Extra baby food peanut noodles
When I first started feeding my baby purees, I was prepared for food to be wasted. I imagined it smeared all over his face, his hands, the high chair, the ceiling, the neighbors' living room.
But what I didn’t anticipate was waste from the food that never left the tiny jar of baby food.
Because when you first start feeding a baby you offer them only a tiny bit and, they eat a tiny percentage of that. There was no way my baby was going to down the entire jar before it spoiled in the fridge. Plus, I wanted to change up his food pretty often to introduce him to a wide array of flavors. And, while I would have loved to have prepped homemade food, I just didn’t have the time.
So! I started collecting our half-emptied jars. The purees, I figured, could help thicken and veggie-fy a peanut sauce. Add a bunch of vegetables (especially those just waiting to be used up in the fridge), stir in some pasta, top with green onions, and extra baby food transforms into an easy, filling and efficient meal for the weary parents.
Extra Baby Food Peanut Noodles
Extra baby food puree. I used pureed carrots, sweet potato, butternut squash, pumpkin, green beans and chicken.
Red peppers or other vegetables. I love red peppers in this dish! I typically try to chop at least three of them. But if red peppers don’t speak to you or aren’t what you have on hand, consider broccoli, eggplant, squash, spinach, or anything else you think would get along well with a peanut sauce. Here's we're looking for the vegetable backbone of the dish.
Fridge clean out ingredients. What do you need to use up? In it goes! While celery couldn’t carry this dish, limp celery or celery leaves disappear elegantly into the sauce. You use them up and get a little bonus nutrition. Same goes for dried out baby carrots or other veggies past their prime.
Onions and/or garlic and/or ginger. Some combination of these is always great with a peanut sauce. Personally I think onions are essential and I typically use three of them, but go ahead and play with your ratio of OOG. You can also use their powdered forms. I always include a heavy shake of powdered ginger.
Peanut butter. A couple heaping spoonfuls, to taste.
Pasta. Whatever shape suits your fancy.
Soy sauce. This is a great way to use up extra packets from takeout orders.
Other sauces, seasonings and additions that sound good to you. Ketchup is a nice add. Nutritional yeast too.
Water. This will help cook the veggies and thin out peanut butter into a sauce.
Green onions. To garnish.
Optional additional protein. Tofu, tempeh, chicken or eggs.
1. Chop the onions. Let them sauté while you chop and add other veggies. I like to sauté the onions longest, so they kind of melt into the sauce
2. Add a little water. Add fresh garlic and ginger if you’re using them. Keep cooking the veggies. They should be softening.
3. Prepare pasta (I like to let it cook while I’m finishing up the sauce).
4. Once the veggies are softening, add purees to the pan. If they’re not totally soft yet, that’s OK. They’ll have some more time to cook yet.
5. Add some ketchup, soy sauce, ground ginger, ground garlic and whatever else sounds good to you. Stir to mix.
6. Add peanut butter. Start with roughly a quarter cup. Add water to help thin it, if needed. Your pasta cooking water is great for this as it will help the stewy sauce cling to the noodles.
7. Add noodles. I consider the sauce to be more like a stew and don’t add too much pasta.
8. Top with green onions. For more protein, add tofu, tempeh, chicken or eggs.