These delicious and healthy dinner ideas are toddler and kid-friendly! Perfect for the entire family, get some inspiration and shake up your typical weeknight meal.

Graphic for post - 40 family dinner ideas for kids - healthy - easy - family meals. Grid of 4 pictures of healthy and colorful foods on teal and white plates.

Medically reviewed and co-written by Jamie Johnson, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN), and Lauren Braaten, Pediatric Occupational Therapist (OT).

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Healthy Dinner Ideas for Kids

It’s the age-old question – what’s for dinner🤔?!

Feeding your tribe healthy and yummy meals every night can sometimes feel like the hardest part of an already hard day. And let’s face it, we are all guilty of cycling through the same 3 or 4 meals that we know the entire family will enjoy.

These easy dinner ideas for kids will hopefully break out of your meal planning rut and give you some fresh dinner inspiration 💡.

With dozens of dinner recipes for kids to choose from, like my crazy good Chicken Parmesan Meatballs, Easy Cheesy Garlic Broccoli Pasta and Healthy Chicken Nuggets with Green Bean “Fries,” there are zero reasons to be in a dinner food slump. If you need toddler and kid smoothie, breakfast or lunch ideas, I have those too, plus plenty of healthy popsicle recipes to choose from as well.

Plus, these dinner recipes aren’t just for kids and toddlers; all of them are great for the whole family 👨‍👩‍👧‍👦, meaning that you don’t have to cook separate meals… which, quite frankly, is exhausting!

Need More Dinner Ideas? I’ve got your family covered with amazing family-friendly dinner recipes in my best-selling cookbook, Little Foodie: Baby Food Recipes for Babies and Toddlers with Taste. 

Family-Favorite Pizza Pinwheels Video

Watch this video to see how easy these pinwheels can be to make!

Small white bowl filled with healthy butternut squash Mac and cheese for toddler and kids.

Best Toddler and Kid Eating Essentials

Make mealtimes less of a battle with your toddler and kids, more enjoyable and a lot less messy! These are my top picks for toddler and younger kids’ mealtime products.

Garlic pasta in one-pot which is a family favorite.

Tips for Easy Family Dinners

  1. Prep Ahead – To save your sanity during the week – prep one or two items that you are planning on using for dinners that week on the weekend – chopped an onion, marinate some chicken, make a veggie-loaded pasta sauce, etc. It doesn’t have to be an all-day event. Even 30 minutes of prep time goes a long way.
  2. One Meal for Toddlers, Kids and Adults – Make one dinner for toddlers, kids and you! I developed these recipes for toddlers and kids, but I eat them as well! Don’t think that you have to make an extra meal just for yourself. I sometimes add sriracha, a large green salad or more veggies to my portion depending on what the recipe is, but the base recipe is always the same.
  3. Plan Ahead – The one thing that has helped me endlessly is meal planning. I choose my meals for the week, go shopping once and then everything is there when I need it. I never worry about what I’m going to make that evening and I can also plan to cook double batches for freezer meals.

All-Time Toddler Favorites

Kid-Friendly Recipes on Repeat

Nutritional Tips for your Family

Eating healthy for the whole family does not have to be complicated.  Kids learn by example so if they see you eating the same meal they have, they will be more likely to eat it. Here are a few tips to make it easier on the whole fam. 

  • Ideally, plates should be made up of ½ fruits and vegetables, ¼ whole grains and ¼ protein with a serving of dairy at each meal. But don’t worry if your or your child’s plate doesn’t always look like this (or they don’t always eat a balanced meal). Just try to make it even out throughout the week.
  • Eating together as a family, without distractions like the TV or phones, tends to create healthier eating habits for kids, and they learn healthy eating behaviors from others at the table. 
  • Don’t worry if your child doesn’t eat everything on their plate. Kids need to learn to honor their hunger and fullness cues so no more “Clean Plate Club.” 
  • Serve small portions so kids do not feel overwhelmed but what is on their plate. They can always ask for seconds if they want more.
  • Offer a variety of foods from all five food groups each day. Variety is key when trying to prevent picky eating, but remember it may take up to 10 times for a child to accept a new food so don’t be discouraged if they don’t eat something on the first try. 
  • A good rule of thumb to follow when feeding kids is: Parents choose when and what foods to offer and children decide how much to eat and whether they eat at all. 

Chicken Parmesan Meatballs for the Whole Family

5 stars (31 ratings)
These Chicken Parmesan Meatballs are the perfect family dinner – easy to make and loved by all! This healthy dinner is great for all ages – baby to adults! Made in 30 minutes with only 5 simple ingredients!
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plate showing a kids serving of this instant pot bbq chicken.

