Quinoa in Baby Food Recipes – When Can Baby Have Quinoa? Age for Introducing Quinoa: 8-10 months
When can my baby eat Quinoa?
Quinoa may be introduced to baby from 8 months of age although many babies do tolerate it prior to 8 months. This nutritious grain makes a great addition to your little one’s diet and it is very versatile. You can make it a cereal, a pilaf or a “burger” for finger food!
As with all other foods, you should always consult your pediatrician when introducing solids as generalities may not apply to your baby.
The Goodness of Quinoa for Babies and Adults Alike
Quinoa, pronounced “keen wah”, is actually a seed and not a grain. It has been grown in South America for more than 5,000 years. It is harvested both in and around the Andes Mountains. Did you know that the Incas called Quinoa ‘the Mother Grain‘?
The Incas gave quinoa this name because they thought that eating the grain meant good health and longevity. Quinoa is becoming a popular grain in North America however the sweetest and most flavorful quinoa is that grown in South America. Quinoa is packed with fiber, calcium, iron and folate to name a few of it’s nutrients.
Quinoa (one cup, cooked) Protein – 8.4 g
Vitamin A – 0 IU
Vitamin C – 0 mg
Vitamin B1 (thiamine) – .20 mg
Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) – .20 mg
Niacin – .76 mg
Folate – 78 mcg
Potassium – 318 mg
Phosphorus – 281 mg
Magnesium – 118 mg
Calcium – 31 mg
Sodium – 13 mg
Iron – 2.76 mg
How to select and store quinoa for homemade baby food
You may purchase quinoa whole, in flakes, and even as a flour. Virtually all of the quinoa sold in the United States is completely pre-rinsed so the bubbly, bitter saponins are limited.
Whole Quinoa may be stored for several months in a cool dry place. Most packaged quinoa will have a “best if used by” date on the package as well. Quinoa should be stored in an air tight container and preferably in your refrigerator. You can store quinoa in a cool dry place however ensure that you check on it if you use it infrequently.
Grind Quinoa into a powder by using a coffee grinder or a food processor. Grinding quinoa helps make a more smooth texture when cooked into a cereal!
If you are going to grind quinoa into a “flour”, be sure to store it in the fridge or in a cool dry place. The natural oils that come from the grain may become rancid without refrigeration. When purchasing any type of pre-milled whole grain, it’s always best to buy smaller quantities to ensure that your whole grains are used prior to them going rancid.
Taken from our Blog Post on 18 August 2009.
The best way to cook Quinoa for Baby Food or Baby Cereal
Some people recommend rinsing quinoa prior to cooking it to get rid of its bitterness and saponons; others say toasting it will enable easier digestion. As mentioned above, the quinoa sold in the United States is completely pre-rinsed so the bubbly, bitter saponins are limited.
To Rinse Quinoa – add the desired amount you will be preparing to a fine mesh strainer and run water over it until there are no more bubbles. Sometimes I rinse, other times I don’t but you may want to give a thorough rinsing if you are preparing quinoa for baby. I have never had an issue with bitterness nor have I ever toasted quinoa prior to preparing it.
To Toast Quinoa – add the desired amount you will be preparing to a frying/saute pan and warm over medium heat. Stir constantly so that burning does not occur and remove from heat once the quinoa has turned a golden brown. You may add a small bit of oil to the pan but this is not necessary. I don’t know if toasting will actually help with digestion but I have never heard of babies having difficulty with digesting quinoa. My kiddos have been enjoying quinoa since 7 months of age, without digestive issues.
Quinoa, like millet, will expand much like rice so a good rule of thumb is 1 cup of quinoa per 2-3 cups of water.
Quinoa Powder for Quinoa Baby Cereal:
Cook about 1/4 cup of quinoa powder per 1-2 cups of water.
When cooking ground quinoa “powder” for homemade baby cereal, the key is to whisk whisk whisk as you are cooking to avoid clumping.
Cook Quinoa like Rice:
As with millet, you may cook quinoa like rice and eat it as a replacement for rice. It will take about 10-20 minutes to cook and it will plump up nicely. Use 1 cup of quinoa grain per 2 cups of water. Quinoa will add texture to casseroles, pilafs, soups and stews.
You can also add quinoa flakes to baked goods and even use the flour to create baked goods. Please keep in mind that quinoa is gluten free so do not expect a quinoa baked good to be of the same light and fluffy texture as bread for example.
A Few Quinoa Baby Food Recipes
Whole Grain Quinoa Baby Cereal
- 1 cup whole quinoa (not ground into a powder)
- 2 cups water
Step 1: In a large pot, bring 2 cups of water to a boil
Step 2: Add 1 cup of quinoa
Step 3: Cover the pot, reduce heat and simmer approximately 15 minutes or until liquid has been absorbed. Let stand for five minutes and then “fluff” a bit.
You may add spices such as cinnamon, ginger and vanilla, and also fruits, veggies and/or other foods that are age appropriate for your baby.
Quinoa & Peas Pilaf
- 3 cups cooked quinoa
- 1 cup of your favorite chicken, vegetable or beef stock
Step 1: In medium saucepan, combine ingredients. Bring the mixture to a boil then reduce the heat to low.
Step 2:Simmer for approximately 10 minutes – please watch this closely so that the quinoa is not reduced to a pastey thickness. We have not had good luck with cooking whole grain quinoa in stock – this may be due to the ingredients in the stock; feel free to contact us if you have had success.
- 1 cup cooked quinoa (not pureed.)
- soft cooked apples- diced
- soft cooked yellow squash – diced
- soft cooked sweet potato – diced
Step 1: Toss all ingredients together in a pan with warmed olive oil
Step 2: Saute and scramble then serve warm
Step 3: Optional: scramble in an egg yolk or 2 for a protein and iron boost.
Creamy Quinoa & Bananas
- 1 cups cooked quinoa
- 1/2 cup plain whole milk yogurt1/2 banana, mashed
Step 1: In medium saucepan, combine ingredients and simmer on low for approximately 10 minutes. You are simply warming the ingredients and not cooking them. Please watch this closely so that the quinoa is not reduced to a pasty thickness.
Foods Good to Mix With Quinoa
- Fruits, vegetables, yogurt and meats are all good foods to add and mix with barley homemade baby cereals.
- Try cooking Quinoa in a Homemade Veggie, Chicken or Beef Stock.
- Don’t forget the spices. Quinoa is often best when herbs and spices are added – you may mint, garlic powder or onion powder or even cinnamon, ginger, et al
FAQ: Does Quinoa Contain Gluten?
Rejoice! Quinoa is entirely gluten free!