This pizza pasta salad recipe is the perfect quick dinner and school lunch idea. Assembled within minutes and completely customizable, this is one recipe your entire family will love.
I hope the simplicity of this recipe doesn’t disappoint you. Oftentimes, when I’m searching for new ways to add variety to my kids’ school lunches and family’s meals, I over complicate things.
Search pinterest and you’ll find hundreds of ideas. I have found and tried the good, the bad, and the ugly and everything in between. I even have a huge post with 75+ office (and school) lunch ideas you can check out. The thing is, that often times it’s the simple ideas that escape us.
My daughter, who loves pizza, just recently (at the age of 8) started eating broccoli. Believe me when I tell you that I’ve been “introducing” it for years. Roasted, on pizza, steamed, cold with a dip, in tacos, chopped inside mini quiches… and more. Call me the queen of creative cooking but I am not giving up on her learning to love new foods.
One day, I tossed together some leftover pasta with the night before’s steamed broccoli and her favorite pizza toppings and packed it in her school lunch. I told her, she had pizza pasta for lunch. The container came back empty! Who would have thought. Incredible.
I’m not sure how it hadn’t occurred to me to serve it up this way; it’s not rocket science. And yet, now that she’s learned to like it this way… I can add it to many other recipes and she’s ok with it.
Over time, I’ve learned that one way to successfully introduce new foods to kids is to use a basic recipe they already love add in one new thing. Once the new ingredient is accepted, you are on your way to cooking with it in other ways. It’s all about transferring that veggie (or other food) into the “safe” list.
I am not that great at gourmet cooking (I can follow a recipe)… but I can come up with 20 simple ways or serving up any ingredient in a matter of minutes while making it appealing to kids.
While all my kids don’t eat everything, they are slowly adding more things to their list. In a house where I have to take into consideration grain free, gluten free, dairy free, and unprocessed foods… simplicity is key.
To make this recipe gluten free, use gluten free pasta. For a grain free option, use spiraled zucchini noodles (you’ll need to lightly sauté them first). If you have a minute, check out this easy video on how it’s made.
- 12 ounce box pasta, cooked
- ¾ cup mozzarella cheese, cubed
- 1 cup broccoli florets, chopped
- 4 ounces nitrate free pepperoni slices, quartered
- ⅓ cup black olives, sliced
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- ¼ cup Italian dressing (or olive oil + 1 teaspoon italian seasoning)
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Cook pasta according to box directions, drain, and rinse. Allow pasta to cool down to room temperature in a large bowl.
- Meanwhile, chop all your ingredients and toss them into the bowl, waiting until the pasta is cooled to toss in the cheese (otherwise it will melt).
- Add in italian dressing and toss to combine well. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve immediately or refrigerate overnight. Store leftovers inane airtight container for up to 3 days.
- 1 cup cooked spiral pasta
- 1oz mozzarella cheese, sliced
- 1-2 broccoli florets, chopped
- Nitrate free pepperoni slices, quartered
- 3-4 black olives, sliced
- 3-4 cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1-2 Tablespoons Italian dressing (or olive oil)
- Salt & pepper to taste
- In a large bowl, combine all ingredients. Refrigerate or pack inside a lunchbox.