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
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
Rinse the chickpeas (I use these which come in a BPA-free lined can) under water until bubbles stop forming
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.
Drain water and refill with warm water and baking soda. Let sit for 10 minutes.
Drain and rinse the chickpeas then add to blender. Add the tahini, peanut butter, and lemon juice. Add warm water until chickpeas are covered.
Blend, adding more (warm) water to desired consistency. Olive oil and herbs can also be adding while blending, if desired.