Yummy Greens at Plaza East

report by Crystal Jones, CommunityGrows Seed-to-Mouth Cooking Coordinator
IMG_1274-SFWIn education, holiday calendars can be an excellent tool for planning how to organize ones curriculum, as well as aiding it. This is especially true I feel, when having the privilege of working with food, in that people already associate many holidays with specific food items. When necessary, it’s fun to challenge those ideas, but most of the time those long standing customs and ideas can be better used to your advantage. In honor of St. Patrick’s Day last week, I figured it would be the perfect opportunity to spotlight green foods.

For the day at Plaza East, students got to participate in the making of green smoothies with bountiful kale sourced from our Edible Schoolyard Garden, as well as a wild green pesto which we used to top a small serving of “green nachos”. Vitamin and nutrient highlights for this lesson were (among many), calcium, potassium and vitamin c. Our ingredient of the day? IMG_1278-SFW


That’s right, carrot tops. The MVP in this week’s wild pesto. Carrot tops are not only edible, but full of nutrients and can contain as much as six times the amount of vitamin C as the root itself.

Sometimes it almost feels like a game to me to see just how many fruits and veggies I can get my students to try and enjoy in one sitting. For this lesson, I am glad to say that I lost count and there were thumbs up all around.

Here is the recipe for our “Wild Green Pesto”

2 cups of carrot tops (packed)
¾ cup fresh basil leaves (packed)
1 cup parsley leaves (packed)
⅓ cup of chives
½ cup olive oil
1 tablespoon of fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup of edamame (shelled)
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ teaspoon salt
pepper to taste

1. Combine the carrot tops, basil, parsley, chives and edamame in a food processor and pulse a few times.
2. Slowly add the olive oil, lemon, garlic, salt and pepper. Blend until smooth. Add water to thin if desired
3. Serve over your favorite tortilla chips, with more edamame. Top with wild greens (we used arugula, carrot tops) and a little Parmesan. This pesto is also delicious used traditionally. Enjoy!