One of my friends suggests not to give protein at dinner until about 10 months old due to the digestion of protein causing night waking in little tummies1. Rightly or wrongly, I followed this. I also didn’t like the idea of giving protein twice a day at such a young age, because it can be quite hard on their digestive systems. So, I needed some vegetarian options for meals. And I found this quite hard! Especially because I was wanting to expand my baby’s tastes and was looking for more than just pureed pumpkin and carrot.
When my boy was about 6 months old, I started mixing greens in to his foods. We all know how good greens are for us (kale, spinach, silverbeet) so I figured they must be good for him as well. Spinach, especially, doesn’t have much of a flavour so it’s very easy to include in almost any meal. Contrast this with chickpeas that have quite an earthy taste and pair it with some sweet-tasting orange kumara and you’ve got a delicious mix of flavours that work well.
Puree’d or mashed, this is also a great way to introduce legumes and greens.
- 2 large orange kumara, peeled or equivalent amount of butternut pumpkin
- 400g can of chickpeas
- 3 large handfuls of fresh spinach
- 2 tbsp of coconut milk or cream (optional)
- Boil or steam the butternut pumpkin or kumara until soft and set aside.
- Next, drain the chickpeas, rinse under water and steam them for about 10 minutes or until soft and warmed through.
- Add the spinach to the chickpeas with about 2 – 3 minutes to go.
- When the spinach is wilted, remove chickpeas and spinach from the heat
- Using a stick blender or food processor, add 2 tbsp of coconut milk or cream and blend the chickpeas and spinach together.
The coconut gives this a lovely creamy, slightly sweet taste, but it’s optional and we love it with or without. You could also add some left-over small chicken pieces or slow-cooked beef for older babies.
If you’re wanting to make this a puree, then add the kumara and butternut to the blending process. If you’re wanting more of a soft lumpy texture then simply mash the kumara and/or butternut separately and then mix in the pureed chickpea and spinach mixture.
Suitable for freezing.
Notes: We followed the Little Ones sleeping programme, their website is here