As an American transplant of 9 years, in Italy the question I am most frequently asked is what I miss the most about living in the states, to which I always answer “nothing, home is where I am.” But reflecting on this a bit, this is a completely lame answer, and a total lie: there is so much I miss about living in the states. Topping my list is America’s enormous, well-supplied supermarkets. Specifically, the entire aisle dedicated to children’s foods, snacks, diapers, hygiene products; just endless possibilities.
I can spend hours picking out things for my son to eat, but the last time I perused an American supermarket my son barely ate anything but mush. To say the least, here in Italy I have had to become a bit more resourceful. I do have some extremely fresh produce on my side! Obsessed with introducing only the highest quality nutrition to my own body, what I buy for my son is only multiplied on the freshness scale.
With all the yummy products I have here at my fingertips, it can become difficult at times to concoct something creative. My son can scarf down a plate of tortellini, pasta with ragu and even steamed veggies (yes I have been fortunate, my son loves veggies), but I can even see he quickly bores of traditional Italian fare. Besides the typical Pinterest research, I added “Real Food for Babies and Toddlers” to my cookbook repertoire, which divides the recipes into each season. For this winter, I wanted to try these pumpkin and lentil patties with buckwheat and Quinoa. Not gonna lie, besides having some of my son’s favorite ingredients, it sounds like all the feels that I want in my own meals.
Pumpkin and Lentil Patties with Buckwheat and Quinoa
200g split red lentils
85g raw buckwheat groats (soaked for at least one hour beforehand)
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
½ ground cardamom
300g pumpkin (diced, peeled and deseeded)
1 small onion
100g quinoa flakes
2 tablespoons of unsalted peanut butter
Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
Rinse the lentils and buckwheat in a sieve until the water runs through clear and then drain. Transfer the lentils and buckwheat to a large saucepan and add 2½ cups of water, then bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and cover for 20 minutes until the water has been absorbed.
Mix the olive oil and spices in a large bowl. Add the pumpkin and finely chopped onion and cover with the mix. Place the pumpkin and onion on a baking tray and bake for 20 minutes.
Place in a large bowl the cooked pumpkin and onion, the cooked lentils and buckwheat, quinoa flakes and peanut butter. Once cool to handle, mash the ingredients and form into about 10 palm sized patties.
In a large frying pan with medium heat, place olive oil on the pan and cook the patties about 2 to 3 minutes on each side, or until golden brown.
Serve with your child’s (or your own for that matter) favorite side dish.