This post comes courtesy Wee friend, registered dietitian and mom Katie Cavuto, who regularly counsels families on how to best stock their pantries and balance their meals, and who’s taught loads of cooking classes to both adults and kids. (See more about Katie in her bio below!)
As a dietitian and a mom, I’m always looking for simple ways to maximize the nutrition in my son Hudson’s meals … ways that don’t mean force-feeding him peas and carrots. One trick I have is Including him in the kitchen. I love cooking time with Hudson — It’s a fun activity to do together, and what you always hear is true: The more involved kids are in meal prep, the more likely they are to try new foods.
This butternut squash hummus is a great starter recipe — you can make it from scratch or start with a semi-homemade version*. It also lends itself easily to including a little one — so I’ve included my tips for getting your kiddo involved.
Roasted Butternut Squash Hummus
- 2-3 cups cubed butternut squash (You could use sweet potatoes as well — or, for a shortcut, try frozen, cooked butternut squash, which eliminates an entire step from the process.)
- 1/4 cup olive oil, divided
- 1 teaspoon smoked or sweet paprika (Have your child smell herbs and spices as an interactive learning tool!)
- 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon honey (Don’t miss the opportunity to taste this as your make your hummus, yum!) Note: If your kid is 12 months or younger, you want to skip the honey — the American Academy of Pediatrics says honey should be avoided for babies under a year.
- 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained (We love to eat these as is as we’re making this dish.)
- 2 tablespoons tahini (It’s like peanut butter made with sesame seeds instead of peanuts … taste it with your child!)
- 2-3 tablespoons lemon juice (Squeezing lemons is a fun, safe kitchen chore for children, and they often enjoy the sour flavor more than adults, so go ahead and allow them to taste it.)
- 2 garlic cloves
- salt and pepper to taste (Sprinkling salt and pepper is a favorite activity in our house … just be sure to portion it out so your child doesn’t overdo it.)
1. Pre-heat oven to 400. (Skip this step if you are using frozen squash)
2. In a small bowl combine butternut squash with 2 tablespoons olive oil, paprika, oregano, honey, salt and pepper. Toss to combine. Arrange squash on a baking sheet in a single layer. Roast for 20 minutes or until tender. If you use frozen squash just toss the ingredients together and skip the roasting.
3. Combine squash with remaining ingredients and puree in a food processor. Add water to thin mixture to desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper. Children love to add ingredients so keep them involved in this part of the process. Also, with mixing up the herbs and spices, it’s fun make up a little song and dance…we do “shake, shake, shake” and we dance as we season. He loves it. Lastly, with supervision, your child can pulse the food processor. We pretend it is a truck engine…vroom, vroom …
* For a solid semi-homemade hummus, grab a container of plain hummus from the store and add the squash, honey, paprika and oregano in your food processor. It’s quicker … but just as fun to make and just as nutritious!
Meets the Wee Standards:
About our author: Katie Cavuto runs her own business, Healthy Bites, which focuses on meal delivery and nutrition counseling. She’s also the official dietitian to the Phillies, a blogger for the Food Network and Philly.com, and a TV personality who’s the nutrition expert for local ABC and FOX affiliates. (You can also catch her in the January issue of Fitness magazine!) Oh, and she’s mom to three-year-old Hudson.
Photo credit for Katie’s photo: Rachel Utain-Evans Photography