Protein Baby Food Recipe – Black Bean and Brown Rice Dinner
This baby food recipe combines black beans, avocado, brown rice and apple. Not only is this combination appetizing and packed with nutrients, it also provides baby with complete protein.
Protein plays an important part in the diet and helps support your baby’s rapid growth and development.
As we explain on our page ‘Protein Foods for Baby‘, protein is basically a ‘chain’ of amino acids. The human body needs 22 amino acids, but can only make 13 of them. It HAS to obtain the other 9 from food, which is why they are known as ‘Essential Amino Acids’.
Some foods – mainly those from animal sources, such as meat, dairy and eggs – contain all nine Essential Amino Acids. These foods are said to contain ‘complete proteins’ or ‘whole proteins’.
Most plant sources of food, however, do NOT contain complete proteins. In order to obtain the complete proteins they need, it is important for those following a vegetarian diet to combine two or more sources of incomplete protein (such as rice and beans).
That way, the amino acids lacking in one food will be compensated by those present in another.
Whilst it isn’t absolutely necessary to combine these food sources in one meal (it’s sufficient to consume both within a 24 hour period), using a recipe like this one allows you to feel confident that your baby has consumed complete protein on any given day.
This dish also benefits from the addition of avocado – a great source of healthy fats – and apple, which provides a deliciously tempting sweetness.
We hope your little one enjoys it!
Black Bean and Brown Rice Dinner (6 months+)
2 oz (1/4 cup) uncooked brown rice
unsweetened apple juice
1 apple, cored and chopped*
1/2 small, ripe avocado, peeled and pitted
1 tbsp cooked black beans
*When your baby is at least 6 months of age, we recommend leaving apples unpeeled, since peeling an apple strips away most of its nutrients. Please read our page ‘Should I Peel fruits and Vegetables for Baby?‘ to learn more, to help you decide whether or not to peel produce for YOUR little one.
Cook the brown rice, but instead of cooking it in water, use the apple juice (the quantity you need will vary depending on the type of brown rice used – see the directions on the packaging).
5 minutes before the end of the cooking time, uncover the rice, add the diced apple and re-cover.
Mash the avocado.
At the end of the cooking time, allow the mixture to cool briefly, then add the black beans and stir in the mashed avocado.
For older babies: Mash well – OR you can even serve the dish ‘chunky’, as a finger food (but dice the avocado instead of mashing it and overcook the rice a little, which makes it stick together so it’s easier to pick up).
For babies getting used to texture: Place all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped (the resulting texture is shown in our photo). You may need to add additional apple juice to get the texture just right.
For younger babies: Puree until smooth, adding as much apple juice as required to reach the correct consistency.
This dish can be refrigerated and used within 48 hours or frozen for up to one month.
Another food containing complete protein is hummus.