We often hear children being instructed not to play with their food. This is to encourage eating, rather than moving components around on a plate and to instill them with presentable table manners. While we do not encourage playing with your food in lieu of tasting it at Allergic to Salad, sometimes playing can be another way to engage with your work.
As anyone who has ever eaten at a restaurant (or been on Instagram) knows, presentation is a huge part of what makes food appealing, and we try to encourage thoughtfulness in this arena without upstaging curiosity about how things taste.
Kirsten Link’s students at the Garden School in Jackson Heights shaped their homemade pasta, replete with blended veggies, into two conjoined hearts to make a pasta butterfly.
At Sarah Carlisle’s preschool class at the Williamsburg Montessori school, students painstakingly chopped up and cookie-cuttered a variety of fruits and arranged them over sunflower seed buttered toast to make a tasty snack.  sunflower seed toast
Sometimes work and play can occur simultaneously, as they do in this homemade pasta recipe from our curriculum that joins a classic bland kids menu item–plain pasta–with the flavor power and nutritional value of vegetables.

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Serves 8

2 cups fresh basil leaves (packed)

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup unsalted pepitas

3 garlic cloves

1/2 tsp lemon juice

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt

Add the olive oil, pepitas, garlic, lemon juice and salt to food processor. Blend until it is a thick paste, scraping sides of processor with a spatula.  Add basil leaves and parmesan cheese.  Blend until basil is well incorporated.  Keeps about 3-4 days in the refrigerator.  Can be frozen.  

Serve in class with pasta, as a salad dressing, or on toast.



4 servings

3 cups flour (50-50 whole wheat- all purpose)

¾-1 cup water (add ¾ initial, mix add more if needed)

3 tablespoons olive oil


Add 2-3 tablespoons pureed TOTAL of one or 2 of the following mix-ins to play with color, flavor, etc. Know that mix-ins might require more flour to be added to your dough. Reduce initial water in recipe then add in slowly.

Tomato paste

cooked beets (yellow or red)

Sweet Peppers (red, orange, yellow)

Cooked carrot

Spinach (1 cup + just enough water to puree into a “pesto”)

Basil + lemon zest (in puree) (or other herb)

*Warning that traditional pesto has nuts and we cook NUT-FREE

Blueberry / strawberry / blackberry



Fill a pot with well salted water and bring to a boil on the stovetop.

Measure and place all ingredients into the container you are using. If pasta appears slightly dry, add water, one tablespoon at a time. Too wet/sticky, add flour. Knead for about 1 minute, until evenly combined.

Transfer kneaded dough ball onto a lightly-floured work surface. Roll out as thin as possible and cut into desired shapes (use knife, pizza cutter or mini cookie cutters). Dough scraps can be re-formed into a ball, re-rolled, and re-cut once or twice. Remember each re-roll will toughen up the gluten.

Transfer formed pasta to boiling water. Boil for about 3-5 minutes, depending on thickness. Transfer to serving dish, top with desired additions, and enjoy!


Book a Class or Party

An on-site dinner party is an awesome way to spend time together with family and friends. Enjoy a fun evening while showing off your inner chef skills.

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