When my third child was a baby, I used to cook huge batches of these sweet potato quinoa bites and freeze them for a super speedy lunch or snack. And not only for the baby, I myself absolutely love the combo of the sweetness from the potato, the heartiness from the quinoa and the warmth of the spice.
Perfect fit for the little chubby hands, these bites are rich in protein, fiber and vitamin A, all very important components of a baby’s diet. And they do not crumble easily, so less mess to clean up after meals. (Yay!)
Feel free to substitute sweet potato with pumpkin, parsnips or another starchy vegetable if you like.
Whether you are using the traditional approach to starting solids or Baby Led Weaning, serve these bites from about 6-7 months or whenever your baby is ready to pick up food and self-feed.
Sweet Potato Quinoa Bites
Makes: 8 bites
1/3 cup quinoa
2/3 cup water or stock
1 medium sweet potato (about 1 cup mashed)
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1 tablespoon olive or coconut oil
Preheat oven to 390F
Roast the sweet potato until tender.
In the meanwhile, rinse the quinoa in cold water.
Place the quinoa in a pot with the water or stock and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat, cover and simmer until all the liquid has been absorbed, for about 15 minutes.
Peel and mash or puree the sweet potato.
Combine with the quinoa and the spices. Start with adding only half the quinoa to the potato mixture and keep adding more making sure the texture does not become crumbly. The patties should stick together pretty well. Some sweet potatoes are less starchy and will only “take in” a part of the quinoa.
Scoop about 2 tablespoons of mixture, form balls with wet hands and flatten them slightly.
Heat a frying pan over a medium heat and add the oil to the pan.
Sear the quinoa and sweet potato bites for 2-3 minutes on each side or until lightly browned.
Cool slightly and serve.
TIME-SAVING TIPS: Roast a few sweet potatoes to use in soups and salads throughout the week. Keep in a refrigerator for 2-3 days or mash and freeze for up to 2 months.
EDIT: For the original recipe, I tested 1/2 cup of dry quinoa and 1 cup of mashed sweet potato, and it worked great for me but a few readers mentioned that some bites were falling apart. I think the starch level in different varieties of sweet potatoes must affect how the bites hold together. So, to make sure the recipe works for all types of sweet potatoes, I decreased the amount of quinoa for 1/3 cup dry weight. It works perfectly, and the bites stay in one piece even when my toddler picks them up. And to make sure your patties do not fall apart, add quinoa to the sweet potato puree gradually, making sure the mixture does not become too crumbly.
Cooked bites can also be stored in the refrigerator for 2-3 days and frozen for up to 1 month.
Your baby is unique.
So why copy how everyone else is starting solids? Welcome your baby into the wonderful world of food using this safe and responsive method.