I am always trying to find quick and nutritious ways to cook broccoli and legumes in an interesting way for my daughter. Broccoli is probably the only vegetable she will outright say is yucky. However recently she has been saying she wants to eat it in between meals. I’m not sure if she is joking or shes finally coming around due to the daily exposure. Legumes have also been a challenge to serve in their whole form. Split peas and lentils are great introductory legumes for little people because they are small and soft when cooked and don’t have that skin that can get stuck in their throat (like chickpeas). I like to add them to pasta sauces, lasagna, curries and stews, for more fibre and protein.
I’ve made this recipe a couple of times and it has gone down without a fight. I have left the option of adding organic free-range ham, for carnivores or flexitarians. My daughter loves ham, which she discovered at Kindy. My local organic butcher makes their own leg ham, so it’s the only one I let her eat occasionally. She would seriously choose ham over sweets any day. If you’re a grown-up vegan you could use some liquid smoke or vegan ham. Although this recipe is delicious and healthy without these additions. If you still don’t use salt in your toddlers’ diet, you can always skip the liquid stock or just make your own salt free version. I use to do this and freeze them in baby freezer pods. You could also use the first part of the recipe of green split peas mixture as a healthier alternative to potato mash.
Green Split Pea and Broccoli Pasta
(vegan, gluten-free option, nut free, soy free)
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 red/brown onion, chopped
1 cup green split peas (soaked overnight)
1 cup vegan reduced salt chicken or vegetable liquid stock
250 grams short pasta (penne, fusilli, etc), use gluten-free if you need
1 large broccoli, cut into florets
optional extras – 3-4 slices of organic free-range ham (for carnivores or flexitarians); or 1/2 tsp liquid smoke (option for vegan grownups)
1.Put a large pot of water to boil.
2. Saute onions with olive oil until translucent.
3. Add the green split peas and ham if using. Saute for a couple of minutes.
4. Add the stock just to cover and cook split peas until they start to soften. Add more stock or water if it sticks. Add the liquid smoke at this point if you are using.
5. While the split peas are cooking you can cook your pasta. Add your pasta and sea salt to the water. Penne takes about 11 minutes, so in the last 5-6 minutes add the broccoli to the pasta water. Cook for longer if you need it softer. To retain more nutrients, steam the broccoli instead.
5. Take 3/4 of split peas and add about 1/2 cup vegetable stock and blend in a high-speed blender.
6. Return the split pea mixture to the pan and stir through the whole split peas.
7. Add the pasta and broccoli to the to the split peas and stir through. Serve immediately.
*Serves 4 people