Sweet pepper, carrot & parsnip puree

Suitable from 4 months

Sweet pepper, carrot & parsnip puree

Baby-led weaning is all the rage these days, but my daughter still loves purees, smoothies and mashed vegetables as well as pieces. That’s fine with me, as I can’t think of a better way to get in as many flavours and good fats as possible whilst she is still happy for me to feed her some things with a spoon.

It took me a while to think about steaming peppers. At first I tried to grate them, which just leaves a red, watery mess and then I tried giving her big pieces to chew. As she still has no teeth at 8 months and isn’t a very efficient gum-chewer, they just end up on the floor, but I wanted her to get used to the flavour and benefit from all the wonderful vitamins that peppers contain (super duper amounts of beta carotene and vitamin C and good amounts of folate and Vitamin B6). Steaming the peppers lightly with some other vegetables and then lightly pureeing with a bit of fat was an instant hit. We serve this delicious puree along with pieces of meat, fish or liver or sometimes even on its own, for breakfast. That’s right, veggies for breakfast, yippee! She loves it.

Recipe tips
You can use any colour of pepper: we chose red for its bright colour and sweet flavour and the brighter the colour, the more nutrients it has. This is a good puree for babies who are crying out to be weaned before 6 months because it is light as well as being pure vegetable goodness, but for a slightly older or hungrier baby you can add a little avocado to this to bulk it out.

I prefer to make as much fresh food as possible but it is always helpful to have some food in the freezer. Freeze leftover puree in individual portions, for example in an ice cube tray, and pop out into a freezer-proof bag or container once frozen. Single puree cubes can conveniently be defrosted in the microwave or in a small pan on low temperature, whenever you need them.

A study by Newcastle University researchers showed that carrots cooked before chopping contained 25% more falcarinol than did those chopped up prior to cooking. They also found that naturally-occuring sugars giving carrots their sweet taste were found in higher concentrations when the carrots were cooked whole. For this reason, we recommend steaming vegetables before cutting them up if they will fit into your pan.

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