Favorite Toddler Pasta Recipes (Healthy and Easy)


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Make toddler meals easier with favorite toddler pasta recipes you can rely on—with lots of nutrition and kid-friendly flavor! From no-cook sauces and easy skillet meals, to mac and cheese with veggies in the mix, these are easy pasta recipes for kids…that the adults can enjoy too!

sweet-potato-mac-and-cheese-in-bowl

Toddler Pasta

Pasta is one of the easiest meals to make for kids and while I might go so far to say that plain pasta with butter is a classic for a reason, there are so many other options to try too!

I’ve pulled together all of my favorite kids pasta recipes in one spot for easy reference. There are recipes for pasta meals—that work well for toddler lunches and family dinners—and then stand alone sauces that offer a little more flexibility since you can freeze them and then use a little at a time.

Best Types of Pasta

There is a lot of pressure from marketing and our culture on eating the healthiest version of every food. And I want to say that you absolutely can eat a newer version of pasta if you and your kids like it, but there is nothing wrong with classic pasta. Regular semolina pasta has protein, fiber, and complex carbohydrates. Also: It’s delicious.

You may also enjoy trying:

  • Lentil pasta
  • Chickpea pasta
  • Whole wheat pasta
  • Protein pasta

TIP: The lentil and chickpea pastas are a good source of iron if that’s a concern. Be sure not to overcook them (they get mushy fast!) and do rinse after boiling.

Frequently Asked Questions

What shape of pasta is easiest for toddlers to eat?

Small shapes like ditalini, mini elbows, and mini shells are good for finger foods. Small shapes like stars, ABC pasta, and tiny wagon wheels are easy for kids learning to use a spoon to scoop up. And you can simply cut up any larger shapes with kitchen scissors.

Which pasta is healthiest?

It honestly depends on how you define “healthy”. All pasta has a mix of nutrients, but you can choose ones made with different ingredients if you’re looking for more iron, fiber, or protein.

Can I freeze pasta?

Yes, though it will likely be softer when it’s thawed so try not to overcook it to start. Freeze in small freezer-safe containers in individual portions to make it easier for you on the other side to thaw them for easy kids meals.

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Pasta Recipes for Kids

Below are some of my best easy pasta recipes. Whether you like mac and cheese, vegetarian pasta, pesto, or another option all together, you’ll find delicious options to try.

Easy Sweet Potato Mac and Cheese

I like to use a small shape to keep this dish as fast as possible.

Get the recipe.

sweet-potato-mac-and-cheese-on-counter
Easy Cherry Tomato Pasta (to Share with the Kids)

With a no-cook, stir-together sauce, this easy Cherry Tomato Pasta is an easy family dinner. And OH so delicious and fresh. You can leave it chunky or blend it smooth—it’s so versatile for all preferences!

Get the recipe.

cherry-tomato-pasta-in-white-and-colored-bowls
5-Ingredient Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

Use yellow or white cheese according to your child’s color expectations!

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cauliflower mac and cheese
5-Ingredient Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

Use your family’s favorite shape and type of pasta in this recipe. (We like elbows or mini shells!)

Get the recipe.

butternut squash mac and cheese
Spinach Pesto Pasta with Peas

This bright green pesto is cheesy and mild, making it a perfect sauce for a quick dinner of pasta and peas!

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spinach-pesto-pasta-in-blue-bowl
Favorite Alphabet Soup

You can use ABC pasta, orzo, pastina, or ditalini—or any other very small pasta shape in this recipe!

Get the recipe.

alphabet-soup-in-blue-bowl
Easy Pesto Pasta Salad Recipe

This is an easy family dinner or lunch. I like to use Spinach Pesto for this, but any will work if you prefer to buy it pre-made from the store.

Get the recipe.

pesto-pasta-salad-in-bowl
Easy Avocado Pasta

Any pasta shape works in this recipe, so choose your family’s favorite! Omit the garlic if you think the flavor might be too strong for your people. My kids prefer this without the garlic. I like it with it for myself!

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avocado-pasta-in-bowls-on-towel
4-Ingredient Sausage Broccoli Pasta

Just a heads up that you’ll need to reserve a little of the pasta cooking water, so keep that in mind BEFORE you drain the pasta. Chicken sausage is usually leaner than pork, so when making this with chicken sausage, I like to add butter or olive oil before serving.

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broccoli-pasta-in-white-bowl
Easy Pasta with Summer Squash and Beef

This dish is easy to pull together in a short amount of time and is a nice alternative to tomato based pasta dishes.

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zucchini-pasta-in-adult-and-kids-bowl
Quick Butternut Squash Pasta with Veggies and Sausage

You can use frozen peas or broccoli in this recipe according to what you have or prefer. See the Notes for vegetarian options.

Get the recipe.

butternut-squash-pasta-in-white-bowl-and-teal-bowls
Easy Broccoli Pesto

This will likely make enough for two meals. You can freeze the leftovers for a future meal. (This recipe was updated to improve the taste and method in April 2019.)

Get the recipe.

broccoli pesto on spaghetti in blue bowl with pink fork
homemade-mariana-sauce-in-mason-jar

Easy Sauces for Pasta

If you’re looking for a simple, nutritious sauce to add to pasta—either for the whole family or just your toddler—these are great options. Each of them can also be made ahead of time and stored for future use.

To freeze any of these in smaller portions, divide the sauce among an ice cube tray and freeze. Once frozen, transfer the cubes to a freezer bag. Remove as much air as possible and freeze for up to 6 months.

To thaw one cube at a time, place into an airtight storage container overnight or thaw at room temperature.

Easy Spinach Pesto

Try this healthy pesto with your favorite pasta or in place of pizza sauce on pizza!

Get the recipe.

spinach pesto in jar
Easy Kale Pesto (to Share with the Kids!)

Try this healthy pesto with your favorite pasta or in place of pizza sauce on pizza! It’s a kid-friendly way to serve up kale and you don’t have to worry about it turning brown if you store it.

Get the recipe.

kale-pesto-in-container
Easy Marinara Sauce with Extra Veggies

Serve this sauce with 1 pound of your family’s favorite pasta for an easy and healthy dinner.

Get the recipe.

easy marinara sauce in jar on towel
Tomato Sauce from Fresh Tomatoes (in the Slow Cooker)

This tomato sauce method is the easiest way to transform fresh tomatoes into delicious sauce. Scale the recipe up or down for a smaller or larger slow cooker. You don’t have to be precise! And the chopped tomatoes can be very roughly chopped.

Get the recipe.

slow-cooker-spaghetti-sauce-in-freezer-containers in storage containers
Easy Cheese Sauce (with Cauliflower)

This makes enough for 2-3 servings, so you can store any leftovers in the fridge in an airtight container. Reheat it for 15-30 seconds in the microwave to serve. You can also toss any leftovers with pasta for a quick and healthy mac and cheese.

Get the recipe.

how to make cheese sauce

Best Tips for Kids Pasta

  • Start with a small amount of sauce if it’s new to the kids, then add more as they get used to the new flavors.
  • Use small shapes like ditalini, mini elbows, and mini shells as easy finger goods.
  • Use small shapes like stars, ABC pasta, and tiny wagons to make it easy for kids to eat their pasta with a spoon.
  • Use kitchen scissors to cut up any larger shapes of pasta and spaghetti-type noodles.
  • You may also like Family Grocery List, Sample Toddler Meal Plan, Easy Kid-Friendly Dinners, and Make-Ahead Toddler Dinners.

I’d love to hear your feedback on this post, so please comment below!



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