I have the wonderful opportunity to be working once again this year with EnrichLA - a nonprofit in the heart of Los Angeles that builds & cultivates gardens and educates students about how food grows, what it tastes like and what kinds of critters that live in them. My role as a Garden Ranger is to visit my elementary schools once a week to teach classes ranging from a variety of categories.
This week of October marks the fifth week I’ve taught this school year thus far. We’ve learned about The Edible Parts of the Plant, Beeing a Friend, How to Plant a Seed + Seed Tape Activity, Composting 101 (and what Peppa Pig thinks about it!) and even How to Make Garden Pesto!
I wanted to share with you this recipe because it’s super duper easy. And apparently kid-friendly because my second graders loved it! They kept asking for seconds and thirds and more! (I eventually had to shoo them to go to class because they didn’t want to leave the garden! Haha.)
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The kids loved helping harvest the leaves from their numerous and abundant basil plants. My intern Mr. F and I instructed them to find the greenest, most yummy-looking leaves they could find, clean of holes and bugs.
After collecting the basil, I showed the students what other ingredients go into the pesto: a clove of garlic, Parmesan cheese and olive oil. Together, the class watched as I placed everything into a mini food processor and ooh-ed/aah-ed as the ingredients blitzed up into a green paste. Some of the kids didn’t like the smell of the basil but after tasting it on a butter cracker, they quickly changed their mind :)
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Modifications: If you were to make this at your home you could add nuts (I omitted these for allergy-sake), carrot tops, chard, mustard greens etc. Even though the traditional method is pine nuts, garlic, hard Parmesan cheese and basil, There’s really no “one way” to make pesto as long as you have garlic and olive oil! :)
The recipe for 1/2 cup pesto:
- 1 garlic cloves
- 1 big handful fresh basil
- 3 TBS parmeseasn cheese
- 3-5 TBS olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
Blend in a food processor until smooth, 1-2 minutes. Serve with crackers, toasted bread or pasta!