March 16, 2021
You’ll also learn how to pack this salad ahead of time and turn it into an epic school lunch that remains fresh for hours.
Crunchy Pasta Salad with Cauliflower
This Cauliflower Pasta Salad is an easy lunch idea to add more veggies to your kid’s lunchbox. A healthy meal with simple ingredients that the little ones will enjoy eating!
This recipe uses green peas, carrots, and cauliflower to give extra nutrition and added crunch. Cauliflower is an excellent source of vitamins C and K, as well as antioxidants and fiber. It’s low-carb and easily takes on the flavors of any recipe.
Adding deli ham or turkey, cooked bacon, hard-boiled eggs, or tuna to this recipe can add more flavor and turn it into a protein-rich lunch.
What is in Cauliflower Pasta Salad
Pasta salads are perfect for using leftover ingredients and simple pantry staples to assemble a quick meal for school lunches.
Here’s what you need to toss this healthy Cauliflower Pasta Salad together:
- Pasta: macaroni or shells. Short pasta holds up well when tossed with dressing, but you can use whatever pasta you keep on hand.
- Seasoning: I recommend creole or cajun to make this salad super flavorful!
- Mayonnaise or Greek Yogurt: use plain yogurt or swap for Ranch dressing.
- Cauliflower: super nutritious and blends with the pasta easily! I recommend chopping it into small pieces or, cauliflower rice.
- Carrot: adds vitamins and minerals. Use fresh for more crunchiness.
- Green peas: add fiber, protein, and color!
You’ll find the measurements in the recipe card below.
Pasta salad also makes a delicious switch from the usual sandwich, and you can find more kid-approved lunch ideas like this one in the 101 Packed Lunches eBook. It’s full of recipes for hot lunches, wraps, soups, epic salads, and more!
Check out what’s inside, here:
101 Packed Lunches eBook
All my best kid-friendly lunches from over a decade of creating meal plans. Add some variety to your child’s lunchbox with these epic lunches, plus receive my Pack Meals Like a Pro ebook, free with purchase!
How to Make Cauliflower Pasta Salad
Cook pasta, mix ingredients, and this nutritious pasta salad with cauliflower is ready to pack for lunch or enjoy at home.
The easy steps are:
- Prep the dressing
In a large bowl, combine mayo or Greek yogurt with the seasoning, and it set aside.
- Cook the pasta
Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain and transfer into the large bowl with the dressing.
- Add veggies
To the bowl, add the cauliflower, peas and carrots, and toss to combine.
Cover and refrigerate for approximately 2 hours or until ready to serve.
How Long Does Pasta Salad Last in the Fridge
Pasta salads can be prepped up to 3 days ahead of time, which makes them a great recipe if you like to meal prep. I’ve often found that they taste better the next day since the veggies and pasta have had time to soak up all the flavors of whatever seasonings and dressings you use.
How to Pack Cauliflower Pasta Salad for Lunch
Pack this amazing Cauliflower Pasta Salad following these tips so it stays intact until lunchtime:
Once you add the other ingredients to the pasta, most pasta salads can be made up to 3 days ahead. This is convenient and also allows the pasta to have more flavor.
Pack it for lunch
This pasta salad can be stored inside a traditional lunch container, with compartments or without, or inside a thermos if you want to keep it chilled. You can also pack it in an insulated lunch bag and use an ice pack to keep the temperature inside the lunch bag cool.
Cooked pasta storage tip
Toss plain cooked pasta with olive oil or dressing to prevent it from becoming sticky. Once coated, store in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Crunchy Cauliflower Pasta Salad
- 12 oz dry macaroni pasta, or shells
- 2 teaspoons Cajun or Creole seasoning
- ½ cup mayonnaise or plain Greek yogurt
- 2 cups chopped cauliflower, or cauliflower rice
- 2 cups peas and carrots, frozen
Make the pasta salad:
- In a large bowl, combine mayo and seasoning, set aside.
- Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain and transfer into the large bowl with the mayo and seasonings.
- To the bowl, add the cauliflower, peas and carrots, and toss to combine.
- Cover and refrigerate for approximately 2 hours or until ready to serve. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Pack for lunch:
- Place the pasta salad inside your favorite lunch container. Pack along with your favorite lunch sides inside a lunch bag with an ice pack, if necessary.