Quinoa Baby Food Recipes

Quinoa Baby Food Recipes – Tips and Advice for Introducing Quinoa to Your Baby


Quinoa is slowly growing in popularity as its superfood status becomes more widely acknowledged, but it still hasn’t quite shaken off its reputation as a ‘niche’ food for health nuts!

If YOU’re something of a quinoa skeptic, then we hope you’ll enjoy this page and be convinced that quinoa is actually a tasty, easy-to-cook food… plus we’ll show you just how simple it is to prepare quinoa baby food for your little one

Quinoa baby food recipes

Quinoa Baby Food Recipes

Quinoa Fruity Feast

2 oz (1/4 cup) quinoa
4 fl oz (1/2 cup) water
1 small apple, peeled, cored and finely diced
1 tbsp raisins
1/2 ripe banana, mashed
pinch cinnamon

Bring the water to a boil in a small saucepan, stir in the quinoa and bring back to the boil.
Reduce the heat and simmer gently, covered, for 5 mins.
Add the apple and raisins and simmer for a further 5 to 10 mins, until the water is absorbed.
Stir in the mashed banana and cinnamon, then either puree in a blender (you may need to add a little milk) or serve just as it is!

 

Creamy Quinoa Breakfast

1 apple, peeled, cored and diced
1 ripe pear, peeled, cored and diced
1 drop of vanilla
4 fl oz (1/2 cup) natural yogurt
2 oz (1/4 cup) cooked quinoa

Steam the apple and pear dice, then puree with the vanilla in a blender.
Reduce the heat and simmer gently, covered, for 5 mins.
Mix the fruit puree with the yogurt, then stir in the quinoa and serve.

 

Easy Quinoa and Banana Breakfast

4 oz (1/2 cup) cooked quinoa
1/2 ripe banana
4 fl oz (1/2 cup) milk – you can use breast milk, formula or whole milk

Blend the milk with the banana and pour into a small saucepan.
Add the quinoa and simmer gently for 5 to 10 mins, until thickened.
Puree if desired.

Variations: Add a little chopped dried fruit at the start of the cooking time – apricots taste great!

 

Pretty Pink Quinoa

1 medium beet (beetroot), peeled and diced
1 small apple, peeled and diced
4 oz (1/2 cup) cooked quinoa

Steam the beet cubes and apple until tender, then puree together in a food processor.
Stir in the cooked quinoa and serve!

 

Sweet and Savoury Vegetable Quinoa

This is quite a textured dish, ideal for babies who are already chewing.

8 oz (1 cup) quinoa, cooked in vegetable broth
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp diced zucchini/courgette
1 small sweet potato, peeled and diced
1 spring onion/green onion/scallion, chopped
1 tbsp raisins
1 tbsp chopped, dried apricots

Soak the raisins and dried apricots in warm water to soften them.
Heat the olive oil in a frying pan/skillet.
Saute the zucchini and sweet potato dice with the onion until golden.
Stir in the cooked quinoa, raisins and dried apricots.
Serve warm – mmm!

 

Easy Quinoa Curry

This recipe is ideal from around 10 months of age.

4 oz (1/2 cup) cooked quinoa
1 small onion
olive oil
1 clove garlic
1 tsp fresh ginger, crushed
6 oz (3/4 cup) cannellini beans
1/2 tsp curry powder
6 oz (3/4 cup) canned tomatoes, chopped

Heat the oil in a frying pan/skillet and saute the onion for 2 mins.
Add the garlic and ginger and saute for 2 mins more.
Stir in the cannellini beans and the curry powder.
Add the tomatoes and cooked quinoa, then lower the heat.
Simmer for 10 mins, then mash well and serve.

 

Chicken and Quinoa Patties

A wonderfully nutritious finger food for older babies! 8 oz (1 cup) ground chicken
1/2 sweet potato
1 medium apple
1 garlic clove
1/2 small onion
1 egg yolk, beaten
2 oz (1/4 cup) cooked quinoa
pinch dried thyme

Peel the sweet potato, apple, garlic and onion and grate them together into a bowl.
Stir in the ground chicken, beaten egg yolk, quinoa and thyme and mix thoroughly.
Divide the mixture into balls, then press with your hands into 1/2 inch thick patties.
Cook under the grill/broiler for 10 mins each side, until cooked through.

If you want to prepare some of these in advance for future use, then freeze the patties BEFORE cooking them!

 

Nutritious Quinoa Meatballs

Another great finger food idea!

1/2 lb lean ground beef
4 oz (1/2 cup) cooked quinoa
2 oz (1/2 cup) grated carrot
1 egg yolk, beaten
2 tbsp applesauce
pinch dried thyme

Preheat the oven to 400 deg F (200 deg C).
Mix all the ingredients together and form into 1 inch meatballs with your hands.
Cook for around 15 mins, unitl the meat is done.
Serve warm, storing excess meatballs in the freezer.

So what IS quinoa?

Quinoa (pronounced ‘keen-wah’ for some odd reason!) is actually a seed, NOT a grain as many people believe. It is, however, used just like a grain and can be cooked and served in place of foods like rice and couscous.

The seeds are tiny and look somewhat like millet – or, as a friend of ours insists, caviar! The type of quinoa most commonly available is ivory in colour, but you can also find pink, red, brown and black varieties. And the good news is that you can use differently-coloured quinoa seeds interchangeably in your recipes.

Quinoa nutrition facts

South American in origin, quinoa has been consumed for thousands of years and has long been revered for its health-giving properties. The Incans, in fact, believed that it increased the stamina of their warriors!

