A working weeks worth of ideas for simple and tasty dinners for vegetarian babies and toddlers...
MONDAY: SAUSAGE & MASH
Monday’s can be miserable and come dinner time we are all in need of some comfort food. Sausage and mash is just the ticket. Try combining veggies into the mash for extra nutrients. Some ideas are:
Sweet Potato You can steam it, bake it, boil it or even microwave it with no peeling necessary! Just scoop out the flesh once it’s nice and soft and mash it with some butter/vegan marge and a little nutmeg.
Carrot & Sweet Potato I use a ratio of 2:1 in favour of the sweet potato
Celeriac or Celeriac and White Potato I find this works best steamed and put through a ricer and my daughter doesn’t really notice the addition of celeriac so a good one for any fussy eaters.
Carrot & Swede This is a great one for younger babies but my toddler knows the difference so I tend to make this in addition to a simple white potato mash.
TUESDAY: MEZE BOWL
This is a super speedy dinner if you use shop bought falafel, we like this one from Cauldron Foods.
Couscous takes just minutes to make and you can even serve the falafel cold if you prefer. Chop up any veggies you have in grazable strips and load a bowl up with couscous, hummus and falafal.
WEDNESDAY: EGG ’N’ CHIPS
This was one of my dad’s classic meals growing up, dipping your chips into a runny egg yolk is one of life’s pleasures. If you are vegan you could serve the chips with a big dollop of hummus or make a quick vegan scramble, I love this recipe from Minimalist Baker. Making your own chips really doesn’t take long. I leave the skin on and if I’m pushed for time I just toss them in a little olive oil seasoned with garlic powder, pepper and depending on your child’s age a tiny sprinkle of salt. Heat them in the oven at around 190° for around 30 minutes giving a toss half way.
THURSDAY: PASTA NIGHT
I think most children like pasta and tomato sauce and by making a big vat of it and saving in portions, you can serve up in the time it takes to cook your pasta. My daughter loves spaghetti. To make it more managable I snap it into three pieces before I cook it but for younger babies use a pair of scissors to snip into small pieces once it’s cooked. Another great pasta to use is red lentil fusilli as it has lots of protein in it making this a more balanced meal. My go to tomato sauce is:
- 2 tins of good quality Tomatoes
- 2 tbs Olive Oil
- 2 large cloves of Garlic
- 1 tsp Oregano
- A dash of red wine vinegar
- Salt and Pepper
I used to use sugar to balance the flavours but I now try to avoid it and I find adding a dash of vinegar cuts through the acidic tomatoes just as well. Some people also suggest using carrots to sweeten a tomato sauce but I haven’t yet tried this.
Fry the garlic in the oil and then tip in the tomatoes. This recipe is easy to double up. I like to simmer the sauce for an hour or so but it can be as little as five minutes as I don’t use onions and so nothing really needs to be added. If I have fresh basil I add this at the end and then I blitz it all up using a hand blender. It makes the sauce lovely and silky but again, you don’t have to if you prefer a chunky sauce.
FRIDAY: PIZZA TOAST
We often make pizza toast, pizza pittas or mini tortilla pizzas. Topping ideas below:
- 1 tsp tomato purée mixed with 1 tsp pesto (or just pesto)
- Grated cheddar or vegan cheese
- Finely sliced soy sausage
- Finely chopped smoked tofu
- Spinach, shredded and mixed with the cheese
- Sliced Red Onion
- Cold sliced New Potatoes
- Seeds like pumpkin and sunflower added at the end for a bit of crunch
I'd love to hear your ideas for quick mid-week meals. Tag me on Instagram @cocomamabebe