Pizza pasta is a kid-simple meal that brings the flavors of pizza into a pasta dish. It’s perfect for your favorite pizza toppings. Make it gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegetarian. You get to decide!
Pizza pasta is a fun and delicious meal that my dad and my sister created together in the 1990s. They share a dairy allergy that made takeout pizza difficult, and this was a quick and easy alternative!
The basic idea is to take all your favorite pizza toppings… and served them on pasta! It’s really that easy.
However, the genius in this recipe lies in its flavor-packed simplicity… because it’s the perfect way to get your kids cooking.
As those of you who are regular readers of Berries & Barnacles know, I’m a huge believer in food literacy and teaching kids how to cook.
Cooking with kids
How you cook with your kids, really depends on their age. However, starting early is recommended… because getting a 14-year-old to do something new isn’t easy.
Here’s how to use this recipe to get your kids in the kitchen.
- Toddlers: The littlest chefs can’t cook pasta or use the oven. However, they can select their favorite pizza toppings. Help chop up soft foods (like mushrooms) with a butter knife. And sprinkle cheese on top of the pasta.
- Young children: Young children can start to grate cheese and use a not-so-sharp knife to cut softer vegetables, like peppers and olives.
- Tweens and teens: Once kids are old enough to boil pasta (the exact timing will depend on each individual child) they can make this dish all on their own. Success! You’ll get a hot meal without having to cook it.
My son is an avid cook. The sort of kid who brought homemade sourdough bread to his middle school fundraiser. He first made pizza pasta on his own at around age 11. However, pouring the pot of boiling water into the strainer didn’t happen until he was about 13, and tall enough to manage it safely.
Now I’m using the same recipe to get my daughter cooking!
- 1 box of pasta (454g)
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 cups of pasta sauce
- A selection of your favorite pizza toppings
- 2 cups of grated cheese
- Salt, to taste
- Cook the pasta following the instructions on the package. Meanwhile, prep the toppings. They need to be chopped, sliced, and diced to the sizes you would typically find on a pizza. We like lots of toppings, but feel free to use as little or as much as you want. For the photographed pasta we used: 1 small onion, 1 tomato, 2 yellow peppers, 1/2 cup of mushrooms, and some leftover kalamata olives.
- When the pasta is ready, drain in a strainer and set aside.
- Put the olive oil in the bottom of the pasta pot. Add whatever toppings you want to be cooked to the pot and saute until soft, about 5 minutes.
- Remove the pot from the heat. Add in the pasta, tomato sauce, and any uncooked toppings. Taste, and add salt, if needed. Usually, no additional salt is needed because most pasta sauces have enough salt for this dish.
- Toss everything together. Spread it evenly in a 6-cup baking dish (8x10-inch).
- Cover the pasta with a layer of grated cheese. Place it under the broiler for 5 to 7 minutes, until the cheese is melted and bubbling. Serve immediately.
- Use gluten-free pasta for a gluten-free meal.
- If everyone likes different toppings, feel free to make several smaller casseroles instead.