Toddler Superfoods: Spinach and Ricotta Stuffed Pasta Shells
There are many foods that play different roles in providing the nutrients and minerals that our bodies need, and these needs will differ depending on the age and the gender of a person. For example, the dietary intake required for a 2 year old boy will differ greatly from what is required for a 45 year old woman.
We’re putting together a collection of recipes that are designed to supply your toddler with the best foods they need for healthy development.
The second recipe in our series is Stuffed Spinach and Ricotta Pasta Shells.
The superfoods for toddlers that this recipe includes are:
Spinach is considered to be one of the first superfoods, and for good reason. It’s loaded with vitamins and minerals such as vitamins A, K, D and E, as well as a source of omega-3 fatty acids. Additionally, it contains anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer flavonoid compounds.
Basil is packed full of essential vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A, C and K, as well as iron, potassium and calcium. A great way to disguise it in foods is to blend it in a food processor until very fine, and then hiding it in sauces and other dishes.
Tomatoes are loaded with a substance called lycopene, which is known to be cancer-risk reducing. They work great in salads, sauces and mixed into casseroles.
- 16 jumbo pasta shells
- 4 cups fresh spinach leaves, roughly chopped
- 350g ricotta
- 1 cup tomato pasta sauce
- 1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
- ½ cup grated parmesan
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- ¼ cup tinned tomatoes
- 1 ½ tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp fresh basil, finely chopped
- 2 tspn minced garlic
- Salt and pepper, to season
- Preheat oven to 190°C (170°C fan-forced).
- Cook the pasta shells al dente, according to packet instructions. Drain the shells and put aside.
- Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium-high heat. When warm, add the garlic and cook until it begins to brown (about a minute or two). Add the spinach and – stirring occasionally – cook for 3-4 minutes until the leaves begin to wilt but are still bright green. Remove from the heat and cool.
- In a mixing bowl, stir together the cooked spinach, ricotta, mozzarella, parmesan, egg, tinned tomatoes and basil, and mix until well combined. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Pour ½ cup of the tomato pasta sauce into the bottom of a shallow baking dish.
- Stuff each pasta shell with the spinach and ricotta mix, and then place the shells into the baking dish.
- Cover with the remaining sauce, and then cover the dish with aluminium foil. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes, and then remove the foil and continue baking for another 10-15 minutes.
- Once the sauce has begun to bubble and the top is golden brown, the pasta is ready to serve.
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At Bellamy's Organic, we believe a pure start to life means providing your little one with uncomplicated nutrition – good food that is straightforward, wholesome & nutritious. Our pursuit will always be to provide pure food that nourishes the gentle tummies of the little ones in our lives.