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Hearty Pumpkin Quinoa Puree for Baby

Photo Credit: Gayvoronskaya_Yana

I love the sweetness of kabocha squash, and the fact that it is chock-full of nutrients is an added bonus. As a kid, we didn’t have butternut squash, zucchini squash, spaghetti, or a lot of the other varieties that you see in the market today. Kabocha squash was the most common that was grown locally, and we would eat this squash with the skin when our mama steamed it with a little pinch of sea salt. The seeds were then dried for snacks or to make egusi soup. I have tried a variety of squashes, but kabocha is the sweetest and creamiest of them all.

Kabocha squash is very nutritious — that deep, orange color you see is loaded with beta-carotene, which is converted into vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A is important for healthy white blood cells,  immunity, and for vibrant eyes, skin. and hair. A single serving of kabocha squash provides 70% of the daily recommended requirement. It is also a good source of iron, vitamin C, and some B vitamins, making it a wonderful addition to your child’s diet.

Quinoa is one of the world’s most popular health foods. It's gluten-free, high in protein, and one of the few plant foods that contain all nine essential amino acids. It has the same protein that beef has but without the fat. It is also high in fiber, magnesium, B vitamins, iron, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, vitamin E, and various beneficial antioxidants. Quinoa is one of my all-time favorite foods.

I added leeks to this dish for both the flavor and nutritional value. Leeks is of the garlic family but with a milder flavor, and it contains high amounts of polyphenols. Polyphenols are antioxidants that play a crucial part in protecting both blood vessels and blood cells from oxidative damage.

Ingredients:

1 cup cooked quinoa
2 cups of kabocha squash cubes (peeled, seeds remove, and cut into small cubes for even cooking)
2 tbsp. chopped fresh leeks (about a thumb)
1 cup water

Instructions:

Add kabocha squash, leeks, and water in a small pot. Cover and steam for about 15-20 minutes or until tender. Remove from the stove. Pour cooked kabocha squash in a blender and add cooked quinoa; blend until creamy, add liquid (water, breast milk) if needed to your child’s consistency.

Pour puree into small freezable glass jars (Sage Spoonfuls has some fantastic containers) and freeze for up to three months.

To serve, thaw overnight in the refrigerator, place jar in a bowl of hot water, and mix well before serving. It will be good in the refrigerator for 48 hours after defrosting. Remember not to feed baby directly from the container if you plan on keeping leftovers.


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