“Baby Ghanoush”

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Life has changed considerably since the last time I sat down to post a recipe here. Most of my cooking these days isn’t even for me and my husband anymore… it’s for our 9 month old twins!

As a dietitian, I’m frequently asked if I cook all of my babies’ food myself. And most people are surprised that my answer is “no!” I would love to cook 100% of their food. Honestly I would. But as a mom of twins with a full time job (not to mention an hour and 15 minute commute each way) plus a part time job online, I need to take shortcuts here and there to maintain some level of sanity and sleep. Instead of staying up at night peeling, coring, dicing, steaming, and pureeing apples, I’m perfectly ok with buying jars or squeezy-packs of baby applesauce. Yes, I go for the organic brands, but I’m not going to beat myself up over failing to provide homemade apple or pear sauce. What I’ve learned in the past 9 months is that nothing you planned pre-kids is going to happen the way you pictured it, and perfection is unreasonable. You just figure out what’s most important to you, and focus on that.

That being said, I do try to make most of the veggies (which I find generally easier to prepare than fruit) and all the proteins they’ve tried so far. Since they’d already tried most of the basic go-to’s, I was looking for recipes for how to introduce eggplant, and was surprised that I couldn’t find much. So I decided to invent my own!

I didn’t come up with the name “Baby Ghanoush” until I was in the middle of feeding it to them, but it’s a play on baba ghanoush, the mediterranean eggplant dip. Recipe is as follows (amounts are approximate since I wasn’t measuring; also can be adjusted to taste):

  • 1 whole eggplant
  • 1/2 cup dried garbanzo beans
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 2-3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/8-1/4 tsp chopped garlic
  • small handful fresh parsley

Soak the garbanzo beans overnight in 2 cups water. The next morning, change the water and boil for about 1 hour. I didn’t use canned garbanzo beans because they all had added salt, which babies shouldn’t have, but if you can find unsalted canned ones, go for it! I also added these instead of doing straight eggplant to give it some protein. Roast the eggplant whole on the middle rack of a baking sheet in the oven at 350 degrees for 1 hour. (Note: do not prick holes in the eggplant, cover it in foil, slice it, etc. Just stick the whole thing in there. The Kitchn has an article on why this is the best way! Once it’s done, let it cool and then slice the top off and remove the peel, or cut open and scoop the flesh out with a fork or spoon. Add the eggplant and chickpeas to your blender/Vitamix/baby food maker with the rest of the ingredients and blend until smooth.

I usually leave a day or two’s worth of portions in the fridge and freeze the rest in Mumi & Bubi baby food trays. Then you can pop the individual portions out and store them in a labeled freezer bag.

The verdict: taste tested and approved by two babies — one who is pretty picky as 9 month olds go — and three adults (we had a friend visiting who actually wanted to taste my baby food)! I’d be curious to hear the results if anyone tries this out with their babies — leave a comment!

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