This is my go-to lunch/dinner plan for my little bug, Sofia, who is now 13 months old and loves eating food with her hands. As much as she likes spoons, she doesn’t like it when you try feeing her with them. BORING! She would much rather do it herself. And every 13 month old knows that you need to first dump the food from the spoon into your lap before you actually put it in your mouth. So yeah, that’s why I go for the grab-ables.
And honestly, keeping up with the constant feeding of a growing child is a lot harder than I thought it would be. There are days when this little muffin eats close to as much as I do for breakfast, lunch and dinner! But I’m always lovingly in the kitchen coming up with meals that not only pack in the nutrients, but are easy and enjoyable for her to eat and take only minutes for me to prepare. This busy mom doesn’t have all day, and neither do you!
I discovered pretty early on that she loves the taste of hummus, especially roasted garlic hummus. For this little bug, the more garlic the better. And as convenient as it is buying store bought hummus, it just felt wrong feeding it to her on the daily since they tend to have more ingredients and additional preservatives than I would ever put in mine. As we all know, fresh is best!
So, with that, I started making hummus just for her on a weekly/bi-weekly basis. I know it seems like a lot of work, but really it isn’t. All you need are some garbanzo or white beans, tahini, garlic, olive oil, lemon and sea salt – and let the blender do all the work for you.
Simple Homemade Hummus (Baby Proof)
3 cups cooked garbanzo beans
2 tbs tahini
1 lemon juiced
2 cloves of garlic
2 tbs olive oil
1/4 tsp sea salt
HOW IT’S MADE:
1. Prepare the beans. I personally stray away from canned beans, unless I am extremely pressed for time or preparing food in someone else’s home. But here’s how it’s done: One time-saving trick I use for preparing fresh beans is, I make a huge pot full at a time and take what I need for the week and freeze the rest in small single-serving plastic bags so that they’re there for me to take out of the freezer as needed. Easy peasy non-canned beans, at your fingertips.
Spread beans in a single layer on a large sheet tray; pick through to remove and discard any small stones or debris and then rinse well.
Next, soak the beans using one of these two methods:
Traditional soaking method: In a large bowl, cover beans by 3 inches with cold water, cover and set aside at room temperature for 8 hours or overnight.
Quick soaking method: In a large pot, cover beans by 3 inches with cold water, cover and bring to a boil. Boil for 1 minute, remove pot from heat and set aside, covered, for 1 hour.
Drain soaked beans and transfer to a large pot. Cover by 2 inches with cold water, add 3 bay leaves and bring to a boil; skim off and discard any foam on the surface. Reduce heat, cover and simmer, gently stirring occasionally, until beans are tender, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Drain beans (if desired), discard bay leaves and you’re ready to roll.
2. Roast the garlic. Place 2 tbs of olive oil in a small frying pan along with two cloves of fresh garlic. Cut each clove in half lengthwise, so you end up with four small garlic pieces, and place in pan. On high heat, tilt the pan forward so that the garlic is submerged in the oil. Once the pieces are dark brown, turn off the heat and let the garlic and the oil cool for a minute. Once slightly cool, pour both the oil and the roasted garlic cloves into the blender.
3. Make the Hummus. Place all remaining ingredients in your high-powered blender and blend until nice and creamy. Adding water slowly until you’ve reached your desired texture.
4. Make the Pasta. I personally like using pastas like using brown rice or quinoa based pastas in the shape of macaroni or fusilli or shells (just because it’s easier to grab). But standard pasta is fine too. (Just maybe not on a daily basis.) Mix 1/4 cup of hummus for every 1 cup of pasta. Sofia will typically eat through 1 to 2 cups of pasta depending on her hunger levels.
The tip here is to make 1/2 package to a whole package of pasta, that way you have it for the rest of the week. To heat up pre-cooked pasta, simply add a touch of olive oil to a nonstick pan, add a single serving size of pasta and stir until nice and warm (you’ll also notice that it’ll soften as it gets warmer). Then turn off your burner, let sit for a second and gently stir in cold hummus. This will allow the pasta to cool down to a comfortable eating temperature for your little one.
5. Enjoy! This dish isn’t just a hit for babies, but for the whole family! Try mixing some grilled onions, peas and carrots in for a more robust dish for older kids too! Want to change the flavor up a bit? Blend in sundered tomatoes, olives or even basil!
WHAT’S THIS DISH PACKIN’?
Garbanzo beans (aka chickpeas) help build strong immune systems. They are an excellent natural source of zinc and copper, two minerals that are essential for the development and function of immune cells. Just one cup of cooked chickpeas (164 grams or 5.7 oz) provides nearly 30% of the Daily Value for copper and about 17% of the Daily Value for zinc. Garbanzo beans are also a great source of fiber (12.46 g/cup), protein (14.53 g/cup), Iron (4.74g/cup) and folate.
Garbanzo beans also offer benefits to the digestive system. Chickpeas, like other legumes, can cause significant intestinal gas, which is one of the main side effects associated with high consumption of chickpeas. However, chickpeas may also offer some interesting health benefits for those who suffer from gastrointestinal problems. A review published in the British Journal of Nutrition in 2012 reported that diets rich in chickpea may improve overall gut health by aiding the movement of material through the digestive system and by preventing constipation.
How do you and your little one like to enjoy this dish?