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3 Ways with Pasta for the School Lunchbox

School starts TOMORROW for us.

That means I have to start packing lunchboxes again.

The kids are so excited.

We’ve been so busy this past week making sure lunchboxes, backpacks, school clothes and supplies are all ready and organized.

Logan found out that one of his friends that he made this summer will be in his class.

They both have peanut allergies so it is a relief to know that Logan will always have a buddy in his class going though the same thing.

And they’re both named Logan.

How fun is that?

3 ways with pasta for the school lunchbox

We’ve really been cracking down on Logan’s picky eating habits this past year and I think that is going to help us with our lunch time menu quite a bit.

A year ago Logan was quite limited in what he would eat in his lunchbox at school.

Packing the lunchbox became a monotonous routine by the time the school year was over

Now he will eat lunch meat cut in strips or cubed on kebabs, more variety of cheeses, fruits, and vegetables, pasta, and more.

Pasta was a big one for me.

It frequents our dinner table regularly and it can so easily be varied depending on what ingredients are in season or on hand.

3 Ways with Pasta for the School Lunchbox

Pasta salads are great for lunchboxes.

You can easily use up the ingredients you have on hand in the fridge and make use of leftovers from previous meals or recipes.

When packing pasta dishes for the school lunch I prefer to go with cold options that don’t need to be heated up.

Some school lunch rooms have access to a microwave while others don’t.

I always make sure to include an ice pack in the lunchbox so nothing spoils by lunchtime.

Toss pasta with your child’s choice of vegetables, meats, cheese and a simple vinaigrette dressing for a tasty pasta salad lunch.

1. Asian Inspired Sesame Noodle Lunchbox

easy sesame noodle pasta salad lunch

Add in Ingredient Options:

  • Sugar Snap Peas
  • Shredded Carrots
  • Bell Pepper
  • Sliced Green Onions
  • Leftover shredded chicken
  • Sesame Seeds

Vinaigrette Flavors

If you have a favorite recipe or store-bought version of an Asian-inspired vinaigrette dressing, feel free to use that instead.

  • 1 part Sesame Oil
  • 1 part Rice Vinegar
  • 2 parts Soy Sauce
  • Spices, if desired: ginger, garlic, red pepper

2. Mexican Inspired Rotini Lunchbox

Add in Ingredient Options:

  • Cubed Colby Jack, Monterrey Jack, or Cheddar Cheese
  • Bell Pepper
  • Grape Tomatoes
  • Olives
  • Black Beans
  • Corn kernels
  • Leftover shredded chicken
  • Cilantro

Vinaigrette Flavors

If you have a favorite recipe or store-bought Mexican vinaigrette dressing, feel free to use that instead.

  • 2 parts Olive Oil
  • 1 part Lime Juice
  • Spices, if desired: Garlic, Cumin, Chili Powder, Salt and Pepper

3. Italian Inspired Penne Lunchbox

italian pasta salad for lunch

Add in Ingredient Options:

  • Mozzarella Balls, Cubed Mozzarella, or Shredded Parmesan
  • Bell Pepper
  • Grape or Cherry Tomatoes
  • Sun-dried Tomatoes
  • Cubed ham, turkey, pepperoni and/or salami strips
  • Chopped Fresh Spinach
  • Kidney Beans
  • Small broccoli florets
  • Artichoke Hearts
  • Fresh Basil

Vinaigrette Flavors

If you have a favorite recipe or store-bought Italian vinaigrette dressing, feel free to use that instead.

  • 2 parts Olive Oil
  • 1 part White Balsamic Vinegar
  • Spices, if desired: Garlic, Oregano or Basil, Lemon Pepper, Salt and Pepper

More Back to School Food Ideas:

What do your kids like to have packed in their lunchbox?


Sunday 26th of January 2014

Your kids are so lucky!!! My parents don't have time to make me breakfast or lunch because they are a teacher and a radiographer. My lunch will be a lot more colorful and fun thanks to this!!! :D

Jamie | My Baking Addiction

Monday 27th of August 2012

I think I want you to come pack MY back to school lunches. These options looks fantastic, Katie!


Saturday 25th of August 2012

Good Morning! I love all the ideas and I wanted to let you know that I featured this today in my "What I Bookmarked This Week" post - stop by and check it out!


Friday 24th of August 2012

How happy I would be to see my students bring THIS instead of Lunchables!!! Love the ideas.

Sam D

Monday 20th of August 2012

Yum, this makes me hungry for lunch. I'm going to try these for my lunches!