Recently we had our fifth workshop here at ASPI which focused on healthy cooking with ingredients from the garden.  The workshop was led by Rockcastle County Health Department’s Nancy Keber and Melinda Osborne.  Nancy and Melinda started the workshop with an introduction about basic nutrition needs that we have, as well as talking about the food table. We gave our participants a copy of the current food table handout, as well as a KY Proud Produce Availability Guide. We discussed the importance of eating nutritional foods, and luckily for us, lots of the fruits and veggies we discussed are being grown by our wonderful participants! ASPI contributed some veggies and herbs from our garden growing at the office; we were able to donate cucumbers, basil, tomatoes, dill, onion and chili peppers. 

After the discussion, participants were grouped into stations, with each station working on a different recipe.  Once all the recipes had been prepared, we sat down and enthusiastically sampled the food.  Judging by the little amount that was left over, I think the recipes were a success.


 Here’s what we made: 


Cucumber-Lime Aqua Fresca

Two Cucumbers, partially peeled, cut into large chunks

½ Cup fresh lime juice

3 Tablespoons sugar

1/8 Teaspoon salt

4 Cups cold water


In a blender, combine cucumbers, lime juice, sugar, salt, and 4 cups cold water. Blend until smooth. Pour mixture into a mesh strainer placed over a pitcher, pressing pulp to release as much liquid as possible. Discard pulp. Add enough ice to fill pitcher.  If desired garnish with cucumber and lime slices/wedges.



6-7 handfuls of clean basil leaves

4 garlic cloves

¼ Cup grated Parmesan cheese

½ Cup walnuts/pine nuts/almonds

½ Cup olive oil

Sprinkle of salt


Blend in blender or food processor until smooth. Will keep for 1 week in refrigerator. Pesto freezes well, you can freeze in ice trays and place in freezer bags for easy use later. When we freeze our pesto, we don’t add the cheese until after it is thawed and ready to use.


Mediterranean Yogurt Dip

1 Cup plain yogurt           

1/3 Cup shredded or sliced very thinly peeled and seeded cucumber

½ Teaspoon sea salt or garlic salt

Optional: add chopped herbs-mint, cilantro, or dill.


 Mix all ingredients. Chill.  Serve with naan or pita bread.


Fresh Salsa

3 Tablespoons finely chopped onion

2 small cloves garlic minced

3 large ripe tomatoes chopped

2 hot chili peppers finely chopped

2-3 Tablespoons minced cilantro

1 ½ – 2 Teaspoons salt  


Put chopped onion and garlic in a strainer. Pour 2 cups boiling water over them and drain thoroughly. Cool. Combine onions and garlic with chopped tomatoes, peppers, cilantro, lime juice and salt. Refrigerate several hours to blend flavors. Makes about 2 cups.  


KY Proud Produce Availability Guide link: