I’ve been more focused on toddler-friendly meals lately, natural since Nicholas is getting bigger, but I don’t want to stop experimenting with recipes that are also good for your smaller little ones.
These little vegetable cakes are very soft inside so great for babies without teeth. They are a simpler (and slightly quicker) version of my Butternut Squash and Chickpea Cakes, which are easily adapted to feed the whole family.
I made some medium and small-sized ones, but because of their softness the small ones (about 4cm in diameter) are easier for small fingers to hold and also easier to flip over when you’re cooking them.
If you’re making these for toddlers you can add some seasoning and also some spice (I used a teaspoon each of paprika and cumin for a warming spicy flavour). If you’re introducing a little spice to your munchkin, start with 1/2 teaspoon each of spices.
Use your preferred method of cooking the butternut squash, remembering that the quicker you cook it, the more nutrients remain. For toddlers you can leave the peel on as it will get chopped up in the food processor when you combine it with the other ingredients.
This recipe makes a large batch of cakes – perfect to have in the freezer for days you don’t feel like cooking.
SOFT BUTTERNUT SQUASH CAKES
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 15 mins
Makes about 40 mini cakes (or 26 medium cakes)
Approx. 400g cooked butternut squash
1 medium courgette (zucchini), coursely grated
1 400g can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup plain flour
Drizzle of olive oil or cooking spray
For toddler version also:
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp cumin
Salt and pepper
Put the butternut squash into a food processor and blend until smooth. If you’ve left the skin on, check that it’s broken up into small pieces.
Add the grated courgette, chickpeas, egg yolk and flour. Blend until combined (the mixture will be quite runny almost like a pancake mixture).
If making for a toddler, add the paprika, cumin and season to taste.
Heat a large non-stick frying pan over a med-low heat, spray with cooking spray or use a drizzle of olive oil.
Drop small spoonfuls of mixture into the pan (don’t overcrowd the pan to make turning them easier), flipping them after a few minutes when they’re golden brown and cooking the other side. Repeat with the remaining mixture.
Leave to cool a little (they’ll firm up a bit as they get cooler). Serve with yogurt to dip them into.
- Use sweet potato instead of butternut squash
- For toddlers, try some different spices such as ground coriander
- Add some fresh coriander to the mixture
What other soft foods do you like to make for your little ones, especially when they don’t yet have teeth?
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I made these tonight (did some prep yesterday so it was quick to whip up tonight = good plan!). My 17 m/o liked them with yogurt. I made a few changes and would make a few now that I’ve made them. I used w.w. flour instead. Didn’t put the spices cuz were getting over the stomach flu right now and are still sticking to plain stuff. I would put the whole egg, beaten, in next time and maybe add some cheese….Swiss? Alt for serving: top with feta and yogurt with tahini.
Fabulous changes Margaux, love them!
These literally took like two hours to make (not 15 minutes) as you can only put a few in the pan and they take forever to firm up. A good idea but I definitely won’t be making them again.
I’m sorry they didn’t work out for you Sabrina. I made mine quite small and used a large pan; while they’re in the pan they’ll stay soft but will firm up after when they’re cooling down.
Hello, I thought I’d give these a go tomorrow but was wondering if they could be baked instead of fried, my 13 month old doesn’t like this sort of thing when it’s fried. Thanks
Hi Alex, I don’t see why not. Let me know how you get on with baking them. Anne
Hello, I made these today, I didn’t have any plain flour in the house so used dried breadcrumbs and took on board the other ladies suggestion and added some mature cheddar cheese and the whole egg. I baked these for 25 mins at gas mark 6 and they came out golden with a nice outer crunch and soft inside. My little one scoffed the lot so I’ll definitely be making this again. Thanks
That’s fabulous Alex, brilliant changes and even healthier! Thanks for your feedback 🙂
I just tried this recipe for the first time. While it was very easy to make, I substituted pumpkin for the butternut squash because I had a can that I needed to use up. It was a failed substitution attempt; they came out browned on the outside and baby food/puree consistency on the inside. Next time, I’ll stick with the butternut!
Oh Stephanie that’s such a shame as that would have been a brilliant shortcut (and I love cooking shortcuts!). I guess it’s the consistency of the canned pumpkin? Unfortunately we don’t have that here in the UK so have no experience of it. I hope it works better next time and thanks for taking the time to leave a comment 🙂 Anne
I have a question, should the water from the zucchini be squeezed out? Most recipes ask for this step in order for the mixture not to end up too watery. Just wondering since I’ll try to make this for my toddler tomorrow! Thanks!
Why paprika, cumin and pepper only for toddlers? I would think the opposite, spicy for adults. Just curious.