This pea and mint risotto for babies is a delicious vegetarian recipe that the whole family can enjoy.
Mess aside, I'm really enjoying weaning Baby S. We're doing baby-led weaning and allowing him to feed himself from whatever I put on his tray.
He loves getting his hands on a spoon, and is really starting to get the hang of eating.
I love this stage - he is happy to try pretty much everything I give him and as a consequence it feels like he's eating balanced healthy meals.
My two older children have got pickier as they got older - although we're now coming out of the other end with five-year-old R, which is a massive relief.
At the moment Baby S has the healthiest diet of the three of them. He eats a more varied amount of fruit and vegetables. Long may it last!
Finding meals that the whole family can enjoy
Nonetheless, I'm finding it a challenge, albeit a good one, to make meals that everyone in the family can and wants to eat.
I've made risotto for the two Rs before without success. Starting weaning over for a third time with baby S has given me a new impetus to cook and serve up different meals. I'm enjoying making things from scratch that I'd got out of the habit of doing.
This risotto went down just how I expected it to with the two Rs - just something I'll have to keep working on.
On the other hand Baby S absolutely devoured it. He really, really enjoyed it. I loaded up the spoons for him (mashing the peas a little as I went) and left them on his tray for him to pick up.
Is risotto suitable for babies?
Risotto is a great meal for both babies and toddlers, including those following baby led weaning. It can be served from the age of six months.
However, many risotto recipes include wine and a fair bit of salt. I prefer to make a salt-free risotto for babies like this pea and mint one, which can be seasoned with salt afterwards for any adults sharing the meal.
Risotto can be mashed up and spoon fed to a baby or it's brilliant for baby led weaning as the rice is stodgy enough for little fingers to grasp it. It would also be a great recipe to turn into arancini - risotto balls - for baby led weaning.
It's sticky enough not to slide straight off the spoon as soon as little hands pick it up. Or you can spoon feed it to your baby if you prefer.
For little babies you may wish to mash the peas up before serving.
Good for adults too
I adore risotto. But for us grown-ups, this baby-friendly recipe is definitely not as full a flavour as a risotto made with wine, salted stock and loads of butter (or dairy free alternative).
But it's still incredibly fresh and flavourful. Serve with grated cheese (why not try my vegan parmesan?) and add some salt to your portion. Toasted seeds or pine nuts are also a good addition.
Add a green salad and you have a delicious family dinner.
- Olive oil
- Risotto rice (arborio rice)
- Dried oregano
- Bay leaf
- Unsalted vegetable stock or hot water
- Fresh mint
- Grated parmesan or vegetarian or vegan alternative or nutritional yeast (avoid parmesan to make this completely salt free)
- Unsalted butter or dairy free spread
- Frozen peas
- Salt and pepper (add separately to adults portions).
If you have any leftovers you could use them to make arancini - you might like this easy baked arancini recipe.
Alternatively store in the fridge for up to three days or the freezer for up to one month.
Rice can be safely reheated as long as you've cooled it as quickly as possible and stored in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer.
If freezing be sure to label and date. If you freeze in small portions you have little ready meals for your baby or toddler.
When ready to eat defrost thoroughly in the fridge overnight and reheat until piping hot. For best results reheat in the microwave. You can also reheat in a pan but you may need to add a little water to stop it from sticking.
How to make pea and mint risotto for babies:
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Please do not reproduce this recipe without permission.
Pea and mint risotto for babies
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion very finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic finely chopped
- 250 g risotto rice
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 litre boiling unsalted vegetable stock or water
- 1 teaspoon fresh mint chopped
- 50 g grated parmesan or vegetarian or vegan alternative or nutritional yeast
- 25 g unsalted butter or dairy free spread, optional
- 200 g frozen peas
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan.
- Add the chopped onion and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and sweat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until translucent and soft.
- Remove the lid and stir in the finely chopped garlic, continuing to cook for a minute or so.
- Add the rice, oregano and bay leaf.
- Stir until the rice is coated in oil and then add a ladleful of stock or water. Stir until the liquid has been absorbed, then add another ladleful. Continue in this way until you've used about 800ml of the water. This will take 15-20 minutes. You will get bored of stirring but it's really important to continue doing so, so make sure you have the radio on or someone to chat to!
- Taste the rice. It should be soft but with a tiny bit of bite. If it's not cooked add a further ladleful of stock or water.
- Stir in the fresh mint, parmesan and butter (if using) followed by the peas.
- Stir over a low heat for a minute or two until the peas have warmed through. Remove the bay leaf.
- Take out a portion for the children and/or baby and then season well with salt and pepper. Alternatively allow adults to season their own portion at the table.
- Parmesan contains salt so if you want to keep this really salt free you could also remove the baby's portion before adding this.
- You may want to mash the peas for a young baby.
- Nutritional information is approximate and is intended as a guide.
- The nutritional information has been calculated using the dairy version of this recipe.