In the Kitchen with Kids

Cook up a fresh and delicious sauce for pasta, chicken, and more!

Springtime is in full swing, and my garden is growing. While it is too early for summer veggies, herbs are an excellent option for creating flavorful  (and even healthy!) meals. One of the best things about using herbs in recipes is how simple it can be since the herbs themselves pack in so much flavor without the need for a long list of ingredients. These are the types of recipes that are perfect for cooking with kids. They don't have to take a lot of time or advanced skills. 

For this recipe, we're using fresh basil and parsley. Both have very distinct flavors and aromas. You can also add in any other fresh herbs that you love. A little bit of cilantro is a delicious addition for a Latin flair, or toss in some mint to serve over grilled meats such as lamb.

Before you begin, have your child smell each herb. Does the basil smell a little like licorice?  What about the parsley? What does it smell like? 

Using a mortar and pestle is an excellent way to make this since it doesn't require an appliance, and it is a great interactive step for kids.  You can also have them squeeze the lemon halves into a small bowl and use a fork to remove the seeds. 

Basil & Parsley Pesto
Makes about 2 cups

1 garlic clove, peeled
2 cups fresh basil leaves
1 cup fresh parsley leaves (you can use curly or Italian flat-leaf parsley)
1 tablespoon fresh-squeezed lemon juice
¼ teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

Use a mortar and pestle to smash the garlic clove until it is well crushed.
Tear the basil and parsley leaves into smaller pieces.
Add a few leaves at a time to the mortar and grind the mixture into a fine paste.

Stir in the salt, lemon juice, and olive oil. Serve over hot pasta or chicken, or even chilled for a great pasta or chicken salad.

Leftovers can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for about a week. To keep it looking fresh, pour a little olive oil over the surface of the pesto before sealing the container. Air will oxidize the herbs, turning them brown, so use enough olive oil to cover it completely. 

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