Plant Part Salad
Place of Learning: 
Grade Level: 
Students will learn to make salad dressing and assemble a salad while learning to identify all the parts and colors of a plant that we eat.
Materials & Prep: 
  • 1 olive oil
  • 1 jar balsamic vinegar
  • 1 jar of honey
  • 3 green onions
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • Salt in a white ramekin
  • 3 cups of greens
  • 3 cups stems (asparagus, fennel, or celery)
  • 3 cups roots (turnips, carrots, or radishes)
  • 3 cups seeds in a bowl (pea pods, sunflower seeds, or pumpkin seeds)
  • 3 cups flowers (pansies)
  • 24 strawberry halves
Tools and Equipment
  • Dressing task cards/checklists – PDF
  • 2 pairs of kid scissors
  • 1 microplane
  • 2​ ​1⁄8­tsp measuring spoons
  • 2 1⁄4­tsp measuring spoons
  • ​2 1­TBSP measuring spoons
  • 2 ramekins
  • 3 small jars with a tight­fitting
  • lids
  • dish towel
  • 5 cutting boards
  • 5 plastic knives
  • 3 large bowls
  • 3 pairs tongs
  • enough bowls for every student
  • forks for every student
  • drinking cups for every student
  • compost bucket
  • Food Trading Cards – PDF
  • 5 small baskets
Procedure Steps: 
Food Prep and Tray Set Up
  1. Food Prep
    1. Clean and dry produce
    2. Wash and halve strawberries
    3. Cut the roots into long strips (3 cups per class)
  2. Dressing Table – 1 tray per class of ~30 students with the following
    • 1 bottle olive oil
    • 1 bottle balsamic vinegar
    • 1 jar of honey
    • 3 green onions
    • 3 cloves of garlic
    • 2 ramekins
    • salt in a white ramekin
    • dish towel
    • Grade appropriate dressing task cards/checklists
    • 2 pairs of kid scissors
    • 1 microplane
    • 2​ ​1⁄8­tsp measuring spoons
    • 2 1⁄4­tsp measuring spoons
    • ​2 1­TBSP measuring spoons
    • 3 small jars with a tight­fitting lids
  3. Chopping Table – 3 trays per class of ~30 students, each tray contains the following:
    • 1 cup of greens
    • 1 cup stems (pea shoots, bean sprouts, celery, or asparagus)
    • 1 cup roots in strips (turnips, carrots, or radishes)
    • 1 cup seeds in a bowl (pea pods; sunflower or pumpkin seeds)
    • 1 cup flowers (pansies; calendula; mustard, onion, or chive flowers)
    • 8 strawberry halves
    • 2 cutting boards
    • 2 knives
    • 1 pairs tongs
    • 1 large bowl
  4. Plant Part Shopping Basket / Letter / Rainbow Foods Activity Table:
    1. Plant part salad trading cards (5 sets)

Introduce Today's Lesson

  1. Welcome back to your kitchen, everyone! Today we are following the tradition that we observe in our kitchen classroom every May and June. We are making Plant Part Salad for our own garden to celebrate the coming of spring when our garden is growing many kinds of foods.

  2. Review the parts of plants. Help students understand that the cooking definition of fruit may be plant foods that are sweet but the plant part definition is the part with the seeds.


Students rotate through the table stations so everyone gets to do each activity.

  1. Dressing
    • Review the three parts of dressings: sours, oils, and seasonings. See if students can recall other dressing ingredients we have used in the past.
    • Hand out the task cards or recipe checklists so that each student has at least one job and all the jobs get done.
    • Let the students work as independently as possible on their tasks.
    • Look at how the oil and vinegar separate in the jar. Talk about that oil and water­based liquids don’t “get along” so we shake them up to combine them for a little while.
    • Shake the dressing and sing the “Shake It!” song.
    • Taste/smell and discuss produce if you have time.
    • If you have extra time, review all the plant parts: get examples, and see if they can figure out the roles of each part.
  2. Chopping
    • Set 5 cutting boards and a bowl on the table.
    • ​Identify the different parts of the plant
    • Have half of the students chop ingredients and add them to the bowl while the other half tears greens and flower petals
    • Have the students switch so that every student gets to chop and tear
    • Taste and discuss produce if you have time.
  3. Plant Part 20 Questions
    • Pair students up and provide them with vegetable trading card deck, face down.
    • On each card is a salad ingredient and its “stats”, including its color, form, taste, texture, color, and plant part. Students take turns picking a card from the deck. The student holding the card answers their partner’s questions, 20 questions style, until their partner guesses the identity of the ingredient. If they have trouble guessing, tell them to try asking about how it is eaten or cooked. The guesser gets to hold onto the cards for the ingredients they guessed correctly for the duration of the game. Each card counts as a point.
    • If they get through the entire deck, students must then trade cards, one at a time, to get minimum one each of all 6 plant parts.
    • Once tables rotate, collect each deck and shuffle them before handing them out to the next group of students.
  4. Eat and Discuss
    • Dress and toss the salads so each table has a bowl and pair of tongs.
    • What color/plant part do you think tastes the best? Try them all to find out!
Extension Activities
  • Root​:​ ​the part of the plant that is underground. It holds the plant in the soil and sucks up water
  • Stem: ​the part of the plant that holds up the rest of the parts. The leaves and roots are both attached to it. The stem moves water from the roots to the leaves
  • Leaf: ​the part of the plant that makes food from the sun’s energy
  • Fruit: ​the part of the plant that holds and feeds the seed
  • Seed:​ the part of the plant that makes a new baby plant
  • Flower:​ the part of the plant that is colorful and attracts insects and birds, which move pollen from flower to flower. This helps the plan make new seeds.

Academic Standards

Common Core State Standards

English Language Arts 3–5


Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.


This lesson is part of the Edible Schoolyard NYC curriculum.