Nutritious couscous makes for great baby food and snacks! Whether you’re looking for a homemade toddler snack, baby finger food or baby led weaning ideas, these couscous nuggets can’t be beaten for simplicity. Just four ingredients, no added salt or sugar, but a great flavor that the whole family will enjoy.
Introducing Odette to finger foods wasn’t quite the fun adventure I’d hoped. Despite being skeptical of spoons and really wanting to feed herself, she had a sensitive gag reflex and it was hard for her to learn to properly bite off, chew and manage foods in her mouth.
So that was a conundrum!
These couscous nuggets ended up being an early success story, thanks to the crumbly nature of baked couscous nuggets.
Couscous for Babies
Couscous is great for babies who are just starting on textured foods. It’s versatile and can be added into favorite purees initially just to give baby a sense of texture without overwhelming them. It’s a good source of carbs and plant based protein.
And for parents, it’s simple to prepare! Just let it sit in boiling water for about 5 minutes. It’s the easiest grain to make in tiny individual portions. You can simple prepare just 1-2 tablespoons of it at a time, in a mug.
But today we are turning our couscous into a finger food instead.
Couscous as a Finger Food / Toddler Snack / Baby Led Weaning
So back to my personal conundrum, where I had a baby who wanted to eat finger foods but wasn’t all that great with chewing. Sigh. Well, these couscous nuggets worked out well for her.
In this format, the couscous crumbles off so there is not a lot of chewing required. If you cook for the lower amount of time given, they will stay nice and soft for younger babies or those who aren’t yet competent chewers. They would be fantastic for baby led weaning.
If, you cook the couscous nuggets for the full time given, they will have a crispy outer edge which will appeal more to older babies, toddlers, kids and adults.
Let’s not forget the parents who bothered to make the nuggets though.
Mr. Veggie and I were big fans too. Despite the lack of salt and sugar, they have a fantastic flavor from the concentrated tomato paste and generous dash of herbs. So your whole family can enjoy them together, or you can at least snack on a few while feeding your little one.
A creamy garlic dip makes a great accompaniment!
They are also great cold as on-the-go snacks, and can be frozen.
Please note that I am no expert on the subject of baby feeding, and can only draw on my own experiences. All babies seem to like different things.
If you’re interested in learning more about introducing different textures and teaching your baby how to self feed, I highly recommend Nancy Ripton and Melanie Potock’s Baby Self Feeding.
4 Ingredient Cheese & Tomato Couscous Nuggets for Babies
- 1 cup of dried couscous
- 1 Tbsp mixed Italian herbs
- 3 Tbsp tomato paste
- 1.5 cups (100 g) grated strong cheddar cheese*
- Pre-heat the oven to 200C / 400F.
- Measure out your couscous and herbs into a bowl, and then pour 1 cup of boiling water over the top. Cover with a plate or paper towel and leave for 5 minutes.
- Add the cheese and tomato puree into a saucepan. Heat until the cheese just begins to melt, and then add in the couscous and stir until the mixture is completely combined.
- Line a large baking tray with parchment paper, and brush with olive oil.
- Use your hands to shape the couscous mixture into nuggets. (I got 20 nuggets from this recipe.)
- Brush or spray the nuggets with olive oil, and bake for about 15 minutes (for soft texture) or closer to 25 minutes (for crunchier edges).
Couldn’t you cook the couscous and add the rest of the ingredients to the same pan? Is there a compelling reason to use two pans? (I’m always for efficiency and less washing.) Thanks.
The only reason I do it in a separate pan is so that I can start to melt the cheese in the pan before adding the cooked cous cous and it’s a little less effort that way. But yep, it would definitely work in one pan with some extra stirring time if that’s your preference!
Oh my god great recipe thank you! My 18 month old loves them . She is the fussiest eater ever! 😟
I love couscous and had never considered it baking it before. Genius! I loved the crunch on the outside and how soft they were inside. These were amazing! I dipped them in something spicy, because obviously.
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Can i freeze these?
Yes! It’s better to freeze the dough and then make them fresh, but you could freeze them already made and they’ll just be a little crispier after being reheated.
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Easy to make and tasty but just crumbled in my 6 month old’s palm.
Oh I’m sorry this didn’t work out Sarah, I wonder if they needed a little longer in the oven to firm up enough. Your oven may be cooler than mine. Or if your tomato paste was more liquidy than mine and made the mixture less firm. Next time I make these I am going to take some process shots and see if that helps demonstrate the textures we’re aiming for which would help with troubleshooting. Thank you for your valuable feedback and sorry again for the disappointment.
Oh my… these are just wonderful. Both me and my little girl loved these. Definitely need a stronger cheese next time. Was surprise how well they went down. Fave dinner time recipe. Easy and cheap.
So happy you enjoyed these, thanks so much for the feedback! And yes a strong cheese is essential!
My 8 month old absolutely loves this! Thank you!
I was wondering if you had thought of any other flavours? I’d love to make some different types.
Thanks so much!
These are great, so easy to make and so tasty. Made them twice already. What’s the best way to reheat them if I have frozen them? My little one like to snack on them so only need to reheat couple at a time. Thanks.
Putting them back in the oven is probably ideal, but I usually just microwave them because I wouldn’t want to turn the oven back on! So glad you’re enjoying them.
I don’t measure in cups. How much is 1 cup of dried couscous in grams?
About 150g – good luck!
Thank you 😊
Hello, is there something else I could use instead of cheese to make these dairy free? Milk free cheese isn’t something we tend to eat. Many thanks
Hmm you want something that would help it all stick together and add flavor. Maybe some mashed sweet potato and just a little smidge of tahini?
These were tasty! Added well beaten two eggs to the cooled couscous before adding to the cheese/spice mixture. The eggs did a great job of binding and added a bit more protein. Highly recommend for the whole fam.
Just put these in the oven and waiting to see how they turn out. They seemed tricky to bind so I’m going to try adding egg to the mixture next time I make them as Molly mentions. Unless you have a veggie suggestion for getting a better bind? They smell great already!
I hope they turned out well! I wonder if the consistency of the tomato paste and the particular cheese used might affect binding. I used mature cheddar and a fairly sticky tomato puree and never had an issue, as well as making sure the couscous was very dry / not waterlogged. Let me know how it turned out. I haven’t made these in a while but I can re-test a few variations if that helps.