Easy Recipes

Vegan Baby Food Recipes & Tips For Raising Vegans

Need some tips for raising vegans? These vegan baby food recipes suit infants and toddlers both!

By Lora O’Brien

Before having a baby myself, I didn’t pay much thought to what they ate. At all. I knew babies pretty much drunk milk all day long and then eventually moved on to vegan baby food recipes that involved a lot of mushy pureed foods. But since becoming a mother, I’ve discovered babies do indeed drink A LOT of milk before food is introduced. But what if you’re like me, and have been vegan (or vegetarian) for ages and have no idea how to feed a vegan baby?  Is it safe? Healthy? How do you start the weaning process? It’s a minefield, people, I’m telling you.

This is what I’ve learned about how to feed a vegan baby.

Tips For Raising Vegans

First, start the weaning process. There are three basic avenues you can choose to go down:

  • Purees or spoon led weaning – this can start from 4 months. You start by spoon feeding your baby smooth purees, whilst progressing to mashed/chopped textures over the months that follow before you think about introducing finger foods at around the 7/8 month mark.
  • Baby led weaning (BLW) – BLW is a way of introducing food to your baby that allows them to feed themselves from the very start of the weaning process, and allows them to explore solid foods at their own pace. You skip the purees and go straight for soft, solid foods (think: bananas) instead. BLW is introduced at around 7/8 months when most babies start to show interest in the foods that you’re eating. So, this is officially when your food becomes a sharing platter for your baby and nothing is sacred. Just saying!
  • The Mixed Method – this combines both of the above, by leading with spoon-led weaning and finger foods at the same time. This is great for parents looking to to feed their baby, whilst also encouraging their child to self-feed and learning to use cutlery themselves.

The advantages you can get from weaning at six months is that by this stage our children are developed enough to feed themselves proper food. So, no need for purees, no freezer full of ice cube trays of food, no baby rice or weird food combinations, simply serve them up suitably-sized pieces of food and they determine whether or not they like it.

Many parents who have tried BLW have found their babies will eat pretty much anything and everything, which takes away the worry of introducing solids after having given your baby pureed food first (here are some great baby food makers for that). New textures and tastes can be tricky, but once babies discover what they love, it’s more fun for everyone, as they finally become a part of family mealtimes.

The downsides to BLW? It goes without saying; mess! As babies sample new foods you may find the process a little messy and there can be a lot of waste. But hey – welcome to parenthood.

Is A Vegan Diet Safe For Babies?

Obviously, a baby’s first food is mother’s milk, and nothing’s healthier or better for a baby than that! But once you’re weaning, is serving up exclusively vegan baby food recipes a good option?

According to dietician Ana Kristina Skrapac, raising a vegan child can lead to nutrient deficiencies, inadequate energy intake and faltering growth. A lack of iron, B12 and iodine are the main culprits, she claims. Skrapac says that raising a vegetarian child is a much healthier option than going full vegan; she strongly advocates that eggs, cheese, milk and yogurt are beneficial to our little ones: “It is possible to raise children on a balanced vegetarian diet; however vegan diets are too restrictive and the risk of nutritional compromise outweighs any potential (health) benefit,” she said.

On the other hand, dietitian Bahee Van de Bor argues that any such deficiencies can be supplemented yeast extracts, fortified foods and plant milks, or additional nutrients such as doses of chia seeds, dark greens, linseed oil and walnuts, which can be incorporated into a baby’s diet once they start eating solid foods. One warning, though: soy products have controversial effects on the bodies of little ones. Best to stick with almond, rice, or coconut milk instead of soy milks and other soy based products.

In short, a vegan diet does seem fine for babies, IF you’re very careful about ensuring their diet is based lots of healthy fats, vitamins and other essential nutrients.

Foods to Avoid

Your baby may be ready to eat solid foods, but that doesn’t mean they can eat everything you do. There are some foods you should steer away from in your vegan baby food recipes to help keep your wee one as healthy as possible.

  • Honey should never be added to a baby’s diet as it contains a bacteria that can be damaging to their intestines. But this isn’t a vegan food, anyway.
  • You’ll want to wait before adding nuts to their diet as well before your child is around 4-5 as nuts are a choking hazard.
  • Don’t cook your baby low-fat, low-calorie or high-fibre dishes; these aren’t suitable as babies need food that is high in energy.
  • You’ll also want to limit salt in your baby’s diet, as their kidneys can’t cope. Check labels to ensure babies aren’t exceeding 1g of salt per day, or better yet – make your own food (loads of recipes below!)
  • The same advice goes for sugar. Steer away from absolutely anything with added sugar, and water down fruit juices. You know how crazy sugar rushes can make us adults; imagine a baby’s blood sugar!
  • Avoid corn, soya, oats and sugar as these are usually from GMO crops. It is possible to buy these from organic farmers, but the search is tough! Try downloading one of these apps that hunt out GMO foods to help you make good choices.

