Everywhere you look at the farmer’s markets in July you see different forms of zucchini squash in different shapes and sizes. While zucchini squash is extremely palatable for babies, older kids can find it a bit boring. I am convinced that one of the reasons kids don’t like green veggies is that they are bored of the way they are cooked or presented. With a bit of variation, these sweet and tender greens can be delicious to young children.
Here are a couple of ways we cook zucchini at home to make it a bit more interesting. Don’t worry about peeling the zucchini; the skin is soft and yummy and provides most of the interest anyway.
You can give zucchini to babies at an early age (around 7 months) because it is such a palatable veggie.
My First Zucchini
1. Prep a saucepan of water with a steamer placed on top.
2. Wash, trim, and chop zucchini into 1” cubes. Wash, peel, and chop potato into 1” cubes.
3. Place potato in water in the saucepan and zucchini in the steamer on the top. Cover with lid and bring water to a boil.
4. Remove zucchini if it cooks before the potato is soft (don’t let zucchini overcook – it should still retain its bright green color, not olive green). Once vegetables are done, drain.
5. Puree veggies in a blender or food processor, adding milk if it gets too thick. Serve warm.
Freeze leftovers in ice cube trays for later use, or store in the fridge for 24 hours.
My Second Zucchini
Zucchini is a great mixer veggie with leafy greens like broccoli, spinach, and kale, which can be introduced around 8 months (depending on how quickly your baby is developing), because it acts as a sweetener. I always add potato to thicken and make a more satisfying mix.
Spinach/Broccoli/Kale, Zucchini & Potato
For babies 8 months and up.
1. Prep vegetables. Chop onion. Wash and cut zucchini into ¼” slices. Wash, peel, and cut potato into 1” cubes. Wash leafy green and chop roughly.
2. Heat oil in a saucepan and fry onion gently until soft. Add potato and zucchini and stir. Add vegetable stock, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes. Add chopped leafy green and stir. Simmer until veggies are soft but still bright green (don’t over cook to olive green color).
3. Puree veggie mix in a blender or food processor and serve. Freeze leftovers in ice cube trays or small containers.
To add variety, mix in grated cheese for added flavor, or mix with small pieces of pasta for a more substantial meal. When baby is 1 year old, serve with white fish and grated cheese for a delicious fish Florentine.
FOR TODDLERS & THE WHOLE FAMILY
Braised Grated Zucchini
*Grated zucchini is also wonderful served raw in a salad. Its taste and texture are easy on the young palate.
Cold Zucchini-Basil Soup
If your kids like soup, then tickle their tastebuds with this chilled summer soup. This recipe uses basil, which also is easy to find at the summer farmer’s markets. Thank you to Anne Bunn for sending in this recipe, which she found in Gourmet Magazine.
1. Cook onion and garlic for 2-3 minutes in the olive oil in heavy saucepan.
2. Add chopped zucchini and a pinch of salt.
3. Cook for 5 minutes.
4. Add 3 cups of the water and simmer, partially covered, until tender (about 15 mins).
5. Puree soup in a blender with the basil.
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