Instant Pot BBQ Chicken

5 stars (30 ratings)
This meal comes together in one pot and in less than 30 minutes. Using only 4 simple ingredients, this easy chicken dish is lower in sugar yet still packed with flavor.
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Garlic pasta in one-pot which is a family favorite.

Easy Garlic Broccoli Pasta

5 stars (40 ratings)
This Easy Garlic Broccoli Pasta is the perfect family dinner! Using one-pot, 5-ingredients and made in less than 20 minutes, what's not to love?
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Instant pot full of salsa chicken for family taco night

Easy Salsa Chicken Tacos

5 stars (9 ratings)
One meal that baby, toddler, kids and even adults will love – these salsa chicken tacos make for an easy and delicious family dinner!
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Sheet pan with cooked shrimp tacos and tortillas on top.

Family Favorite Sheet Pan Shrimp Tacos

5 stars (9 ratings)
Made in less than 15-minutes, these shrimp tacos are a family meal that everyone will love – from baby to adults!
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Mild Curry Chicken and Veggies

5 stars (21 ratings)
A fun way to introduce the rich and earthy taste of curry to you toddler! This mild curry chicken & vegetable dinner is mild enough for toddler, but good enough for parents as well.
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Hand reaching over a plate of veggie hidden pizza rollups with a side of sauce ready for kids to take and eat.

Easy 35 Minute Veggie Pizza Pinwheels

5 stars (18 ratings)
This recipe for pizza pinwheels is a terrific 30-minute meal idea for toddlers, kids and adults too! The pinwheels are fluffy, chewy and really versatile—load them up with endless combinations of sauce and classic pizza toppings for everyone to enjoy. For ease, pinwheel assembly instructions included!
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Set of purple and green kids bowls and plates with salmon pasta with peas inside.

Salmon Pasta with Peas

5 stars (6 ratings)
This easy Favorite Salmon Pasta with Peas is a nutrient-rich meal, not only for your toddler and kids, but for your whole family! Great for baby-led weaning and the finger food stage! 6+ months and up.
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2 small bowls filled with pumpkin pasta with 2 kids forks on a blue napkin.

Family-Favorite Pumpkin Pasta

4.92 stars (34 ratings)
This easy and healthy Pumpkin Pasta can be made from scratch in only 15 minutes and with only 7 easy-to-find ingredients.
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Spread of food on a counter will a big saucepan full of pumpkin risotto.

Kid-Friendly Pumpkin Risotto

5 stars (6 ratings)
This Kid-Friendly Pumpkin Risotto is a comforting dinner that the entire family will enjoy – from toddlers to grown-ups!
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A teal plate with three soft chicken tacos for family dinner with limes on a white countertop.

Quick Soft Tacos with Ground Chicken

No ratings yet
Your weeknight dinner rotation just got a lot more satisfying! Whip up these quick and healthy Ground Chicken Soft Tacos (ready in 20 minutes!) for a family-friendly meal that's loaded with protein and fiber. Plus, these tacos have hidden veggies (grated carrots and zucchini) for an added nutritional boost!
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Round white plate with chicken nuggets and green beans on top. Fork resting on place with chicken on it.

Healthy Chicken Nuggets with Green Bean “Fries”

5 stars (6 ratings)
Tender whole wheat chicken nuggets and crispy green bean “fries” are a perfect healthy alternative to the all-time favorite toddler meal. 
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A gray kids plate with a red napkin on a white background. The plate has four pizza muffins on top.

20-Minute Pizza Muffins (hidden veggie!)

4.91 stars (10 ratings)
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Blue kids plate and bowl with a blue spoon filled with sweet potato mac & cheese.

Creamy Sweet Potato Mac and Cheese

5 stars (8 ratings)
This kid-friendly Sweet Potato Mac and Cheese is made in 20 minutes, in one pot, is packed with flavor and has an added veggie!
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Small kids hands eating off a plate with hidden veggie pasta sauce with pasts, blueberries and broccoli.

Hidden Veggie Pasta Sauce

5 stars (33 ratings)
This Hidden Veggie Pasta Sauce is a great way to get even the pickiest of eaters to eat their veggies! Filled with tomatoes, zucchini, carrots, leeks and red peppers, this sauce is full of nutrient-dense veggies all while still tasting like a delicious homemade tomato sauce.
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Round white place with crispy white fish, rice and pineapple and avocado salad.

