Chef Claud shows students how to prepare food from their school garden.

Chef Claud shows students how to prepare food from their school garden.

In recognition of Wellness Week at Monroe Elementary School in Santa Barbara, Orfalea Foundation Chef-Instructor Claud Mann and kindergarten teacher Julia Bowen arranged a surprise for the student body.

Chef Claud set up a demonstration kitchen in the school garden and prepared garden roll-ups, using fresh heirloom cabbage, lacinato kale, carrots, spring onion, mint, radishes, and Italian parsley right from the school’s own raised-bed gardens.

The children’s excitement at seeing produce they had picked and washed a moment earlier sautéed and rolled with brown rice into garden “sushi” translated into plenty of adventurous eaters. As one group of forth graders sampled the rollups topped with cucumber-yogurt tzatziki, they began naming foods they had always thought would be “yucky” but had ended up liking. The list included octopus, kiwi, persimmon, tongue and…Claud’s cabbage roll ups.


Students are rapt as Chef Claud transforms vegetables from their garden into "sushi" wraps.

Here’s the recipe:

  • 12 large cabbage, kale or collard leaves
  • 1/4-cup olive oil
  • 1 small white onion, finely chopped
  • 2 to 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 small carrots,
  • 1/4 cup each: finely chopped spring onion, mint and flat leaf parsley
  • 3 tablespoons pine nuts, sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 cups fully cooked brown rice, quinoa or barley

Blanch the cabbage leaves in boiling water until tender, about 3 minutes. Trim the thickest part of the stem to make rolling easier. Set aside to cool.

Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat and sauté the onion and garlic a few minutes and then add the pine nuts, golden raisins, carrots and radish and cook a minute or two longer.

Mix in the tomato paste, lemon juice, green onion, fresh herbs and brown rice and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Place a leaf on a clean work surface in front of you, with the wide part of the leaf closest. Place a tablespoon or more of the mixture on top of the leaf. Tightly roll and tuck in the sides like making a little burrito.

Slice into bite sized rolls or serve whole with cucumber yogurt dipping sauce.

Garden-based learning helps children understand where real food comes from.

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