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, and eats a more varied amount of fruit and vegetables. Long may it last!
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 but starting weaning over for a third time with baby S has given me a new impetus to cook and serve up different meals, and to make 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. 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. The advantage of risotto is that it’s sticky enough not to slide straight off the spoon as he picked it up. He just kept coming back for more and more. Little Miss R ate some of it (weirdly she wanted some greek yoghurt on her plate, and ate it dipped into that). R was persuaded to try one mouthful but didn’t eat anything else. He’d been at a friend’s house that afternoon, so I don’t know what he’d had in the way of snacks – usually hunger is the best way to get him to try new foods these days.
For us grown-ups, this is definitely not as full a flavour as a risotto made with wine, salted stock and loads of butter. But it was still fresh and flavourful. We both added a bit of goats cheese, some salt and had it with a green salad and it was a delicious family dinner.
From what age can you serve a baby risotto?
Risotto makes a brilliant baby food so in theory you can give your baby risotto from six months. However, many risotto recipes include wine and a fair bit of salt. I prefer to make a separate risotto for babies like this pea and mint one, which can be seasoned with salt afterwards for the babies.
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.
If you have any leftovers you might like this easy baked arancini recipe.
How to make pea and mint risotto for babies:
Pea and mint risotto for babies
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion very finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic finely chopped
- 250 g risotto rice
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 litre boiling unsalted vegetable stock or water
- 1 tsp chopped fresh mint
- 50 g grated parmesan or vegetarian or vegan alternative
- 25 g unsalted butter or dairy free spread optional
- 200 g frozen peas
- Salt and pepper to serve
Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan. Add the 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 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 people to season their own at the table.
NB: Parmesan does contain 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.
If you like this you might like some of these other recipes that are good for babies:
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NB: this recipe and photographs were updated in November 2018