I saw this adorable recipe on the Food Network website for Rainbows and Butterflies Pasta Salad and knew that my little chef would love it.  But of course we added our fun little spin on it and got a little messy in the process.The Step Stool Chef: Rainbow Pasta _The IngredientsFor this recipe we decided to have fun with food coloring.  You will need: Bow Tie Pasta, Frozen Mixed Vegetables, Olive Oil, Food Coloring, Zip Lock Bags, a Mixing Bowl & Spoon and Italian Dressing (not pictured – will explain later)

#2a_Boil PastaFirst cook the bow tie pasta according to the instructions on the box.  We used about 1/2 of the box for this recipe. 

The Step Stool Che_add color_H20While the pasta cooked on the stove, we began to prepare our coloring bags.   The chef added 20 drops of food coloring plus 2 tablespoons of water in each bag. 

The Step Stool Chef: Rainbow Pasta _the coloring bagsHe ended up with about 5 colors (green, red, orange, blue and purple) but your little chef can pick however many colors they like.

The Step Stool Chef: Rainbow Pasta_add pasta to bagNow the pasta should be done cooking.  Sous Chef Mommies can help their little chef by draining the pasta then running cool water over it.  Transfer the cooled pasta to a bowl then the chef can then place a few spoonful of pasta in each bag.  


Cooking can be a great time to reinforce school lessons.  Use this recipe as a great opportunity to talk about math & division!

The Step Stool Chef: Rainbow Pasta_shake it upNow here’s the fun part!  Shake Shake Shake it up… Then let it sit for a minute.

#8_cook veggiesWhile your little chef is shaking it up with the pasta, Sous Chef Mommies can heat up the mixed veggies on the pot.  I just added the frozen veggies in a pot over medium heat for about 7-8 minutes.  Here we used a mix of corn, carrots, peas and green beans. But feel free to use whichever mix you like.  

The Step Stool Chef: Rainbow Pasta Salad_layer colored pastaNext your little chef can open a small hole on the side of the plastic baggies to drain the excess water from each bag.  Then add a little water to each bag to rinse any excess coloring from the pasta.  Then drain again with a small hole on the side.  Your little chef is ready to add they pasta is the mixing bowl.

The Step Stool Chef: Rainbow Pasta Salad_add veggies to pastaNext add the veggies to the bowl of pasta..


#11_add olive oil…then add about 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil to the pasta salad.

#12_add saltAfter tasting the pasta salad, the chef suggested we add salt.  When I tasted it, I suggested we add some Italian dressing.  So we added a bit of both.  Here is where you can work together to discuss seasonings and flavors.

#13_yumHe ended up being very happy with the final result!

Rainbow Pasta Salad
A fun pasta salad that works great in the lunchbox!
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  1. 8 oz bow tie pasta
  2. 1 cup frozen mixed vegetables
  3. 3 tablespoons Olive Oil
  4. 1/4 cup Italian Dressing
  5. Salt and Pepper to Taste
  1. Cook pasta and frozen mixed vegetables according to instructions
  2. While pasta and veggies are cooking, combine about 2 tablespoons of water and 20 drops of food coloring in a large zip top bag. Repeat with however many additional colors you would like.
  3. When pasta is finished cooking, transfer pasta to a large colander to drain. Then immediately rinse it in cold water to halt the cooking.
  4. Transfer the pasta in even portions to the prepared zip top bags and seal. Shake zipper bag to combine the pasta and food coloring, and then let each bag sit for at least 1 minute to soak up the color.
  5. Drain and rinse colored pasta to remove excess coloring. In a large bowl, toss cooled pasta and mixed veggies. Add olive oil, Italian dressing and salt & pepper to bowl. Then mix and enjoy!
Adapted from Food Network
Adapted from Food Network
Step Stool Chef

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About the Chef!

Chef Julian has had a love for cooking since the age of 3. Now as the CEO and Head Kid Chef of The Step Stool Chef, he is focused on empowering kids to be leaders in the kitchen. Chef Julian has been featured on the covers of magazines, newspapers as well as made guest appearances on all major TV networks, conferences and food festivals and is known for his fun & easy approach to cooking.

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