For six weeks, I am teaching a course at Anser Charter School in Boise called the Great Veggie Challenge for students in grades 1-3. The course description starts by saying:
Are you ready to take the challenge and prove to yourself and your parents that you can eat – and actually like – vegetables? During this course, we’ll jazz up the old routine by learning how to cook traditional vegetables in new and different ways. We’ll even experiment with some mystery vegetables you may have never tasted before.
There’s nothing quite like pizza to excite a group a kids — even pizza of the vegetable variety!
To allow for time to rise, I prepared pizza dough before everyone arrived (recipe below). As always, the children were ready to get to work when the class began.
To add a bit of order to the madness, we created stations for the children to create their own pizzas.
The first station was the cheese grating station. Miss Kate was very diligent in helping get our parmesan and mozzarella cheeses ready for pizza action.
Another set of stations was for pizza rolling. I was quite impressed by the ability of first through third graders to roll, stretch and shape their own dough. It took me a long time to figure out this technique, and they did quite well on their first try.
The rest of the stations were devoted to prepping vegetables. We had a variety to choose from: cherry tomatoes, asparagus, spinach, yellow pepper, carrots, onion and mushrooms. The mushrooms were the least popular item on the ingredients list.
Taegan was so excited about the onion that he kept asking me to chop some for him to eat raw.
Lucy also sautéed a lot of spinach, as this was the most highly requested ingredient on the list.
After prepping was complete, it was time to assemble the pizzas. Some children used a pesto base, as Luke did below, while others used a traditional tomato sauce or olive oil. We used mozzarella, parmesan and ricotta cheeses on top.
Ava used a traditional red sauce on her creation.
Emme did an amazing job!
Lucy and Autumn compiled some delicious pies.
Here we see the finished products of Luke and Taegan, but as usual, they were nowhere to be found. (Then we threatened to eat their pizzas, and suddenly they returned again).
The pizza was so popular, we’re bringing it back for the grand finale — dinner for parents in week 6. So stay tuned for the full menu of activities and food.
Pizza dough (enough for 2-3 kids’ sized pizzas)
- 2 1/4 tsp yeast (or one package)
- 1 cup warm water
- 3 tsp sugar (separated)
- 2 cups of flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- drizzle of olive oil
Combine water, yeast, and 1 tsp of sugar. Let stand for 10 minutes until bubbly. In a separate bowl, combine flour and salt and remaining 2 tsp of sugar and mix. Add the water/yeast mixture and knead. I prefer to use the knead attachment to my Kitchen Aid mixer and it makes the experience much more enjoyable. A food processor works pretty well, too.
Drizzle olive oil in a bowl and add dough. Make sure the dough is fully coated, then place a towel on top and let rise 1 – 1 1/2 hours in a warm place.
Then the dough is ready to roll!