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Ashlee Neuman
Deputy Editor

10 Tasty Recipes for 1-Year-Olds

Wondering what to feed your newly minted toddler? Check out these easy, delicious and nutrient-dense recipes.

Your baby is now a toddler—which means they’ll be saying bye to purees and hi to tasty table food. But what foods are actually good for a one-year-old?

“When your one-year-old is starting to eat a larger variety of foods, you want to make sure they’re as nutrient-dense and tasty as possible,” says Catherine McCord, founder of Weelicious, a food blog offering simple, healthy recipes the whole family will love. Toddlers should have foods from the same basic nutrition groups that you do–namely, vegetables; fruit; bread, cereal or pasta; protein and dairy. An easy way to make sure they’re getting a range of important nutrients is to offer a rainbow of foods—the greater the variety of color, the better. But don’t stress if there are days when your tot is anti-veggie or turns down diary, and instead focus on what they’re eating over the course of the entire week.

When looking for recipes for your one-year-old, consider the size and texture of food. It’s great to introduce your little one to different textures—think: mashed potato vs. roasted potato. Switching up how you prepare foods not only helps expand your child’s palate, but it can be a useful trick for getting your kid to eat foods they may otherwise decline. “For example, most kids I know wouldn’t eat boiled cauliflower, but roasting it is a whole different ball game,” says Annabel Karmel, author of the cookbook Real Food Kids Will Love: Over 100 Simple and Delicious Recipes for Toddlers and Up.

Size and texture also play an important role in safety and convenience. Look for foods your child can easily pick up or spear with utensils—the last thing you want is your tot refusing to eat simply because it’s too hard to get into their mouths. “Toddlers love the independence that finger foods bring, so include lots of these as part of your snack offering,” Karmel suggests. Remember that choking is still a concern at this age, so be sure to offer appropriately sized bites and cut up small, round foods like blueberries, grapes and cherry tomatoes.

Finally, don’t be afraid to go bold on flavor! “It’s easy to underestimate how adventurous children can be when it comes to new tastes,” Karmel says. “Flavour is important, so mix it up at mealtimes and introduce them to curries, a Japanese stir-fry, quesadillas or a Moroccan tagine, for example.”

Ready to get cooking? Here, we’ve rounded up 10 of our favorite recipes for one-year-olds. Happy eating!

1

Annabel's Favorite Vegan Burgers

Every parent has the same burning question: How do I get my toddler to eat more vegetables? We’ve found the answer. “Sneaking vegetables into a burger is a good option for children who are super fussy and profess to hate veggies,” Karmel writes in her cookbook, Real Food Kids Will Love. “Watch them munch these vegan burgers up in blissful ignorance. Instead of using egg as binder in the burger mixture, I use chia seeds soaked in water.”

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium carrots, grated
  • 1 medium zucchini, grated
  • 50g/2oz chestnut mushrooms, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp tomato ketchup
  • ½ tbsp soy sauce
  • 150g/5oz fresh brown breadcrumbs
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds or 1 tsp egg substitute powder
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Soup or salad, to serve

Instructions:

  1. Put the grated carrot and zucchini in a clean tea towel and squeeze out the excess liquid. Transfer to a bowl and add the mushrooms, oregano, parsley, cayenne pepper, ketchup, soy sauce and 100g/3½ oz of the breadcrumbs. Mix well and season with a little salt and pepper.
  2. Put the chia seeds (if using) in a small bowl with 3 tablespoons of cold water and leave for 5 minutes until thickened. Add the mixture to the vegetables in the bowl or, if using egg substitute, mix the powder with 2 tablespoons of cold water and then add it to the mixture.
  3. Shape the mixture into 8 burgers and coat each burger in the remaining breadcrumbs.
  4. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat and fry
  5. the burgers in batches for 2–3 minutes on each side until golden and crisp. Serve with soup or salad.
  6. The cooked burgers can be frozen (once cooled) for up to two months. Defrost, then reheat in a preheated oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 20 minutes or until heated through.
Photo: Clare Winfield
2

