Cooking and Serving Broccoli for BLW: 6 Easy & Yummy Recipes

Some of my favorite memories of introducing my oldest child to food include broccoli. When a little one eats broccoli, it often looks like they are consuming a tiny tree, and we both found it fascinating! 

There are plenty of great recipes when you are ready to introduce this nutrient-rich veggie to your child.

Introduce broccoli early to help your child develop a life-long love for eating green veggies, and mix it with other foods to add flavor and variety.

When Can Babies Eat Broccoli?

As long as you cook it properly, you can introduce broccoli to your child at around the six-month mark.

This is when pediatricians recommend trying to feed your baby solid foods along with breast milk or formula. Broccoli is an excellent choice for an introductory food because it is easy to handle and tasty.

Benefits of Broccoli for Babies

Broccoli has endless benefits that can help your baby, and by introducing it early, you hopefully encourage your child to develop a taste for it for life.

Broccoli contains vitamin A that’s important for your child’s eye development and health. The fiber in broccoli will help with your child’s digestion.

Just make sure you keep your baby hydrated when they eat broccoli so that fiber can move things as it should.

Folate and B6 are also in this powerhouse veggie and thosed3 help with the rapid brain development taking place in your child each day. 

How Much Broccoli Can a Baby Have?

Many parents say that food before one is just for fun, and it’s true. Your baby is still going to be getting tons of nutrients from breast milk or formula, so you don’t need to force them to take in a ton of solids.

Since broccoli is so full of fiber, your baby may have some gas or stomach issues if you overdo it.

Start with a small floret and let your child gnaw away on that until they are finished.

See how they react, and make sure they stay hydrated so the broccoli can move through their bodies without causing a buildup of gas.

How To Cook Broccoli for Baby-Led Weaning

You don’t want to serve your child uncooked broccoli. Besides not tasting that great, it’s not a food that babies can chew easily. It can be a choking hazard, as can most foods, if not prepared properly.

The easiest way to cook broccoli is to steam it using a pot, a steamer basket, and boiling water.

You want to steam the broccoli until you can stab a fork through it and take it apart easily. However, you don’t want it to become mushy, so only steam it for about 5 minutes. 

Once you have steamed broccoli, there are a variety of ways you can use it. Just make sure it is easily chewable and soft before you feed it to your child on its own or by incorporating it into other foods.

How To Serve Broccoli to Babies

It’s important to prepare broccoli in a way that your child can easily handle it and eat it without a high risk of choking. That’s why starting with a puree makes sense. At the very least, the broccoli should be steamed to softness. 

You also need to cut the broccoli florets the right size for the age of your child. Children who are 6-8 months old need to be able to grasp the floret stem while they eat the floret.

Cut the broccoli symmetrically leaving as much of the floret stem as possible. Your child will be able to grab the floret easily with their little hands.

As your child gets older, you can chop broccoli into finer pieces. Your child will have the skills to pick it up, and you can add these smaller pieces to potatoes, smoothies, or other recipes that could use a kick of broccoli.

Add dip, cheese, or other toppings to give broccoli more flavor. You can even add broccoli to rice, mashed potatoes, and scrambled eggs.

The most important rule is to always monitor your child when they are eating.

Fun & Easy Broccoli Recipes for Babies

Though you can just serve plain, steamed broccoli to your child, there are plenty of ways to dress it up in recipes that make it even tastier.

Kids who might not like just regular broccoli tend to enjoy recipes that contain this veggie, especially if they don’t know they are eating broccoli.

A baby boy eating broccoli florets in his highchair.

#1. Broccoli Tots

Set oven to 375.

Combine 12 ounces of steamed broccoli that have been cut into small pieces with the following:

  • 1 cup of shredded cheese
  • 1 egg, ⅔ cup of breadcrumbs
  • ¼ tsp of garlic powder, ¼ tsp of onion powder
  • A pinch of salt (optional)

Once combined, use a tablespoon to scoop out portions of dough and put it on a greased cookie sheet. You should end up with around 30 tots.

Bake them for around 25 minutes. Serve alongside a yummy dipping sauce or on their own.

#2. Broccoli With Dip

For the ultimate in ease, steam broccoli until it is soft and then cut into the right-sized pieces for your child to chew easily. Serve it alongside a safe dip that your child can dip it in. 

#3. Broccoli Puree

If you’re still a bit nervous about your baby’s ability to chew broccoli, try a puree.

Steam broccoli, drain it, and place it in a food processor. Add a liquid of your choosing, like breast milk or formula, and puree until it is the consistency you want. 

#4. Broccoli Fritters

Consider broccoli fritters the flatter, wider version of broccoli tots. You use almost exactly the same ingredients, but these are larger and may be easier for little hands to grab.

Boil or steam 1 head of broccoli. When it cools, put it in a food processor with 2 eggs, ½ cup of shredded cheese, ¼ cup of breadcrumbs or flour, and a pinch of salt.

Use the grind function on your food processor until all of the ingredients are chopped and mixed.

Heat olive oil in a skillet, and add 3 tablespoons of mix to the skillet. Use a spatula to press it down into a round shape, and flip it until it’s golden and cooked on both sides.

#5. Broccoli Mashed Potatoes

Most kids love mashed potatoes, so putting broccoli in them is a no-brainer.

Boil cut potatoes with chopped broccoli. Drain the water, and add butter or a liquid, such as chicken broth. Use a hand mixer to blend potatoes and broccoli until they are soft and mixed.

#6. Pasta with Broccoli

Boil pasta, and steam or boil cut broccoli in a separate pot. Drain water from both, and mix the cut broccoli with the noodles. Now, you get creative!

Add a bit of olive oil, boiled carrots, chickpeas, or all of the above. Sprinkle a bit of salt or other flavoring to mix, and let your baby eat this pasta mix as finger food.

Final Thoughts

Broccoli is a great food to offer your child when you are introducing first foods. It’s versatile and tasty, and it will help your child gain tons of nutrients.