This pasta sauce was developed for babies and toddlers but it is sure to be loved by the whole family. Serve it, chunky or smooth, with your favourite pasta shape/variety.
What Makes this Pasta Sauce Baby Friendly?
- Iron Source - an important nutrient for babies and toddlers. This pasta sauce pairs iron rich lentils with a tomato sauce (Vitamin C source), to help the body absorb more iron.
- Veggie Loaded - Not just one veggie, a mixture of them for important vitamins, minerals and added fibre.
- Smooth or Chunky - Blend this sauce so it is smooth (sticks well to pasta for beginner eaters) or keep it chunky to introduce your baby to different textures.
- Flavour - Baby food doesn’t have to be bland, introducing babies to herbs & spices early can help develop a more adventurous eater. Bonus, it is a sauce the whole family can enjoy.
- Freezable -This sauce freezes really well making meal times easier.
Ingredient Information (with Alternative Suggestions)
For the full recipe, with ingredient amounts, scroll to the recipe card at the bottom of the post.
- Red Split Lentils : Red split lentils are used as they break down and cook quicker than other lentil varieties. They have a softer texture that blend well to make a great pasta sauce for babies. If you prefer a chunky sauce you could replace with other lentil varieties but the cooking time will be longer.
- Veggies: The vegetables not only add nutrition but they add flavour and sweetness too. Tomatoes can sometimes be acidic and the sweetness of the vegetables help to counteract this.
- Passata: Passata is pureed, strained tomatoes and is usually sold in bottles. It should be 100% tomato with no flavourings. Some contain salt so you may wish to check the ingredients. I believe it is known as Tomato Puree in the US. You can replace with crushed or chopped canned tomatoes but the sauce won't be as thick.
- Stock/Broth: Use homemade stock for babies or a no salt / low sodium stock/broth. If you prefer you can dilute or replace with water but it won't be as flavoursome.
- Herbs: Added for flavour, don't shy away from them, it is good to introduce herbs and spices to babies early.
Step By Step Instructions & Photos
- SAUTE ONION, GARLIC, CELERY & CARROTS: This is the flavour base to the pasta sauce. Cook them for at least 10 minutes to soften and coax out the flavours.
- ADD BELL PEPPER & ZUCCHINI: The grated zucchini melts into the sauce, you can chop finely if preferred. Cook for around one minute.
- ADD LENTILS, TOM PASTE & OREGANO: Stir until mixed together.
- ADD PASSATA & STOCK: Stir together and bring to a simmer.
- SIMMER: Cover and simmer for 20 mins to allow the lentils to soften and the sauce to thicken. Make sure to check the sauce and stir occationally to ensure the lentils don't stick to the bottom. You can serve this way or continue to step 6
- PUREE: Use a stick blender or large blender to blend until smooth. This results in a thick sauce that sticks to the pasta well.
- REFRIGERATE: Store the sauce or prepared baby pasta in an airtight contianer for up to two days.
- FREEZE: Allow the sauce to cool and freeze in airtight containers or ziplock bag/s for up to two months. Freeze in meal size portions and thaw in the refrigerator or reaheat on the stove top or microwave from frozen. Heat to piping hot and then allow to cool before serving baby. Learn more about storing baby food.
Frequently Asked Questions
Pasta can be introduced from 6 months. Take care and observe closely if you haven’t already introduced egg or wheat (common allergens) into your baby’s diet yet, as pasta can contain both.
Offer a variety! Generally, pasta made from legume flour (chickpea, lentil, black bean etc) is more nutrient-dense but all pasta varieties are a source of carbohydrate for your growing baby.
The shape you offer will depend on the age and stage of your baby. Larger pasta shapes, like fettuccini noodles, lasagne sheets cut into strips are easier for your baby to pick up. Large spirals (pictured) are also easy to grip and allows the sauce to stick well.
If your baby prefers to use a spoon / be spoon-fed then small baby pasta (like orzo or mini stars) or chopped spaghetti is a good option.
To start with you may wish to cook the pasta a little longer than you normally would, past al dente, so it is nice and soft. Don't add salt to your baby's pasta water.
Other Baby-Friendly Pasta Recipes...
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Baby Pasta Sauce
- Large Saucepan
- Hand Blender / Blender
- 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
- 1 Onion , finely chopped
- 3 Garlic Cloves , minced
- 1 Celery Stalk , finely chopped
- 1 Carrot , finely chopped
- 1 Zucchini (small) , grated
- 1 Red Bell Pepper (Capsicum) , finely chopped
- ½ cup (95g) Red Split Lentils
- 1 tablespoon Tomato Paste
- 1 teaspoon Dried Oregano
- 2 cups (500ml) Passata SEE NOTE 1
- 1½ cups (375ml) Low Sodium Vegetable / Chicken Stock or Broth SEE NOTE 2
- 1 Bay Leaf
- Heat oil in a large saucepan and sauté onions, celery, carrots and garlic on low heat for 10 mins.
- Add the bell pepper and zucchini and stir for a further minute.
- Add the lentils, tomato paste and oregano and stir until mixed.
- Add the passata, stock and bay leaf. Bring to a gentle simmer, cover and cook for 20 mins. Stir occasionally to prevent the lentils from sticking to the pan.
- Remove the bay leaf and, using a stick blender or large blender, blend until smooth.
- Stir through cooked pasta.
- Passata: Passata is pureed, strained tomatoes and is usually sold in bottles. It should be 100% tomato with no additives or flavourings. Some contain salt so you may wish to check the ingredients. I believe it is known as Tomato Puree in the US. If you can't find it you can replace it with crushed or chopped canned tomatoes.
- Stock / Broth: Use homemade stock for babies or a no-salt / low sodium stock/broth. If you prefer you can dilute or replace it with water but it won't be as flavoursome.
Disclaimer: This guide is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to replace the personalised care and advice given to you by a health professional. You should never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read or seen here. Please refer to our full disclaimer for more info.
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