This baby and kid-friendly sweet potato sauce is EASY to whip up and can be enjoyed with pasta, grains, or as a dip for crackers and vegetables. It's great alternative to tomato-based sauces.
What makes this sauce awesome!
- Simple, minimal ingredients that you probably already have on hand. Well perhaps minus silken tofu, but hey! This recipe just might entice you to include it as a fridge staple. It makes for a great healthier substitute to heavy cream and adds an extra boost of protein and iron, a super duper important nutrient for babies, especially.
- Easily customizable - toss with pasta and whatever vegetables you wish, enjoy with a bowl of oatmeal/lentils, or serve as a sauce for vegetables! If you have a picky eating toddler or older child, it might do the trick in encouraging them to give the food in question a lick!
- And of course, it’s delicious!
You should totally try this butternut squash pasta sauce with beans too!
Best Iron Rich Foods for Babies and Toddlers
Sweet potatoes - I recommend using red or orange-fleshed varieties. I especially heart the garnet ones
Red bell pepper- this isn't an absolute must BUT I encourage you to include it. Not only does it add another element of flavor, it's an excellent source of vitamin C, which greatly helps increase the absorption of plant-based iron sources.
Silken tofu - Such a quick and inexpensive way to add protein, iron, and calcium into your family's meals! It also serves as a great healthy alternative to heavy cream. I do like to use sprouted tofu as it contains more protein and less antinutrients compared to the non-sprouted ones.
Smoked paprika- if you've tried any of my recipes here on my blog or from my cookbooks, you know how much I adore this spice! A little goes a long way and adds that je ne sais quoi note to the dish.
Related: Everything you need to know about Tofu
Tips for Success
- While you can boil or steam the sweet potatoes, I HIGHLY recommend you roast them. Magical things happen in the oven. Be sure to cook until they're easily mashable with a fork.
- Time saving tip: Roast the sweet potatoes and red bell pepper ahead of time! That way, it's one less thing to do when it comes time to make the sauce and thus will take less than 5 minutes to whip up.
How to Cook Vegetables for Babies and Toddlers
How to serve this creamy sauce to babies and toddlers
You will love how versatile this sauce is!
- Toss with pasta (large shapes work best for 6-8 month old babies)
- Combine with cooked grains, like oatmeal, quinoa, and barley
- Combine with lentils
- Drizzle over cooked vegetables
- Mix it into yogurt
- Serve by itself - will be especially great if your baby is teething or ill. The sauce is pretty thick so it’s also perfect for spoon practice.
Sweet Potato Pasta Sauce
If planning to enjoy the sauce with pasta, here are some tips!
Be sure to reserve some pasta water. You may not need it, but it’ll come in handy if you want to thin out the sauce once it's tossed with pasta.
Feel free to add whatever vegetables you wish. Frozen vegetables work great! So convenient and equally nutritious as the fresh ones. Pictured above - frozen chopped spinach
For an additional boost of iron and protein, you can add beans, chicken, beef, shrimp, etc.
While you can refrigerate leftovers once the pasta is tossed in the sauce, it tastes best with fresh cooked pasta. So I STRONGLY recommend combining enough pasta and sauce for one meal and reserving the rest of the sauce to enjoy in various ways throughout the week, as mentioned above.
For older children and adults, it will be even more scrumptious with cheese (especially parmesan). You can add a little bit for babies but do be mindful of sodium content.
Fresh herbs like cilantro and parsley will really brighten up the dish!
Frequently Asked Questions
It is the main ingredient so I want to advise you to try the recipe as is. However, if unable, you can use canned (or homemade) pumpkin puree, roasted butternut squash, kabocha, or acorn squash. You may need to add more milk depending on how starchy your substitute is.
I personally like full fat cow's milk or canned coconut milk for this. But you can certainly use any plant-based milk if there's a dairy allergy.
It depends on how you want to enjoy it. Warm it up if combining with pasta as the recipe suggests. Otherwise, you can eat it as soon as it's blended. It's tasty served cold, too.
