need sauce; however, for a treat, make a dipping sauce by mixing cashew cream (equal parts cashews and water pureed in the blender) and Sriracha or lemon juice. Eat right away or cool, wrap individually and serve the next day.

9780399176944_Seagan Eating

Recipe excerpted from SEAGAN EATING: The Lure of a Healthy, Sustainable Seafood + Vegan Diet by Amy Cramer and Lisa McComsey. © 2016 by Amy Cramer and Lisa McComsey. TarcherPerigee, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.


Katie Hurley’s Strawberry Shortcake

In my house, nothing says Fourth of July like homemade strawberry shortcake! I have fond memories of watching my mom cut the berries and stack them on small cakes with a little cool whip to create a red and white treat for long summer days, and I’ve carried on the tradition (with a few tweaks of my own for my kids). We like to make most things from scratch around here (such is the life of the food allergy mom), partially to avoid food allergies and partially because making a great big mess in the kitchen is fun for the whole family! Hope you enjoy it!

Makes about 10-12 medium sized biscuits

For the Shortcake Biscuits
3 cups of flour
4 teaspoons of baking powder
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1/3 cup of granulated or baker’s sugar
1 teaspoon of salt
¾ cup of chilled butter, cut into small squares
1 cup of buttermilk (or whole milk)
¼ cup of heavy cream or half and half
¼ cup of sugar in the raw

  1. Preheat oven to 425°.
  2. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or baking liner.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, granulated sugar and salt.
  4. Cut in cold butter. You can use a pastry blender if you have one, but we use our hands!
  5. Stir in buttermilk (or whole milk). Dough will be sticky.
  6. Drop small scoops of dough (it should make 10-12 medium size biscuits) onto baking sheet.
  7. Brush biscuits with heavy cream (half and half works well, too) and then sprinkle with sugar in the raw.
  8. Bake 15 minutes.

For the strawberries:
8 cups of diced strawberries
¼ cup of granulated sugar
Juice from ¼ of a lemon

  1. Mix berries, sugar and lemon juice in a large bowl.
  2. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

For the fresh whipped cream
1 cup of heavy whipping cream
2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract
2 teaspoons of confectioners’ sugar

  1. Beat the cream and vanilla with an electric mixer until fluffy.
  2. Add confectioners’ sugar and continue to beat until it holds a soft peak.

Put it all together!

  1. Slice the biscuit.
  2. Cover with strawberry mixture.
  3. Add a heaping pile of fresh whipped cream.

9780399171819_Happy Kid

Katie Hurley is the author of THE HAPPY KID HANDBOOK: How to Raise Joyful Children in a Stressful World.


For more nutritious and delicious recipes, be sure to check out WHAT THE FORK ARE YOU EATING? An Action Plan for Your Pantry and Plate by Stefanie Sacks, SEAGAN EATING: The Lure of a Healthy, Sustainable Seafood + Vegan Diet by Amy Cramer and Lisa McComsey, and THE DISCONNECTED KIDS NUTRITION PLAN: Proven Strategies to Enhance Learning and Focus for Children with Autism, ADHD, Dyslexia, and Other Neurological Disorders by Dr. Robert Melillo.

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