Laura’s Backyard Garden Salsa and Chicken Black Bean Tortillas

We are thrilled to have another guest post from a Junior Chef, Laura from Vermont.


– 3-4 garden fresh tomatoes – med/large
– 3 Roma or plum tomatoes
– 1 medium/large red onion
– 1 pepper – can be orange, red, green (green or orange add color)
– 1 bunch of cilantro (use to taste)
– 1 freshly squeezed lemon or add to taste

Chop tomatoes, onion, pepper and cilantro into small chunks. Mix garden ingredients in a large bowl. Add lemon juice. Mix all and chill.

– Can use corn tortillas or flour tortillas depending on dietary restrictions
– 4-6 grilled chicken breasts – boneless and skinless – cut in strips*
– 1-2 avocados
– 2 cups cooked/prepared black beans
– 2 cups shredded cheese combo of cheddar (Cabot Vermont sharp preferred), Jack and Mozzarella.
– 2-4 cups shredded lettuce (iceberg or romaine)
– Kiwi
*Can substitute chicken with grilled tofu for a vegetarian option. Or just have bean and cheese!


Lay strips of chicken (pre-grilled) on the bottom of a no-stick baking pan, add a few spoons of black beans, a bit of cheese and warm in the oven until cheese melts well – at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.  Remove from oven and scoop chicken, bean and cheese mix onto tortilla on plates. Roll/fold tortilla over filling and top with lettuce and salsa. Serve with a few slices of avocado and kiwi on the side.

Laura’s recipe would definitely fit the bill for the new guidelines on healthy school lunches.

Laura’s Story
Laura is 10 years old and a fifth-grade student from Vermont. “I came up with this recipe because I wanted to create something from our garden that I could get my hands into,” Laura explains. Her recipe for “Laura’s Backyard Garden Tortillas” was developed because her family has had a kid-friendly garden since the children were small. It was the best place to grab some fresh vegetables — and the kids loved walking through, picking beans, peas, and cucumbers to eat right off the plant! About two years ago Laura’s family decided to plant a salsa garden because it was fairly easy to grow the vegetables we needed for salsa in Vermont– and the kids were into it. Laura took a cooking class at a local grocer and she loved mixing the vegetables together. She also loves making the homemade corn chips. A kitchen favorite was born. “I like cutting up the vegetables, all except the onions, which make me cry!” she exclaims.  Laura has made her garden salsa for a few years now and has coupled it with chicken and black bean tortillas for a well-rounded dinner or lunch.  She decided to add fruit on the side, preferably kiwi — but apples or any kind of berries will do. Laura says her meal is a quick and easy dish that will appeal to all tastebuds!   A final encouragement from Laura:  “It’s a healthy meal and it’s fun to make!”

Want to learn how “Food Feelings” affect your health and how to eat for optimal energy and well-being? Please check out this FREE Make Nutrition Fun Course on teachable!


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