A simple and easy pasta salad made from spiral pasta, ham, cheese, corn, peas and a subtle mayonnaise dressing. This salad is ideal for kids, especially those that aren't into big flavours yet. A nutritious and filling option for school lunchboxes.
I don't know about you, but I am always looking for fresh, new ideas for school lunches. The humble sandwich can serve me well for a while, but every now and then I like to introduce some other carbs to the lunchbox.
Enter my Kids' Pasta Salad - a collection of subtle flavours and kid favourites. Colby cheese and shaved ham are staples in my house. As is pasta! The combination of these ingredients with the frozen veggies and mayo dressing creates an easy and filling pasta salad that kids of all ages can enjoy. For a more grown up version, be sure to check out my Roasted Vegetable and Pesto Pasta Salad or my classic Best Ever Pasta Salad.
- Ham: As I said above, we generally always have shaved ham in the fridge. It it so versatile and my kids love it in their pasta, in toasted sandwiches and especially on our Homemade Pizzas.
- Corn: Corn can be very polarising. If you're not a fan - leave it out! If you are fan, you'll love the range of corn recipes on my website including Ham, Corn and Cheese Muffins and Grilled Pork, Corn and Peach Salad.
- Pasta: Any type of small, dried pasta will work in this recipe. For more detailed advice, check out the Recipe FAQs below.
Note: Scroll to the recipe card for the ingredients, quantities and the full method.
Step by step instructions:
Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil and cook the pasta according to packet instructions, until al dente. For the last 2 minutes, steam the frozen vegetables over the pasta until cooked through.
Strain the pasta and run cold water over it, drain, then add to a large bowl. Add the peas, corn, sliced ham and diced cheese.
Dressing: Add the mayonnaise, olive oil and runny honey to a small jug. Whisk to combine. Pour the dressing over the pasta and mix to coat.
Add to a serving dish if serving straight away at a dinner or a BBQ.
Short, dried pasta is best for pasta salad. Spirals (rotini), bowties (farfalle) or shells (conchiglie)are all ideal for their shape and ability to pick up dressing flavours in their nooks. Fresh pasta should be avoided as it can become too mushy.
Pasta salad can be made the day before serving it. If it's made too far ahead, it can cause the pasta to go soft and squishy.
Al dente is an Italian phrase used in relation to cooking pasta. It literally means 'to the tooth' which means the pasta should have a slight bite to it. The perfect pasta is cooked to the point where it is neither hard, nor soft and squishy but with a small amount of resistance at the centre - aka al dente!
Store any leftover pasta in an airtight container for 1-2 days in the fridge (any longer and it can go a bit mushy).
I wouldn't recommend freezing pasta salad.
This salad could be made the day before you serve it, especially if you're making it for school lunches or to take to a BBQ. Store it in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to serve. For school lunches, I scoop some into a small container with a lid then place in a lunchbox with a cooler bag to keep it cold and fresh until lunch time.
When it comes to pasta salad, almost anything goes! If your kids like more variety you could always add in some salami, olives, gherkins, sun dried tomatoes, feta, haloumi, cherry tomatoes or even roasted vegetables. Feel free to use this recipe as a guide to quantities.
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- 500g pasta spirals
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1 cup frozen corn
- 100g shaved ham, chopped
- 100g colby cheese, diced
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp runny honey
- Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil and cook the pasta according to packet instructions.
- For the last 2 minutes, steam the frozen vegetables over the pasta until cooked through.
- Strain the pasta and run cold water over it, drain, then add to a large bowl. Add the peas, corn, sliced ham and diced cheese.
- Dressing: Add the mayonnaise, olive oil and runny honey to a small jug. Whisk to combine.
- Pour the dressing over the pasta and mix to coat.
- Add to a serving dish if serving straight away at a dinner or a BBQ.
- Or store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days, then take out portions as needed to fill the lunchboxes
- I put my kids’ lunchboxes in cooler bags. This keeps the pasta fresh and cold until lunchtime.
- This pasta is super versatile. Feel free to personalise this to children’s tastes. Salami, capsicum, olives, carrots or tuna could be good additions or substitutions.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 330Total Fat: 20gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 14gCholesterol: 25mgSodium: 322mgCarbohydrates: 29gFiber: 3gSugar: 3gProtein: 11g
Nutritional values are approximate. Please use your own calculations if you require a special diet.
Thank you for checking out this recipe. I hope you enjoy making and eating it! If you have any questions, queries or feedback, please feel free to leave a comment below.
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