lunchbox ideas

Easy Lunchbox Rollup Ideas

Rollups are a great lunchbox idea for kids who don’t love sandwiches but want something that’s easy and fun to eat. Once I got the idea for Rollup Week on Instagram, the ideas were rushing into my head faster than I could keep up with!

Basically anything that you can eat on a sandwich can be rolled up. Here are some of my favorites:

BLT Rollup

BLT lunchbox

BLT lunchbox

Bacon, lettuce and tomato is a classic combination! Here I’ve swapped out mayo for avocado and rolled it all up in a tortilla before packing it in this lunchbox. Here, I’ve used 1/2 an avocado, mashed and spread it onto a tortilla. Then I added 2 slices of cooked bacon, a handful of shredded lettuce and 4 cherry tomatoes that I sliced. I rolled it up and sliced into pieces.

Burrito Rollup

Black Bean Burrito Lunchbox

Black Bean Burrito Lunchbox

Burritos are a perfect lunchbox idea! Here we’ve got black beans (recipe adapted from Pamela Salzman) with quinoa (instead of rice), lettuce and peppers. I love burritos because they’re so adaptable. Got chicken? Use that! Hate peppers? Eliminate them! Basically anything that you put on a taco can be used in a burrito and rolled up in a tortilla. Add a thin layer of quinoa or rice to half of the tortilla. Top it with beans (or chicken or any other protein). Add other toppings, such as veggies, cheese, salsa, sour cream, etc. Roll, slice and pack!

Strawberry Sunbutter Rollups

Strawberry Sunbutter Rollup

These are totally similar to the Banana Rollups that we pack and love, but different enough to keep it interesting. Know what I mean?
I’m allergic to nuts, so we’re nut free around here. Sunflower seed butter is my go-to substitute. Using strawberries here is a great change of pace from banana. Spread a thin layer of sunbutter (or any nut butter) on the entire tortilla. Add berries in one line in the bottom third of the open tortilla. Here I used 5 strawberries that I sliced. Roll, slice and pack!

Pizza Omelette Rollups & Berry Cream Cheese Rollups

Pizza Omelette Rollups & Berry Cream Cheese Rollups

Pizza Omelette Rollups & Berry Cream Cheese Rollups

Here’s a twofer: Pizza Omelette Rollups and Berry Cream Cheese Rollups. The Pizza Omelette Rollup is made with two eggs that I flat fried in a pan. As they were cooking, I added dollops of tomato paste (about 2 tablespoons), mozzarella cheese and basil. With the heat on medium low, I waited until the cheese had melted. I slid this out of the pan and onto a board and let it rest for a few minutes before rolling. Eggs are a great substitute for tortillas for gluten free folks!

For the Berry Cream Cheese Rollups, spread a thin layer of cream cheese onto a tortilla. Add berries exactly the same way as you’d do for the Strawberry Sunbutter Rollups. Here I’ve used whole blackberries. This also works beautifully with mango and mint!

Avocado Carrot Sushi Rollups

Avocado Carrot Sushi

Avocado Carrot Sushi

I’m allergic to fish, so the sushi that comes out of my kitchen is always made with veggies. They’re easy to make and fun to eat! I’ve got a tutorial posted here that shows how I make avocado sushi. Give it a look!
All you need for this is nori sheets, rice, rice vinegar, avocado and carrots (lightly steamed). Want to give this a little nutritional boost? Use quinoa instead of rice, or add another protein.

Do your kids like rollups? Let me know in the comments below. Feel free to download these photos and add them to the LaLa Lunchbox library so that your kids can choose them regularly. If you like what you see here, follow along with me on Instagram where I post regularly.

Pasta Lunchbox Ideas

I hadn’t realized how many ways there are to serve pasta in a lunchbox until I launched Pasta Week on Instagram. But wow! The ideas are limitless! Here’s a roundup of the ideas I’ve shared with links to recipes where applicable.

