This easy recipe is adaptable for different diets (choose gluten free pasta, skip the Parmesan, etc.) and has several steps that are child-friendly. Suggestions for how to get your little one involved are included, but you should – of course – determine what tasks are appropriate for your child’s age and abilities.
June 01, 2014



This recipe yields more than you’ll need for the pasta – about 1 ½ cups. Making less is just as much work, so store extra pesto in the refrigerator in a glass jar or freeze it for future use.

Together: Juice the lemon. (The parent can cut the fruit; the child can use a plastic juicer to squeeze out the juice.)

Child: Pack a 2-cup measuring cup with as much basil as will fit.

Together: Put the basil and garlic cloves into a food processor and process with steel blade until basil and garlic are chopped, adding olive oil through the feed tube. Add pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, and lemon juice and process until well blended, about 1-2 minutes more, adding more oil as needed. (Depending on age, pressing the buttons on the food processor, pouring the oil and adding the additional ingredients can be appropriate tasks for your child.)

Set aside.


Child: Fill a large pot with water and add 1 tablespoon salt. Adult: Bring the pot of salted water to a boil over mediumhigh heat.

Together: While the water is coming to a boil, chop or rip up the basil, grate the Parmesan cheese, and slice the cherry tomatoes and onions.

Adult: Cook pasta according to package directions, or until it is cooked to al dente. Drain in a colander, reserving some of the cooking water in a small bowl below.

Together: Return the pasta to its pot and stir in the pesto sauce, 2-3 tablespoons of the reserved pasta cooking water, cherry tomatoes and green onions. Transfer the pasta to a serving platter, sprinkle with the chopped basil and parmesan cheese to taste. Yields 4 to 6 servings.


For the Pesto
  • 2 cups basil leaves
  • 3-4 cloves garlic
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ½ cup pine nuts
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • ¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese
For the Pasta
  • 1 pound fusilli pasta
  • ¾ cup prepared pesto sauce
  • 1 pint (about 30) cherry tomatoes
  • 3 green onions
  • 10 leaves fresh basil
  • Parmesan cheese, to taste
  • Salt
Build your own subscription bundle.
Pick 3 regions for $60