Crispy White Fish with Pineapple & Avocado Chunks

5 stars (7 ratings)
An excellent way to serve fish to your toddler – seasoned to perfection and cooked until crispy on the outside yet still tender on the inside. Served with a side of pineapple and avocado chunks and cilantro brown rice for the win.
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white bowl filled with brown rice, veggies and chunks of scrambled egg. white bowl is sitting on an orange napkin with flowers on it.

Easy Veggie “Fried” Rice for Baby + Toddler

5 stars (41 ratings)
This healthy version of the classic dish is filled with your favorite rice, a mix of veggies and a scrambled egg for some protein. You can use whichever veggies your little one prefers to make this dish and instant classic in your home.
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Teal blue plate for kids with color flower tots and a small bowl of guacamole dip.

Favorite Cauliflower Tots

5 stars (8 ratings)
These easy cauliflower tots are a delicious and fun spin on a childhood favorite. Plus, they're perfect for baby-led weaning, toddlers, kids, and even adults!
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round white plate on top of a blue napkin. On the plate is 4 salmon bites coated in breadcrumbs and herbs. On the side is steamed broccoli and cauliflower.

Crispy Herb Salmon Bites for Baby + Toddler

4.91 stars (11 ratings)
These salmon bites are a great way to introduce salmon to baby or toddler in an easy-to-eat foolproof way.
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round white plate with a taco meal for baby - finger foods of turkey taco meat with beans and a sprinkle of cheese, on the side - chunks of avocado, strips of peppers and chunks tomatoes.

Taco Tuesday for Baby

5 stars (25 ratings)
Don’t forget about baby’s dinner on your favorite meal night of the week – Taco Tuesday! This flavorful meal is filled with your favorite taco flavors, only mini-sized for those little hands to be able to eat.
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baby-led weaning nuggets - small white bowl on top of blue napkin that is filled with seasoned tofu chunks

Baked Seasoned Tofu Finger Food Nuggets

4.50 stars (169 ratings)
These crispy bite-sized pieces of tofu are a fun and tasty way for baby to get protein in their diet.
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white round plate on top of a dark blue napkin. On the plate is finger foods for baby or toddler - chopped seasoned chicken, blueberries and sweet potatoes

Baked Seasoned Chicken Tenders

5 stars (26 ratings)
An easy and healthy sheet pan meal for baby – tender seasoned chicken tenders with a side of roasted sweet potato chunks.
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Curry Pasta Salad for Baby + Toddler

5 stars (10 ratings)
Bite sized pasta, broccoli, carrots and chickpeas get tossed in a tasty mild curry sauce that will delight any baby or toddler’s growing taste buds! This finger food salad is a fun way to introduce curry to baby. Perfect for baby-led weaning and the finger food stage!
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2 white round plates on top of a yellow napkin. one plate has a sweet potato boat the other plate has the same sweet potato boat but without the sweet potato peel. finger food for baby and toddler

Mexican Sweet Potato Boats

5 stars (5 ratings)
These sweet potato boats are a family-friendly way to serve sweet potatoes to the entire family – including those picky eaters.
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Two green kids bowls, full of macaroni and cheese with chicken with a green spoon resting inside in a blue napkin.

Quick Stovetop Mac and Cheese with Shredded Chicken

5 stars (2 ratings)
Looking to add some extra protein to an easy weeknight meal? Look no further than this classic mac and cheese with chicken. It's deliciously filling and cheesy dish that the whole family will love. Great for babiestoddlerskids, and adults!
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white round plate with wedges of kale pesto quesadilla and a side of chopped raspberries. The plate is sitting on a teal napkin and there is a torn wedge of quesadilla on it.

Kale Pesto Chicken Quesadilla

4.75 stars (8 ratings)
This baby-friendly chicken quesadilla is amped-up with a secret ingredient – kale!
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small white bowl filled with baby led weaning pasta with Bolognese sauce on top. Bowl has blue fork with pasta sitting on top of bowl.

Baby’s First Bolognese

4.98 stars (37 ratings)
A thick and hearty bolognese sauce with added veggies is the perfect way to introduce this classic sauce to your baby. This sauce is versatile and can be served over your favorite pasta, brown rice, zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash. 
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A blue kids plate and bowl with a blue napkin and purple fork, with broccoli mac & cheese inside the bowl. Next to this is a pink bowl full of broccoli mac & cheese.

