Vegetable purees are not only a simple way to hide vegetables in recipes. They are also a great and simple way to make homemade baby food. With just a few steps, you can have affordable, delicious, and nutrition-packed veggie mash. Vegetable puree for babies is easy to make, and by making it homemade you’ll know exactly what is in it. No reading labels, no hidden ingredients – just whole foods you can feel good about serving the whole family.
When parent hit the 6-month mark after their children are born, chances are they’re excited to try out solids. It’s an exciting time! If you’re like me and food is your love language, it’s even more exciting. Finally, you’re able to share your favorites with baby! Not to mention the stinking adorable photo ops that are to come.
We introduced solids using baby led weaning, which I adored. So, it’s kind of funny that my love of pureed vegetables runs deep. But the truth of the matter is that I didn’t even start looking into them until my boys were older. By then, they were becoming typical picky eaters. Soon I was blending up veggies and adding them to everything from smoothies to muffins to cookies.
The secret weapon for picky eaters
At any given point you can probably find one or two containers of brightly colored goo sitting in my fridge. This goo is my ultimate secret weapon.
Not only is it stupidly easy to make but they hold the same exact nutrition as the whole vegetable. But the real benefit is how easily you can sneak them into family favorite recipes.
If you’re here because you’re starting a homemade baby food journey, I’ve got you covered as well! Here you’ll find how to make baby-friendly vegetable mash from the most common choices out there. Make sure you bookmark this page because you’ll want to come back to it often!
Everything to know about Vegetable Purees
If you’re new to the world of feeding littles, you might feel a little overwhelmed. A search delivers a million and seven results. Even worse, not all are even about how to make mash for babies or hidden veggies! Some are for fancy pants sauces for adult meals.
Let’s talk about the basics, okay?
What is a vegetable puree?
Short and sweet, they’re just vegetables that have been cooked until soft and mushed up until smooth.
You can steam, roast, or boil the veggies to get them to the desired texture. Then simply toss in the blender. It’s a simple way to get more vitamins and nutrients into everyday food. Many also use purees as a sauce or a way to add flavor to recipes.
It’s also the easiest way to make homemade baby food. Once they’re complete, you’re free to mix flavors, add in fruits – whatever you like.
What is puree used for?
I use purees in hidden veggie recipes. These little secret weapons can also be used to add flavor and dimension to sauces, soups, and stews. Obviously, serving as food to babies just weaning to solids is the most common use.
We didn’t serve baby food to my kids as babies since we practice baby led weaning. But, we still give them pouches for easy snacks. With these purees you can make your own baby food pouches. (They have reusable ones online!)
Here are some of my favorite uses:
- Veggie smoothies
- Healthy cookies
- Healthy cakes
- Hidden veggie sauces
- In meatballs to add moisture
- In breads like banana bread
- Stirred into scrambled eggs
What are the best vegetables to puree?
Really, any vegetable can be pureed. So long as it’s soft or gets soft when cooking, you’re good to go. You may need to add some extra liquid to thin it if the vegetable is starchy, like a potato.
My favorites are carrot, spinach, and cauliflower. Those tend to be the most difficult to get my kiddos to eat. I love that if I turn them into a puree, I can easily hide them into so many beloved recipes.
How do you make baby food?
The process is truly simple. First, cook the vegetable to soften. Then, blend in a high-speed blender until smooth. Alternately, you can process in a food processor, or blend with an immersion blender. Cool and either serve or store – it’s truly that simple.
How to store vegetable purees
Stored in fridge:
Store in a container in an airtight container for up to one week in the fridge. Personally, I like glass because the many purees can stain plastic. I use a dry erase or grease pen to remember dates they were made.
Can I freeze vegetable puree?
Sure can! Add puree into a silicone ice cube mold.
When frozen solid, remove and add to a large zip top bag with the name and date on it. Remove as much air as possible, seal, and store in the freezer for up to 6 months.
Vegetable puree must-haves
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- A high speed blender. I have this Blendtec which I love, but before this I used a cheap, “normal” blender. If you blender isn’t high speed, you might just need a little more time blending.
A food processor, immersion blender, food mill, or even a plain old potato masher. (Though, a potato masher won’t get the puree as smooth, obviously.
- Glass containers. I like to store my purees in the fridge in glass containers. I’ve had issues with spinach, carrot, and beet purees staining plastic containers.
- Silicone molds. When I’m looking to freeze the mush, I use these silicone ice cube trays. They come out super easy and then I can put all of the cubes into a freezer bag and store.
Okay, so we’ve got the basics down – now how to make them! Below you’ll find the down low on all of my favorite purees. These are the vegetables you’ll find most often in my fridge. I like the keep 2-3 varieties on hand at all times. This way, I never have an excuse NOT to use a veggie.
How to make spinach puree:
There are two ways to make spinach baby food: with fresh or frozen spinach.
How to make baby food with fresh spinach
- Clean your greens and dry well.
- If using baby spinach, simply add to your blender. If using mature spinach, remove any tough stems before adding.
- Blend in a high-speed blender until smooth, stopping to scrape sides every so often. If the mixture gets stuck, add one tablespoon at a time of clean, filtered water.
How to make puree with frozen spinach
- Defrost spinach. This can be done in a pot over low heat, in a microwave, or by leaving overnight in the fridge.
- Add to a blender and blend until smooth, adding water as needed if the mixture is too thick.
Is raw or cooked spinach better for you?