Beyond the traditional mac and cheese lunchbox, there’s a world of ideas using pasta to pack up for school lunch!

Do you have a favorite pasta lunchbox idea? Share it in the comments below!

school lunch roundup pasta

Pasta with Quick Meat Sauce

Here’s a meal that comes together in under 30 minutes, and works seamlessly from dinner to lunchbox leftovers. Score! The recipe has just 7 ingredients and is absolutely kid approved. It’s on steady rotation around here and is one of the few lunchbox ideas that I send in a thermos. I’ve used our Lunchbots thermos here.

Pasta with Quick Meat Sauce in a thermos

Pasta with Quick Meat Sauce in a thermos

Pesto Pasta

Pesto is something I didn’t eat for years. With nut allergies like mine, pesto is one of those things that can be dangerous. I love pasta. I love basil. It’s a natural flavor fit for me, so I developed a recipe that I’m absolutely crazy about, and so is my family! I love the simplicity of this recipe, and that I can freeze any unused pesto. This is a perfect example of “cook once, eat twice;” so make a big old batch for dinner and send it off in a lunchbox (assuming you have leftovers!) This is packed in our Monbento.

Nut Free Pesto Pasta Lunchbox

Nut Free Pesto Pasta Lunchbox

Tortellini Kebabs

This lunchbox idea doesn’t have a recipe, and it couldn’t be easier. Tortellini absolutely tastes more delicious on a stick, right? :) All you need are cooked tortellini, veggies of your choice and some lollipop sticks. Here I’ve used tomato and basil, but in the past we’ve used all different veggies (peppers, cucumbers, summer squash, cooked carrot, you name it!) This is packed in our Yumbox Panino.

tortellini kebab lunchbox

tortellini kebab lunchbox

Chicken & Veggie Lo Mein

I started making Lo Mein a few years ago after seeing it on my friend Karen’s feed and drooling over it. Karen runs the blog Healthy Gluten Free Family and has loads of great ideas to feed families. When I decided to give this one a go, it was an immediate hit with my crew. Now we’ve got it on repeat. I’ve modified Karen’s recipe slightly based on our preferences, and make this with either gluten free pasta or regular pasta. This is packed in our PlanetBox Rover.

Chicken and Veggie Lo Mein Lunchbox

Chicken and Veggie Lo Mein Lunchbox

Taco Pasta

We love tacos. We love pasta. It finally dawned on me to combine the two! The tricky part: coming up with a name for this! Is it Taco Pasta? Tacsta? Pasco? Something else?
Essentially it’s pasta with taco seasoning and veggies. For us, this is a fridge forage meal that uses up the odds and ends of the vegetables in the fridge. It also goes nicely with added grilled chicken. Here it’s packed in our Lunchbots Cinco.

Taco Pasta Lunchbox

Taco Pasta Lunchbox

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Easy Pesto Pasta

Nut Free Pesto Pasta

Nut Free Pesto Pasta

Pesto has got to be one of the easiest, most delicious pasta ideas out there. Unfortunately for a nut-allergic person like me, pesto can be off limits much of the time. In an effort to enjoy pesto safely, I’ve developed a recipe that my whole family can safely enjoy!

There are no nuts or seeds, and it calls for both lemon juice and lemon zest to boost the brightness. The end result is a zesty, satisfying sauce that works deliciously on pasta (and chicken!) and packs beautifully in a lunchbox. With just 7 ingredients, this recipe comes together in the blink of an eye. I love it not only because it’s nut free but also because I can make a giant batch and freeze leftovers.

If you give this a try, drop a comment or tag me and let me know how it goes!

If you’re looking for more lunchbox ideas using pasta, I’ve got you covered.

Pesto ingredients

Pesto ingredients

Just 7 ingredients for this Pesto: fresh basil, garlic, olive oil, Parmesan, lemon juice, lemon zest, nutmeg and salt (with an 8th optional ingredient: fresh cracked pepper). My family loves this with pepper, but they actually prefer to put the pepper on themselves, so I usually leave it out of the recipe.

