Sides Snacks and Apps

First Hummus

Iron-rich food sources are important for baby and should be offered regularly from the start of solid food introduction. When we think of iron-rich foods, we generally think of meat, however there are many great plant-based foods, including garbanzo beans or chickpeas. Some parents would rather feed their child a plant-based diet, while others may be struggling to offer meats in a way their child will accept, so they come to me looking for alternatives. If beans and pulses haven’t been introduced into your child’s diet, now is a great time to start! Even if meats/fish/poultry have already been introduced and baby is enjoying those, pulses are an excellent addition. They are packed full of nutrition. Pulses are a great protein source containing many vitamins (Vitamin A, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C), minerals (folate, iron, magnesium, zinc) and fibre.

When incorporating chickpeas into your little one’s diet, its best to offer them pureed, mashed, or smashed. Offering them whole poses a risk for choking because of their size, shape, and texture (even when cooked). My favourite way to add these little nutrition power houses is by making a hummus. I love making homemade hummus for myself, it has so much more flavour and a better texture than the kind at the store, and I tweak my recipe a little when making for my son.

My First Hummus is a great way to include peanut butter and ensure baby gets adequate exposure to this food (it’s important to ensure baby is exposed to the top allergenic foods to help prevent food allergy). I swap some of the tahini (sesame-seed butter) for smooth, all-natural peanut butter. You can add as much or as little as you’d like, and if your child does have a peanut allergy, you can add tree-nut or other seed butters (almond, cashew; pumpkin, sunflower) or make the whole batch with tahini. You can also add as oil (if your baby is having weight gain issues, this is a great way to get some extra healthy fats into their diet) and/or some herbs to adjust the flavour for your child’s preference. Since this recipe will make about 8 portions for your child, you could always add some herbs to a few portions while leaving some portions more plain. It’s a flexible recipe, easy and quick to prepare, and it’s so good, you’ll want baby to share with you!


Author: Andrea Carpenter, RD

Recipe Type: sides, first foods

Serving: 8


  • 1 can no salt organic chickpeas

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • ¼ cup tahini

  • 1-2 tablespoons organic, all-natural smooth peanut butter

  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

  • Warm water, to desired consistency

  • Olive oil, optional

  • Herbs, optional


  1. Rinse the chickpeas (I use these which come in a BPA-free lined can) under water until bubbles stop forming

  2. Pour chickpeas into a bowl of warm water and remove outer skin by rolling chickpeas through your hand and fingers. Skins will settle to the top. Discard skins.

  3. Drain water and refill with warm water and baking soda. Let sit for 10 minutes.

  4. Drain and rinse the chickpeas then add to blender. Add the tahini, peanut butter, and lemon juice. Add warm water until chickpeas are covered.

  5. Blend, adding more (warm) water to desired consistency. Olive oil and herbs can also be adding while blending, if desired.

Cauliflower Rice

Cauliflower Rice

Cauliflower is such a versatile vegetable. It has its own distinct taste, but it can easily be paired with spicy, savory, and even sweeter flavours. Being a cruciferous vegetable, cauliflower is very hearty, and can stand up to sauces and dressings without becoming too soft or mushy, which makes it perfect to use in place of rice.

Lamb and Lentil Meatballs

I am always looking for ways to create new and inspiring recipes that have the flavours of favourite comfort foods but are healthier versions packed with nutrition. This one meets the bill. It delivers the richness of homemade meatballs in tomato sauce in a lighter way. I used lamb in this recipe and the meat is nice and lean, the addition of lentils provides fibre and additional iron and protein, and the parsley provides a good source of vitamin C, which helps the body absorb iron.

This is a perfect recipe to try if you are looking at increasing your child's iron and fibre intake. These meatballs can be served with traditional pasta or with spaghetti squash or zucchini noodles to get even more vegetables into your family's diet. These would also make a great appetizer served with some garlic toasts or crusty bread.


Author: Andrea Carpenter, RD

Recipe Type: Entrees, Apps

Serving: 20-24 meatballs



  • 1 bunch parsley, chopped
  • 1 small can lentils, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 pound ground lamb
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp grated parmesan
  • 2 Tbsp breadcrumbs (GF alternative would be ground flax, almond meal, or ground walnuts)
  • 1/2 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper
  • Pinch of salt


  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1 jar stewed tomatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp chili flakes
  • 2 tsp of dried oregano, basil, and parley or 1-2 tsp each fresh oregano, basil, parley, chopped
  • Salt and pepper, to taste



  1. Prepare the sauce first by chopping the tomatoes and adding to a saucepan with the olive oil on medium heat.
  2. Next, add the stewed tomatoes, garlic, honey, chili flakes and herbs. Heat through and bring to a simmer. Taste the sauce, and adjust the season by adding salt and pepper, to taste.
  3. Let cook for 10 minutes more, adjusting the seasoning as needed.
  4. In a large bowl, add all the meatball ingredients and combine well, using your hands.
  5. Once thoroughly mixed, form into balls, using your hands. Try not to pack them too hard. Doing this will create more tough meatballs (and we want light and fluffy!).
  6. Place the meatballs in a casserole dish, 1/2 inch apart.
  7. Top with the prepared tomato sauce or use your favourite marinara sauce.
  8. Bake in 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.
meatballs 1.jpg


I would love to hear what you think of the Lamb and Lentil Meatballs. Take a picture if you make it at home, and share it on Instagram with #NKkitchen so I can see!