15 Healthy Pasta Recipes For Kids To Relish

check_icon Research-backed

Pasta is an all-time favorite among kids. In this post, we present you with some delicious pasta recipes for kids. Pasta is basically made from durum wheat flour mixed with water and eggs to make a firm dough. It is known to be a rich source of carbohydrates and a few essential nutrients, all while being low in fat. Sometimes, the pasta is fortified with vital nutrients, such as iron, vitamin-B2, and folate (1). So how many new recipes can you invent every day? Do not fret. Plunge into this post for a list of simple and lip-smacking pasta recipes that you can make for your little ones.

In This Article

Vegetarian Pasta Recipes For Kids

Priya, a mother and a blogger, reveals her approach to creating a nutritionally rich pasta dish through her Spinach Pasta recipe. She fondly recounts, “Spinach pasta [is] one of a very easy kid’s favorite meals. I remember the day I made this for my daughter, she was begging me to do this the next day for her lunch box … So I need to find a way to feed her favorite which is healthy and filling too … Spinach sauce will keep the pasta wet. In turn, it’s a good option to include some vegetables in their diet in a way they like. I usually include some nuts to make the pasta creamy and rich (i).”

Like Priya, we also believe in the goodness of vegetables. So let’s begin with some of the best preparations of pasta with vegetables.

1. Veggie Alfredo Pasta

Image: Shutterstock

Imagine white, creamy pasta tossed in rich cheese sauce…

The thought itself makes you go “yummmm” right? So why not just make it and eat it?

You will need:

  • 1 package penne pasta (8 ounces)
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 package frozen or canned peas (8 ounces)
  • 1 pound fresh asparagus, trimmed
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

How to:

  1. In a deep dish or pan, bring water to boil and add the asparagus. After two minutes, add the peas and let them cook for two more minutes. Remove the peas and the asparagus from the boiling water and set them aside.
  2. Cook the pasta in boiling water for about 8-10 minutes, or until it is tender but firm.
  3. Add the pasta to the peas and asparagus in the bowl.
  4. Season with parmesan cheese, olive oil, salt, and pepper to taste and toss.
  5. Serve warm.

Preparation time: 10min
Cooking time: 15min
Servings: 4
Nutritional value: Calories – 383, carbohydrates –50.4g, protein – 15.2g, fat – 14.4g, cholesterol -9mg

protip_icon Quick tip
Opt for whole-grain pasta as it has resistant starch, which feeds the good bacteria in the intestine and helps maintain a healthy microbiome (4).

2. Roasted Veggie Pasta

Image: IStock

Vegetables are more interesting when they are roasted than when they are boiled. Well, at least for kids they are! So, here is a tasty vegetable stir fry pasta recipe with roasted vegetables.

You will need:

  • 1 pack rotini pasta (16 ounces)
  • 1 plum tomato, halved
  • ¾ cup pesto sauce
  • 1 green bell pepper (capsicum)
  • 1 zucchini, diced
  • 1 onion, sliced into ½ inch pieces
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

How to:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. On a baking sheet, spread the tomatoes, zucchini, bell peppers, and onions evenly. Sprinkle a little olive oil over them; season with salt and pepper.
  3. Roast the veggies in the pre-heated oven for about 30 minutes, or until they are cooked and slightly soft. Set them aside.
  4. Cook the pasta, drain it and set it aside.
  5. In a bowl, combine the roasted vegetables, cooked rotini, pesto sauce and olive oil. Toss it and serve.

Preparation time: 20min
Cooking time: 30min
Servings: 10
Nutritional value: Calories –306, carbohydrates –37.2g, protein –9.4g, fat –13.4g, cholesterol -6mg

3. Mexican Pasta

Image: Shutterstock

Pasta? Mexican?

Yes. This recipe is a Mexican style pasta dish, filled with the goodness of vegetables that your child can benefit from. Want to know how it is made?

