Tortellini Salad with Pesto, Asparagus, and Tomatoes

03

I’ve always said I would pack my kids’ lunch, at least the vast majority of the time, but when I learned that our future elementary school doesn’t have a lunch program, I was a bit taken aback. Sure, I don’t want to spend money on a lunch that would likely be far less nutritious than the one I’m sending, but man, it sure would be nice to  have the option. You know, for those days.

Zachary’s current school has a great lunch program, but in the summers the kids are responsible for bringing lunch every Friday. OK, sure, that’s not bad, right? Except I found myself occasionally filled with dread on Thursday nights, trying to figure out lunch. For one thing, it’s almost Friday. I’m just DONE by Friday. For another, we grocery shop on Saturday so by Thursday/Friday there’s not a lot of remaining decent produce to pack much of anything. If my irritation once a week for one summer is a good indication, I better work on this whole lunch thing before public school starts.

You’re probably starting to get the connection here that pasta salads are a great idea for kid lunches. They pack well, you can load them with vegetables or protein, and they are forever adaptable. You certainly don’t have to just use pasta, either. Other grains like quinoa, rice, farro, and bulgur all work equally well. Pesto is a favorite of mine because I feel like it can be eaten at any temperature and be delicious. Z is a huge basil fan, so it works for him, too. The kids can’t take nuts to their school, so I often make it nutless (or just separate a small batch before adding the nuts) and it’s still great.

Zachary, however, has recently decided he doesn’t care for asparagus (his former second favorite vegetable) any more unless it’s basically charred to a crisp. Green beans (his current favorite vegetable) make an excellent replacement for (or addition to) the asparagus in this salad. But really, just use whatever you want. My plan for this summer is basically to eat a lot of pasta/grain salads for dinner on Thursday nights and reap the benefits when it comes to packing Friday lunches. 🙂

Tortellini Salad with Pesto, Asparagus, and Tomatoes

  • Such a yummy looking salad. Love this!

  • I know I love taking pasta salad for lunch also! It definitely travels well…and is something to look forward to when tortellini and pesto are involved!

  • What a great summer pasta salad!