On my quest to find non-sweet green foods that could please a room full of kids, I tried these Lucky Leprechaun Green Pizzas! Was this savory recipe a success with my March Kids in the Kitchen class? Keep reading to find out!
We had 12 kids in my class, ages 3-9 years old. They were curious and, to be honest, a little hesitant on first seeing so much GREEN food in front of them!
Once they knew we were making ‘Leprechaun snacks,’ they were excited to make these super fun and easy pizzas. These make a great lunch or dinner also, served along with a garden salad or Shamrockin’ Rainbow Fruit Kabobs (see my previous Rainbow Fruit Snacks post for fruit ideas in all colors of the rainbow – load them up on wooden skewers!)
Of course, the ultimate green pizza includes fresh pesto sauce! This was a hit-and-a-miss for most of the kids, though most of them at least tried it (which I always consider a win!). In anticipation of this, I did also make a simple traditional pizza sauce, which was more popular with this group! (Get the recipe I use here, complete with instructions for freezing to make it super convenient.) This was my first time actually making pesto sauce! Instead of reinventing the wheel on this, I relied on good old Google and found this easy pesto recipe. (It’s included in the pizza recipe card below, also!)
We started off by spreading the pesto onto whole wheat pita breads. My favorite brand available locally is Toufayan. These have no high fructose corn syrup or most other ingredients I try to avoid. (For help with understanding food labels, go here.) There is nothing like the smell of fresh basil to make you feel like spring is here! The aroma of this pesto is absolutely amazing!
Just a sprinkle of mozzarella is plenty on these to keep that gorgeous green pesto visible and avoid a too-greasy pizza!
Next, the kids were allowed to choose toppings from an assortment of green veggies. We had green peppers, zucchini, broccoli, spinach, and asparagus available.
>>>>> GREEN VEGGIE OPTIONS <<<<<
avocado (added after baking)
fresh herbs (basil, rosemary, cilantro are our favorites)
I have to admit, I was a little bit nervous about making pizzas with kids and ONLY having green veggies to put on top. The thought did cross my mind that we might end up with 12 cheese pizzas! I was pleasantly surprised and very impressed to see ALL of the kids put at least 1 green veggie topping on their pizza! Some of them chose 3-4! While some were encouraged by their moms to add some ‘dinosaur food’ to their pizzas (one of my favorite ways to get my boy to eat green food when he was a little guy, too!), others jumped right in with making an artistic masterpiece of their pizzas.
Unfortunately, I did not manage to capture pictures of their artwork before they started eating! So here are a couple of ideas I came up with on my own during my ‘photo shoot’ for this post.
While the pizzas baked and cooled (about 10-12 minutes total… super fast!), the kids assembled and ate their kabobs. They all did such a great job making their pizzas, it’s no wonder they gobbled them all up!
Of note: One mom was asking me about calorie content in these little pizzas, as she not only wanted to make them again to help her little boy try more green foods, but also wanted to know if it would be a good healthy, lower-calorie option for herself. I absolutely LOVE that she asked me this, because I strive to make ALL of my recipes that I share in class and here on the blog do exactly that – help EVERYONE in the family get healthier! This recipe is not low-cal, per se, but only because of the healthy fats it provides with the olive oil and pine nuts in the pesto sauce. I always advocate QUALITY of calories over quantity. So, to answer the question – this is a good, healthy option full of whole grains (whole wheat pitas), healthy fats as I mentioned, and all the benefits of green veggies (fiber, vitamin C, antioxidants, and B vitamins – which help digestion, boost energy, and support the immune system).
Paired with a garden salad with light dressing or just a squeeze of lemon juice and drizzle of olive oil or grapeseed oil, this meal is very filling and satisfying (hey, you’re eating pizza! with cheese on it!) and weighs in at around 400-500 calories (depending on dressing choice, and keeping to no more than 2 tbsp. pesto and 2 tbsp. part-skim mozzarella on your pizza).
Want more help with simple recipes that will help you easily get your family on-track with a healthier lifestyle?
Here’s the complete recipe. Make these with your little Leprechauns anytime, but especially as a fun treat in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day! Can you think of more fun green veggies to try on these? Please COMMENT BELOW with your ideas!