Pesto made in the food processor

Pesto made in the food processor

Place all ingredients into a food processor and this comes together in minutes!

Nut free pesto

Nut free pesto

Ready in minutes, bursting with flavor - this recipe is a winner! Just add this to already cooked pasta and you’re done!

Pesto

Pesto

Pesto Pasta

1 packed cup fresh basil 
1 small garlic clove
1/3 - 1/2 cup olive oil 
1/4 cup Parmesan 
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon lemon zest 
Pinch of nutmeg
Salt and pepper to taste. 

Place the basil, garlic, 1/3 cup of olive oil and Parmesan into the food processor and process until the basil leaves have begun to break down. Add the lemon juice, zest, nutmeg, salt (start with a 1/4 teaspoon) and pepper. Process to desired consistency, and add oil as needed. 

You can freeze leftovers for up to 2 months.

Taco Pasta

Is there anything better than the simple comfort of pasta with the simple deliciousness of taco seasonings? I think not. I’m not sure why the idea to combine the two took me so long to figure out, but I’m glad I finally did!

Taco Pasta

Taco Pasta

This simple recipe combines my taco seasoning with fridge-forage veggies and cooked pasta. It’s a riff on pasta salad, which means you can serve it cold or hot and everyone will celebrate. The possibilities are endless: serve this with chicken, or meat free; with shredded cheese or dairy free; and always load on the veggies to make it a one bowl wonder. This works perfectly for dinner and for lunchbox leftovers.

If you’re looking for more pasta ideas, I’ve got you covered!

If you make this, I’d love to hear what you add! Tag me so that I can see!

Taco Pasta Lunchbox
taco sauce ingredients

taco sauce ingredients

Taco Pasta

Sauce
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano 
2 tablespoons olive oil 
2 tablespoons lime juice
Fresh cracked pepper to taste
*optional: pinch of cayenne pepper 

Pasta
8 oz dry pasta, cooked as directed
1-2 cups of chopped veggies (I used cherry tomatoes and bell peppers)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Method

  1. Combine all of the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and whisk together. Set aside.

  2. In a large bowl, add cooked pasta with chopped veggies and toss to combine.

  3. Add sauce and toss again to thoroughly combine.

Quick and Easy Turkey Meat Sauce

Quick Meat Sauce

A Quick Meat Sauce is a back pocket essential as far as I’m concerned. Most of the time, I make ours with ground turkey, but occasionally I’ll use half turkey/half ground pork, or a turkey/pork/beef combination. I love this dish because it comes together in under 30 minutes, and works beautifully in the lunchbox as leftovers. My kids will eat this cold or hot, but they definitely prefer it packed in a thermos.

With just 7 ingredients, this simple recipe is perfect for a busy weeknight. Add veggies like spinach or chopped bell peppers, and you’ve got a one-pot wonder on your hands. This pairs well with any pasta shape, and we’ve also made it with polenta.

If you make this, let me know how it goes or tag me on Instagram.

Quick Meat Sauce

Ingredients
2 shallots, chopped
1 clove of garlic, chopped 
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 pounds ground turkey 
28 ounce can of chopped or crushed tomatoes
Chopped basil to taste (I used about 1/4 cup)
Salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. Heat a large saucepan to medium heat and add the olive oil.

  2. Sauté the shallots for about 2-3 minutes or until they become translucent. Add the garlic and continue cooking for another minute.

  3. Add the ground turkey and combine thoroughly. Sauté until the turkey is almost cooked through.

  4. Add the tomatoes, salt and pepper and reduce heat to medium low. Cook for another 15 minutes or until the meat is completely cooked through. 

    *Note: my kids like it “meaty.” If yours like it more saucy, simply decrease the amount of ground turkey that you add.