Thursday, August 30, 2012

Cream of Spinach (revised for Dairy Free)


I love the Cream Spinach with Lentils Over Brown Rice that we posted in April 2011; I have made it countless times for Little Joy and still do!  Little Asher cannot have dairy at all until he is 15-18 months so this limits me on what I can cook for him and I prefer not to cook separate meals for my two epicuties (even though I know it is inevitable as this stage).

I decided to really test my cooking abilities and wing making this recipe dairy free, below is what I came up with and it was quite tasty, surprisingly.  If you look at our previous post, you will see it is very similar.  

Oh and for the record, this tasted great to me too!

Ingredients:
  • One bag baby spinach
  • 1 tablespoon grated sweet onion (about 1/3-1/2 of a large onion)
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced or through a garlic press
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup imitation cream cheese (see photo below)
  • 1/4 cup firm tofu
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tsp dried fresh basil
  • Cooked red lentils (cooked according to package)

Steps:
  1. Cook red lentils according to package instructions or if there are not any, check out this website about cooking lentils
  2. Wash and trim  spinach (if needed), place in food processor along with minced/pressed garlic and grated onion.
  3. Pulse it in food processor several times until the spinach reaches your desired consistency.  Be careful not to over process it, the goal is the finely and evenly chop it (in the previous post I said to chop it with a knife, but I found the spinach gets to a better size for a younger baby when the food processor is used--not to mention its MUCH quicker).
  4. Combine cream cheese and tofu in small chopper and puree until smooth (you might be able to use 1/2 tofu and omit the imitation cream cheese but I wanted the consistency to be smooth since the original recipe called for yogurt).
  5. Place spinach mixture in large sauce pan (spinach cooks down a lot so if your pan looks full...do not worry).
  6. Cook over medium heat covered for approximately 5-8 minutes. Be sure to shake the pan often to ensure the veggies do not get burned.
  7. Drain veggies well (if needed).
  8. Stir in Olive Oil and continue to cook for 3-5 minutes, continue to stir constantly (I am not good at doing anything constantly when the epicuties are awake, so just do your best)
  9. Remove from heat and stir in tofu mixture, salt, pepper and basil.
  10. While warm, mix in about a 1/3 lentil to 2/3 spinach mixture.
Yield: 3-4 servings

Serve:  Warm; can be served over cooked brown rice.  I spoon fed this to my 10 month old (Little Asher) and my toddler fed herself with the cream of spinach on a cracker.

Variation for a Toddler:  Little Joy enjoyed the dairy version of this on top of crackers (in the original post it was served over brown rice, but tried something new to liven things up).  So it was kinda like a dip!

Timing: 10 months or later; there are some strong flavors in here and lentils are best to wait to introduce until 10 months. This food does not require much chewing/grinding so if your Little One does not have many teeth, do not despair!

Storage: I would say 3-5 days in the fridge; freezer for about a month.  I froze the dairy version of this and it tasted fine frozen and reheated.
Difficulty: 2 out of 5 using the food process made this quick and easy

Epicutie Rating:  (see left side of page for rating descriptions)

  • Little Joy:  Yummy in the Tummy: She loved eating this as a dip.  We also tried it in a quesadilla and she was not as keen on it.
  • Little Asher:  Yummy in the Tummy:  He kept opening his mouth for more!!!  He even loved it on the second day.
Step 3:  Pulse spinach, onion and garlic in food processor

Step 9: After adding tofu mixture


Step 10:  Add lentils and stir

Little Asher's Meal; served with lima beans and tofu cubes dusted with graham crackers (post for that coming soon)

Little Joy's meal; cream spinach served over crackers with tofu cubes, cheese and lima beans


Little Joy trying it

She's saying "Its gonna be yummmmy"

"I like it Mommy" she said

Little Asher getting ready for the first bite

Seeing if Big Sister liked it

After several bites, he got into it and he liked it!!



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About the Authors

This blog was started by two Babywise pen pals to document our adventures in high chair manners, making our own baby food and doing our bests to raise happy, healthy, thriving little ones!

Epicutie #1

Epicutie #1

Little Joy at 2 years, Sept 2012

Epicutie #2

Epicutie #2
Little Frances

Epicutie #3

Epicutie #3
Little Asher at 11 months, Sept 2012

Epicutie #4

Epicutie #4
Little Elizabeth, July 2013
  • Yummy in the Tummy: Epicutie thoroughly enjoyed each bite
  • Somewhat yummy: Epicutie seemed to somewhat enjoy the food at first, but seemed to like it less with subsequent bites
  • Not so sure I like it...yet: Epicutie somewhat rejected the first bites, but seemed intrigued. The next exposure may be better!
  • Confused: Epicutie rejected the first bites, perhaps due to texture or strong flavor.
  • Sour Puss: Epicutie gave a sour face indicating she did not like the food. However--if at first you do not succeed, try, try again!

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