My son is off to Kindergarten this year, and my other son is going to a new daycare. For the first time, we have to think about packing lunches for them as well as for ourselves, so this summer, we have been trying out new ideas for lunches. This one came up in my Facebook feed today just as I was getting ready to go to the store desperate for something other than a sandwich for lunch. When I told my five year old about the idea, he was excited about having it, even saying he'd rather have ladybugs than peanut butter and jelly!!!
I modified the recipe ever so slightly. The only mini bowties I could find were the Barilla Piccolini, which have tomatoes and carrots pureed into the pasta; these were also the cheapest in the store. I also didn't want to spend the money on another jar for my pantry, so I omitted the Coconut Spread (our store only had a Peanut Butter Coconut Spread) instead using a drizzle of olive oil, a drizzle of red wine vinegar, salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning.
I really enjoyed this one! The best part was the tomatoes I'd plucked from our plant; they were so delicious and sweet. My sons ate it after some cajoling; the five year old claimed he no longer likes pasta but really enjoyed the fruit I put into little cups on the plate (my first pseudo attempt at Bento lunch!).
Ladybug Pasta Inspired by Bentoriffic
1/2lb shape pasta (I used mini farfalle)
two handfuls grape tomatoes, cut in half
a can of black beans, drained and rinsed
a handful of sliced black olives
salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
a few shakes of Italian seasoning
red wine vinegar
Grated Parmesan cheese
Prepare pasta according to package directions. Drain. Meanwhile, add the rest of the ingredients to a large bowl. When the pasta is finished cooking, drain, and add to the bowl. Toss all ingredients together. Refrigerate to cool down (I served it after about 5 minutes in the fridge.) Serve and enjoy!