Chicken Pesto Pasta Salad

by Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom on June 17, 2009


Tonight we enjoyed a most delicious meal from Tricia at Once A Month Mom (recipe here).  I paired it with a HUGE yellow squash that was on sale for $.60. Remember when you see produce prices that say “$.60 each” or $1 each,” be sure to get the largest and ripest piece to get the most bang for your buck!

I just love all the colors in this meal…yellow, red, orange and green! (The more colors, the more variety of nutrients in the meal.)

And it seems that my fruit loving 2 year old is turning a corner…he’s starting to ENJOY vegetables!

I’ll let the photos do the talking…

And it’s gone!

He asked for more and more and more. 

(Yes, it appears that I am one of those moms whose camera is always on hand!  And no, I don’t always take photos of my children while they are eating.  Only took these so I can tell him when he is 6, “See, you like vegetables.”)

What’s your kids’ favorite vegetables?  Any tricks or tips you’ve found helpful in getting your kiddos to eat their vegetables!??!!??!

{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

Sherry June 17, 2009 at 6:19 pm

Cute pics! He is definitely devouring those veggies! :D


Jennifer June 17, 2009 at 6:26 pm

I have been one of those lucky mom’s. My kids LOVE veggies!!! I am not sure what I did to get them to like them so much either. I have always fed veggies and fruits first.

One thing though, mine do not eat much meat before 2 1/2 to 3 years old….

Yummy veggies!!!


Diane Bramos June 17, 2009 at 6:35 pm

He is too cute!! Looks like he is loving that squash!! My kids (DD 11, DS 8) love broccoli, spinach, asparagus, beets, sugar snap peas (cold), cauliflower (as “mashed potatoes”), carrots, red bell pepper (only red) and more I can’t think of. I started early by making my own baby food and not giving fruits (except avocado) until they were almost 1. Thy would like to hear what color they could do #1 as from the beets, the smell from the asparagus and the color of #2 with the spinach. Kind of gross, but both kids ate those particular things because of that. They see me eating those items all the time. They do not get “kid food” unless I want it, too. DD is now slacking due to her age, though, so I’d like ideas for tweens/teens. I always (naive, I know) thought that if I set the foundation, they could then choose wisely. Doesn’t seem so sometimes. Thanks!!


Mz. Spider June 17, 2009 at 6:50 pm

This looks absolutely divine. I LOVE pesto, and any excuse to use it is welcome in my kitchen.

As far as children and their veggies, I am blessed. My two girls love them…raw. The only concern was that my oldest, Charlee, hated beans. It was a texture issue. (We’re from NC, where southern cooking is prominent so flavor is certainly not the problem.) One day, I paired lima beans with corn – a crowd fave, and ever since then she’s been more than willing to at least give beans a try. She even tried my *award winning* chili which was loaded with beans. Of course, she didn’t give it a chance until she learned that I won 1st place……the little terd.


Rachael June 17, 2009 at 7:00 pm

He is such a cutie! Look at him go to town on the squash!! That’s awesome!
We loved stuffed portabellas, asparagus, beet & parsnip “chips,” and roasted garlicky kale.

I actually just wrote a post on Battling the Anti-Veggie wars:


Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect June 17, 2009 at 7:33 pm

My daughter USED to be a GREAT veggie eater. But now that she’s a toddler (grrr!), not so much. Lately, she’s only been willing to eat green beans. But tonight, I gave her some green pepper, and she loved it!


Jamie June 17, 2009 at 8:10 pm

Your little guy is so cute! This meal looks amazing! I wish those Once A Month Gals lived near me- I’d take their extra freezer meals anytime. It’s also nice that you are able to eat out doors- we’re in HOT and HUMID Florida and that’s just not happening this time of year.


Susan June 17, 2009 at 8:31 pm

Your dinner looks great and your son is adorable. When my kids were preschoolers they wouldn’t eat any veggies, even though they ate them as baby food and as toddlers. I tried everything to get them to eat at least one bite of a veggie. Dip didn’t work, funny shapes or making faces out of different veggies didn’t work, there was just no way they were going to eat veggies. Finally I decided to tell them they could not have the veggie, that it was only for me and their dad. I served the same vegetable for several nights in a row, each night telling them they didn’t have to have any because it was just for the grownups. After several nights they begged to have them. My daughter’s favorite became “trees” (broccoli). Now, at 20 and 22 they eat all kinds of vegetables, and have even gotten me to like some of the ones I would never eat!


Christy W. June 17, 2009 at 8:39 pm

Very cute pics. I feel like I am always taking pics of my boys while they are eating, it is one of the only times that they are still. And I also am one of those moms that typically has the camera ready. One of my tricks is to cut things in strips and call them green pepper fries, carrot fries, or whatever the veggie may be. Seems like adding “fries” to the end of the name makes them eat it up faster.