According to the Vegetarian Times, “Both fresh and cooked spinach contain about the same amount of macronutrients in a 100-gram serving.”
So it’s really up to you. Cooked spinach is easier for the body to digest and extract nutrients, though. Because of that, if you don’t have a texture preference, I’d go with cooked.
Uses for spinach baby food
How to make Carrot baby food:
Carrots are a hated veggie in my house so any chance I can get to hide them is a blessing!
How do I puree carrots for baby?
- First, clean and peel raw carrots. You can also use baby carrots to save time.
- Then, chop into smaller, 1-inch chunks. Place into a steamer basket and steam until super soft, 10 minutes or so.
- You can also roast your carrots or you could even just defrost frozen ones. Steaming them is typically the easiest, but roasting brings out a sweetness that is delicious!
- Toss your soft carrots into the blender (or your machine of choice) and blend until smooth. Add water (or if using in a sweet recipe, use juice) to thin as needed.
Uses for carrot baby food:
Carrot recipes for kids are my favorite way to use carrot puree. Here are my all-time favorite ways to use it.
- Soft Carrot cookies
- Healthy Carrot muffins
- Orange Carrot smoothie
- Hidden Vegetable Spaghetti Sauce
Cauliflower, similar to broccoli, is a hard sell to kids. Typically it has a very distinct smell that can throw off even the most adventurous eater. But while cauliflower might look and smell ehh, it’s packed with nutrients that you don’t want to miss out on! Not to mention, it makes a great addition to low carb family meals.
How to make cauliflower puree
My favorite way is to cook the vegetable in milk and then blend, like in my veggie Alfredo sauce. Here’s how:
- First, cover your cauliflower (fresh or frozen is fine) in milk in a small pot.
- Cover, and bring to a simmer, cooking for about 10 minutes or until super smooth.
- Blend the cauliflower, using some of the milk as needed to thin.
How to use cauliflower mash:
- Add to mashed potatoes to reduce calories and carbs
- Make my veggie Alfredo sauce
- Try a healthier mac and cheese
- Try out this Pina Colada Smoothie
Sweet potato baby food
Probably the easiest puree to make, sweet potato mash can be made without any machines. Be it roasting or steaming, this simple vegetable cooks up super soft and smooth. This makes them perfect for being turned into creamy goodness.
How to make Sweet potato puree
Personally, I tend to veer towards using roasted potatoes. In this case, the process is super simple.
- First, clean and prick the potato.
- Next, bake in a 350-400 degree oven for about an hour or so, depending on size until super soft. I usually bake while I’m cooking something else.
- Allow to cool before scooping out the soft flesh and putting into a bowl. Mash until smooth, adding liquid as needed.
Uses for Sweet Potato mash
- Healthy Sweet Potato Muffins
- Creamy smoothies
- Cupcakes and cakes – anything you would use pumpkin in can use sweet potato.
- Add sweetness and thickener to sauces and soups
This veggie tends to have only two camps: love it or hate it. Personally, I’m not the lovely beet’s biggest fan. Something about the earthy taste never made me jump for joy. Not to mention, the mess they can leave does not buy it brownie points. That being said, it’s a great one to sneak into recipes, which is why I love this vegetable puree.
Benefits of beets
The numerous health benefits of the red vegetable are undeniable. Packed with vitamins and nutrients to support your body, you’ll want to find a way to sneak this one in.
- Reduce inflammation and improved digestion
- Improved athletic performance
- Benefitting blood pressure
- Packed with protein, fiber, vitamin c, manganese, and more.
How to make beet puree
Pureeing beets is as simple as adding to the machine of your choice and letting it go. I buy precooked beets in the refrigerated grocery section of my store. You could easily use roasted or blanched beets, peel, and then blend.
Tips for using:
Since they aren’t a “fan favorite” this vegetable is the perfect applicant to be put into hidden veggie recipes. Here are some f my favorites –
- These healthy chocolate donuts are a favorite and you definitely can’t taste them.
- Stirred into sauces and soups with hearty flavors or red wine. I love beef stew with some beef puree.
- A beet smoothie is a great option, plus the color is amazing.
Butternut squash baby food
Butternut squash is one of my favorite vegetables. I love the sweet flavor and I can easily inhale an entire tray of it roasted by myself. Like sweet potato, this one is super simple to make and in many cases won’t even need a machine.
- How to make butternut squash puree:
- Preheat your oven to 400
- Prick the squash all over with a fork or tip of a knife.
- Bake for about an hour or until a knife can easily go through the neck of the squash.
- Allow to sit for a bit – it will be super hot inside! Carefully cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Throw them away.
- Scoop out the flesh into a bowl and mash with a potato masher or fork.
If you want to cook the squash faster, you can cut in half lengthwise. Scoop the seeds out, and place cut side down and bake for at least 30 minutes, depending on the size.
Alternately, you can microwave the squash. Again, dock the squash so it doesn’t explode and microwave for 10-20 minutes, pending the size.
They also sell pre cut, steam in a bag butternut squash in the freezer section of most grocery stores. Those would work really well also!
How to use:
Use butternut squash puree just as you might a pumpkin puree or sweet potato puree!
- I’ve subbed butternut squash in these muffins in the past and they came out great.
- Soft cookies
- Butternut squash soup
- Add sweetness and creaminess to sauces.
So tell me – do you feel confident about trying your hand at making your own purees? Which vegetable do you want to try first? Let me know in the comments!
Got a picky eater?
My kids eat their veggies every day without complaining. Want my secret?
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