Easy Broccoli Mac and Cheese

5 stars (6 ratings)
This delicious Broccoli Mac & Cheese recipe is perfect for toddlers, kids and adults alike! This kid-friendly pasta recipe is easy to make, and packed with flavor. If you’re wondering what to make for dinner… this is just the thing!
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Pesto Rainbow Pizza

5 stars (2 ratings)
This Veggie-Loaded Toddler Rainbow Pizza is a fun and colorful way to get even the pickiest toddlers to eat their veggies! 
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A blue kids plate and bowl with a blue napkin and purple fork, with broccoli mac & cheese inside the bowl. Next to this is a pink bowl full of broccoli mac & cheese.

Easy Broccoli Mac and Cheese

5 stars (6 ratings)
This delicious Broccoli Mac & Cheese recipe is perfect for toddlers, kids and adults alike! This kid-friendly pasta recipe is easy to make, and packed with flavor. If you’re wondering what to make for dinner… this is just the thing!
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A black bean tostadas topped with strawberry salsa and a avocado on a white plate.

Black Bean Tostadas with Strawberry Salsa

5 stars (4 ratings)
These Black Bean Tostadas with Strawberry Salsa are an easy summer-flavored family dinner that can be made in less then 20 minutes! 
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Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Apple Slaw

5 stars (21 ratings)
These slow-cooker Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Apple Slaw are a perfect weeknight meal for the entire family.
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Oven Roasted Tomato Sauce

5 stars (3 ratings)
This Oven Roasted Tomato Sauce is thick, creamy and full of summer flavors. With a 5-minute prep time, it will easily become your family's favorite tomato sauce!
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Whole wheat veggie pizza on a cutting board with side bowls of parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes.

Kid-Approved Summer Veggie Pizza

5 stars (2 ratings)
This Kid-Approved Summer Veggie Pizza is Ellie's favorite pizza of the summer and is topped with basil pesto, sweet peppers, fresh corn and cherry tomatoes all covered with a big handful of shredded mozzarella cheese and is the perfect pizza for the entire family!!
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A blue kids plate and bowl filled with butternut squash mac & cheese with a colorful napkin and a green fork.

The Best Kid-Friendly Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

5 stars (6 ratings)
This delicious butternut squash mac and cheese recipe is perfect for toddlers, kids, and adults alike! This kid-friendly pasta recipe is easy to make, and packed with flavor. If you’re wondering what to make for dinner… this is just the answer!
round white plate sitting on white surface. On the plate there are 4 mini bagel pizzas stacked on top of each other. The top bagel pizza has a bite taken out it.

Mini Bagel Pizzas with Pepper “Sprinkles”

5 stars (8 ratings)
These easy-peasy pizzas come with a fun surprise – pepper “sprinkles”. Toddlers will love adding these bright and colorful veggie sprinkles onto their lunch pizzas.
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a fiesta bowl with a spoon in it.

Family-Friendly Fiesta Bowls

5 stars (4 ratings)
These Fiesta Bowls make for an easy and delicious weekday dinner for toddlers, kids and you! So easy to customize these bowls with whatever ingredients you prefer or have on hand.
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A big bowl of chicken chili verde for toddler, kids and adults.

Family-Friendly Chicken Chili Verde

5 stars (2 ratings)
Made with chicken, corn, beans and a tomatillo salsa verde, this easy and healthy Chicken Chili Verde is a perfect family meal for any night of the week!
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small white bowl filled with an easy creamy tomato soup is sitting on a white plate with 3 cheesy dippers next to the bowl. The bowl is on a green napkin sitting on a white surface.

Easy Tomato Soup with Cheesy Bread Dippers

4.84 stars (18 ratings)
This comforting tomato soup can be made in less then 20 minutes and enjoyed by both you and your toddler. Don’t forget to make the cheesy bread dippers – the most fun your toddler will have at a meal.
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small white bowl filled with pasta and vegetables. Sits on top of a green and white checkered napkin with a green and yellow fork filled with pasta

Easy-Peasy 5 Veggie Pasta for Baby

4.95 stars (51 ratings)
This wholesome baby-led weaning meal is made by tossing together your favorite pasta, a whopping 5 different veggies and a simple yet delicious basil dressing. Everything is the same finger food size for easy eating for baby. 
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white plate sitting on top of a purple napkin on a white surface. On the plate is 3 mini cheesy broccoli quinoa bites and a small handful of sliced grapes. One of the quinoa bites is halfway eaten with a fork.

Cheesy Broccoli Quinoa Bites

4.97 stars (29 ratings)
This handheld meal is a fun way to serve broccoli to your toddler.
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a white bento box is filled with a mini pita pocket cut in half and filled with an avocado tuna salad, there are cut sticks of carrots on the plate as well. The plate is sitting on a multi-colored napkin on a white surface.

