One of the few pre-packaged baby foods my little one eats on a consistent basis is Happy Family’s organic Amaranth Ratatouille. It’s slightly textured with grains of quinoa and filled with yummy vegetables. I decided to make something similar at home and it tastes even better than the one in the store. This homemade baby food quinoa ratatouille is filled with zucchini, eggplant, sweet peppers, squash and tomato, with the addition of quinoa.
If you haven’t jumped on the quinoa train yet, making it for your baby is a good start. It cooks quickly and is full of protein, fiber, iron, antioxidants and other good-for-you stuff. The tiny seed is small enough for baby to eat, which is why you find it in many of my recipes, and in the store brands as well. Did you know The Food and Agriculture Organization of the Nations named 2013 “The International Year of the Quinoa?” I just found that out.
Back to the ratatouille. This is the same dish featured in the movie by the same name, and the baby food version is yummy. I tried some, my husband tried some. Grandma would have eaten the whole bowl if we let her. It’s really flavorful and healthy too!
In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, thyme, eggplant, sweet pepper, zucchini, tomato, tomato paste, quinoa and vegetable broth. Bring to a simmer. Lower the heat and cover. Cook for 15-20 minutes, until the quinoa has "sprouted" and the vegetables are tender. Add more broth if necessary during cooking.
Remove from the heat and stir in fresh herbs and cheese. Puree in a food processor until you reach the desired consistency, adding additional vegetable broth or water if needed.
We don’t eat a lot of cereal in this house. Breakfast is usually some form of toast with butter, jam and tea. It’s not the most nutritious meal, I know. A few times a week, I’ll scramble up some eggs. On a special occasion, it’s French toast or pancakes with bacon. Something like this coconut quinoa breakfast porridge recipe is a bit on the healthy side for us. I didn’t think my husband would like it, but after scoffing at my “sounds like California” meal, he managed to scarf down the whole bowl.
If you love coconut, this recipe is heaven. There’s coconut three ways. The quinoa cooks until tender in creamy coconut milk; it’s sweetened with coconut sugar and topped with coconut chips. A little seasonal fresh fruit and some chia seeds make this a super healthy meal that is as satisfying as it is delicious.
I topped mine with Danielle Roasted Coconut Chips. These are so incredibly buttery good. Grab them to try if you see them in them in the store. You can use coconut flakes as well. In fact, you could add just about anything to this and it will be good. Here are some of my suggestions:
Rinse quinoa in a strainer. In a medium saucepan, heat coconut milk, quinoa, coconut sugar, salt and nutmeg over medium heat until simmering. Cover and cook on low heat, 15 minutes, stopping to stir a few times. While it is cooking, soak the chia seeds in the 6 tablespoons of milk, water or almond milk. Add the chia seeds and liquid to the quinoa towards the end of cooking, as the coconut milk is absorbed. Add more liquid if needed to get the consistency you want.
Serve with fresh fruit and toasted coconut flakes.
I’ve been making baby food for my little one since he started to eat solids at six months. I started with a book of recipes, but soon left the book on the shelf to create my own. Now that he’s 8 months old, I sometimes just puree what we are having for dinner. He loves variety and I can see the excitement on his face when he tries new foods. He’s already had every type of seasonal organic fruit and veggie I could get my hands on, plus yogurt, cheese, beef, chicken, rabbit, lamb, octopus and fish. That’s quite a good start for my little foodie-in-training!
This recipe is a basic one I keep on hand, changing the ingredients according to what I find at the market. Something I like to do is roast my veggies instead of boil them. The flavor is much more intensified, because the water is removed from the veggies as they roast. Quinoa is a great way to add protein and it cooks faster than other grains.I bump up the protein and flavor by cooking it in chicken broth.
Roast the sweet potato and apple whole without oil in a 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes. You should see juice coming out of the potato and the apple skin blistering. Remove from the oven and let cool.
In a pan, combine the quinoa, thinly sliced carrots and chicken broth. Add any seasonings like ginger and cinnamon here. Simmer covered for about 15 minutes. You will know the quinoa is done when little sprouts pop out from the seeds and the liquid is absorbed. Carrots should be fork tender. Let cool.
Peel the skin from the sweet potato and apple. It should come right off in your hand. Slice the apple from the core. Combine all ingredients in a food processor (I use a Cuisinart mini prep for this job). Blend until smooth, adding additional liquid until you get the consistency you like.