Larb (aka Laab) is a Thai dish that can be modified nicely for young eaters: It’s not too spicy (unless you up the heat), it can be fast and easy to make, and it has a good profile for protein and minerals, thanks to turkey or pork and a line up of fresh herbs. The generous garlic is a good gut health helper, with antimicrobial action and ability to bust up biofilm. Traditionally, larb is a spicy ground pork dish crafted into an aromatic salad and served with toasted rice and sticky rice. If you get a chance, enjoy it at an authentic Thai restaurant soon.
For your home table, make this fast version inspired by the real thing. Even babies learning pincer grasp feeding can enjoy it, provided they are sitting well, and have skills settling in for chewing, swallowing, along with some baby teeth. Older kids can enjoy this with brown rice, sticky rice, congee, or in lettuce wraps. It’s shown here with congee and a side of roasted zucchini.
Ground Turkey Larb - Fast and Easy Kid Friendly
A simple fast savory dish that can be enjoyed across ages. Use organic ingredients for best flavor and health.
Heat oil in a 12″ skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and cook on medium heat, stirring, until fragrant, about 2 minutes; do not burn. Add turkey, smoked paprika, chili flakes( if hotter spice is desired, omit if not), salt, and pepper. Stir and cook until turkey is browned, about 2 minutes.
Stir in tamari and chicken broth, simmer for a minute. Then add scallions, mint, and cilantro. Cook until turkey is done, about 5 minutes.
Add lime juice and stir evenly throughout the skillet.
Serve with hearty lettuce leaves like butter lettuce or romaine for lettuce wraps, fresh cucumber on top, or over sticky rice, congee, or any side your kids like.
An easy fast dinner to make, just assemble a few ingredients and serve up hot. The only work is some minor slicing and mincing, and making zucchini zoodles. You don’t need an expensive piece of equipment to do this, and it doesn’t take long. I use an Oxo hand held spiralizer, pictured below (I have no affiliate relationship) which works well. I don’t recommend buying pre-made packaged zucchini noodles, which I have seen for sale in supermarkets. They lose flavor, nutrients, and moisture when packaged this way, and your dish won’t taste as vibrant, but can work in a pinch if need be. This recipe gives each person 5 pieces of jumbo shrimp and plenty of zoodles. I also love to use sweet mini-peppers in bright orange and yellow colors, but regular size peppers can work fine too. Julienne slicing works best to help peppers cook quickly and release their sweetness, rather than large chunks of pepper, which end up competing with the big delicious bites of shrimp for texture. Last tip: It’s easy to overcook zoodles, or to make your frozen cooked shrimp tough by cooking too long. Err on the side of undercooking everything. If you have to as a last step, toss your skillet contents for a few extra turns, cover, and let everything heat through a bit more. The zoodles should have a mild crunch to them, rather than be entirely cooked to soft limp texture.
Use a zucchini noodle maker and make noodles (zoodles) out of the zucchini. Set the zoodles aside in a separate bowl til ready to toss in skillet. Before cutting lemon into quarters, use a grater to grate zest. Set this aside too.
In a large skillet, melt olive oil and ghee together over medium heat. Add minced garlic and heat gently til just starting to soften.
Add julienned peppers next. Increase to medium high heat. Stir quickly for a minute, coating peppers and garlic generously with oil and melted ghee. Cover for one minute and let it heat through.
Next add thawed, rinsed, and peeled shrimp, in whole jumbo pieces. Sprinkle lemon zest throughout; squeeze the chunks of lemon over the skillet, so juice drizzles in. Quickly drop lemon chunks in and toss everything to coat with ghee and oil. Keep heat medium to medium high, but don't allow burning. Cover and allow to heat through for one minute.
Next, toss in zoodles, and combine briskly so all skillet contents are coated with ghee and oil. Work quickly to avoid overcooking the zoodles, which will cause them to release too much water and become limp. Then add garlic powder, cilantro and scallions, and toss again thoroughly to coat everything. Let sit covered for one more minute.
Once everything is hot and zoodles have a slight crunch left in them, toss once more and serve immediately in to generous pasta bowls.