Small, fun pasta shapes (such as wagon wheels or small shells) and colorful veggies make this naturally vegan lunch box pasta salad appealing to all ages. Serve as an easy at-home lunch or pack into small containers for a change of pace from sandwiches.
Vegetable swaps: Feel free to substitute other vegetables that you think your and your family members would enjoy—such as green peas instead of broccoli; jícama or turnip instead of carrots.
For those of you who keep gluten-free, the good news is that there are more GF pasta brands than ever. Some hold up better than others when cooked, as you likely well known. The photos in this post use Banza, but there are lots of brands to choose from. Here’s a roundup of some of the most popular brands of GF pasta.
What to pack with lunch box pasta salad
This makes a filling lunch option and doesn’t need much to go with it since even in its simplicity offers an array of flavors and textures.
- If you’d like a little something to go with it, I’d recommend a few whole-grain crackers.
- Something sweet: Add some fresh fruit — blueberries are a nice choice through early fall, after which you can switch to orange sections or grapes. A couple of wholesome cookies, like oatmeal-raisin, are always welcome.
Recipe is from The Vegetarian Family Cookbook by Nava Atlas. Photos by Hannah Kaminsky. This makes 6 or so lunch-sized servings.
- 8 ounces wagon wheels, small pasta shells, or elbow pasta (use gluten-free pasta if you’d like)
- 2 cups small broccoli florets
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced, or 1 cup chopped baby carrots
- 1/2 cup pitted black olives or green pimiento olives (or a combination)
- 3/4 cup cooked fresh or frozen corn kernels
- 1 to 2 scallions, thinly sliced, optional
- 1/3 to 1/2 cup vegan ranch or vinaigrette dressing, to taste
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Cook the pasta according to package directions. Just before it’s al dente, add the broccoli and carrot to the simmering water and allow to cook for another minute or two, just until the broccoli turns bright green.
- Drain the pasta and vegetable mixture and rinse under cold running water until cool. Drain well again.
- Combine in a mixing bowl with the olives, corn, optional scallions, and dressing. Season with salt and pepper. Serve in shallow bowls or pack into containers to transport to school or work.
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