From the first week Munchkin started toddler school, her love for pasta stayed strong. I remember feeling worried and discouraged, seeing barely touched lunch boxes day after day. Her teacher hinted that most kids bring pasta for lunch (and that Munchkin was trying to grab other kid’s food.) Since then, I tried to come up with various pasta recipes, and I packed pasta for 2~3 lunches a week.
On a different note, I’ve been sharing our meals on Instagram for a year now. I tried to share new content every day (something fresh and different from my last posts) to a point where I’m spreading myself too thin. So I decided to go back through my posts and recreate, improve, and document the ones that went well. Like this one.
Simple Vegan Seasoning
I shared this pasta seasoning in a previous post [9 creative toddler-approved school lunches made with love]. Here, I added lima beans and roasted broccoli. I didn’t add lima beans simply for nutrition. I actually love the taste and the creamy texture. If Munchkin doesn’t want them, she can easily pick them out. (I never force her to eat something.) She ended up eating most of the food in the lunchbox minus the broccoli.
This pasta is easy to pull together in the morning, but you can mix the seasoning ahead of time. I used the same seasoning to roast broccoli florets on the side. (I wrote a detailed recipe post here.) Munchkin used to be good with broccoli, but she learned to dislike most green vegetables now. So I kept them to the side to avoid total rejection mode.
Nutritional Yeast or Nooch
Nutritional yeast adds an intense umami flavor to food and Munchkin loves it. But it seems to cause a mild headache for me if I use too much of it. So I suggest using a smaller amount if you are new to it and add more as you like.
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Klean Kanteen Kid’s bottle: I got munchkin this water bottle recently, and she is so attached to it. She carries it around everywhere even at home. She probably saw her friends using a bottle and wanted one for a while. Oops.
LunchBots Uno Stainless Steel Food Container
U Konserve Divided Rectangle
Wean Green Glass Food Storage Containers
(If you buy from these links, it won’t cost you a penny more, but I’ll get a small compensation. 😙)
Simple Vegan Pasta
This is a simple vegan pasta with olive oil, hemp hearts, and nutritional yeast. Easy to make in the morning for lunch boxes. It's good warm or cold. My toddler loves it.
- 3.5 cups whole wheat pasta shells cooked
- 1 can lima beans 15 oz
- 2 cups broccoli florets
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup hemp hearts
- 2~3 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp salt more to taste
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
Preheat the oven to 400F. Make the pasta seasoning by mixing hemp hearts, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Get the pasta cooking while you prepare the seasoning.
Toss broccoli florets with 2 tbsp olive oil and 2 tbsp seasoning mix. Line a parchment paper over a baking sheet and lay the broccoli in a single layer. Roast in the oven for about 15~20 minutes.
In a pan, place lima beans and a couple tablespoon of liquid from the can. Cook over high heat until the liquid evaporates.
Add cooked and drained pasta into the beans. Mix in olive oil and cook for 30 seconds. Mix in the remaining seasoning and cook for additional 30 seconds.
Serve pasta with broccoli on the side