Lentils are definitely a “ohh, yes” ingredient for babies for several reasons: they are loaded with proteins. If your baby is not yet into meat, lentils are a wonderful vegetarian solution to give proteins to your little one. They are very very rich in iron. Iron is essential for your baby to keep blood and brain cells working. By the age of 6 months the natural storage of iron in your baby’s body (the one you gave him at birth) will significantly be reduced and that’s when you will need to increase it through food. In addition to that lentils are very creamy (babies love it!) and easy to cook (moms love it!).
Why red lentils and not other varieties? They cook faster and they almost dissolve once cooked in a smooth cream + they tend to cause less gas as other lentils.
When to introduce in your baby’s diet lentils? At around 8 months. As they are very rich in proteins and fiber they might be difficult to digest for a 6 months baby.
Let’s start with the fun part: this is all you will need for 4/6 baby meals
Prepare the veggies. Peel the carrots and chop them in small pieces, slice the half onion in small thin slices.
Add the carrots and the onion in a medium size sauce pan. Add the garlic clove and 1/2 cup of vegetable broth. If you want to prepare a good homemade vegetable broth click here.
Turn the heat on at medium and cook the veggies for 5 minutes stirring occasionally. You want the vegetables to get tender and half cooked.
Add the red lentils, the remaining vegetable broth, the fresh tomatoes chopped and the tomato paste.
Stir and wait up until the soup is bubbling. That’s when you will need to reduce the heat at minimum and let the soup cook for 20/25 minutes, not covered and stirring occasionally.
Basically you want the soup to cook and absorb the broth.
Turn the heat off and add the basil leaves.
Why I particularly love this recipe? Because it can be a lovely meal for the rest of the family too. At this point, once the lentils are cooked, you can remove the portion that you want to transform in a baby puree and add some salt + oil of olive + parmesan cheese grated to the rest of the soup. The adult lentils soup is ready!
For the baby puree keep going using an immersion blender as I did or placing the lentils soup in a regular blender. Mix everything up until you will reach a smooth and creamy consistency.
Add the parmesan cheese grated, the Extra Virgin oil of olive, stir and enjoy!!!
You can store the baby food in small containers and refrigerate them in the fridge for 3 days or freeze them for 4 months. My little Alex really enjoyed the puree!!