Thanks to a couple of generous neighbours and the produce of our own little veggie garden, we had quite an array of lovely fresh vegetables with which to prepare dinner last night. And what better way to use them than to make a wonderful pot of nutritious ratatouille!
We love this recipe because it’s VERY easy to make – once the veggies are chopped, there’s little else to do.
PLUS, we cook the chicken right in with the veggies, meaning it’s lovely and succulent for baby at the end of the cooking time… and there’s one less pot to wash after dinner!
This is a very versatile recipe and can be modified in several ways to make it suitable for babies at various stages of development…
- If your baby is enjoying finger foods, then cool the dish after preparation and serve it just as it is.
- If your baby is spoon feeding but enjoying texture, then simply chop the dish finely (we do it with a pair of kitchen scissors).
- If your baby only likes a little texture, then puree the ratatouille/chicken mixture in a food processor, chop the pasta finely, then stir the chopped pasta into the ratatouille puree, which now serves as a sauce!
- If your baby doesn’t like any texture at all, puree ALL the ingredients together. We find that the vegetables naturally produce a fair amount of liquid as they cook, so incorporate plenty of this as you puree the ingredients to give the perfect texture.
For the adults, we like to add a handful of crisply fried, crushed bacon – it gives a lovely dimension of flavour.
And, of course, if you or your baby are following a vegetarian diet, then you can simply omit the chicken from this recipe altogether.
We think this recipe is ideal from around 8 to 10 months of age – and please do feel free to leave out any of the veggies listed if your baby is not too keen on them. The fabulous thing about ratatouille is that you don’t need to follow the recipe too closely!
To Make Baby’s Chicken Ratatouille with Whole Wheat Pasta You Will Need…
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 tbsp olive oil
1 small garlic glove, crushed
1 very large, ripe tomato
1 small onion, quartered
1/2 red bell pepper (you might prefer to peel this – just blacken the pepper all over directly in a gas flame, pop the pepper into a food safe bag, leave for 10 mins… and then the skin will slip right off)
1 small zucchini (courgette), sliced
1/2 small eggplant (aubergine), peeled and cut into small chunks
6 button mushrooms, brushed and halved
1 bay leaf
handful of fresh parsley, chopped
handful of whole wheat pasta
Heat the oil in a saucepan and add the chicken breast.
Cook for around 10 minutes, until it is lightly browned all over, then remove and set aside.
Immediately put the onion and garlic into the pan and cook, stirring, for several minutes until tender. Then return the chicken to the pan and add all the other ingredients (except the pasta) and bring to the boil.
Reduce the heat, cover and simmer gently for 30 mins, until all the veggies are tender and the chicken is completely cooked through.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to the directions on the packaging, then drain.
Chop the chicken/veggies to size, remove the bay leaf, sprinkle the ratatouille with the parsley and serve with the pasta.
Delicious and nutritious… leftovers may be frozen for up to one month.