According to the most recent USDA Farm to School census, there are over 7,000 school gardens peppered across the country. And just what is everyone doing in all those school gardens?
Each school garden is unique to the people and place where it grows, of course. Generally, though, school gardens engage students in hands-on learning about food, nutrition, agriculture, and the environment. They are also used as living laboratories to bring to life subjects like math, science, art, geography and literacy. The one thing most will have in common is what to do with all that produce?
My friend Chef Garrett Berdan, RD whipped up the recipe you see below. I challenged him to come up with something we could do in the garden with students harvesting and preparing five of the most common springtime veggies. Those include herbs, spinach, lettuce, peas, and radishes. He developed the school garden spring harvest salad. It’s delicious, and easy to make with kids. My kids’ school garden program has each student make a full jar of dressing to take home and enjoy with his or her family. Remember, what grows together goes together!
- Serves: 4 servings
- Calories: 78
- Fat: 7g
- Saturated fat: 0.9g
- Carbohydrates: 3g
- Sugar: 1g
- Sodium: 160mg
- Fiber: 1g
- Protein: 1g
- Cholesterol: 0mg
- 2 cups lettuce, such as baby lettuce or head lettuce
- 1 cup arugula
- 1 cup baby spinach
- ½ cup sugar snap peas
- 4 radishes, medium to large
- For the dressing:
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar
- 1 small garlic clove, minced
- 2 teaspoons sugar or honey
- 1 tablespoon fresh mint, chives or parsley, minced (or 1 teaspoon dried herbs)
- ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ cup olive oil or vegetable oil
- Wash the lettuce, arugula and baby spinach under cold water. Drain the greens and pat the leaves dry with a clean kitchen towel. Cut or tear the larger greens into bite-size pieces and place in a large salad bowl.
- Clean the sugar snap peas and radishes under cold water and drain. Slice the sugar snap peas diagonally across the pod into ⅛ inch slices. Slice the radishes thinly and add the radishes and sliced snap peas to the salad bowl with the greens.
- To make the salad dressing, place the red wine vinegar, minced garlic and sugar or honey in an 8-ounce jar with a tight-fitting lid. Let the garlic sit in the vinegar for about 5 minutes to mellow its sharp flavor. Add the fresh or dried herbs, mustard, salt, pepper and oil. Place the lid on the jar and secure it tightly. Shake the jar vigorously for 20 seconds. The dressing will be well mixed. Pour 4 tablespoons of the dressing over the salad and toss gently with two spoons until the vegetables are lightly coated with dressing. Save the remaining dressing for tomorrow or another day within the week.
- Serve the salad immediately.
Original Rootopia Recipe
Are you, or do you know, an educator looking for more garden resources for your classroom? Here are some great ones from our friends at the USDA Team Nutrition.
- Preschool: Grow It, Try It, Like It! Nutrition Education Kit Featuring MyPlate
- Kindergarten: Discover MyPlate: Lesson 4 Planting the Seeds for Healthier Eating
- Grade 3-4: The Great Garden Detective Adventure
- Grades 5-6: Dig In! Standards-Based Nutrition Education from the Ground Up
- Grades K-8: Plant It, Grow It, Eat It!; Healthy Habits Take Root
What’s growing in your school garden?