When autumn days finally start setting in, I love looking to warming, hearty one-pot dishes that are full of vegetables, colour and flavour. This one totally hits the mark and is a perfect seasonal dish for the whole family. Babies will love the sweet and juicy sauce mixed with couscous, as well as have fun grabbing the larger vegetable chunks; a great meal for mixing spoon-feeding and finger-feeding!
We’ve recommended this one from 8 months, given that some babies are sensitive to tomatoes and there’s quite a bit of texture. That said, it can be whizzed up smooth if your baby prefers it that way and offered as soon as they’re able to tolerate the ingredients.
Traditional tagine contains spicy harrissa which doesn’t go down well with most babies, but this one is full of enough flavour from the cumin, cinnamon and ginger. In fact, even us adults rarely feel the need to add any further spices or seasoning to this dish!
The added sweetness of the fruit is a big hit with the little ones and serves to reduce the sharpness of the tomatoes. You might chose not to add the date syrup for young babies, but it is a great way of enhancing the flavour and depth of the dish without resorting to refined sugars or sweeteners.
I never thought our 3 year-old would eat aubergine until I made this dish and now he loves it (most of the time!). Thankfully our 11 month is loving it from the start, and Ruth tells me that they’ve also added it to the top of their list of go-to baby and family recipes. The key is making sure you fry the veg chunks in all the seasoning before adding the other ingredients in order to lock in all those delicious flavours!
This is a great one for leaving to simmer slowly while you get on with other things and is totally worth the time….and at least there’s only one pot to wash up at the end! Oh and added bonus… this makes more than even my hungry boys (husband included!) can eat in one sitting, so perfect for popping a couple of kid-size portions in the freezer for another day!
- In a large casserole dish (preferably cast-iron) or a tagine, gently sweat the diced onion for a couple of minutes in the oil (or ghee) over medium heat until starting to turn translucent
- Add the cumin, cinnamon and ginger to the onions and fry gently for a minute
- Add the tomato puree, aubergine and carrots and stir to coat for a couple of minutes, being careful not to burn the spices. Add a little extra oil to loosen if necessary
- Add the chopped tomatoes, stock, date syrup (if using), dried fruit, and almonds. Stir to combine
- Cover and simmer on low for 1 hour until carrots begin to soften (stir occasionally during cooking time to allow some steam to evaporate and avoid catching on the bottom of the pan)
- Add the chickpeas, spinach and half the coriander. Stir and cook for a further 20 minutes
- At the end of cooking time, stir through the remaining coriander and serve with cous-cous (prepared as per packet instructions)