nut free

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.

Banana Tahini Bread

Banana bread just hits the spot sometimes, right? Right.

Nut Free Banana Tahini Bread

Nut Free Banana Tahini Bread

It’s easy to understand why banana bread is so universally loved; When done right, the texture has an inviting richness, with a smooth banana taste throughout. It begs you to take the next bite. The tahini in this recipe adds an earthy depth to the banana bread, which I absolutely adore. It’s hearty. It’s flavorful. It’s well balanced on the sweet/unsweet scale. It’s almost confusing… you’ll want to savor a slice of it, and yet shove it in your mouth as fast as possible. Yeah, it is that good.

banana tahini bread with chocolate chips

I cut myself a slice yesterday, toasted it and smeared on some butter and flake salt. The melty chocolate chips with the salted butter was a revelation! Give this one a try. You won’t regret it. Most recently I’ve been making this with fairly bruised, but not super ripe bananas and I might prefer it! The result is a slightly less sweet but equally delicious loaf. This recipe is dairy free and nut free, and can easily be made vegan by substituting flax eggs for eggs. It packs up beautifully in a lunchbox, and you can serve this any time of day.

Banana Tahini Bread ingredients

I’ve made this multiple times, both with and without chocolate chips, and no surprise, my kids usually vote to include the chocolate chips.

If you make this, tag @lalalunchbox #lalalunchbox so that I can marvel at its beauty!

mashed banana

mashed banana

Banana Tahini Bread

3 ripe bananas + 1 banana for the top (optional)
1/4 cup tahini, well stirred 
1/4 cup coconut oil
3 tablespoons oat milk (you can use any milk here)
3 tablespoons maple syrup
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar 
1 teaspoon cinnamon 
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour 
1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional) 

  • Preheat the oven to 350 F and grease a loaf pan with neutral oil.

  • Mash 3 very ripe bananas against the side of a large bowl. Add the wet ingredients to the bowl: tahini, coconut oil, oat milk, maple syrup, eggs, vanilla extract and apple cider vinegar.

  • Mix thoroughly. I always make sure to leave some lumps of banana, because that’s how I prefer it, but you can use a mixer if you prefer a smoother textured bread.

  • Add the cinnamon, salt and baking soda and stir gently.

  • Slowly add the flour, and continue to stir gently until it is fully combined.

  • Add the optional chocolate chips and give it one final mix.

  • Pour into your prepared loaf pan.

  • Slice the 4th banana in half lengthwise. Place each half on the top of the bread before baking.

  • Bake for 50-55 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean.

Banana Tahini Bread ready to bake

Golden Milk Waffles (Dairy Free and Nut Free)

Golden Milk Waffles for a dairy free nut free lunchbox

I’m all about my waffle maker these days.
I love making waffles because they’re a fun weekend breakfast treat that can carry over to the week ahead in the school lunchbox. It’s meal planning at it’s finest. Whip up a bath of waffles - these Golden Milk beauties, Veggie Waffles or Cheesy Waffles to make into a Grilled Cheese Wafflewich, and you’ve got some fun options for your child to choose from for the week ahead. You can add photos of these to the LaLa Lunchbox app library for your child to choose any time you’ve got extras on hand.

This sweet, spiced version is perfect with sliced fruit, or you can make a wafflewich with your favorite nut butter. These will stay fresh in your refrigerator for 2-3 days and you can freeze them for a month.

GOLDEN MILK WAFFLES

Ingredients for Golden Milk Waffles

INGREDIENTS
1 cup + 2 tablespoons flour
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2 large eggs
1 cup coconut milk (I use full fat)
4 tablespoons of coconut or neutral oil, melted
1 tablespoon date syrup or maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS

Golden Milk Waffles in the making. Dairy free and nut free.
  1. Preheat the waffle iron and the oven to 200 degrees F. In a medium sized bowl, mix all of the dry ingredients.

  2. In a separate bowl, add the wet ingredients: apple cider vinegar, eggs, coconut milk, coconut oil, date syrup and vanilla extract and whisk together until just combined.

  3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, making sure that everything is fully incorporated.

  4. When the waffle iron is hot, pour about 1/4 cup of batter to create each waffle (may change depending on your waffle iron). Close the waffle iron and cook for approximately 3 minutes, or until the steam stops spraying out of the sides.

  5. Use a spatula or your fingers to remove the waffle and repeat until the batter is finished.

  6. Place the waffles on a rack and place that rack in the oven to stay warm and crispy.

Golden Milk Waffles, Dairy Free and Nut Free

Easy Waffles for the Lunchbox

veggie waffles for a nut free lunchbox. Prep once eat twice, easy recipe.

Savory Waffles are one of my favorite things to pack in a lunchbox. They’re the delicious leftovers from a relaxing weekend breakfast. Lately I’ve been experimenting the some waffle variety and I’ve gone from sweet to salty thanks to a great recipe base.

The basic components are more or less the same for each recipe. There’s flour and cornstarch, plus raising agents like baking powder and baking soda, eggs to make them fluffy and buttermilk to give them that perfect acid balance.

From there, I’m free to customize the flavors however I’d like. Cinnamon + cardamom + turmeric make a delicious dairy free and nut free Golden Milk Waffle. Added cheese + paprika and garlic powder for a cheesy waffle. Depending on the additions, I can adjust the cornstarch and flour to get the right texture.

