If your baby is just starting on solids and prefers all things mushy, try this easy recipe for “lasagna.” My son lapped it up. It’s meant for early eaters (6-12 months, as much as 18) who are still spoon fed.
-Whole Milk Ricotta Cheese
-Marinara sauce (non-chunky)
Kitchen Utensils Needed
-Small food processor
The only cooking required is to sauté the spinach until it’s wilted. I did it on a stove top, but you could probably nuke it if you needed to. I didn’t add any salt or oil because the marinara sauce is flavorful and the ricotta has fat content.
Once it’s wilted (use a whole bag), drain off any excess moisture. I actually put my spinach in a small mesh sifter and pressed on it to remove as much liquid as possible. (I don’t like soggy spinach, and I’m assuming my child wouldn’t either!) Then, pulse it in a small food processor until it looks like spinach specks.
*Note on the food processing: A small food processor is invaluable because you can process small amounts of food. With big ones, the blade doesn’t reach low enough. The other issue is that you want to get rid of those stringy chunks of spinach leaves so your baby doesn’t choke, so an effective processor is key.
Mix ricotta with a spoonful of marinara and spinach. Taste it (!) before you feed it to your baby. Mix it so you think it tastes good, if mild. For me, a major part of making my own baby food is make sure it is delicious (and nutritious). It’s amazing, but prepped this way, a whole cup of raw spinach leaves reduces to about a tablespoon. Your baby will be consuming a good amount of spinach this way.
The power player in this recipe is spinach. Spinach provides lots of fat-soluble vitamins like A and K as well as water-soluble vitamins like B and C. It is also a good source of iron. (And babies need iron.) Fat soluble vitamins need a source of fat to be properly absorbed by the body, which is why you should use whole milk ricotta cheese. Acids like citrus or vinegar help the body absorb the iron in spinach, which might be aided by the marinara sauce.
This is just my philosophy, but I think some kids are picky because baby food doesn’t taste good. I wanted to give my son the gift the healthy eating for life, so I tried to incorporate high quality foods (like spinach) in a palatable way. This tastes like mushy lasagna, and marinara sauce is something I cook with often, so he’ll encounter these flavors as he grows up. It was a baby winner. Enjoy!
Share with us! What are your favorite early solids recipes?