Weaning.ie Baby Beef and Lentil Bolognese!

By Cathy Monaghan MSc, H.Dip, RD.


Planning your weaning journey makes life easier in the long run. By using my Weaning Food Chart you can list all the foods that you like. Vegetable first weaning will help you work towards the ingredients in recipes such as this Baby Bolognese which is a great baby recipe, toddler recipe and one the whole family will enjoy. Building meals around what you eat will help create a toddler that likes to eat what you eat. It is not essential to use Annabel Karmel recipes.


Ideally we introduce one new food at a time, although a new food with a previously tolerated food is fine too. Introducing the potential allergens is different and this needs to be done with at least 72 hours in between. I cover this in my Weaning Masterclass if you would like to know more.


At 6 months the natural stores of nutrients that our babies were born with are starting to deplete. Iron is one of these. Iron deficiency anaemia is very common among toddlers. Iron carries oxygen around the body, deficiency can affect your baby’s growth & development – in severe cases irreversibly. The good news is it is really easy to prevent by including iron rich foods in weaning.


Contrary to popular belief green leafy vegetables are a good source of iron if you don’t have high requirements, have big stomachs & can eats lots of them – None of which apply to babies. Hence vegetarian or vegan diets aren’t encouraged in children – it is possible but needs careful analysis, please consider a 1:1 Consultation if this applies to you.


We would like all babies to eat green veggies and like the taste of them. Animal sources of iron are the most easily absorbed & the most concentrated so suit babies needs & appetite & allow for periods of sickness/ when they are off their food.

I used this bolognese about 3 or 4 times per week throughout weaning & during periods of rapid growth. I made a batch and then froze in ice cube trays so it was easy and quick to defrost. I served with baby pasta, potato, couscous or whatever we were having. Serve as a main dish. The food you serve it with could be the finger food and you could spoon feed the Bolognese.

This recipe is egg free, dairy free and gluten free (just consider the foods you serve it with).


Ingredients for bolognese sauce:

  • A few spoonful of Rapeseed Oil or Olive oil

  • Lean minced beef 250/300g

  • Passata/ fresh / tinned / chopped tomatoes (check ingredients – avoid salt)

  • Red lentils (about a handful) or more as you get used to them.

  • Whatever vegetables your baby has tolerated – think garlic , onions, celery, carrot.

  • Dried 0r fresh herbs.

  • Some dried fruits such as cranberries/ raisins etc.

  • Optional – baby or low salt stock cubes or see my blog on making stock.



I like to make the sauce first – fry the garlic, onion, whatever other veg you are using in the oil. Add the dried herbs, the passata or tins of tomatoes. Add the red lentils. Add the dried fruits as these balance out the acidity of the tomatoes. They are also an additional source of fibre.

Fry the beef in a separate pan until browned. Add to the sauce.

Simmer together for 20-30 minutes. If it is too thick you can add more fluids (water) .

Blitz the bolognese sauce before or after adding the beef – depending on the texture that you are aiming for. Blitzing with the beef will make it more puree, after the beef will offer more texture as baby progresses with textures.

You can see how I managed this on my Instagram.


Nutritionally, what’s the scoop for your little one?

This lentil and beef bolognese provides your baby, toddler and kids with –

  • Protein for growth

  • Iron for healthy blood

  • Magnesium for protein synthesis and nerve and muscle function

  • B12 for neurological development

  • Soluble Fibre to feed the good bacteria in their gut.

  • Lots of other vitamins and minerals!

And most importantly kids love it! More recipes to come!

Cathy Monaghan Kids Dietitian

Cathy Monaghan Kids Nutrition