20+ Vegan Baby Food Recipes

1. Banana & Orange Oat Bites (9-12 months)

You can still give your baby lots of flavours to sample with BLW, and these oat bites are perfect. They’re big enough to hold with a fab texture, whilst being naturally sweetened from the orange and banana. And with just three ingredients, you can make a big batch and freeze them. But please note: since most oats on the market have been found to have off-the-charts levels of cancer-causing  glyphosate, be sure your oats are always organic!

Get the recipe here.

20 Vegan Baby Food Recipes

2. Purple Porridge (9-12 months)

Give your baby a boost with this purple porridge recipe rich in blueberries, which have the highest antioxidant count of any fruit due to their purple pigment. The perfect breakfast or snack recipe – but only IF the oats are organic, as mentioned above.

Get the recipe here.

How To Feed A Vegan Baby

3. Vegan Banana French Toast (9-12 months)

Toast is a great food to give to babies. Cut it into strips and let your baby suck and chew on it. This banana French toast is wonderfully sweet thanks to the creamy banana and vanilla flavours. Instead of drizzling maple syrup on this toast, why not serve it alongside some banana coins – simple, yet tasty!

Get the recipe here.

How To Feed A Vegan Baby

4. Carrot Purée (4+ months)

Most vegan baby food recipes will involve mashing or pureeing, and this is no exception. It is perfect for babies being spoon-fed and is packed full of nutrients and a great recipe for freezing. It may sound weird, but you know what? If you want this to be creamy and even more nutritious, you can actually add your own breast milk, along with the olive oil!

Get the recipe here.

5. Sautéed Apple and Cinnamon Wedges (9+ months)

Chopped fruit is a great snack for babies so try to find ways to keep it exciting as their taste buds try lots of new flavours. Apples can be quite hard to chew, so try this recipe that sauté them in a little coconut oil and a shake of cinnamon so they become a little softer yet even more delicious!

Get the recipe here.

vegan baby food recipes

6. Broccomole (6+ Months)

This healthy vegan baby food recipe seems to be a global favourite! Avocado is a godsend when it comes to getting your little ones to eat their greens. Mash an avocado into a creamy paste and use it as a salad dressing – they’ll love it!

Get the recipe here.

vegan baby food recipes

7. Aubergine & Red Pepper Curry (7+ months)

Of all the vegan baby food recipes here, this may be the tastiest! Aubergine, peppers, onion, potato and tomatoes make up this incredible veggie loaded ‘curry’ (don’t worry, it’s not spicy!). Serve alongside toasted whole wheat pita bread for BLW, or feed it to your baby if they’re being spoon-fed.

Get the recipe here.

vegan baby food recipes

8. Bulgur Wheat and Vegetable Khichdi (8+ months)

Khichdi is a wholesome meal and a delicious way to fuse together two food groups: cereals and vegetables. By the time they’re eating foods, babies are capable of chewing their food, so this recipe is a great way to move on from purees. Swap ghee for either a vegan butter or coconut oil to make it vegan. I also add a spoon of chia seeds to get in some extra good fats!

Get the recipe here.

vegan baby food recipes

9. Baby Burrito Bowls (10+ months)

This is one of the healthiest of the vegan baby food recipes that I know of. Recipes like this burrito bowl are great to make for the whole family to enjoy and provide your baby with the practice they’ll need to perfect their pincer grasp. Beans, avocado and brown rice are all wholesome foods for both baby and you. Alternatively, if you’re spoon-feeding your baby, this dish can be blended down into a puree.

Get the recipe here.

10. Curried Coconut Sweet Potato Barley Puree (4+ months)

A great way to keep the salt and sugar content low on baby food is to introduce spices from an early age, as they add a wonderful depth of flavour without relying on anything nasty. And using naturally sweet foods such as sweet potatoes means you won’t be needing to add anything sugary to make dishes palatable. This curried coconut puree is packed with deliciousness! Swap the butter for a dairy-free option to make it vegan.

Get the recipe here.

11. Corn & Vegetable Cutlets (10+ months)

It’s easy to give your baby a varied and nutritious diet with recipes like these mouth-watering and colourful cutlets. Finely grated veggies are mixed with mashed potatoes and cheese – but you can either choose to eliminate the cheese altogether (the recipe still works!) or swap it out for a dairy-free brand. Easy peasy and cheesy!

