Free from dairy, eggs, soy | gluten free | vegan
Great for baby-led weaning, toddlers & older kids
Both of my kids are absolutely pasta obsessed, but finding good dairy-free pasta sauces can be a bit challenging, especially if you try and avoid too much tomato based sauce which can irritate sensitive eczema-prone skin.
Traditional pesto is no good for us because of the parmesan, and simply leaving it out can be a bit bitter. This version uses spinach instead of basil and has an addition of apricots which balances out the flavours really nicely. Plus it’s a helpful way to get a bit of goodness packed spinach into the kids diet, as they have got no interest whatsoever in eating it in it’s natural form (and really I can’t blame them, I’ve always felt a bit suspicious about eating leaves…)
The ingredients below serve 2 adults and 1 child. It can be made in advance and stored in an airtight container for a couple of days in the fridge, and can also be frozen – I tend to freeze pesto in a silicon ice cube tray, so it’s easy to get a small amount out as needed. We usually use this as a pasta sauce, but my nephew loves it as a dip.
If, like me, you find yourself serving up a lot of pasta and would like to mix it up, then remember that there are a great range of gluten free pastas now available. My oldest used to have a wheat allergy, so we are used to using buckwheat, brown rice and corn based pastas, and serving up a range of these is an easy way to get some variation into their diet.
For babies: As long as pine nuts (a potential allergen) have already been introduced into their diet, this pesto is fine for babies. Just be sure to blitz it up very smooth so there are no big chunks of chopped nuts, which would pose a potential choking risk.
Ingredients and method:
- 2 big handfuls of spinach, washed
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 5 soft dried apricots, chopped in small pieces
- 50g pine nuts
Simply add all the ingredients into a food processor and whizz it up until well combined and smooth. If your food processor is not very powerful you may find that there are still some chunks of pine nuts after blitzing. In that case you can transfer the mixture to a jug or bowl and do a final blitz with a stick blender. Stir through freshly cooked pasta to warm though and serve immediately.