This quick and easy veggie mac pasta is perfect for packing in school lunches. It’s full of veggies, and completely kid approved!
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After years and years of daily lunch packing we have finally found our lunchbox groove. Turns out my kids don’t really love sandwiches. They would prefer a thermos of leftovers any day over anything cold. And that works out most of the time. But….they have also entered an eating phase where they eat everything they can find in the kitchen that’s not nailed down, so we don’t always have leftovers after dinner. Enter….easy veggie mac pasta!
Quick and Easy
I saw a meme this week that said “I’m tired of people saying ‘here’s my go to lazy meal’ and then they start chopping an onion.” Ha! I’m pleased to say that this doesn’t require any chopping. I use my garlic press to add a tiny bit of fresh garlic, but if you really wanted to avoid any extra effort you could always use garlic powder!
Loaded with Veggies
I started making this pasta dish last year as a quick “mac and cheese” like dish. I boiled pasta, threw in a bag of frozen veggies, set it to drain, and made a quick sauce of unsweetened soy milk, vegan butter, and nooch. Added tomato paste for an extra “veggie.” Mixed it all together…..and the boys loved it! I doled out thermoses of this pasta for the better part of the week and the boys didn’t tire of it. Win.
Bite Sized Pasta
While this pasta dish would taste great with any noodle shape, I use macaroni noodles or other small noodles when I’m sending this to school. Not only is it a better size match for the veggies for a better bite, it’s also easier (and faster) to spoon onto a spork! With lunch periods lasting less than 25 minutes every little bit helps.
Easy Lunch Packing Tips
Each night while I prep dinner, or right after dinner, I pack up two portions of whatever I plan to send in the boys’ thermoses into small glass containers that happen to be just about the same size. I pop them in the fridge overnight so they are ready in the morning. Then, in the morning, we fill their thermoses with instant hot water from the tap to “pre-heat” them. While they are pre-heating we microwave the glass containers. Finally I drain the water, scoop the heated food into the thermos, and they are ready! The thermoses hold a pretty generous amount of food, so I find that I don’t really need to send them with much else. I usually pack a prepackaged snack bar or treat in case they are still hungry, or need a snack during the day. And don’t forget a spork!
How cute is this little thermos? I picked it up years ago at Kroger and sadly don’t see it available anymore. I love finding surprise vegan goodies! For daily use we have the Thermos funtainers and they have held up really well.
More Vegan Pasta Dishes Kids Love
- Uncle Jon’s Pasta Salad
- Oven Roasted Tomato Sauce
- Homemade Vegan Boxed Mac and Cheese
- Classic Vegan Pesto
- Mac and Cheese with Pumpkin
- Vegan Baked Ziti
- Vegan Pasta Bolognese with Lentils
Let’s Make Veggie Mac Pasta for School Lunch!
Let’s make this quick and easy pasta! Sure to be a kid hit—leave a comment below and let me know how yours like it!
Veggie Mac Pasta
- 1 pound macaroni pasta (or other small pasta)
- 1 pound frozen veggies (I used a mix with carrots, corn, peas, and green beans)
- 2 Tablespoons vegan butter
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons onion salt
- 2 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk (I like soy milk)
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
- Cook pasta according to package instructions. When the pasta is al dente and about 2 minutes from done add the frozen vegetables. Pop the lid back on and let it come up to a quick boil to cook the vegetables. Remove from heat, drain, and set aside.
- While the pasta is draining, put the pot back on the stove and add the butter.
- Once butter is melted, add the minced garlic and stir quickly. Add the tomato paste, nutritional yeast, salt, and onion salt. Stir well—it will be thick.
- Slowly whisk in the milk until well incorporated.
- Add the vegetable and pasta mix into the pot and stir well to coat.
- Serve right away, or pack up for school lunches!
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