As a professional cook and soon-to-be dietitian, nutritious food plays an important role in my household — I love making food for my children. I typically make different purees, then mix and match them for each meal. I pair similar vegetables or fruits together, sauté leafy greens with lemon and extra virgin olive oil, prepare proteins separately with some additional vegetables or healthy fats added in, like coconut, and a healthy fat puree consisting of avocado, lemon, and hemp seeds. I also like to make large batches then freeze them in mini silicone ice molds and store them in my Stasher bags. When it's time to eat, I grab what's needed from the freezer and reheat. (Try these tips for how to reheat baby food from frozen.)
Another great use of my Stasher bag is to steam fruits and vegetables right inside. For this recipe, I combined sprouted lentils along with steamed golden beets (cooked inside my Stasher bag), coconut milk, and hemp seeds for a different twist on the basic purees I typically make. I went the extra mile to sprout the lentils so that it’s easier for baby to digest. Sprouting grains also make the nutrients more readily available to absorb. Sprouting lentils take about 1 to 2 days to complete and is very easy to do. You can also skip this step; just make sure to soak your lentils overnight. Let's get started!
Sprouted Lentil & Golden Beet Coconut Baby Food
- 1 cup dried lentils
- 3 medium golden beets
- 1 cup coconut milk, full fat
- 2 tablespoons hemp hearts
- Soak your lentils overnight. You can drain them and start the sprouting process or you can cook the lentils right away.
- How to sprout lentils: drain and rinse your soaked lentils in a metal colander. Once they are drained thoroughly, place the colander on a plate out of direct sunlight. I placed them on my kitchen counter. Rinse and drain lentils again in 8 to 12 hours. Once you see tails start to emerge from the lentils you can stop and cook them. If there are no tails yet, repeat for one more cycle (rinse and drain for another 8 to 12 hours).
- Place soaked or sprouted lentils into a small pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook until lentils are tender, about 10 to 15 minutes. Drain and set aside.
- Wash and peel beets. Cut them into ½” sized wedges. Place a large stock pot filled ¾ full with water. Bring to a boil. Place beets into a Half Gallon or Stand-Up Mega bag. Seal the bag and carefully place them into the boiling water. Steam for 60 to 80 minutes or until fork tender (my beets took 80 minutes).
- Place hemp hearts and coconut milk into a high speed blender (I use a Vitamix) and blend until hemp seeds are pulverized, about 30 seconds on high. Add lentils and beets and blend again until smooth. Pour into silicone ice molds and freeze. Once they are fully frozen, store puree cubes in a Stasher bag or bowl and place them back into the freezer for up to 6 months.
Yield: 5 cups of puree
I hope to inspire all parents out there to give baby food making at home a try. It’s not as daunting of a task as it seems. You can start small and meal prep single items first and then work your way up to making large batches of each food group. Freeze them in small cubes and store them in your freezer for up to 6 months. Not only will meals be quick and easy, but it also helps to minimize food waste. Simply place food cubes into a small bowl and defrost overnight in the refrigerator.
Looking for more homemade baby food ideas & tips? Check out these blogs →
This is a guest post from Diana Ngo, mom, wife, chef and soon-to-be RD. Keep up with her on Instagram, @diningwithdiana.