Farm to School Recipes for Summer Abundance
When you're gathering 70 school food practitioners for three days to explore how they can engage students in healthy local foods, what better place to start the inspiration than with your menu planning?
Jump to the recipes: Sweet Potato Hummus and Kale Pesto
Vermont FEED’s Northeast Farm to School Institute has built enduring farm to school programs in over 120 schools, districts, and early childhood programs. School teams kickoff the year-long program with an intensive at Shelburne Farms to build an action plan and explore the joy and depth of connecting the 3C’s: Classroom, Cafeteria, and Community. Participants share ideas, successes, challenges, and, of course, meals.
“We like to demonstrate new ideas for school menus by serving food all week from the cookbook, New School Cuisine,” explains Vermont FEED Project Director Betsy Rosenbluth. “It was developed by school nutrition professionals for the cafeteria to show how nutritious, local foods can be incorporated into school meals and taste delicious.”
One of the recipes served was Sweet Potato Hummus, a favorite dip to serve with all the fresh vegetables coming out of the Market Garden. “I love sharing recipes from New School Cuisine because they're really adaptable, and you can repurpose them in lots of different ways,” shares Chef Jim McCarthy, who collaborated with Vermont FEED on the program menu. “I even used this hummus recipe for a sandwich at my market — it was great with roasted brussels sprouts and white beans.” Chef Jim is the former Shelburne Farms Executive Chef, a long-time farm to school champion, and now owns The Mill Market in South Burlington, VT.
Yield: about 3.5 cups
Download the school nutrition program version with 58 servings
- 3 medium or 2 large sweet potatoes
- 1x15 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 3 tbsp orange juice
- 2 tbsp tahini or sunbutter
- 2 tsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp ground mustard seed
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup chopped fresh parsley
- Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a full sheet pan with parchment paper.
- Cut sweet potatoes in half and place cut side down on the prepared sheet pan. Bake until tender, about 45 minutes. Let cool slightly and peel. Place in a large stand mixer bowl.
- Purée chickpeas in a food processor until they are the consistency of a thick paste. Add to the sweet potatoes. (For a chunkier result, add the whole chickpeas to the mixing bowl!)
- Add tahini (or sunbutter), orange juice, soy sauce, cumin, coriander, ginger, mustard, garlic powder and salt. Mix with a paddle attachment on medium speed until well blended, scraping down the sides of the bowl occasionally. Stir in parsley and enjoy.
And, Institute participants had the opportunity to cook together from New School Cuisine, too. "Knowing participants were united by a collective mission to feed their communities, we invited them to work together to prepare a taste test,” says Vermont FEED Program Director Helen Rortvedt. “True to their nature, they efficiently whipped up a delicious kale pesto, but the real benefit was in creating a space where folks could connect with each other, share tips and ideas, and build connections with other child nutrition colleagues. And the taste test went over pretty well with the rest of the Institute participants, too!"
- 1 large bunch kale, ribs and stems removed
- Kosher salt
- ⅓ cup raw pistachios
- 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 garlic clove (or garlic scapes)
- 1/2 cup Parmesan, finely grated
- Cook the kale in a large pot of boiling salted water for 30 seconds (until the color turns bright green and the leaves are wilted). Remove kale from the pot with tongs and cool in a bowl of ice water.
- Once the kale is cool, remove from the ice water and squeeze out any excess water with your hands.
- Put the kale, nuts, olive oil, garlic, and parmesan in a blender and blend while adding the olive oil in a steady stream.
- Once the pesto has reached the desired smoothness and consistency, season with salt to taste. Toss with pasta or steamed vegetables, or use as a dip with crackers!
This Kale Pesto recipe was adapted by the Shelburne Farms Kitchen from New School Cuisine: Nutritious and Seasonal Recipes for School Cooks by School Cooks & Bon Appetit.