Get the recipe here.

vegan baby food recipes

12. Pick ‘n’ Mix Couscous Fingers (8+ months)

Finger food is perfect for babies following BLW, and these couscous fingers will go down a treat. Bursting with a mixture of vegetables that are rich in beta-carotene which is vital for healthy vision and immunity, these are easily made vegan by swapping the butter and cheese for dairy-free alternatives.

Get the recipe here.

13. Quinoa Ratatouille (6+ months)

This ratatouille is textured and protein-rich, thanks to the quinoa, and packed with yummy vegetables such as zucchini, eggplant, sweet peppers, squash and tomatoes. Blend it down to spoon-feed baby, or add to bite-size pasta for BLW.

Get the recipe here.

14. Lentil Veggie Nuggets (10+ months)

Veggie nuggets usually rely on mashed potato as their base, but these are made from red lentils instead. Not only do red lentils provide more nutrition than potatoes, but they’re also a fabulous source of dietary fibre, iron, protein and some B vitamins. Keep these 100% vegan by using a dairy-free cheese or swapping it out for some nutritional yeast.

Get the recipe here.

15. Baked Vegan Mac and Cheese (10+ months)

Okay, so I’m throwing this one out there: this dish is going to make a mess. A lot of mess! But babies will go mad for this baked mac and cheese. The creamy sauce and chewy pasta will excite their taste buds, and the cheesy sauce is made from a base of potatoes, carrots and some ‘nooch! Use bite-size pasta or blend it together if spoon feeding your baby. And keep it baby friendly by ditching the added salt.

Get the recipe here.

Vegan Baby Food Recipes

16. Pick ‘n’ Mix Tray Baked Vegetables (12+ months)

You’ll want to make sure your baby is getting lots of goodness from the foods you provide during BLW, especially when babies may not eat everything you give to them. These baked vegetables will catch their attention due to their vibrancy, whilst also being nutritious. Mixing a variety of veggies will let your baby sample new foods and also discover which foods they love most, which will help with future meals.

Get the recipe here.

17. Baked Carrot Fries (10+ months)

Babies LOVE fries, because: 1. They taste damn good and 2. They’re so easy for their small hands to hold and chomp on. But forget the junk food laden with salt – why not make these healthy veggie versions? If your little one isn’t wild for carrots, you can make them with lots of different veggies, such as sweet potato, parsnips and even courgettes.

Get the recipe here.

18. Baby Pasta Salad (10+ months)

Sometimes simple recipes become firm favourites with babies, and it doesn’t get easier than this pasta salad dish. Simply mix cooked bite-sized pasta and mix it with lots of veggies and a creamy sauce. The recipe here uses a ranch dressing, but you can sub that for olive or linseed oil, vegan mayo or even vegan yogurt.

Get the recipe here.

Vegan Baby Food Recipes

19. Spring Vegetable Risotto (8+ months)

This recipe is great for babies who like bland yet tasty food. The mixture of vegetables provide vitamins, folic acid and fibre. This recipe uses cheese, you can either add a dairy-free alternative or mix in some nutritional yeast for a cheesy flavour.

Get the recipe here.

20. Edamame, Courgette & Potato Croquettes (10+ months)

Who doesn’t love a fried potato? But don’t worry, these are also packed full of fresh green goodness and the edamame beans add the perfect hit of protein, making them a great meal for little ones. Simple to make, they’re just the right size for little hands. And if you’re going down the pureed food route, the potato, edamame and courgette mix is a tasty blend for babies by itself.

Get the recipe here.

21. Rigatoni with Five-Veg Pasta Sauce (9+ months)

Pasta is another quick and easy dinner to make, and if you make a big batch at the beginning of the week you can keep this as leftovers for the rest of the week. This nutritious pasta dish is loaded with Mediterranean vegetables and a tomato sauce.

Get the recipe here.

22. Vegan Fish Fingers (12+ months)

As a child I grew up on fish fingers – and even now I grow nostalgic for them! But with recipes like this, you can still enjoy that childhood favourite by turning tofu into these fish sticks – just be sure that tofu is 100% organic or you’re feeding your baby GMOs!

Get the recipe here.

23. Vegan Zucchini ‘Meatballs’ (10+ months)

These vegan meatballs are made with less than 10 ingredients and require only 20 minutes to make from scratch – perfect for the busy life of a parent. Made from a base of chickpeas and seasoned with basil oregano and garlic, these are packed with plant-based goodness.

Get the recipe here.

24. Sugar-Free Coconut Rice Pudding (5+ months)

Babies go wild for rice pudding and no wonder: it’s soft, creamy and yum! But sometimes the ready-made versions you buy are packed with hidden sugar. Not only is this recipe sugar-free, it’s also super creamy thanks to the coconut milk. Swap the milk for either breast milk or a vegan alternative. Keep it plain or top with fruit for older babies.

