Black Beans and Sweet Potatoes with Apples – Slow Cooker Baby Food Treasures

This is a “treasure” recipe; mash the sweet potatoes and leave the beans whole and let baby pick through the sweet potatoes to find the beans. Or mash the beans and add chunks of soft-cooked sweet potatoes. Either way you want to serve this, your baby will be happy to pick through her plate.

Caution: Beans must be soaked for at least 5 hours and then boiled for 10 minutes prior to cooking them in a slow cooker. This is most important if you are serving beans to babies and kids.  Legumes will concentrate and emit phytohaemagglutinin, which is a form of lectin that can be toxic at high levels. Soaking and boiling beans prior to slow cooking will stop this potential health hazard from occurring. Note also that beans may cause baby to have some gassiness.

Slow Cooker Size: 4 to 6 quarts (3.8 to 5.7 l); oval

❄ Freezes well, but you may see some ice crystals. Some separation may occur when thawed; mix to combine.
🍎 B vitamins, including folate, and A and C, as well as fiber, iron, and calcium

Black Beans and Sweet Potatoes with Apples – Slow Cooker Baby Food Treasures

Age and Stage: 8 months+ | Stage Two | Second Foods and Beyond | 6 hour cooking in slow cooker

Ingredients

  • 1 pound 455 g dried black beans
  • 2 large sweet potatoes
  • 2 apples such as McIntosh, cored, peeled, and diced (optional)
  • 6 cups 1.4 l cold water
  • 1 ⁄4 cup 40 g minced onion (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder optional
  • 1 ⁄2 teaspoon ground pepper optional
  • Cheddar cheese shredded (optional)

Instructions

  • Place the beans in a bowl, cover with water, and soak for at least 5 hours.
  • Drain the beans, transfer to a saucepan, cover with water, and boil for 10 minutes. Drain the water. Rinse the beans and pick through them for any debris.
  • Peel the sweet potatoes and chop into small but relatively uniform chunks.
  • Transfer the beans and sweet potatoes to the slow cooker. Add the apples (if using), water, and onion, garlic powder, and pepper (if using).
  • Cover and cook on low for 6 hours, checking after 3 hours and adding more water if needed. After 6 hours, check the texture of the sweet potatoes and beans. If the sweet potatoes and beans are both soft cooked, remove the food from the slow cooker and set aside to cool; discard liquid.
  • Otherwise, cook for an additional 1 to 2 hours (to finish cooking more quickly, set the slow cooker to high). The apples will simmer down nicely, while the sweet potatoes and beans should remain soft but not mushy.
  • If using, sprinkle a bit of shredded cheese over the mixture and stir to combine.

Notes

Preparation and Storage for Baby:
When cooled, puree the food in batches. Use a food processor to achieve a smooth texture and add water, formula, or breast milk as you continue to puree. You can also partially puree so that the food has some lumps and bumps to help baby make the transition to table foods.
Using a slotted spoon, remove some of the sweet potatoes and beans and then spoon out some of the apples; set aside to offer as a finger food meal. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days for babies and up to 6 months in the freezer
For the Family:
Prior to reducing to a texture suitable for your baby, remove some of the sweet potatoes and apples and set aside. Serve this mix—sprinkled with additional shredded Cheddar cheese, if desired—as a delicious side dish.
Bonus - Recipe for Black Bean Sweet Potato Quesadilla.