Now that it’s getting warmer, it’s the perfect time to start making our lentil bruschetta dip again! It’s a slight variation on the Trader Joe’s version that became popular a few years ago. My favorite thing about it is that it can be made from all fresh or all packaged foods, depending on what you have available.
The addition of lentils to traditional bruschetta adds in some protein, iron, and fiber, making it a perfect snack or meal for kids (and adults). With older kids, you can serve it with crackers, but with younger kids, I’d offer it with toasted bread as crackers can be a choking hazard.
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What are lentils?
Lentils are a type of legume, like peanuts or soy. They are very common in a lot of different vegetarian cooking dishes as well as in a lot of Indian dishes such as dahl. In other countries, they are used in stews and soups.
How to Serve Lentils to Baby
When first starting out, you can serve lentils in foods such as dahl on preloaded spoons or on foods that are easy to scoop. You can also use them to make foods such as vegetarian burgers which can be easier to grab. Once they cant a bit older and develop their pincer grasp, they can start picking up lentils in dishes such as this lentil bruschetta dip.
Lentils aren’t considered a choking hazard, but due to their small size, they may be difficult for babies to eat on their own until they develop their pincer grasp. Because of this, it can be easier to serve with scoopable foods or mixed into other foods.
Lentils are a good source of iron, manganese, phosphorus, B vitamins, magnesium, and zinc. They are also a good source of plant-based proteins. They contain the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin as well (1). Lentils are also a good source of fiber, which can aid with digestion.
Types of Lentils
Lentils can be grouped based on size, whether they are split or whole, or shelled or unshelled (1). Most commonly in stores, you will find shelled lentils in a variety of colors.
These lentils are the most mild and most tender of the lentils. They are generally used in soups and stews or whenever you want a softer texture. They don’t hold their texture when cooked and can create a pureed consistency.
These lentils have more of a nutty flavor and do hold their shape when cooked. They are a bit sturdier, but because of that take longer to cook.
These lentils are the most common lentils. If a recipe doesn’t specify the type of lentil, you can probably assume they are using brown lentils. They hold their shape and have a more mild flavor.
Lentil Bruschetta Dip
- 1 cup lentils
- 4 whole roma tomatoes (diced)
- 2 tsp garlic (minced)
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- ¼ cup parmesan cheese
- ⅓ cup basil (thinly sliced)
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- Cook lentils according to package and then cool.
- Mix tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, parmesan cheese, basil, and vinegar.
- Mix lentils into tomato mixture. Serve immediately or refrigerate.
Krystyn Parks is a Registered Dietitian and Lactation Consultant who specializes in feeding children. She has a Master’s Degree in Nutritional Science from California State University Long Beach. She is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant and has been registered with the Commission on Dietetic Registration since 2013.