Get the recipe here.

Lora O'Brien

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15 Comments

  • Reply
    Adrian
    Nov 26, 2018 at 9:56 pm

    I got from my sister some pdf with a guide ‘How to introduce solid foods to your baby.’ by Susan Urban which in general was a quite good read. But thanks of this book, it occurred to me, that at the begining you are suppoused to give only plant food. After weaning from breast I didn’t know what to do about good nutrition, so I went with diary products and meat. But I’m sure that I want to try relye only on vegan diet so thanks for the ideas 🙂

    • Reply
      Chere
      Nov 27, 2018 at 3:15 am

      So glad you found this helpful, Adrian! Motherhood can be a minefield! 😉

  • Reply
    Katie West
    Nov 29, 2018 at 5:53 am

    OMG! Thanks a lot Lora O’Brien for sharing such an informative page about 20 vegan baby food recipes. I have read your valuable page and gotten much information. I have learned a lot from you that I did not know before. I confused for choosing the Baby Foods information what would be the best for everything but now my confusion has cleared by your review. Keep it up………..

    • Reply
      Chere
      Nov 29, 2018 at 5:55 am

      Thanks so much for your comments! Lora is a new mom and has been obsessing about vegan baby research. So happy it’s been useful!

  • Reply
    Christina Clanton
    Feb 10, 2019 at 6:00 am

    Great article Chere! Thank you so much for sharing your experience! You are inspiring me to feed vegan baby food. I am a newbie for parenting. But I was worried about choosing the best baby vegan food? Actually, I got a lot of information from your blog which you have written your blog. Review this article my confusion is clear, Thanks.

    • Reply
      Chere
      Feb 11, 2019 at 2:10 am

      Thanks so much for your kind words Christina! It was all Lora – she’s the new mom who knows what’s what with baby food! 😉

  • Reply
    Rebecca
    Feb 25, 2019 at 11:29 pm

    Breast milk is vegan? I think this article has abit if misinformation..

    • Reply
      Chere
      Feb 26, 2019 at 12:17 am

      Yes, breast milk absolutely IS vegan! Ask any vegan mom. The whole point of veganism is not to hurt animals. There’s nothing more beautiful, natural and non-exploitative than a mother feeding her child her milk 🙂

  • Reply
    Carrie
    Apr 29, 2019 at 10:41 pm

    Great article but I have a major issue with the statement that baby’s first good isnt vegan at all – breastmilk is entirely vegan its designed for our babies and fed by choice. This is a ridiculous thing to say and could confuse people looking info on breastfeeding

    • Reply
      Chere
      Apr 29, 2019 at 10:58 pm

      Thanks Carrie! You’re right – we just clarified that sentence thanks to your comment 🙂

  • Reply
    10 Helpful Tips For Raising A Vegan Baby | BabyGaga
    Jul 18, 2019 at 4:34 pm

    […] better control over the foods their infant consumes by coming up with their own list of foods. To create a menu made specifically for a vegan baby is as simple as cutting up small pieces of a banana and mashing them up or stirring up a wealth of […]

  • Reply
    Vanessa
    Oct 31, 2019 at 10:11 pm

    I went vegan a few years after I had kids but we actually feed our kids a lot of vegan food growing up, more vegan food than we ate. They are healthy and thriving vegans now, we all are. But that is interesting is that a lot of the reason that we went vegan was when we had kids. We realized just how bad the food that they make for babies is and even though we were eating certain foods we thought twice before we gave it to our babies. After a lot of research and process of elimination, we decided to also lead by example and eventually we were all vegan. It started with preservatives, then food coloring, then additives and the more you look at our food system it is filled with those items.

    Then look at many of the meats at the supermarket and the story is very similar, eventually we realized that eating a plant based diet just helped to alleviate a lot of the effort it takes to eliminate those harmful items from our diet. I wish I knew about the lifestyle before I had kids but I am still very glad that we were able to switch and gain the benefits. Thanks for putting together this awesome post!

    • Reply
      Chere
      Nov 1, 2019 at 11:10 pm

      Thanks for your feedback, Vanessa!

  • Reply
    Jaonne sully
    Nov 3, 2019 at 6:03 am

    Im a new mom and i want to go vegan with my son and husband but im soo confused but thanks to this…i can definitely start by cooking what I’ve seen so far and go from there

    • Reply
      Chere
      Nov 3, 2019 at 7:04 pm

      So glad this has been helpful Joanne! Good luck!

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