You will need:

  • ½ pound seashell pasta
  • ¼ cup salsa
  • 2 onions and 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 can black beans, 1 cup corn kernels
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 can tomatoes, peeled and diced (14.5oz)
  • ¼ cup black olives
  • 1 ½ tablespoons taco mix for seasoning
  • Salt and pepper to taste

How to:

  1. Boil the pasta until it is tender but firm. Drain and set aside.
  2. In a skillet, heat oil and add the onions and cook until they turn brown.
  3. Stir in the corn, tomatoes, olives, black beans, salsa, taco seasoning and salt and pepper. Cook the sauce for five more minutes.
  4. Combine the cooked pasta and the sauce in a bowl.
  5. Toss to mix well and serve.

Preparation time: 5min
Cooking time: 15min
Servings: 4
Nutritional value: Calories – 358, carbohydrates –59.5g, protein – 10.3g, fat – 9.4g, cholesterol -0mg

4. Greek Orzo Pasta

Image: Shutterstock

Orzo pasta looks like rice but has a distinct taste and texture. It is often used in Arabian dishes and eaten fried or boiled.

You will need:

  • 1 ½ cups orzo pasta
  • 1 pound broccoli florets, washed
  • 3 tablespoons pine nuts
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¾ cup feta cheese
  • 1 can ripe olives (2.5oz)
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese
  • ½ teaspoon dried red pepper flakes and
  • ¼ cup fresh basil

How to:

  1. Cook the orzo as instructed on the pack.
  2. Cook the broccoli in boiling water, until they become tender, but firm.
  3. In a skillet, heat oil and add the pine nuts. Stir-fry for 2-3 minutes, add the red pepper and cook for another minute.
  4. Combine the pine nuts, feta cheese, pasta and the remaining ingredients in a bowl and toss to mix.
  5. Serve immediately.

Preparation time: 45min
Servings: 8
Nutritional value: Calories –245.9, carbohydrates –30.8g, protein –10.8g, fat –9.5g, cholesterol -18mg

protip_icon Did you know?
There are more than 600 different pasta types made around the world (4).

Chicken Pasta Recipes For Kids

These pasta recipes are purely for chicken lovers. Here are ways you can include the chicken into a pasta dish and make it more enjoyable.

5. Sesame Pasta Chicken Salad

Image: Shutterstock

If you are not in the mood for a chicken curry or casserole, make a healthy, delicious and refreshing pasta salad with chicken in it.

You will need:

  • 3 cups shredded, cooked chicken breasts
  • 1 pack bow-tie pasta
  • ¼ cup sesame seeds
  • ½ cup vegetable oil, 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • ½ cup each of rice vinegar and light soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons sugar, ½ teaspoon ginger powder, ½ teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1/3 cup chopped onion and 1/3 cup fresh cilantro

How to:

  1. Roast the sesame seeds in a skillet on medium flame, until they turn slightly brown. Set aside and let them cool.
  2. Next, boil the pasta.
  3. Combine the soy sauce, olive oil, sesame oil, vinegar, sugar, pepper powder, ginger powder and sesame seeds. Put the ingredients in a jar with a tight lid and shake well.
  4. Take the pasta in a bowl and pour the sesame seed dressing over it.
  5. Stir in the chicken pieces or meatballs, green onions, and cilantro.
  6. Toss to mix well and serve. For a truthfully satisfying meal, you can also enjoy this pasta salad with cheesy pizza.

Preparation time: 20min
Cooking time: 10min
Servings: 10
Nutritional value: Calories –349, carbohydrates –38.3g, protein – 15.9g, fat –15.2g, cholesterol -24mg

6. Cajun Chicken Pasta

Image: IStock

Cajun food is rustic when it comes to taste and is easy to prepare. The Cajun chicken pasta, which makes a good dinner dish, can be made in less than an hour.

