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5 Quick and Easy Kid-Friendly Pasta Salads

These 5 Quick and Easy Kid-Friendly Pasta Salad will be a hit with your little one, and will have you in and out of the kitchen in no time!
5 Quick and Easy Kid-Friendly Pasta Salads. 5 pasta salads for the whole family!

Raise your hand if you have a child who love pasta! If your hand is raised, know that mine is right there with you. My three year-old asks for pasta nearly every night of the week. I don’t always cave to the pasta request, but I do try to make sure she gets her fix at least a few times per week. In order to keep her diet varied and full of fresh, vibrant veggies I’ve had to come up with lots of creative ways to please her pasta craving while still serving a healthy, balanced meal. I share tons of healthy, kid-friendly recipes on Real Food Whole Life each week, and today I’m thrilled to share some of these recipes here on Super Healthy Kids!

Instead of turning to a box of mac and cheese for pasta night, I prefer to cook up a half a pound of whole wheat or gluten free pasta, add in tons of veggies, and toss with some healthy fats. Sometime I add beans or cheese for extra fiber and protein. It all depends on what we have on hand and what she’s in the mood for eating. I keep the sauce super simple; usually a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil or melted butter does the trick. Cooking half a pound of pasta at once also ensures we’ll have leftovers, which can be gently reheated for lunch the next day.

All of the kid-friendly pasta salads I’m sharing today can be easily adapted depending on your child’s dietary needs. If he or she is dairy-free, simply use olive oil for the dressings and then omit the cheese. If he or she is gluten-free be sure to use gluten free pasta. And if he or she is soy-free you can also swap peas for shelled edamame in the Soba, Broccoli, and Edamame Salad and use coconut aminos in place of soy sauce.

For all of the pasta salads feel free to use whatever shape of pasta you like and have on hand. I’ve provided suggestions, but let your own creativity and pantry be your guide! As written all of these pasta salads are naturally vegetarian and nut-free. Please note that I did not include serving sizes for any of the pasta salad recipes, as the serving size will depend on your child and his or her appetite.

Kid-friendly notes. This recipe is very kid-friendly, but here are some options for adapting the recipe for resistant eaters:

  • Deconstruct the pasta salad. Serve the cooked pasta, peeled or chopped veggies, beans, and cheese separately on his or her plate with the sauce on the side for dipping.

Now, on to the pasta salads!

5 Quick and Easy Kid-Friendly Pasta Salads. 5 pasta salads for the whole family!

Confetti Macaroni Salad

5 Quick and Easy Kid-Friendly Pasta Salads. 5 pasta salads for the whole family!

Southwestern Penne Salad

5 Quick and Easy Kid-Friendly Pasta Salads. 5 pasta salads for the whole family!

Soba, Broccoli and Edamame Salad

5 Quick and Easy Kid-Friendly Pasta Salads. 5 pasta salads for the whole family!

Peas, Carrots, and Orzo Salad

5 Quick and Easy Kid-Friendly Pasta Salads. 5 pasta salads for the whole family!

Tomato, Chickpea, Cheddar and Shells 

Robyn Conley Downs is the mom behind Real Food Whole Life, a website designed to inspire and simplify healthy eating and living. Through the site she shares quick and healthy gluten- and dairy-free recipes, healthy tips and tricks, weekly meal plans, fitness inspiration, and help with planning healthy celebrations. 

Confetti Macaroni Salad

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 pound whole wheat or gluten free macaroni
  • 1/4 cup broccoli florets
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 1/4 cup frozen, defrosted peas
  • 1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil or melted butter
  • salt to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Cook the pasta according to package directions. Add the broccoli to the boiling water (along with the cooking pasta) during the last minute of cooking.

2. Drain the pasta and broccoli. Toss together with the carrots, peas, and bell pepper. Drizzle with olive oil or melted butter, sprinkle with cheese and serve warm.

Southwestern Penne Salad

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 pound whole wheat or gluten free penne
  • 1/2 15-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed (about 1 cup)
  • 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup frozen defrosted or fresh corn kernels
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

2. Meanwhile, make the dressing by whisking together the lime juice, olive oil, honey and salt.

3. Toss together the warm cooked pasta, beans, pepper, corn and dressing. Serve warm.

Soba, Broccoli and Edamame Salad

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 pound 100% buckwheat soba noodles, whole wheat or gluten free spaghetti
  • 1/2 cup broccoli florets
  • 1/2 cup frozen, defrosted shelled edamame (or substitute peas for a soy-free option)
  • 1 tablespoon gluten-free tamari, soy sauce, or coconut aminos (for a soy-free option)
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • salt to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

1.  Cook the pasta according to package directions. Add the broccoli to the boiling water (along with the cooking pasta) during the last minute of cooking. Drain the pasta and broccoli. Set aside.

2. While the pasta is cooking whisk together the tamari, soy sauce, or coconut aminos with the honey and olive oil until well combined.

3. Finally, toss together the warm cooked noodles, broccoli, edamame, and dressing. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, then serve warm or at room temperature.

Peas, Carrots, and Orzo Salad

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 pound whole wheat or gluten free orzo
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 cup frozen, defrosted peas
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil or melted butter
  • salt to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Cook the pasta according to package directions and drain.

2. Then toss warm pasta with the carrots, peas, cheese and olive oil or melted butter and then serve warm.

Tomato, Chickpea, Cheddar and Shells 

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 pound whole wheat or gluten free pasta shells
  • 1/2 cup sliced cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 15-oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained (about 1 cup)
  • 1/2 cup diced cheddar cheese
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • salt to taste

1. Cook the pasta according to package directions and drain.

2. Toss warm pasta with the tomatoes, chickpeas, cheese and olive oil and finally, serve warm or at room temperature.

5 Quick and Easy Kid-Friendly Pasta Salads. 5 pasta salads for the whole family!

5 Quick and Easy Kid-Friendly Pasta Salads

Ingredients
  • 8 ounce – macaroni pasta, dry
  • 1/4 cup – broccoli, florets
  • 1 medium – carrot
  • 1/4 cup – green peas, frozen
  • 1/4 cup – bell pepper, red
  • 1 tablespoon – olive oil
  • 1/4 cup – Parmesan cheese
  • 1/8 teaspoon – salt
Directions
  1. Chop broccoli into bite size pieces; peel and chop carrot; thaw peas; chop red bell pepper.
  2. Cook the pasta according to package directions. Add the broccoli to the boiling water (along with the cooking pasta) during the last minute of cooking.
  3. Drain the pasta and broccoli. Toss together with the carrots, peas, and bell pepper. Drizzle with olive oil or melted butter, sprinkle with cheese and serve warm

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