Avocado Tuna Salad in Mini Pita Pockets

5 stars (6 ratings)
For a fun twist on this classic tuna salad sandwich we are using avocado in place of the mayo, then mixing the tuna with celery and apple chunks for some crunch, before we spoon the fresh tasting tuna salad into a mini pita pocket.
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small white plate sitting on a white surface. On top of plate is a small white bowl filled with a dipping sauce and 3 wooden sticks filled with tortellini and veggies, a couple of tortellini and veggies are scattered on the table.

Tortellini On-a-Stick with Marinara Dipping Sauce

5 stars (3 ratings)
Your toddler will flip-out with excitement when you serve them their lunch on-a-stick! This easy lunch is made with leftover tortellini and any chopped veggies your toddler prefers.
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pesto orzo salad for toddler - great meal idea for lunch

Summer Pesto Finger Salad for Baby + Toddler

5 stars (7 ratings)
This Pesto Summer Finger Salad for Baby + Toddler is full of bite-size pieces of corn, tomatoes, zucchini and orzo pasta all mixed together with a spoonful of flavorful pesto. This finger salad is a great way for baby to enjoy the delicious tastes of summer. 
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Mini Chicken + Carrot Meatballs

5 stars (87 ratings)
These Mini Chicken + Carrot Meatballs are a perfect first finger food for baby, but don't be surprised when the rest of the family starts popping them in their mouths as well!
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Stack of kale and spinach quesadillas for kids.

Kale + Spinach Quesadilla

5 stars (12 ratings)
A filling and healthy version of your standard quesadilla – filled with a kale, spinach and apple spread and loaded with beans and cheese for a complete meal that most toddlers (and parents) can’t resist!
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A white bowl filled with harvest chicken salad for toddler, kids and adults.

Harvest Chicken Salad

5 stars (3 ratings)
This healthy Harvest Chicken Salad is full of cubed chicken, apples, pecans and dried cranberries, all tossed with a yogurt and mustard dressing. Easy for you to make and easy for your toddler (and you) to devour!
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Tofu Sticks with Peanut Dipping Sauce

5 stars (1 rating)
A fun tofu dish for toddlers and kids! Baked until crispy and served with a delicious peanut dipping sauce – this recipe will be a hit!
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family dinner ideas for kids - images are in a grid of different colored kids plates filled with foods that kids love.

Get the recipe: 40 Family Dinner Ideas for Kids: Pumpkin Pasta

5 stars (12 ratings)
This pumpkin pasta is creamy and quick to make! It’s a true family favorite. Make this pasta, or any of these 39 other toddler and kid-friendly dinner recipes.


  • 16 ounce pasta, regular, gluten-free, lentil, chickpea, etc. (any shape you like)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 cup veggie or chicken broth
  • 3-4 tbsp cream or canned coconut milk
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • pinch nutmeg
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • Bring a large pot filled with water to a boil and cook pasta according to instructions on the package. Before straining, reserve 1 cup of pasta water.
  • Meanwhile, in a large saucepan pour in the olive oil and heat over medium heat. Add in the garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring often. Add in the pumpkin puree, tomato paste, and broth and bring to a simmer, stir until combined. Reduce heat to low and add in the cream, balsamic vinegar, nutmeg, and salt and pepper, stir and let simmer while pasta cooks.
    pumpkin sauce with a drizzle of cream in a skillet.
  • Strain pasta and transfer to saucpan of pumpkin sauce. Stir in the pasta, adding the reserved water in 1/4 cup increments to thin out the sauce. I used the entire 1 cup of water for the recipe in the pictures above.
    pumpkin pasta sauce with cooked pasta in a skillet.
  • Spoon into bowls and sprinkle with parmesan (if using).
    pasta and pumpkin sauce mixed together.


Age: great for baby-led weaning, toddlers, kids and adults – everyone will love this meal!
Storage: store leftover pasta in an air-tight container for 5 days in the fridge. The sauce can be stored for 5 days in the fridge or 3 months in the freezer. To defrost the sauce, simply leave it in the fridge overnight or place a frozen container of sauce in your sink filled with warm water, then heat on the stove.
To Make Vegan: use veggie broth and canned coconut milk. Skip the parmesan or use vegan parmesan.
To Make Gluten-Free: use any gluten-free pasta you prefer.
Cream or Coconut Milk: you can use either heavy whipping cream, half and half, or canned full fat coconut milk in this recipe.

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