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Eat Your Veggies Pasta Salad

sneaking vegetables for kids

My kid is a carb addict. She comes by it honestly; my grandmother nicknamed me her “carbohydrate kid” at an early age because if there was bread anywhere in the house, I would find it.

healthy school lunch ideas

Crackers, sandwiches, pasta – my kid would be pretty thrilled if that’s all she ever had to eat. So instead of always saying, “no, not today,” I decided to lean in to it a little bit and make a fun and healthy pasta salad for her lunches. This was a big hit – she happily at ALL of it over the course of a few days. I helped her out, too – it’s great for grown-up lunches, as well.

kid-friendly recipes

We start with the pasta. I love this animal-shaped pasta I found at World Market. It’s colored with powdered vegetables; I’m not arguing that that adds a meaningful amount of nutrients to my daughter’s diet, but at least it’s colored with natural stuff. You can use whatever medium sized pasta you have on hand, but if you want find fun shapes, more power to you.

kids pasta salad

We’re going to toss in a whole bunch of vegetables with the pasta. The trick here is getting the vegetable pieces as small as possible so kids can’t pick them out as easily. I grated the carrot and really finely chopped the peppers and spinach to make them as inoffensive as possible.

I don’t hide the veggies from my kids – I think vegetables are more than stealthy nutrient receptacles that have to be hidden at all costs, but I know kids will pick things out if the vegetable pieces are glaringly huge.

I mixed up a simple dressing using Penzeys’ Greek seasoning: it just contains herbs, dried lemon, and salt. If you don’t have Greek seasoning on hand, grab a tasty seasoning that doesn’t have any added junk – I might substitute Italian season with a dash of salt.

getting kids to eat vegetables

Let’s get started!

Yield: a whole bunch of pasta salad

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: about 25 minutes

Eat Your Veggies Pasta Salad

A colorful and fun lunchtime alternative to sandwiches for little ones!


2 cups medium sized pasta, cooked according to the directions on the package, rinsed, and cooled slightly

1 can black beans or garbanzo beans, rinsed

1 red bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped

1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped

2 carrots, peeled and grated

a handful of baby spinach, finely chopped

1/4 c. Veganaise or mayonaise*

1/4 c. Greek yogurt (I use full fat)

1 1/2 t. Greek seasoning



  1. Toss all the ingredients together. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. The end.

*Most mayo is made with canola and/or soybean oil, both of which are genetically modified (GMO) unless it specifically says non-GMO. I avoid genetically modified foods and buy Veganaise at my health food store instead (it's really good!).

kid-friendly pasta recipe



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