Quinoa contains lots of calcium, plus phosphorus, magnesium, vitamins E and B, fibre and iron.

It is gluten free, so it’s suitable for babies who need to avoid gluten in their diets.

Quinoa also has a higher protein content than any grain and actually contains ALL the essential amino acids. This is very unusual for a plant food and makes quinoa an excellent source of complete protein for vegetarian babies.

And if all these benefits weren’t impressive enough, quinoa is VERY easy to digest!

What more could a baby ask for?

Sources:

Nutrition Facts – Quinoa
Celiac.com – Quinoa the Amazing Gluten Free Grain
WHFoods – Quinoa

When can I give my baby quinoa?

Quinoa is not a common allergen and can be introduced to your baby from 6 months of age (with your doctor’s consent, of course).

Quinoa is one of the first foods that we have offered our children (from 6 months of age) and remains a firm favourite to this day, particularly with our youngest son. He won’t touch another thing on his plate until he has devoured every bit of his quinoa!

It’s good to know that such a healthy food can be such a popular one, too!

Buying and storing quinoa

There was a time when you could only find quinoa in health food stores – but now that it’s beginning to ‘catch on’, it’s appearing more and more frequently in regular grocery stores.

If you can’t find it available in any stores in your area, then you’ll find it available from many companies online (you can even find it on Amazon!).

Quinoa is sometimes sold in bulk bins. If you buy it from a bulk bin (which is often the most economical option), then make sure that the bin is kept adequately covered, so that it is safe for your baby. It’s also better if the store you buy it from is busy enough to ensure that the stock is regularly turned over… you don’t want to buy stale quinoa!

More often, though, you’ll find quinoa sold pre-packed, particularly in leading supermarkets where it tends to be displayed along with rice and other grains.

Quinoa has a reasonably high oil content. Although it can be stored in an area which is merely cool and dry, it will last even longer – up to 6 months – if you keep it in the fridge.

How to prepare quinoa for your baby

RINSING

In their natural state, quinoa seeds have a bitter coating called saponin. Pre-packed quinoa has usually been thoroughly rinsed to remove this coating, but it’s still a good idea to rinse the seeds again before using them (in fact, the instructions on the packaging will often tell you to do so).

You can do this by placing them in a very fine-mesh strainer and running cold water over them – or do what we do and rinse them in a coffee filter!

The quinoa is then ready for cooking – but there is another step you can take at this point if you choose!

TOASTING

You can give the quinoa a richer, ‘nuttier’ flavour by toasting it after rinsing it. Just make sure the seeds are totally dry, then cook them in a large frying pan / skillet over a medium heat for 3 to 5 mins, until they are golden in colour and producing a tempting aroma!

You might like to experiment with toasted/untoasted quinoa to see which type your baby prefers.

COOKING

Quinoa is cooked in a similar way to rice – usually, you use twice the quantity of liquid to the quantity of quinoa (ie 2 cups water to one cup quinoa).

Simply bring the liquid to the boil, stir in the quinoa, bring to the boil again, then immediately lower the heat to a gentle simmer and cook for around 12 to 18 mins, until the quinoa has absorbed the water. Then, just fluff with a fork!

Do check the packaging, however, as the amount of liquid required and the cooking time do tend to vary from one brand to another.

And please note that you should only rinse quinoa immediately before cooking it – if it’s left sitting around wet (or if you soak the seeds instead of rinsing), the cooking time will be reduced.

When fully cooked, the quinoa seeds are translucent in appearance and soft in texture. But if you look closely, you’ll see that the germs of the seeds have separated into little curls. These curls are actually quite crunchy and give quinoa a pleasing ‘bite’ (but not to the extent that it is difficult for baby to manage).

The seeds expand a bit when cooked – so be careful how much you use! That being said, the seeds are still VERY small and VERY messy – make sure you use a good bib (preferably one with a crumb tray or pocket) and cover the carpets when quinoa is on the menu!

PUREEING

You can puree cooked quinoa with milk or water to serve to your baby, although we’ve never quite managed to puree it to a completely smooth texture. Then again, we have only fed it to our little ones FROM 6 months of age, by which time they didn’t object to a little texture anyway!

In fact, we think that the teeny-tiny cooked quinoa seeds – stirred into a puree – make a great stepping stone between smooth and lumpy textures, bridging the gap quite nicely!

If, however, your little one flatly refuses to eat anything with texture, you can grind your quinoa to a powder in a food processor, grain grinder or coffee grinder.

To make quinoa puree…

Bring 8 fl oz (1 cup) of water to a boil, then add 1 to 2 oz (1/4 cup) powdered quinoa, stirring constantly. Lower the heat and simmer – still stirring – for 5 mins. Adjust the texture by using more/less liquid as desired.

More quinoa baby food ideas

  • Add a cinnamon stick to the water when cooking quinoa for a unique and tempting flavour.
  • Cook quinoa in a 50/50 mixture of milk and water to make a sweet dish, or for breakfast. Alternatively, use apple juice or even coconut water – delicious!
  • Cook quinoa in homemade or low sodium broth for a delightful savoury flavour.
  • Add uncooked quinoa to stews, soups and casseroles 15 minutes before the end of the cooking time (add a little extra liquid too, if necessary).
  • Use cooked quinoa as a substitute for fresh breadcrumbs when used as a binder (in patties, for example, or meatballs).
  • Add cooked quinoa to a puree of banana and blueberries.

 

More superfoods for baby – try our barley baby food recipes

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