I’ve been making baby food for my 8-month-old twins since they started eating more than baby cereal; and now that they eat from every food group, veritable meal planning is happening in our kitchen. The other day I picked up a bag of organic green split peas, figuring the kids would enjoy mushy peas. I flipped over the package for cooking instructions and found a recipe for dal, the bean-based stew common to Indian cuisine. They loved this recipe for green dal, shared after the jump.

Baby food, organic, green dal, baby's first foods, homemade baby food

Since they’ve successfully eaten and enjoyed the ingredients previously (except for the spices), making dal instead of basic peas is an easy upgrade to help develop baby’s tiny tastebuds.

To play along at your home, here’s what to do.

Green Dal for Babies (Makes about 8 cups; can be frozen and reheated.)

1 16 oz bag (dried) split peas (preferably organic, for all ingredients listed)
1 T oil
2 C chopped yellow onion
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1T garam masala*

Rinse and sort the peas, drain, and place in a pot with 5 cups of water and 1/2 cup of the chopped onion. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer until the peas are tender (about 1 hour). After 30 minutes, check mixture and stir in a little more warm water if the mixture is looking dry or sticking to the bottom of the pan.

While the peas are cooking, heat the oil in a skillet and saute the remaining onion with garlic and garam masala over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until they are golden, soft and just beginning to brown, about 10-15 minutes.

Add the onion mixture to the cooked peas, stirring to combine. Simmer 10 more minutes to blend flavors.

If your baby is just getting started on vegetables, they may prefer the dal to be pureed in the blender. My 8-month-olds were fine with the diced onion, so I left theirs a little lumpy. Also, this recipe is protein-rich, so this meal is a nice alternative to meat.

Be sure to check with your pediatrician with any questions about serving this dish to your child. I’m neither a nutritionist nor a health care professional–just a mom who wants her kids to eat tasty, nutritious foods. (Sound familiar?)

*Garam Masala consists of: coriander, black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, charnushka (kalonji), caraway, cloves, ginger, and nutmeg.