You will need:

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, thinly sliced into strips
  • 4oz linguine pasta
  • 2 tablespoons butter and 1 ½ cups heavy cream
  • ¼ teaspoon each of dried basil, lemon pepper, and salt
  • 2 teaspoons Cajun dressing
  • 1 green bell pepper and ½ a red bell pepper chopped
  • 4 mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 green onion, minced
  • 1/8 teaspoon each of ground black pepper and garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese (grated)

How to:

  1. Boil the pasta for around 8-10 minutes.
  2. Toss the chicken with the Cajun seasoning in a bowl.
  3. In a skillet, add butter and saute the seasoned chicken pieces on medium heat, until they are not pink anymore.
  4. Add the chopped bell peppers, sliced mushrooms, and green onions and cook for nearly three minutes or until they become semi-soft.
  5. Stir in the heavy chicken parmesan cream and season with basic, ground black pepper, salt, garlic powder and lemon pepper. Let it stay on heat for a minute or less.
  6. In a large pan, toss the linguine pasta with this creamy sauce. Garnish with parmesan cheese and serve alongside garlic bread.

Preparation time: 15min
Cooking time: 15min
Servings: 2
Nutritional value: Calories –1109, carbohydrates –53.7g, protein – 42.7g, fat – 82.2g, cholesterol -348mg

Seafood Pasta Recipes For Kids

If your kids like seafood, here are three pasta recipes you should try at home.

7. Creamy Tomato Tuna Pasta

Image: Shutterstock

Tangy pasta made with tomato sauce and tuna, this can be a great meal to have on a Sunday.

You will need:

  • 6.75oz packed tuna, preferably in olive oil
  • 14.5oz penne or, stuffedshell, or ravioli pasta
  • 2/3 cup and ¼ cup of grated parmesan cheese
  • 3 cups tomato soup, made from fresh tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon anchovy paste
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh tarragon, minced
  • For seasoning – freshly ground black pepper, salt, dried oregano, red pepper flakes (for garnish)

How to:

  1. In a saucepan, add tuna with olive oil, anchovy paste, red pepper flakes, garlic and oregano and saute on low heat. Stir the ingredients and cook for a couple of minutes or more, as needed.
  2. Once the ingredients start sizzling, add the tomato sauce soup and water. Increase the heat to medium flame and let it simmer for about 10 minutes.
  3. Cook the pasta and stir it into the soup mixture in the saucepan. Mix well.
  4. Then stir in two-third cups of parmesan cheese and minced tarragon. Cook for two minutes
  5. Season with black pepper powder and salt. Cover with a lid and cook for another minute.
  6. Garnish with remaining parmesan and serve.

Preparation time: 15min
Cooking time: 15min
Servings: 2
Nutritional value: Calories – 1269, carbohydrates –202.3g, protein – 72.4g, fat – 22.1g, cholesterol -62mg

8. Salmon Pasta With Peas

Image: IStock

An easy salmon recipe, combined with green peas and Alfredo sauce, this is a great dinner idea.

You will need:

  • 5 cups bow-tie pasta
  • 7.5oz salmon fish fillet, drained and cut into chunks
  • 1 teaspoon each of vegetable oil, dill weed
  • 1 2/3 cups milk
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed and minced
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • ½ cup cream cheese (low fat)
  • 2 tablespoons each of parsley, lemon juice, cornstarch
  • Salt and pepper to taste

How to:

  1. Boil the pasta in boiling water until it is tender but firm.
  2. In a saucepan, heat oil and add onion and garlic. Cook for two minutes.
  3. Add milk and heat it until it is steaming hot.
  4. In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch in two tablespoons of water and whisk. Stir it into the milk and let it cook for two minutes.
  5. Once the sauce is thick, add the cheese, peas, lemon juice, parsley, dill weed, salt, pepper and mustard. Stir until the cheese melts.
  6. Add the pasta and mix it well. Stir in the salmon and let it sit for a minute.
  7. Serve hot.

Preparation time: 20min
Servings: 4
Nutritional value: Calories – 697.2, carbohydrates –102.9g, protein – 34.3g, fat – 15.8g, cholesterol -59.7mg

protip_icon Quick tip
You may replace cream cheese with ricotta or mascarpone cheese to give a delectable twist to the dish.

