Roasted vegetables are a perfect food for older babies because they are easy to prepare, filled with flavor, and the rest of the family will enjoy them too. There's a whole range of vegetables that are great for roasting, though texture is key—you want ones that roast up with a soft interior without becoming too crispy so they are easy for baby to eat. Here's a step-by-step guide to making quick and delicious roasted vegetables for babies.
1. Prep the vegetables. Broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and winter squash are all great candidates for roasting. Break the broccoli and cauliflower into bite-size florets, and peel and slice the rest into 1/2-inch slices or wedges. Make sure that the pieces are sized similarly to ensure that they cook evenly. (Want to add a little sweetness? Apples and firm pears are delicious roasted too!)
2. Pick your pan. A rimmed baking sheet is the ideal pan for roasting veggies, though a cast iron skillet can also work in a pinch. You want a pan that's big enough to comfortably hold the vegetables without them overlapping much. This will ensure that each piece will caramelize slightly and turn a light golden brown.
3. Add the seasoning. Olive oil is a great option for roasting vegetables for babies since it adds some good fats, and it helps prevent the vegetables from sticking to the pan. Most vegetables are delicious without any extra flavoring, but if you want to make things a little more interesting, you can add a small sprinkle of salt (for toddlers), a touch of dried herbs such as crushed thyme or rosemary, or even a little grated garlic. Toss everything together well and spread evenly on the pan. For easier clean-up, line the baking pan with parchment paper first.
4. Roast until tender. Preheat your oven to 425, place the vegetables into the oven, and roast for 20-25 minutes or until tender. Depending on the variety, potatoes and winter squash might take longer, but checking for tenderness by poking with a fork is the best way to test for doneness.
5. Let cool. Straight out of the oven, roasted veggies will be piping hot, so give them a few minutes to cool down before serving them up to your family. Potatoes can hold a lot of heat in the center, so be sure to slice a piece to check the internal temperature too.
Serve these roasted vegetables plain or with a simple dipping sauce and watch your baby dig in. Store any leftovers in an airtight container for 3-4 days in the refrigerator. Reheat slightly before serving.