Fox Recipe Box: Make-Ahead Lunch Ideas

Recipe Box

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WJW) — Lots of parents find themselves not only working from home, but also overseeing their student’s online learning.  Jen Hyland is a pediatric dietitian with Cleveland Clinic Children’s and she shared some great ideas for healthy, fast and pre-made lunches that can take some stress out of a parent’s busy day.

Make-ahead Italian Pasta Salad – This pasta salad can serve as a small side dish or a full meal with a fruit and veggie on the side! It is fully of protein and fiber, especially if you choose a bean based pasta.

1 lb pasta, noodles of choice (high protein pasta recommended like chickepea or lentil based), but you can use whatever you have on hand (whole wheat, regular, gluten free)

1 lb turkey pepperoni, cut into slices

8 ounces shredded cheddar cheese (or cheese of choice)

2 cups cherry tomatoes, cut in half

½ cup red onion, diced

½ cup bell pepper, diced

½ cup fresh parsley, chopped

Optional add ins: olives, cucumbers – play with any veggies you have in the kitchen!

Dressing Ingredients: from

1 ½ cups olive oil 

¼ cup white vinegar or red wine vinegar

¼ cup water 

2 Tablespoons sea salt

2 cloves garlic (or 1 teaspoon garlic powder)

2 teaspoons dry oregano

2 teaspoons dry basil

Black pepper to taste

Optional addition of fresh herbs (parsley, basil, chives)


1.       Cook pasta according to instructions on the box. Allow to cool slightly, then toss in a bit of olive oil so noodles don’t stick. Allow to fully cool.

2.       Mix up dressing in shaker jar or whisk in bowl until all ingredients combined.

3.       Mix all ingredients together! Dress as desired, you may not use full dressing recipe.

4.       Keep in the fridge for about 3 days and dish out as needed!

*Try other pasta salad varieties

– Greek pasta salad

– Southwest pasta salad 

– Tuna pasta salad 

– Buffalo chicken pasta salad 

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