In this blog, we talk about all things baby food; making it, storing it, the health of it, etc… But the one area I’ve been reluctant to share is actual baby food recipes. Call it “trade secrets” or my entrepreneur protectiveness kicking in, but you normally don’t get specifics from me unless you take one of my cooking classes or attend a cooking demo.
People ask why I bother with teaching baby food making classes. Seems contradictory since I want to sell them my own baby food, right? I’m equally as (if not more) passionate about teaching & educating parents about healthy baby food as I am about producing my own.
So in that spirit, today’s blog is going to all about baby food ideas inspired by the fabulous fall flavors, and root vegetables in particular… And hint hint, these can also be used for your own family dinners, just cook extra and reserve some for baby food.
The Scoop on Root Vegetables
Although I can’t stand the cold weather (one reason I moved to the Bay Area from Boston), I do love soup & stew season. And a large component of any stew of mine is root vegetables. They’re earthy, hearty, packed with good nutrients, are super-easy to cook with…and they make excellent baby food!
My Favorites: Golden beets, Tokyo turnips, purple kohlrabi and celery root
Other great options: Parsnips, sunchokes, rutabagas, and watermelon radish
Recommended cooking: Either roast in the oven or sauté on the stovetop for best flavor
The Root of Roasting:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Peel root veggies, chop into ¾ – 1 inch pieces
- Toss with either olive oil or melted coconut oil, and add any herb or spice
- Spread in a single layer on a cookie sheet (not crowded) – I like to put aluminum foil or parchment paper on the bottom for easier cleanup
- Roast in oven for 45-60 minutes, stirring every 10-15 minutes
- They should be slightly browned and soft when finished. If they get too brown, turn the oven down 25 degrees. If they start to get dry, add more fat like olive oil.
The Root of Sautéing:
- Peel root veggies, chop into ½ inch pieces.
- In a large skillet (10 inch or 12 inches) over medium heat, heat up enough olive oil or coconut oil to coat the bottom of the pan, approx 2-3 tablespoons. (Be liberal; remember babies need lots of healthy fat).
- Add root veggies and sauté for 10-15 minutes, stirring every 2-3 minutes.
- They should be slightly browned and soft when finished. If they start to burn, turn the burner down. If they start to stick, add more fat.
For baby food, consider mixing some of the stronger root vegetables (like beet, celery root, parsnip) with milder and sweeter options (like sweet potato, kohlrabi, baby turnips or sunchokes). It’s a good way to balance out the strong earthy flavor, and the kiddos seem to really like it.
Fun Fall Flavors
And finally, here are some recipe ideas you can play around with…baby food or a side dish for your family dinner, take your pick.
- Roasted golden beet with apple, ginger & fresh parsley
- Sautéed celery root & fennel with coconut milk, white sweet potato & cinnamon
- Roasted parsnips with sweet potato, pear & fresh thyme
- Homemade spiced pear sauce with coconut quinoa & clove (see baby cereals)
- Roasted butternut squash with carrots, sautéed turnips and a hint of maple syrup