Saturday, April 19, 2014

Pasta with spinach cream sauce (baby food)


This is my baby's dinner. Don't you think it looks really 'gourmet'? It looks like an expensive dish served at a posh fine-dining restaurant. Hohooo.. no, it's not. It's a simple dinner I whipped up for my adorable little fella. It's actually a very protein-rich creamy sauce pureed from sautéed spinach, potato and black eyed beans (called 眉豆in Chinese), served with brown rice shell pasta and grated Cheddar cheese.
Again, it's a meat-free dish, my son doesn't eat a lot of meat, so I had to ensure that he gets sufficient amount of protein and iron from his meals, in this case, he gets plenty of them from the spinach (for the iron) and the black eyed beans (for the protein). Black eyed beans, unlike many other beans like adzuki (red) beans or mung beans, are easy to cook and has a lower tendency of causing gas. I have made black eyed bean puree for the lil' fella when he was under one. It actually tastes sweet and has a nice creamy consistency. Other than its high protein and fiber content, black eyed beans are also rich in folate, making it a great pregnancy food or snacks too.
Black eyed beans doesn't require soaking prior to cooking. But soaking it would make it easier to cook/ soften. It only took me about 15min (in a pressure cooker) to cook it till soft, without mushing it. The black eyed beans used in this recipe are pre-cooked. I usually cook a big batch of the beans and freeze them in individual portion and use them in sauces (like this), salads or soups.
To prepare this, you'll need:
  • 2-3 tbsp. cooked brown rice pasta
  • 1cup spinach
  • 2tbsp pre-cooked black eyed bean
  • Half a medium size potato, skinned and cubed
  • 2clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 onion, minced 
  • 1-2tbsp rice bran oil (or other cooking oil / butter)  
  • 1cup water / stock
  • 2tbsp fresh milk / cream (optional)
  1. Heat up a pan / wok and heat up the cooking oil.
  2. Stir in minced garlic and onion and sautee until fragrant.
  3. Stir in potato, cooked black eyed bean and spinach. Sautee for about 2-3min.
  4. Pour in water or stock. Simmer for about 15-20min or until the potatoes turn soft.
  5. In a blender, puree the sauce till it achieves a creamy consistency. Add in milk or cream.
  6. Serve with pasta and season with grated Cheddar.
Aside from serving this sauce with pasta, I have also used it to bake a spinach loaf and make sandwich spread.
Spinach loaf with mung bean

Sandwich with spinach and cheese spread

To make the spinach and cream spread:
  • 2tbsp of the spinach and black eyed bean sauce
  • 3tbsp grated Cheddar cheese
Heat up the spinach sauce in a microwave (1min) or a heated pan. Stir in grated Cheddar. Use as sandwich spread.

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