It’s rare for me to say that I agree with a cartoon character about much in life, but I do have to say that I share some affinity for the fat warthog Pumba in The Lion King. Not because of his cheerful outlook on life, or his ability to produce copious amounts of methane…rather, I agree with his appreciation for those sweetly savory turgid little grubs you guys call caterpillars.
As he says…”Slimy…yet satisfying!”
Take those fat little wriggling bastards and toss them into a salad and it’s instantly elevated from a boring pile of leafy green weedy blah into a savory, mouth popping mountain of ooey-gooey slimy deliciousness.
Unfortunately, finding a ready supply of these prepubescent butterflies is a bit of a struggle, even for a Demon with my level of powers, which is why I’ve managed to come up with a way to produce a somewhat satisfactory alternative.
May I present to you, my broccoli and green pea substitute grubs!
To make your own green salad grubs, you will need:
- 1 cup steamed broccoli
- 1 cup peas
- 3 packages gelatin powder
- 2 cups water (1 cold, 1 boiling hot)
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder or garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon parmesan cheese
- Pinch of salt
- Caterpillar molds**
- Green food coloring
- Brown food gel coloring
- Yellow food coloring
- Tiny round rainbow cake sprinkles (optional)
**(The first thing you need to do is make your caterpillar molds. I won’t walk you through the entire process here…I already have a full 2 part tutorial up here and here that will get you where you need to be. You can also skip the whole molding process if you wish and simply go online and order a pre-made mold here.)
In a food processor or blender, start by first pureeing your steamed broccoli, cheese and peas until you get a thick paste.
In a separate bowl, pour all three packages of your gelatin over the cold water and allow it to bloom for 5 minutes.
Once your gelatin has bloomed, pour in your boiling water and mix until the gelatin is dissolved.
Add in your onion/garlic powder and your pinch of salt.
Pour this into your puree and blend until you have a smooth consistency just slightly thinner than pancake batter.
Transfer your puree to a squeeze bottle (if you have one. If not, it’s not a problem, just makes filling molds easier) and gently fill your molds until they’re full.
Pop them into the freezer for approximately 5-8 minutes or the fridge for 15. You want them cold and gelled but not so cold that they’re frozen. (Frozen caterpillars have a tendency to snap in half when they’re pulled from the molds.)
After your caterpillars have cooled and firmed up, gently remove them from your molds and trim off any excess gelled puree. As you can see, the green from the peas and the broccoli have left them with some nice coloring, but they’re still pretty bland looking and don’t have much detail to really sell the idea that these are actually insects and not just funky looking green noodles.
Using a clean, food only paint brush, gently dab on a bit of watered down green food coloring. You’ll notice that it will concentrate in the lines and folds of your grubs, helping to give them some depth and realism.
Experiment with your colors. A wash of yellow, a drip of green, a hint of brown…these are your bugs, go crazy!
For the heads, dip your brush into straight, undiluted brown gel coloring and dab it just on the heads of your insects. You can also use black for this but I’ve found brown looks much more realistic.
If you want to really take them to the next level and give them spots, I’ve found the tiny rainbow cake sprinkles work the absolute best. Using the sharp end of a toothpick, poke holes into the sides of your caterpillars and gently press a sprinkle into each hole. This is incredibly time consuming and certainly doesn’t have to be done…but as they say, the Devil’s in the details, and I do love a well-decorated grub (and don’t worry about them changing the taste of your caterpillars, these tiny decorations are so small they add little more than a satisfying look and mild crunch).
Once you’re done decorating your caterpillars, use them to decorate your plate! The mild flavor of the broccoli paired with the sweetness of the peas makes them a welcome addition to any salad…
So when you can’t get your own caterpillars, try this slimy yet satisfying substitution and…
Like what you see? Want to see more? Help me keep making my disgusting creations by visiting my Patreon page.
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