Tex Mex Rice Cakes

These Tex Mex rice cakes from Weelicious are full of bold flavor—plus, “they’re fun to hold, offering your one-year-old culinary independence,” McCord says. Serve some fresh and pop the rest into the freezer to have on-hand.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • ½ cup whole wheat bread crumbs
  • ½ cup grated cheddar cheese
  • ¾ cup corn kernels
  • 2 tbsp chopped cilantro
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tbsp vegetable or canola oil for cooking

Instructions:

  1. In a bowl, mix together the rice, bread crumbs, cheese, corn, cilantro and salt.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, then add to the rice mixture and mix to combine well.
  3. Measure ¼ cup mixture at a time and shape into patties.
  4. Heat a thin layer of oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the patties and cook for 2 minutes on each side, until golden brown.
  5. To freeze, prepare the recipe through step 3, place the patties in a single layer on a tray and freeze for 30 minutes or until frozen through. Transfer to a zip top bag or other freezer safe container for up to four months. Thaw overnight in the fridge and follow the recipe directions starting with step 4.
Photo: Weelicious.com
3

Carrot, Cheese and Tomato Muffins

“Kids won’t often turn down a muffin, so they’re a great way to experiment with different foods and flavors,” Karmel says in her book, Real Food Kids Will Love. “This adventurous little number features carrot, sun-dried tomato and spring onion to liven up little ones’ lunchtimes.”

Ingredients:

  • 175g/6oz self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 6 tbsp milk
  • 50g/2oz parmesan cheese, grated
  • 3 spring onions, chopped
  • 75g/3oz carrot, grated
  • Pinch of salt
  • 8 sun-dried tomatoes in oil, chopped

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Farhenheit and line a 12-hole muffin tin with 10 paper cases.
  2. Mix the flour and baking powder in a large bowl, then add all of the remaining ingredients and stir until just combined (avoid over-mixing it).
  3. Spoon the mixture into the muffin cases and bake in the oven for 18–20 minutes until well risen and lightly golden.
  4. Remove from the oven, remove the muffins from the tin (still in their cases) and leave to cool on a wire rack.
  5. The muffins can be frozen (once cooled) for up to two months. Defrost then reheat in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 8–10 minutes until heated through.
Photo: Clare Winfield
4

Mini Meatballs

“There are so many ways to make meatballs (we know, we’ve made them all)—from simple to all-day affairs,” the authors of America’s Test Kitchen’s new cookbook, The Complete Baby and Toddler Cookbook, write. “For the purpose of finger food, we wanted a quick, hands-off method that would allow us to make a big batch that didn’t rely on sauce and wouldn’t make a big mess.” Yes, please!

Ingredients:

  • 2 slices hearty white sandwich bread, crusts removed, torn into 1-inch pieces
  • ¼ cup whole milk
  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped fine
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 oz Parmesan cheese, grated (½ cup)
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 tbsp minced fresh parsley
  • 1 lb (85 percent) lean ground beef

Instructions:

  1. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Line rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray foil with vegetable oil spray. Mash bread and milk together with fork in large bowl until mixture forms a smooth paste; set aside.
  2. Heat oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion and salt and cook until softened and lightly browned, 5-7 minutes. Stir in garlic and oregano and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Transfer onion mixture to bowl with bread mixture. Stir in Parmesan, egg and parsley until well combined.
  3. Add beef and gently mix with your hands until well combined. Divide meat mixture into 24 portions (about 1½ tablespoons each) and roll each portion into a ball. Arrange meatballs evenly on prepared sheet.
  4. Bake meatballs until well browned and cooked through, 18-20 minutes, rotating the sheet halfway through baking. Serve.
  5. Meatballs can be refrigerated for up to three days or frozen up to one month. To freeze, place cooked, cooled meatballs in a single layer on a plate and freeze. Once frozen, transfer to heavy-duty zipper-lock bag. To serve, place meatballs on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet and reheat in a 400-degree oven until sizzling, about 15 minutes.
Photo: Steve Klise
5