Anne June 17, 2009 at 8:50 pm

This gives me hope for my son and “new” foods :) The salad looks yummy!


Damien @ June 17, 2009 at 9:47 pm

Love pesto on pasta. The top pic is fantastic…….oh ok, your kid looks cute too!


Christina Baita June 17, 2009 at 11:30 pm

hello dear. Love the pictures. I am too lucky because Michael is 6 and still loves his veggies. It used to be frozen peas and now he’s established and grew into asparagus and broccoli. My older step daughter “hates” peas and no one will eat spinach. So, based on the sneaky chef, I steam and then puree a few teaspoons of just the, peas, broccoli and spinich. Then, I add in organic tomato paste (turns brown) and then the ground round to make meatballs. The kids always rave about it.

Thanks for a great recipe. Kroger here in Cincinnatihas peppers for $1 each and if you have just the right coupons it’s madness. I even have gluten free pasta that I can use.
Thanks from


Christina Baita June 18, 2009 at 5:16 am

I love the sneaky chef books and make meatballs with pureed steamed peas, spinach and brocolli in it. They are so yummy that even my husband likes them and the kids eat them up. Every month when Michael was in school and I did the monthly school lunch, I made mac-n-cheese with low fat cheese and pureed sweet potatoes and carrots! Thanks for the new idea.


Tricia June 18, 2009 at 8:39 am

Glad the pasta salad worked out. Gotta say I was a bit nervous about that one. Seemed like we might have cooked the pasta too long. . .anyway. My little one LOVES broccoli. Hubs said he is definitely my son.


cindi July 26, 2010 at 3:38 pm

Can’t seem to find the pesto chicken salad with that great picture! Went to the ‘Once a month mom’ site, and looked on all of her daily,and monthly recipes. Which day, or month is that recipe?


Pat June 18, 2009 at 9:26 am

Why did you take off the print option on your recipes. I really miss being able to print them out for my recipe book. Can you put it back on?


Erin June 18, 2009 at 11:05 am

I have the print feature on the recipes that I actually make myself. Recipes from other sites or from guest posts don’t have this option.


Lois June 18, 2009 at 11:21 am

Great pics and a yummy looking meal! Funny timing, I just posted on my blog last night about veggies. My 20 month old had a dinner meltdown last night because we ran out of brussel sprouts. They are his favorite veggie and he was quite upset that he couldn’t have more.


Robin (rsislandcrafts) June 18, 2009 at 11:37 am

Great pics!

Our older two (now 21,18) were excellent eaters. They would try anything we put in front of them. However, our youngest (now 10) was a horrible eater. He would only eat a couple things for weeks at a time and then all of a sudden switch foods on me. Grrr! When he was little we had the rule where the new veggie would have to touch his tongue before he refused to eat it. Then when he got older he had to put a small bite in his mouth and chew it once before he ran screaming to the trash can :). When he was around 5 or 6 I would tell him that he loved a particular food when he was 3 or 4 and then he would eat it. Once he hit 7, I started getting him more involved in our grocery shopping. He was never too interested before that. I would have him pick out one new fruit and one new veggie each week to try out. He still isn’t a great veggie eater but he at least tries stuff now without having a fit.


Laura June 18, 2009 at 2:17 pm

Luckily, my girls have always loved veggies too (now 12 and almost 16). This pasta salad looks delicious and soooooo up my alley! Question: has anyone tried whole wheat pasta? Any preference as to brand? I follow a low-carb diet and I can have some whole wheat pasta (tho I haven’t had any pasta in ages). I’ve never tried it and this recipe really makes me want some pasta!!!! Any opinions on brands???


Jessie June 18, 2009 at 6:01 pm

I love the pics of your little guy! I have a few veggie tricks up my sleeve but more for me than the kids! HA- here are a couple posts I’ve written recently
Laura- have tried whole wheat pasta ages ago (a bit dense) but you could try Tinkyada brown rice pasta I believe it would be similar in beneficial vits (don’t quote me) but less dense. I do eat gluten free now though so my “wheat” tasters are long gone! :) Hope you find a pasta you like.


Stacy June 19, 2009 at 1:01 am

My daughter will eat all veggies except butter beans and plain spinach. We just have a rule that she has to try one bite of it before she can say no. Usually she finds that she likes it.


Stacy June 19, 2009 at 1:02 am

To Laura above…

We use Ronzoni (sp?) whole wheat lasagna and spaghetti noodles. A little more expensive but worth it. You can’t really tell the difference except maybe a bit in the texture of it.


Shauntay June 21, 2009 at 3:24 pm

My kids will eat almost any vegetable…as long as it comes off the grill. Something about the grill just makes everything better!


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