When it comes to making the lunchbox more fun, one of the key things that I have found is V-A-R-I-E-T-Y. Mix it up, make it fun, create new favourites! You never know, your kids might ditch the sandwich and find a staple they love. This chicken and veggie lunchbox pasta salad is the new number one in our house.
Once a week I cook a chook. Why? Because it's really useful to have the meat around for sandwiches. wraps, risottos, pastas etc and it basically does us for three meals. It's a really economical way to make no nasty sandwich fillings.
This pasta salad uses around 1 cup of chicken meat, which I chop up the same size as the pasta that I use. It's important to try and get all the bits the same size for a couple of reasons, one, it works better with everything the same size as everything gets well coated in the sauce.
Another reason, is it means kids are less likely to notice any "I-cant't-eat-that-bits" if they are all the same size! I find the more consistent I cut stuff, in a mixed texture meal like this one, the more they eat.
This salad is best served cold and is easy to keep cool with an ice pack and a good cooler bag. We make a batch of it early in the week, then pop it in lunchboxes for 2 days. This will make enough for 4 kid size serves.
If you want to add extra protein to this recipe, then I suggest hard boiling an egg and crushing it to mix in as well. It means the recipe will be supercharged. I have to admit, it makes a pretty awesome mum lunch too.
If your kids don't like the herbs, cute them super fine and they virtually vanish in the mayonnaise! If you're wondering where I got such tiny pasta- I got Cretan square noodles from our local deli- ready in 5 minutes!
Chicken and veggie lunchbox pasta salad
- 1 cup small dry pasta uncooked
- ½ zucchini chopped to pieces the size of the pasta shapes
- 1 carrot chopped
- 12 cherry tomatoes quartered
- 5 basil leaves
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
- ⅓ cup mayonnaise
- 1 cup chopped cooked chicken
- Cook the pasta as per the pasta instructions. Put the zucchini and carrot in the pot for cooking.
- Drain and cool the pasta.
- When cool, stir through all the other ingredients, mixing well.
- Refrigerate until serving.