Green Mac and Cheese

This recipe from Weelicious leverages kids’ love of mac and cheese to slip in all sorts of delicious green vegetables, like spinach, broccoli and peas. “If you’re trying to get more greens in your little one, there’s no better way than green mac and cheese!” McCord says.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb elbow macaroni (or campanelle, cavatappi or shells)
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup packed fresh spinach
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 4 cups grated white cheddar cheese
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 cups chopped broccoli florets
  • 1 cup peas

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Cook pasta in salted water for about 3 minutes less than the package directions call for, until al dente. Reserve half a cup of the pasta water and strain.
  3. While the pasta is cooking, place the milk and spinach in a blender and blend on high speed until smooth.
  4. In a large pot, melt the butter and then add the flour, whisking continuously over low-medium heat for 2-3 minutes to make a roux. Slowly whisk in the milk mixture and bring to a boil.
  5. Reduce heat and simmer, whisking occasionally, 3-4 minutes or until the sauce is gently bubbling and starting to thicken.
  6. Add reserved pasta water and cheese and whisk until melted. Stir in the pasta, salt, broccoli and peas.
  7. Transfer to a greased 13″ x 9″ baking dish and bake for 20 minutes, or until cheese is bubbling and the pasta is set.
Photo: Weelicious.com
6

Salmon and Butternut Squash Balls

Here’s another tasty recipe for one-year-olds from Real Food Kids Will Love. “These are just perfect for little fingers!” Karmel writes. “The butternut squash makes the balls lovely and soft and the couscous adds a slight crunch in texture when baked in the oven.”

Ingredients:

  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • ⅔ cup butternut squash, peeled and grated
  • ⅔ cup cooked and cooled couscous
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 11 oz (300 g) skinless salmon fillet, diced
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tbsp sweet chili sauce
  • 3 tbsp all-purpose flour

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Heat the oil in a small skillet over a medium heat, add the squash and fry for 3–5 minutes until just softened, then remove from the heat and leave to cool.
  3. Put the squash and the remaining ingredients (except the flour) in a food processor and blitz until finely chopped. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and shape it into 20 balls.
  4. Coat the balls lightly with flour, place on the lined baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes until lightly golden and cooked through.
  5. The cooked balls can be frozen (once cooled) for up to eight weeks. Defrost, then reheat in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 10 minutes or until heated through.
Photo: Clare Winfield
7

Raw Fruit and Nut Bars

Want a recipe for one-year-olds that doesn’t involve any cooking? Try these scrumptious fruit and nut bars from The Complete Baby and Toddler Cookbook. “You might be familiar with various raw fruit and nut bars, packaged in bright colors and sold at the supermarket for…not a tiny amount of money,” the authors write. “We wanted to create our own homemade version that, with a bit of bulk buying, would reduce the cost and allow you to customize and make a portable, compact, and protein-packed snack—no baking required.”

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup hot water
  • ¾ cup dried cherries, dried apricots or dried cranberries (or a mixture of two or three)
  • 3 oz pitted dates, chopped (½ cup)
  • 1 cup raw whole almonds
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp salt

Instructions:

  1. Line a 8½-by-4½-inch loaf pan with plastic wrap, letting the excess hang over sides of pan. (If you use a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan, the bars will be slightly thinner but will still work.)
  2. Combine water, cherries and dates in a bowl. Let sit until the fruit has softened, 5 to 10 minutes. Drain well and pat fruit dry with paper towels.
  3. Process the almonds, cinnamon and salt in a food processor until finely ground, about 20 seconds. Add drained fruit and pulse until the fruit is very finely chopped and the mixture starts to clump together, 15-20 pulses.
  4. Transfer the mixture to a prepared pan and spread into an even layer with a rubber spatula. Fold excess plastic wrap over the top and, using your hands, press to flatten. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.
  5. Transfer the chilled fruit and nut mixture to a cutting board and discard plastic wrap. Slice in half lengthwise, then cut each half crosswise into six pieces (you should have 12 bars). Serve. Bars can be refrigerated for up to one week.
Photo: Steve Klise
8