Veggie Waffle for a healthy nut free lunchbox.

Pack these up in a lunchbox as a sandwich base or just by themselves, and your kids will celebrate. My kids eat these cold. Happily. And they love to pack them in their lunchboxes using the LaLa Lunchbox app. Of course you can warm them and place them in foil in that lunchbox, if your kids like things warm. You can pack my Grilled Cheese Wafflewiches or these Veggie Waffles and either way, you’re good.

veggie waffles

VEGGIE WAFFLES

INGREDIENTS
1 cup + 3 tablespoons flour
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/3 cup finely chopped veggies (such as broccoli, carrots, spinach)
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
2 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk
4 tablespoons of neutral oil or unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat the waffle iron and the oven to 200 degrees F. In a medium sized bowl, mix all of the dry ingredients.

  2. Heat a small saucepan to medium high heat, add the butter and melt slowly. In a separate bowl, add the chopped veggies, apple cider vinegar, eggs and buttermilk and whisk together until just combined. Whisk in the melted (and cooled) butter and grated parmesan.

  3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, making sure that everything is fully incorporated.

  4. When the waffle iron is hot, pour about 1/4 cup of batter to create each waffle (may change depending on your waffle iron). Close the waffle iron and cook for approximately 3 minutes, or until the steam stops spraying out of the sides.

  5. Use a spatula or your fingers to remove the waffle and repeat until the batter is finished.

  6. Place the waffles on a rack and place that rack in the oven to stay warm and crispy.

veggie waffle in a nut free lunchbox. Easy recipe, fun for kids.





Nut Free Lunchbox Ideas

If your child’s school has a no nut policy, or if you’re navigating tree nut or peanut allergies, this one is for you!

My home is always nut free because of my allergies, and here’s a roundup of some of my favorite no-nut lunches. You’ll see that some of these lunchboxes have sunflower seed butter. We usually use a store bought variety for that, but I’ve also made my own. Patience is key with that, but the reward is great.

Don’t forget that the LaLa Lunchbox app has a special Nut Free Bundle available for download to provide you with some lunch packing inspiration. Let’s get to it…

Nut free granola, grapes, carrots, banana, dates with sunflower seed butter

Nut free granola, grapes, carrots, banana, dates with sunflower seed butter

There’s a lot to love about this lunchbox.

It’s got my favorite homemade granola - which is usually hard to find without nuts. If you’re nut free, trust me, you’re going to want this recipe. It’s perfect for snacking, breakfast or lunch, filled with a variety of wonderful textures and flavors, with exactly the right sweet/salt balance.

Here we’ve also got carrots, grapes, a tuxedo banana, a couple of strawberries and some dates filled with sunflower seed butter. I eat that regularly as a hearty, delicious snack and it always hits the spot.

Lunchbox with prosciutto, peppers, grapefruit, pomegranate, dates with sunflower seed butter and chocolate chips.

Lunchbox with prosciutto, peppers, grapefruit, pomegranate, dates with sunflower seed butter and chocolate chips.

I like to think about this lunchbox as a cold busting-lunchbox. Here we’ve got vitamin C from both the citrus and the peppers, with fiber and magnesium from the dates, protein from the sunflower seed butter, and vitamins B and C from the pomegranate. 💪🏻 As for that prosciutto and the chocolate chips? Well, that’s for added deliciousness. 

In the lunchbox: Turkey BLT with guacamole and peppers, grapes and orange.

In the lunchbox: Turkey BLT with guacamole and peppers, grapes and orange.

How about a turkey BLT for that lunchbox? We make ours with mustard instead of mayo, but you can customize yours however you’d like! The key is to toast the bread first, so that this sandwich stays crispy for lunchtime. This lunchbox features turkey bacon, but any bacon will do. My tomato-hating kid gets a BL sandwich with no T, occasionally with a scrambled egg. Make sure not to place the lettuce next to your condiment, or you’ll end up with limp soggy lettuce!

In the lunchbox: pizza rollups, banana with chocolate chips, cucumber and baby carrots, strawberries.

In the lunchbox: pizza rollups, banana with chocolate chips, cucumber and baby carrots, strawberries.

Here’s a lunchbox that is sure to make the kids smile. These pizza rollups are made with naan, but you can make them with any bread. Here’s how:
Spread marinara sauce on top of the bread. Add shredded mozzarella and fresh basil and place under the broiler for a few minutes until the cheese has melted. When cool enough to touch, roll the bread up, and slice to make these bite sized roll ups. The process is very similar to rolling sushi. Want a tutorial? Right this way.

To make that spotted banana, use the pointy tip of a chocolate chip and spear into the banana.

Grilled cheese wafflewich in the lunchbox with strawberries, grapes, tomatoes, cucumber and chocolate.

Grilled cheese wafflewich in the lunchbox with strawberries, grapes, tomatoes, cucumber and chocolate.

When I made grilled cheese wafflewiches for the first time, my kids celebrated! What a fun mash up of breakfast and lunch! They're easy to eat, delicious and my kids dig them hot and melty, or cold from the fridge. It’s a serious win in my book! Hop on over to find that recipe, and be sure to stash some in the freezer!