Southwestern Veggie Pasta Salad

So what do I feed my ravenous children?  I have been asked this several times, so here's some of our ideas.  I'd love to hear what healthy snacks you have for your little'uns.  

apples and peanut butter
carrots and hummus (sometimes I'll throw in the multi-grain chips from costco, the ones with flax seeds in them, hexagon shape)
fresh fruit of all kinds
fruit leather
dried fruit
cans of beans (I'll rinse them and they'll eat them with no additional ingredients or heating)
peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (preferably Adams natural peanut butter, homemade jelly, and homemade bread - but we work with what we can do)
occasional yogurt

And in case you're wondering what we do for breakfast:
The kids love cereal and that's just fine, but we limit the kinds we get.  The marshmallows and chocolate are out.  We stick to chex, cherrios, mulitgrain cherrios, granola, occasionally life or oatmeal squares, rice crispies, and grape-nuts.  Tyler loves cereal as well, so it stays stocked in the pantry.

If it's not these, then we'll do oatmeal with craisins mixed in with bananas.  For the kids, we'll sometimes add a tsp of brown sugar.

If we want a warm breakfast, then whole wheat pancakes will work great.  Top them with homemade apple butter (glorified applesauce) and maybe even peanut butter.

I really like this pasta salad.  The original recipe calls for steak slices, which I've made in the past.  But adjusting to our veggie life, I do a ton of sautéed veggies.  This time I added a whole bunch of kale to the pan and it tasted awesome!  

Southwestern Veggie Pasta Salad

8 oz whole-wheat penne pasta
4 peppers, assorted colors
1 medium sweet onion, cut in 1/2-inch-thick slices
2 leaves kale, deveined and chopped
1 tsp minced garlic
1 ear fresh corn (or 1 can corn, drained)
2 large ripe tomatoes, cut in bite-size chunks (about 2 cups)
1/4 cup lime juice, to taste
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1-2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper

Cook pasta as package directs.  Drain and let cool in a large serving bowl.

Directions for cooking with the bbq grill:
While pasta cooks, put peppers, corn, and onion on the grill as well for 8-10 minutes, until lightly charred and tender.  Turn as needed.

Cut peppers in bite size pieces, cut corn off the cob.  Add all vegetables to pasta bowl, including tomatoes.  Add olive oil, lime juice, cilantro, and the rest of the cumin, salt, and pepper.  Toss to mix.

Directions for sautéing:
Slice peppers and onions and add them to the pan.  Sautée them along with the chopped kale and garlic.  When peppers and onions are soft, add them to the pasta bowl along with the can of corn, tomatoes, lime juice to taste, cilantro, cumin, salt, and pepper.  Toss to mix.

*I love this recipe because of it's flexibility.  Throw whatever fresh veggies you have on hand: mushrooms, broccoli, sweet potato, spinach, etc.


  1. This looks fab! Going to make this maybe tonight. Looks pretty easy for my busy Weds. Thank you! Have a good day, Bonnie!

    1. I hope you like it! I love fast meals for my crazy days, too.

  2. Yayyyy!! I love it when the questions are answered on the blog. It means a new recipe to try while I'm at it! Thanks dearie!! So an update: Today I went through all the cabinets to restock shelves from food storage, etc. I was thinking about all our food changes to eat more healthy since moving to Davis, where I discovered spices, and (read here= vegetables) for the first time. YUM!

    Our breakfasts for Lukas are usually granola with yogurt or almond milk, although I read in eat to live to limit dairy big time. So that huge bag of mozz cheese stares at me from the freezer. I've gotten him organic plain yogurt for as long as I can remember. Gotta find a switch for that. Kid LOVES oatmeal though. Especially with frozen fruit in it (cools it down faster) and maybe some sliced almonds. Whole wheat with an egg in it sometimes (but eggs are out too, yeah? Do you eat em ever anymore, or just every once in a blue moon, since you can swap flax seed for eggs in recipes?

    We've renamed carrots "hiking carrots" to increase their appeal. So far so good. Really, he eats awesome good food. Is a salad freak. Gotta shine his halo. Thanks for all your ideas. I loved Trader Joe's African Smoke spice, but it has salt :( But on garbonzo beans, it's awesome! I'll just have to make homemade hummus! (I still have your recipe from RS!!!)

    You've reinspired my foodie side. Davis (and Portland) can be pretty influential in food health, eh? Keep the ideas comin!

    1. Jess! So sorry I didn't text you back, but I thought this would be easier. :) Is this the vegetarian chicken base you were talking about?

      I think this is interesting about powdered milk substitutes

      Did you like the raw brownie recipe?

      I love that you renamed carrots. Awesome! We're always talking about how we need to eat them to see better and to "help your poops come out." Might be TMI, but for little kids, totally works. :) That's a great idea to put frozen fruit in oatmeal. Recently I saw an idea to put frozen peas in soup to cool it down. Genius! I haven't used eggs in a while, so I would say once in a blue moon...I used them for the pavlova most recently. I've never tried the Trader Joe African Smoke Spice, but you've intrigued me. Do you just eat it straight on the beans or heated?

      I guess Davis/Portland has rubbed off. :)


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