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Winter Warmers - Soups For Your Plant-Based Baby

fats protein recipe starting solids Jan 31, 2021

It's winter in the UK and at this time of year I find myself cooking a lot of soups. Homemade soups are quick to make and incredibly nutritious for your plant-based baby.  Sometimes I stick to a recipe for a traditional flavour, like the leek and potato I have shared below. But other times I am guided by what vegetables I have in my fridge and in the store cupboard, which is how the butternut squash soup recipe below was born.

Soups are safe for your weaning baby from 6 months. The key thing to consider is not to season the soup with salt and use a very low salt stock cube. Your baby's kidneys cannot cope with salt at this early stage of their development so it is best to avoid adding salt to your cooking. You can always add salt to your own bowl if required once you have served the soup.

 

Supercharge your baby's soups

The great thing about vegetable soups is that you can really play with the different vegetables you add and the flavours. Try adding a bunch of coriander, basil, thyme or parsley for extra flavour and nutrients. You can also play with the ground spices, try ground coriander, ground cumin, dried green herbs or even a curry powder (or garam masala).

To make my soup recipes even more nutritious, I often add a protein source, usually in the form of lentils, beans, chickpeas, pulses or even quinoa. All of these blend up into the soup and help to make it more creamy in texture, as well as providing protein which is essential for your little ones development and growth.

I also try and add a fat source to make the soup higher in calories, which again is essential at this important stage of growth from your infant from 6 to 12 months. Some great examples are fortified plant-based milks, coconut milk, plant-based yoghurts. These can be added to the soup and blended through, or even added at the end into the bowl which will also help to cool the soup for your little one.

I always offer with chunks of wholemeal bread so your baby will be able to dunk this into the soup, allowing the bread to drink up the soup and making it easier for your baby to eat. Especially if they are still getting to grips with how to use a spoon.

 

Leek and Potato (with a twist!) Soup

Serves: 6-8 people

Preparation: 20 mins 

Cook: 25 mins

 

Ingredients

4 tablespoons of oil (olive or rapeseed)

450g potatoes (peeled and cut into 1cm squares)

1 small onion (cut to the same size as the potatoes)

450g leeks, sliced

3 sticks of celery (sliced to 1cm thick)

2 cloves of garlic (roughly chopped)

100g baby spinach

400g of brown/green lentils drained (tinned in water is fine - no salt)

1litre of hot water (more as required)

1 very low salt vegetable stock cube (suitable for under one year old)

200ml of plant based milk (I used oat)

Ground black pepper to season if required

Plant-based greek yoghurt to serve

 

Method

Add the oil, potatoes, leeks, onion, celery and garlic to a large saucepan. Toss until they are coated in the oil. Cook over a gentle heat with the pan lid on.

Saute, mixing occasionally until the vegetables are soft but not golden (around 10 minutes).

Add the stock cube to the pan and enough water to cover the vegetables (around 1 litre).

Bring to the boil and then simmer for 5 minutes. Try not to overcook so the vegetables maintain their delicious flavour.

Add the plant-based milk, lentils and spinach to the pan.

Transfer to a blender or use a stick blender (be careful here as it is very hot, you may have to do this stage in batches). 

Blend until smooth.

Return to the pan and simmer for a couple of minutes.

Serve and add a spoonful of plant-based greek yogurt to the soup.

Allow to cool before offering to your baby. Offer with wholemeal bread to allow your little one to dip into the soup and eat the soup laden bread easily if they are not yet experienced with using a spoon.

 

Butternut squash, carrot and red pepper soup

Serves: 6-8 people

Preparation: 20 mins 

Cook: 25 mins

 

Ingredients

4 tablespoons of oil (olive or rapeseed)

1 butternut squash (peeled and chopped roughly into 1cm squares)

1 onion or 4 shallots (whatever you have available - roughly chopped)

2 red peppers (capsicum) deseeded and roughly chopped

4 sticks of celery (sliced to 1cm thick)

3-4 carrots (peeled and roughly chopped)

3 cloves of garlic (roughly chopped)

200g of red lentils (dried variety - washed)

1litre of hot water (more as required)

1 very low salt vegetable stock cube (suitable for under one year old)

200ml of coconut milk (full fat)

Ground black pepper to season if required

A drizzle of coconut milk to serve (optional)

 

Method

Add the oil, butternut squash, carrots, pepper, onion, celery and garlic to a large saucepan. Toss until they are coated in the oil. Cook over a gentle heat with the pan lid on.

Saute, mixing occasionally until the vegetables are soft but not golden (around 10 minutes).

Add the stock cube to the pan and enough water to cover the vegetables (around 1 litre).

Add the red lentils to the pan.

Bring to the boil and then simmer for 5 minutes. Try not to overcook so the vegetables maintain their delicious flavour.

You may need to add more water here as the lentils cook and soak up the water.

Add the 200 mls of full fat coconut milk to the pan.

Transfer to a blender or use a stick blender (be careful here as it is very hot, you may have to do this stage in batches). 

Blend until smooth.

Return to the pan and simmer for a couple of minutes.

Serve and add a drizzle of coconut milk to the soup.

Allow to cool before offering to your baby. Offer with wholemeal bread to allow your little one to dip into the soup and eat the soup laden bread easily if they are not yet experienced with using a spoon.

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