Recipe: Garden Dip

It’s Spring and it’s great to make the most of fresh seasonal ingredients. Try this recipe for a Garden Dip by chef, author and Montessori culinary ambassador, Chantelle Nicholson. It’s a great dip to dunk all those delicious crunchy vegetables into from the garden. You can also spread it on toast, or bread, or add make a sandwich with it. 

Ingredients to make one small container:

150g cooked chickpeas (from a tin or cooked at home)

Flesh of a whole avocado

3 tbsp olive oil

4 basil leaves

1 sprig parsley, leaves only

2 mint leaves

1 sprig dill

1/2 avocado

1 tbsp lemon juice

Pinch salt

50ml water


Vegetables to serve; radishes, carrots, celery, cauliflower, peppers, fennel


Place all ingredients into a blender and pulse until a smooth dip is formed. You may need to add a bit more water if needed.


The recipe’s origins 

The Garden Dip recipe has been donated to London Mums by the Montessori St Nicholas charity. They have collaborated with Chantelle Nicholson to introduce recipes that can be created by children. Inspired by the Montessori Centenary Children’s Garden which opens at RHS Chelsea in May 2019, the recipes show the importance the Montessori approach places on both hands on learning, and engaging children with the natural world.

Instead of a play kitchen, Montessori nurseries and pre-schools will give their children access to a real one with real working tools to slice, chop, wash, pour and strain. Montessori teachers are guides who nurture freedom and self-development in a carefully prepared environment. As part of the Montessori day, children aged from three upwards might make bread rolls, chop vegetables, prepare the morning snack and pour juice into a glass – and clear up afterwards.

Run by Chantelle Nicholson, Tredwells was one of the first restaurants in the UK to have a five-course tasting menu for small children – with different tastes and textures – as well as fine linen and fragile glassware. Reflecting on the recipes and her new role as culinary ambassador Nicholson says:

“I grew up in New Zealand surrounded by a bountiful, natural garden, which fuelled my passion for fresh, nutritious food. Working with the Montessori St Nicholas charity, I see how important it is to get children comfortable with, engaged and interested in food at a young age, including how it is grown. It is vital for children to learn to have a go in the kitchen – cooking with garden or windowsill grown produce is a great way to do this, and these recipes have been designed to show the end result is achievable and delicious.”

2019 marks the centenary year of Montessori in the UK; Early Years education pioneer Maria Montessori always advocated cooking with children as a great way to learn. The recipes reflect Montessori’s child first approach to education and the importance the approach places on engaging children with the natural world.  Nicholson’s first four Montessori recipes include the Garden Dip with crunchy veg, cheesy green kale pesto spaghetti, tomato and thyme pizzas and sweet beetroot & chocolate cakes. 

The Montessori Centenary Children’s Garden, hosted by the Montessori St Nicholas charity, will be at the 2019 RHS Chelsea Flower Show 21 – 25 May 2019.   

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