This playful pasta recipe is a colorful celebration of produce that is bound to get kids of all ages excited about fresh vegetables! The sweetness of the balsamic vinegar and bell peppers are pleasing to kids’ palates. Whole wheat pasta and cannellini beans are protein-packed, plus the fresh mozzarella adds a dose of bone-healthy calcium. This recipe comes to use from Cricket Azima of the Creative Kitchen.
Cooking Tip of the Week: While young children can safely cut many foods with a plastic knife, many vegetables surprisingly don’t require a knife at all! Challenge young kids to help out by tearing items like leafy greens, herbs or broccoli with just their hands.
Food for Thought: Do you like winter, summer, spring or fall best? Just like you, every vegetable has a favorite season (although unlike you, vegetables will only grow in the conditions they prefer!) Eating “seasonally” means choosing vegetables that grow near you in the current weather. Check out this printable to find out what’s in season right now!
Family Dinner Conversation Starter: What’s your favorite season of the year? Why?
- 1 pound whole wheat pasta, cooked
- 1 pound fresh low-fat mozzarella
- 5 small tomatoes
- 1 green bell pepper
- 1 orange, yellow or red bell pepper
- 1 15.5-ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 1/2 bunch fresh basil
- 2 lemons
- olive oil, to taste
- balsamic vinegar, to taste
- salt and pepper, to taste
Together: Cook pasta according to package directions.
Together: In a large mixing bowl, add cooked pasta and set aside.
Kid: With a plastic knife, dice mozzarella, tomatoes, and bell peppers and add them to bowl of pasta. (Dice the ingredients small, so you can challenge your children to fit as many colors as they can into one bite!)
Kid: Remove basil leaves from stem. Tear leaves into small pieces and add to bowl.
Together: Add beans and juice lemons into the bowl. Add olive oil and balsamic vinegar to pasta salad, a little at a time. Mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste and eat!
Cricket Azima, Founder and Big Cheese of The Creative Kitchen and Kids Food Festival, loves making this recipe in her kids cooking classes throughout New York City! For more delicious and healthful recipes for kids of all ages and abilities, check out The Creative Kitchen’s new adaptable cooking curricula, Everybody Can Cook, featuring 15 lesson plans for in-school or recreational learning.