Yes! tofu that you find at the store actually has already been cooked. As long as it's been pasteurized, it is safe. Having said that, if you want to err on the side of caution then you can certainly heat up the sauce and bring to room temperature before serving to your baby.
Yes, tofu contains isoflavones, phytoestrogens that are similar in structure to hormone estrogens. However, they are NOT the same and behave differently in the body. While more research is needed, there's evidence to suggest many benefits to incorporating soy-based products to your child's diet. You can read more in this post.
Transfer the sauce to an airtight container and keep in the fridge for up to 5 days. Reheat on the stove or in the microwave.
Transfer to a freezer-safe bag or container and freeze for up to 3 months.
Alternatively, you can freeze in individual portions if planning to serve just to your baby. I love to use this tray!
Did you make this recipe? Leave a rating below and let me know how you liked the recipe! Your feedback means so much to me!
Creamy Sweet Potato Sauce
- 2 medium sweet potatoes (about 400g)
- 1 medium red bell pepper
- 14 ounce silken tofu
- 1 cup full fat milk of choice
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- Cook vegetables (do this in advance if able). Peel and chop the sweet potatoes into ½ inch pieces. Roughly chop the bell pepper into strips. Transfer to a baking sheet, toss with oil, and roast at 400f for 25-30 minutes until sweet potatoes are easily mashable with a fork.
- Add cooled vegetables to a food processor/blender. Add rest of the ingredients. Blend until smooth and creamy.
To enjoy as a pasta sauce
- Cook pasta according to the package instructions. Before draining, be sure to save at least 1 cup of pasta water.
- Pour sauce into a pan and heat for a couple of minutes over medium heat, stirring. Add vegetables of choice. Add pasta. Toss to combined and if necessary, add some pasta water to reach your desired sauce consistency. You want it to be creamy but thin enough to coat the pasta.
- Enjoy with cheese (parmesan!) and fresh herbs like parsley, cilantro
Bella C says
How should I defrost this to use if I’ve batched cooked and frozen? Thanks so much!
Thaw in the fridge overnight and either reheat on the stove or the microwave :).
To clarify is each sweet potato about 400g? Or two potato 400g?
it's for both
To clarify, do we blend the tofu (uncooked) with the cooked sweet potato and red pepper, with milk, cumin, paprika and cumin? Or is the tofu chunks in the pasta, together with other veggies?
Yup add uncooked silken tofu. It's part of the sauce
Hi, for my 10 month old, should I use cows milk or substitute with formula?
Hi! You can use cows milk. You just don't want to offer it as a drink! It's fine to cook with it
Does it have to be with Silken Tofu? Could it be Soft or Medium firmness tofu?
I imagine it will still work but won't be as creamy and smooth
Yoojin Lee says
After trying your instant pot peanut chicken recipe, I had to try this too! It was a huge success. My son is a very picky eater but LOVED it. Can't thank you enough for making the meal time so much easier!! Looking forward to more recipes (I love yours so much for having almost zero sugar and salt but still being super delicious)
YAY!!! Makes my heart so happy to hear this. Thank you for letting me know!
Can this recipe be also made with the violet sweet potato?
Do you think I can make this with kabocha pumpkin?
super excited for dinner tonight! Serving to my 9 month old! Just went out of my way to go to the supermarket to buy silken tofu specifically for this. I've been really bummed bc my baby has a really bad reaction to tomato so this is the perfect pasta sauce for her! Stoked she can try this tonight for dinner!!!! Thanks so much!
I will definitely try to share more tomato-free recipes moving forward. Hope your entire family enjoy dinner tonight!!
Looks delicious! I can't wait to try this. I only have softened tofu in the fridge. Can I use that in place of the silken tofu?
Ashley Zlotnick says
We are dairy and soy free! Sub coconut milk and what else for the tofu?
I haven't tried but perhaps you can use soaked cashews