9. Shrimp Fettuccine Alfredo

Image: Shutterstock

Shrimp in Alfredo sauce is a rich, creamy dish that you can make to impress your little guests. Try this creamy noodles-like dish when your teen has friends over for lunch or dinner at home.

You will need:

  • 1 pound cooked shrimp
  • 1 pound fettuccine pasta
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 6 tablespoons parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
  • Salt to taste

How to:

  1. Cook the pasta in boiling water for about ten minutes.
  2. In a skillet, add the butter and let it melt. Add the garlic, and stir in the shrimp and cook for a minute.
  3. Stir in the half-and-half, sprinkle the parmesan, one spoon at a time, and continue stirring as you add it.
  4. Mix the parsley and salt; continue to stir until it becomes thick.
  5. Combine the thickened sauce with the pasta and serve.

Preparation time: 20min
Cooking time: 20min
Servings: 6
Nutritional value: Calories –440, carbohydrates –57.7g, protein –29.2g, fat –10.6g, cholesterol -172mg

Pasta Salad Recipes For Kids

Salads could be boring for children, but when you add some pasta and sauce to a bowl of fresh, colorful vegetables, kids would love to eat.

10. Mushroom Mint Pasta Salad

Image: IStock

A cool summer macaroni and cheese salad with mint and mushrooms sauce, this pasta dish is a great option for lunch at home.

You will need:

  • 1 pack bow-tie pasta (16oz)
  • 8oz button mushrooms
  • 10 sprigs fresh mint
  • 4 onions, sliced
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1-quart cream
  • 1 ½ teaspoons sugar
  • Salt and grounded black pepper for taste

How to:

  1. Cook the pasta in boiling water for about ten minutes, or until it is tender but firm. Drain and move into a large bowl, and add three tablespoons of olive oil. Toss it.
  2. Heat the remaining olive oil in a skillet on medium heat, and add the onions and mushrooms. Once they turn light brown, stir in the heavy cream.
  3. Add the mint sprigs and cook for five minutes, while stirring continuously.
  4. Mix the sugar in the sauce, add the salt and pepper and stir in the pasta. Mix until it is fully coated in the sauce.
  5. Serve hot.

Preparation time: 15min
Cooking time: 20min
Servings: 12
Nutritional value: Calories –487, carbohydrates –36.4g, protein –8.7g, fat – 34.9g, cholesterol -109mg

11. Salsa Pasta Salad

Image: IStock

A tangy dish for summertime, this pasta salad lets you make the sauce from scratch (no bottled ingredients).

You will need:

  • 2 cups rainbow pasta
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 onion, 1 red bell pepper, and ¼ cup cilantro – chopped
  • 1 can of black olives
  • 1 can of diced green chilies
  • 1 ½ teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/3 cup each of lemon juice and white vinegar
  • ½ cup vegetable oil

How to:

  1. Boil the pasta in water for around nine minutes.
  2. Combine the chopped onions, bell pepper, tomatoes, olives and green chilies in a bowl.
  3. In another bowl, whisk the lemon juice, white vinegar, cilantro, sugar, garlic, salt, chili powder and vegetable oil.
  4. Mix the pasta and vegetables. Toss with the cilantro and lemon dressing, serve.

Preparation time: 20min
Cooking time: 20min
Servings: 11
Nutritional value: Calories – 178, carbohydrates –16.3g, protein – 2.7g, fat –12.2 g, cholesterol -0mg

protip_icon Quick tip
Refrigerate the salad for at least three hours before serving to let the flavors blend well and intensify.

Italian Pasta Recipes For Kids

How can a list of kid-friendly pasta recipes be complete without authentic Italian pasta recipes? So here you go.

12. Spaghetti Carbonara

Image: IStock

With only a handful of ingredients, the spaghetti carbonara pasta will be an instant hit with kids.