Quinoa Baked Chicken Fingers

We love this healthy twist on classic chicken nuggets from Real Food Kids Will Love. The recipe, perfect for one-year-olds, features quinoa, sun-dried tomato paste and fresh thyme to expand your child’s tastes. Serve with a side of veggies, like carrot batons and peas, and—voila—dinner is served.

Ingredients:

  • ¾ cup cooked red and white quinoa, cooled
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 12 oz (350 g) small chicken breast fillets
  • 2 tbsp sun-dried tomato paste
  • Salt and pepper

Instructions:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Mix the quinoa, thyme and cheese in a bowl with a little salt and pepper.
  • Put the chicken and sun-dried tomato paste in a bowl. Toss to coat the chicken in the paste, then coat each piece of chicken in the quinoa mixture, patting it onto the chicken so it sticks.
  • Arrange the coated chicken pieces on the lined baking sheet.
  • Bake in the oven for 15–18 minutes until golden and cooked through.
Photo: Clare Winfield
9

Immune-Boosting Very Berry Smoothie

Tooders love smoothies—really, who doesn’t?—and parents love that they’re a quick and easy way to pack in fruits and veggies. “As early as 10 months old, you can offer your baby a straw and smoothie as a great way to take in several foods that are simple to digest,” McCord says. “Straws are helpful in working oral motor skills and help with speech development.” This Weelicious recipe has the added benefit of boosting your tot’s immune system, thanks to the turmeric, bee pollen and antioxidant-rich berries.

Ingredients:

  • 1 banana
  • ½-inch piece fresh turmeric, peeled
  • 1 date
  • ¼ cup yogurt (McCord suggests Greek Yogurt)
  • 1 cup frozen mixed berries
  • 1 handful fresh spinach
  • 1 tbsp hemp seeds
  • 2 tsp bee pollen
  • 1 pinch black pepper
  • 1 cup milk of choice
  • 2 tbsp almonds, soaked

Instructions:

  1. Place all ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth.
  2. Pour into a tall glass and serve!
Photo: Weelicious.com
10

Corn and Cherry Tomato Pancakes

Pancakes are another great vehicle for sneaking in some extra veggies into your toddler’s diet. These savory flapjacks from Real Food Kids Will Love are bursting with flavor. Serve with a topping of homemade salsa for added oomph.
Pancake ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups self-rising flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ cup plus 2 tbsp whole milk
  • ¾ cup Italian hard cheese or dairy-free cheese, grated
  • 1 tbsp sun-dried tomato paste
  • 6 cherry tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 3 green onions, finely chopped
  • ⅓ cup canned corn kernels
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • Salt and pepper

Salsa ingredients:

  • 12 cherry tomatoes, quartered or roughly chopped
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp white wine vinegar

Instructions:

  1. Whisk the flour, baking soda, eggs and milk together in a large bowl until you have a smooth batter. Add all the remaining ingredients (except the oil), season lightly with salt and pepper and mix well.
  2. Heat the sunflower oil in a skillet over a medium heat, add heaped spoonfuls of the batter mixture and fry for 2 minutes, then flip over and cook on the other side for 2 minutes until lightly golden and cooked through.
  3. Mix all of the salsa ingredients together in a bowl and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Serve the pancakes with the tomato salsa.

From Real Food Kids Will Love. Copyright © 2019 by Annabel Karmel and reprinted with permission from St. Martin’s Griffin.

Updated September 2019

Photo: Clare Winfield
Photo: Thomas Barwick / Getty Images
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