Picture two dietitians strolling through Trader Joe’s…perusing the aisles searching for fun new products, and BAM! We stumble upon Lentil Pasta. Say what? I know, right?!  We were super curious to try out this single ingredient, fiber packed, and nutrient dense pasta just for kicks. Plus, we both enjoy a good pasta salad on a hot summer day, and so do our little ones.

Here’s the scoop:

To serve up the pasta here is a simple recipe, which by the way you can you use ANY pasta you wish to use for this recipe. This recipe is basic and can be altered or add to it whatever you have on hand.

Basic Pasta Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound pasta
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar + 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (or your favorite Italian dressing works, too!)
  • 3 cups chopped vegetables of choice (tomatoes, bell peppers, broccoli, carrots, olives, artichoke hearts, etc)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh herbs (parsley, basil, oregano, thyme, etc)
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup chopped salami or pepperoni
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions then rinse with cold water.
  2. In a large serving bowl place cooked pasta and toss with vinegar (or Italian dressing). Toss in remaining ingredients, stir well and refrigerate or immediately serve. Yep, that simple! Pasta salad will keep in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.

Here’s the part where it can be tricky, how do you serve up pasta salad for little ones? We’ve got you covered with our baby bites!

Baby Bites:

Beginner (6-8 months):

Cook pasta until very soft, serve with blanched bell pepper slice & very soft tomato slice with or without dressing–your call, but definitely toss with EVOO! If you opt for different veggies check out our book for tips on serving veggies–part IV we dish it!

Novice & Pre-Advanced (9-18 months):

Cook pasta until tender, serve with blanched bell pepper, quartered olives, & halved tomatoes with or without dressing–your call, but definitely toss with EVOO!

Advanced (advance as you see fit, often once a baby gets their molars they are moving towards advanced eaters):

Serve in small, bite sized pieces & as you would enjoy it

Note: pull out adult portion of pasta & continue cooking baby pasta as needed based on skill