Just about any kind of lentil can be used in this recipe. Red lentils are especially nice, though, because they cook more quickly than most other beans. Also, they generally do not need to be pre-soaked, which makes this a quick-and-easy recipe. A spiced variation of this dish, dhal, is an Indian favorite.
½ cup red lentils
1 tablespoon onion, diced
1 tablespoon oil
1 tablespoon carrot, finely chopped
2 cups water
Wash and drain the lentils several times. Soak overnight if the package directions indicate that this is necessary.
Sautée the onion in oil for 4–6 minutes. Add the carrot and continue cooking for another 4–5 minutes.
Add the drained lentils and water. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 40–50 minutes, or until lentils are soft.
Drain mixture and place into a food processor or blender, reserving the cooking liquid. Purée until smooth, adding leftover liquid 1 tablespoon at a time until the mixture is smooth.
Beans, the Other Protein
Chickpeas, lentils, navy beans, split peas, and other kinds of beans provide much-needed protein to an older baby's diet. Canned beans are fine to use for making baby food, as long as they are unspiced and unsalted. They generally don't need to be re-cooked. You can rinse, drain, and use them for purées straightaway.