You will need:

  • 14oz spaghetti (1 pack)
  • 5oz cubed guanciale
  • 1 egg, 3 egg yolks
  • ¾ cup Pecorino Romano cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste

How to:

  1. Cook the pasta for about 12 minutes in boiling water and drain. Set it aside.
  2. In a skillet, stir cook the guanciale for five to ten minutes or until it is crispy.
  3. In a bowl, whisk the eggs, add the cheese, salt, and pepper and whisk again.
  4. Stir in the guanciale into the egg mix.
  5. Add the pasta and toss to mix well.

Preparation time: 5min
Cooking time: 22min
Servings: 4
Nutritional value: Calories – 525, carbohydrates –74.8g, protein – 23.7g, fat – 13.1g, cholesterol -220mg

13. Sweet Italian Sausage with Penne Pasta

Image: IStock

This is an easy pasta dish you can whip up quickly when you have a bunch of hungry kids!

You will need:

  • 1 pound penne pasta
  • 8oz Italian sausage
  • 1lb broccoli florets
  • 2 tablespoons each of minced garlic, olive oil, and butter
  • ½ cup pecorino romano cheese, grilled

How to:

  1. Boil water and cook the pasta for ten minutes.
  2. In a skillet, heat oil and add garlic, sausages and broccoli florets. Saute for about 15 to 20 minutes and cook until they turn brown and soft.
  3. In a bowl, add the pasta, sauce and butter, and toss. Serve hot.

Preparation time: 25min
Servings: 4
Nutritional value: Calories –750.6, carbohydrates –100.1g, protein –23.1 g, fat –30.8 g, cholesterol -47.6mg

Pasta Bake Recipes For Kids

Love to bake? Here are some healthy pasta bake recipes you can try for the kids.

14. Three Cheese Bake Pasta

Image: IStock

Creamy pasta is all about cheese. So we bring to you the “yummi-licious” three cheese pasta that you and your children will devour!

You will need:

  • 1lb raw pasta
  • 1lb beef, grounded
  • 6oz Provolone cheese
  • 6oz mozzarella cheese
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 ½ cups sour cream
  • 6 ½ cups pasta sauce

How to:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a large pot, bring the water to boil and add pasta. Cook for ten minutes.
  3. In a skillet, add the onions and the ground beef. Saute until the meat becomes brown and stir in the pasta sauce. Cook for 15 minutes on low-medium heat.
  4. Grease a baking dish and layer the ingredients in this order – a) half of the pasta b) provolone cheese c) sour cream d) half of the pasta sauce e) remaining pasta f)mozzarella cheese g) remaining pasta sauce mix 7) top it with grated parmesan cheese
  5. Bake for 30 minutes in the preheated oven.

Preparation time: 20min
Cooking time: 1hr
Servings: 12
Nutritional value: Calories –463, carbohydrates –42.3g, protein – 22.7g, fat – 22.2g, cholesterol -88mg

15. Creamy Pumpkin Pasta Bake

Image: Shutterstock

Pumpkins are all around you during the harvest season. Besides pie, cupcakes and other desserts, you can also make pasta with pumpkin. Here is the recipe.

You will need:

  • 300g uncooked bow-tie pasta
  • 500g butternut pumpkin, peeled and cut into small cubes
  • 4 eschalots, peeled and chopped fine
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 20 grams butter
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • ¾ cup chicken stock
  • 2/3 cup grated mozzarella cheese
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 300ml light cream

How to:

  1. Cook the pasta in a pot of boiling water. Drain all but one-fourth of the water and set it aside.
  2. In a skillet, heat the oil and butter over medium heat. Add the eschalots and stir fry them for two minutes.
  3. Add the pumpkin, garlic, and thyme and stir them for six minutes. Add the chicken stock.
  4. Let it simmer for 3 minutes (it should become half) and then add the cream, salt, and pepper. Cook it for three more minutes and take it off the heat.
  5. Combine the pasta, sauce mix, half parmesan and half mozzarella. Grease a baking dish and put the pasta in it.
  6. Sprinkle the remaining mozzarella and parmesan on top and cover with foil.
  7. Bake for 30 minutes and remove the foil. Bake again for 15 minutes and garnish with thyme.
  8. Serve hot. The same recipe can be followed to make baked ziti.

