Here is a great noodle recipe for your vegetarian baby, made using soba (Japanese for buckwheat, contains a ton of health benefits) noodles. Despite its name, buckwheat is not actually a cereal grain but a fruit seed, which means it is gluten-free. Buckwheat has been shown to benefit the cardiovascular system, with regular consumption being linked to a lower risk of developing high cholesterol or high blood pressure. Another buckwheat benefit is its potential to control blood sugar levels and therefore lead to a lowered risk of developing diabetes.
While all these may seem like 'old people's problems,' it is never too late to start taking care of your health! As parents, we owe it to our babies to give them the best possible start in life, and that includes taking care of their health. A vegetarian baby does not have as many food options to choose from, so it is important to concentrate on high impact and healthy choices. These Sesame Soba Noodles are so tasty, your little one won't even realise they're also super healthy for him. ;-)
I have used regular soy sauce in the recipe below, which does contain a bit of gluten. But you can substitute this with gluten-free soy sauce, which is readily available, to make a completely gluten-free meal, ideal for those with an intolerance or coeliac disease. This dish is also dairy-free, so great for non-dairy eaters and vegans. One word of caution: many supermarket brands of soba noodles also contain wheat flour, so check your ingredients carefully. I find that the organic varieties tend to be wheat-free and made of 100% buckwheat.
You'll notice I say that the freshly grated ginger is optional. Ginger has quite a strong taste, and it can even be a bit spicy, if raw, so you may wish to leave this out for small babies until they are tolerating a wider variety of tastes.
Noodles are always fun for children to eat, particularly as they get older and perfect their slurping skills. If your baby is still small, you may find it easier to chop the noodles into shorter segments and feed him from a spoon. You can serve this dish as a main meal or as a side dish - favourite pairings include grilled salmon or boiled egg.
This recipe yields approximately 2-3 children's portions, if serving as a main meal.
90-100g dried soba noodles
25ml Japanese mirin rice vinegar
3/4 Tbsp soy sauce
1/2 Tbsp sesame oil
3/4 Tbsp honey
1 small garlic clove, pressed
pinch of freshly grated ginger (optional)
1/2 spring onion bunch, sliced
1/2 tsp toasted sesame seeds (you could also used plain un-toasted sesame seeds)