Let’s Cook with Healthy Kids: Garden Tacos (Plus Knife Safety Tips)

Taco with child's hands

At Bon Appétit, we believe cooking is a powerful teaching tool. It’s interactive, engaging, and deliciously rewarding. Our Healthy Kids in the Bon Appétit Kitchen nutrition and culinary education program was created with the goal of educating and empowering children to make healthy food choices for themselves and their communities. The program may be on hold right now due to the pandemic, but we bet many of you are already cooking at home with your children.

This week we’re featuring some of the recipes and tips our Healthy Kids team of educators and chefs have honed with thousands of kids to date (read the impact report!). You can find even more on our Healthy Kids website.



An easy, no-cook recipe featuring a garden of vegetables that your kids are sure to love.

Boy with tacoIngredients

Whole-wheat or corn tortillas

For the Garden salsa

2 cups chopped tomatoes
1 cup chopped bell peppers (the more color the better – consider using red, orange and green!)
1/2 cup chopped onions (optional)
2 limes
1 handful of cilantro
Salt to taste

Taco Topping Suggestions

Cooked black or pinto beans
Shredded cheese
Leafy greens (arugula, shredded lettuce, etc.)
Rainbow carrots (shredded or ribboned)
Fresh or frozen corn
Other topping ideas: jicama, purple cabbage, pea shoots, cooked sweet potatoes — use your imagination!


For the garden salsa, combine tomatoes, bell peppers, and onions in a large mixing bowl. Pull cilantro leaves off the stem, tear into small pieces, and add to mixing bowl. Squeeze the juice of 2 limes into bowl. Add 3 pinches of salt and mix colorful ingredients together.

Heat the tortillas in a pan, then let your young assistant assemble their taco toppings of choice on whole wheat tortilla, top with the garden salsa, and eat!



Young woman helping boy use a knifeThink a kindergartner can’t safely use a knife? They can — with the right instruction. And in our experience, they’re way more likely to be willing to try anything they help prepare themselves.

We recommend using Curious Chef nylon knives, but a small sharp knife is fine. Just be sure to go over the following safety practices with them, and demonstrate as you go.

Claw and Saw: The hand holding food should be in a claw shape, with fingers curved and thumb behind curved fingers. The claw hand holds the food in place while your cutting hand “saws” the food into smaller pieces.

Low and Slow: Take your time when you’re cutting (sawing) and keep your knife on the cutting board. Avoid waving the knife in the air.

Eyes on the Task: Watch what you’re doing when you’re chopping. If you need to look up, stop cutting, and put your knife down.

Cut Away From Yourself: Always cut away from your body, never toward it. Keep the tip of your knife facing the center of the table and blade facing down toward the cutting board.

Hand Over Knives Cautiously: If you need to hand a knife to someone, offer the handle with the point of the blade pointing toward the floor.

Round Fruits and Vegetables: If your kids are cutting round, or hard ingredients like beets or carrots, consider slicing them in half before the cooking lesson. That way they have a flat surface to place down on the cutting board that won’t roll around while they chop.