Bubba bowls


You may have already heard of ‘Buddha’ bowls if you’ve ventured around the plant-based/ hippie/ foodie scene at all. So much delicious freshness in one bowl, and they look so lovely and colourful too. WAAAYY too much faff for feeding a baby and the whole family, right?! Well, I recently realised that it’s pretty much one of our family’s default dinner dishes although it’s often thrown onto a plate or directly onto the baby’s highchair tray. I mean, honestly, who has the time to beautifully arrange food for a baby when you know little fingers are going to pick up and eat a bit but then relocate the rest to the floor/up the wall/ in their hair? (all of these things actually happen here every. single. day).

However, the principle is still there however you serve this… if you’re doing baby-led weaning, or your baby has started to show an interest in self-feeding/finger foods, this is a great way of offering a variety of colourful veg alongside some protein and carbohydrate. This is a great way of them exploring with different tastes and textures; just serve up as much as you like for them to pick at and try. The bowl in the picture looks like a huge portion (which it is) and not a standard size dish to present to a baby (which it’s not) but I kid you not, my 1 year-old ate THE ENTIRE THING. He sat there and shovelled the whole lot in over about a 30 minute sitting, which is more than my almost-4-year old, who ate all the veg and half the chickpeas and then demanded honey to go on the sticky rice! Honey!? *eye roll*

The coconut and cinnamon sticky rice balls are great for grabbing and are a lot less messy than typical rice or cous-cous (seriously, those pesky grains spread EVERYWHERE!). The curried chickpeas are great for developing the pincer grip, an important fine motor skill, but are also soft enough to be mushed slightly for younger babies to grab chunks of. Then there’s the veg…. use whatever you have that is colourful and varied. A yummy mixture of roasted veg sticks alongside soft salad items like avocado and peeled cucumber are a great way of getting baby used to trying lots of different flavours and textures at once. We’ve used roasted red peppers, purple carrots (yes they’re purple, I didn’t burn the edges!) and broccoli, but be creative! And don’t sweat it if it all ends up being a bit messy. Honestly, I even found a bit of carrot and rice in my own hair after our last meal. I’m not even certain I can blame the baby….


For the sticky rice balls (can be made the night before to make extra sticky once cooled in fridge!)
30g Short grain/ glutenous rice
1 tbsp coconut cream
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

For the veg
1/2 Avocado, peeled and sliced
1 red pepper, topped, deseeded, sliced and roasted
1 purple carrot, sliced and roasted
4-5 broccoli florets, steamed
few cucumber sticks, peeled for young babies

For the curried chickpeas
100g cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed (~1/2 tin)
2 tbsps rapeseed oil
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 ground garam masala
1 tsp tomato puree

To season
small handful pomegranate seeds (optional for older children/adults)
sprinkling of Za’tar seasoning/ sesame seeds (optional for older children/adults)


For the sticky rice balls

  1. soak rice in cold water for at least 1/2 hour before cooking
  2. drain and return rice to the saucepan. Cover the rice in boiling water until just covered and add the coconut cream and cinnamon and stir through
  3. return to boil and reduce to simmer for ~10-15 mins, or as per packet instructions
  4. When rice is soft, drain any excess liquid through a sieve and allow to cool completely in the sieve before rolling into balls
  5. When rolling into balls, pack rice firmly together in one hand and transfer onto a plate ready for serving or airtight container for storage in the fridge.

For the roasted veg

  1. to roast the veg, toss the vegetable sticks in a little oil before placing on a baking tray in a preheated oven (200°C) for around 15-20 mins, or until soft (red pepper can be added after 10 minutes of cooking time)
  2. prepare other veg/salad items and steam broccoli for ~8 minutes
  3. meanwhile, make the curried chickpeas…

For the curried chickpeas

  1. Place the chickpeas, cumin, garam masala, tomato puree and 1 tbsp of the oil in a bowl. Stir to coat, adding a little water to loosen if necessary
  2. heat a non-stick pan with the remaining oil
  3. pour chickpea mix into the hot oil and stir to cook for a couple of minutes
  4. allow to cool to warm before serving



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