Preparation time: 20min
Cooking time: 45min
Servings: 4
Nutritional value: Calories – 2762, carbohydrates –66g, protein – 22g, fat – 31g, cholesterol -67mg

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How much pasta should a child eat?

Children between the ages of four and 10 can have 45 to 65g of pasta, while children between 11 and 18 can have 65 to 85g in one sitting.

2. What pasta is healthy for kids?

Try whole-grain pasta such as durum wheat, whole wheat, and buckwheat pasta to include more fiber in their diet (3). You can enrich their pasta by adding vegetables of different kinds as well.

3. Can I drink pasta water?

Pasta is made of flour, eggs, salt, and water. Hence, it is safe to drink pasta water. Many people use pasta water to make sauces, knead the dough, make soups, cook rice, and so on.

4. Should I rinse pasta after cooking it?

No. Rinsing pasta after cooking strips off all its starch, making the end result soggy and tasteless.

5. Can I soak pasta in cold water?

Soaking pasta in cold water for a long time will release the starch, and the pasta will overcook when put in boiling water. If you wish to soak, you can do so in a small quantity of cold water for a short time.

6. Can I cook the pasta ahead of time and store it?

Yes. Cook until the pasta is al dente (firm to the bite). Then, strain the pasta water until the pasta is completely dry. Sprinkle two tablespoons of olive oil on the pasta and toss so that the pasta is thoroughly covered in oil. Pack in a Ziploc bag, seal properly, and store in the refrigerator.

7. How to prevent pasta from sticking to each other when cold?

Though it is not recommended to rinse cooked pasta, you must remember that the starch on the pasta causes it to stick when cold. If you are planning to have pasta cold, you should rinse it in cold water, so the cooking process stops.

8. Should I use butter or olive oil for better-tasting pasta?

Olive oil is traditionally used in Italian cooking for making pasta. Olive oil is also nutritionally better than butter (6). It enhances the taste of the pasta and lends authentic flavor to the final food item. Hence, olive oil is better to use while cooking pasta.

Most children enjoy eating pasta, and it is a popular meal choice when dining out. But you can also make delicious pasta at home with the amazing pasta recipes for kids mentioned here. You can also sneak in healthy ingredients such as vegetables which your child may not usually prefer. You may add egg, mushroom, fish, chicken, or shrimp to make it more yummy and nutritious for your child. You can also try tweaking these recipes and using lasagna sheets to make a scrumptious meal. Be it dinner, lunch, or a party, children would give each plate of pasta a finger-licking finish without any complaints!

Infographic: How To Make Healthy And Attractive Pasta With Children

Encourage your child to eat healthy pasta by involving them in making it. Teach them the knack of selecting nutritious ingredients and set their creativity free to make their favorite pasta dish healthier. Taking a screenshot of this infographic and using it while preparing pasta with your child can make the process easy for you.

pasta for children (infographic)

Illustration: Momjunction Design Team

Get high-quality PDF version by clicking below.

Download Infographic in PDF version Download Infographic
Download Infographic in PDF version

Key Pointers

  • Pasta is a fantastic meal that can be prepared using various ingredients and served to children.
  • Adding cheese and cream-based sauces is an excellent way to give pasta meals additional flavor and texture.
  • To make pasta recipes more nutritious, try experimenting with various herbs, vegetables, and meats.

Discover unique and interesting child-friendly pasta recipes that you can make for you little ones in this video

Personal Experience: Source

i. My Kitchen Odyssey.


MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
  1. Fortification Handbook Vitamin And Mineral Fortification Of Wheat Flour And Maize Meal.
  2. Portion Sizes for Kids 4 to 18 Years of Age
  3. The Pasta Trap.
  4. Pasta Power.
  5. Pasta.
  6. Study suggests replacing butter with olive oil reduces heart disease mortality.
Was this article helpful?
The following two tabs change content below.