There are plenty of recipes for toddlers to be found and one needs to make sure that when their toddler does eat that they get as much nutritional value as possible from each meal. The big problem is that it can be extremely difficult to get a toddler to eat anything at all.
From talking to a lot of Mums and Dads the universally accepted toddler meal appears to be good old pasta with a bolognaise sauce. For some reason all little ones just love it.
My lovely vegetarian wife has developed a vegetable packed version of this classic meal that your toddler is sure to love. It not only looks and tastes like the meaty pasta you know and trust but it has the added nutritional benefits of a stack of veges that we could never get our toddler to eat on their own.
We have fed this meal to a lot of our meat eating friends without telling them that it contains no meat and nobody has ever noticed. It is not until we tell them that they voice their surprise so it’s not as if it tasted weird and they were just being polite – they really didn’t notice!
Because of the great variety of ingredients squeezed into this toddler recipe we have no problem feeding it to her three or four times a week. There is everything she needs in this power packed meal.
Here is what you will need to make enough for four adults (and some left over for lunch too).
VEGETARIAN WIFE’S FAMOUS BOLOGNAISE RECIPE
1 x large onion
1 x large carrot
1 x large zucchini
1 X small eggplant
2 x garlic cloves (crushed)
1 x 400g can lentils (drained and rinsed)
2 X 400g cans salt reduced tomato soup
100g button mushrooms
50g baby spinach leaves
500g packet of pasta (we use penne)
2 x tablespoons BBQ sauce
1 x tablespoon dried oregano
1 x tablespoon Hungarian paprika (mild)
Salt and pepper
1. Wash and pat dry all fresh ingredients.
2. Finely dice the onion, carrot, zucchini, eggplant, mushrooms and spinach.
3. Over a high heat, (approx 8/10) heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large frying pan and then add onion and garlic and cook for 3 mins or until soft, stirring continuously.
4. Gradually add the carrot, zucchini, eggplant, mushrooms, spinach, and lentils and then cook for 5 – 7 mins mixing well.(NOTE: If you add the ingredients a little at a time it helps to keep everything nice and hot and so it all cooks better.)
5. Add the tomato soup, BBQ sauce, oregano and paprika and bring to the boil while mixing well.
6. Cover and simmer on low heat (minimum) for at least 20 mins and up to an hour stirring occasionally.
7. Cook the pasta as per instructions.
8. Pour sauce over cooked pasta and eat (grated cheese and green salad optional.).
I generally make the recipe for the family and then freeze the remaining sauce only in individual portion sizes. These can be re-heated easily and quickly in the microwave when required and all you need do then is add freshly cooked pasta and you are ready to go.
You can even skip the pasta and serve the sauce only with a bit of grated cheese and a slice of bread. Our little one just loves slurping up the cheesy sauce with a spoon and gobbling down a mouthful of bread straight after.
A food processor is very helpful as all the ingredients need to be unrecognizable for this meal to be a success (ie your kids cannot know what they are eating!) and dicing by hand is very time consuming.
The best thing is that our little one likes it so much that not only is it requested but it actually all gets eaten and we sleep better knowing that our cupcake is getting all the vitamins and minerals from a variety of vegetables that her growing body needs.