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Spinach Pesto Recipe Plus Top 3 Sources of Iron for Kids

Children ages 4-8 years old need 10mg of iron per day.  For kids, our top three favorite sources are:

  • Spinach! With 6.4 mg per 1 cup (cooked)
  • Lentils have 6.6 mg per 1 cup
  • Pumpkin seeds have 5.2 mg per 1/4 cup.

If your kids aren’t hip on adding spinach to smoothies yet, maybe try this Green Pasta instead! Made with spinach and walnuts, this Green Goblin Pesto Pasta,  might just hit the spot.

For the Pesto, we only used four ingredients:

Spinach Pesto Recipe Plus Top 3 Sources of Iron for Kids. Need iron? Our three top sources here!

Spinach Pesto Recipe

Blend together in a food processor. Then add:

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste.

Blend again in the food processor.

Spinach Pesto Recipe Plus Top 3 Sources of Iron for Kids. Need iron? Our three top sources here!

Then, it’s easy to top some warm pasta!

Spinach Pesto Recipe Plus Top 3 Sources of Iron for Kids. Need iron? Our three top sources here! Spinach Pesto Recipe Plus Top 3 Sources of Iron for Kids. Need iron? Our three top sources here!

This spinach pesto pasta can be part of a balanced meal, with double the veggies!   Check out our plates here for getting your kids to eat more balanced meals!

Spinach Pesto Recipe Plus Top 3 Sources of Iron for Kids. Need iron? Our three top sources here!


47 Comments

Mary

I was looking for a good pesto recipe. I will be printing this for future use. Thanks

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I have been battling my daughter to eat some more spinach for years. She loves parmesan cheese, so this just might do the trick!

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Kim

My son has low iron and the doctor recommended I feed him spinach, not eating spinach myself I went on a search for recipes. I found this recipe on Pinterest and it was a HIT! I ate it, my 2 year old (who is the one low on iron) ate it and even my VERY picky 4 year old devoured it after convincing him to just try it! Thank you for this recipe!

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Eileen

Any suggestions on what to use instead of walnuts? We have severe nut allergies here?

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Torie

Just made this for lunch! I substituted a little garlic salt for extra flavor. My daughter and I just loved it- I think I’ll do this with speghetti noodles next time.. At 14 months and 6 teeth the curly noodles didnt soften as much as I would have liked… Despite boiling them forever! Great way to get spinache into her diet!

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Deborah

I’m also wondering if this would taste alright leaving the nuts out? Daycare is nut-free. thanks!

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Either spinach is fine @Jamie-
@jenilee and @deborah- you could leave the nuts out, but then it wouldn’t really be pesto.

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Michelle

Also could what could you use to substitute the parm cheese? My daughter is allergic to dairy 🙁 She LOVES pesto (before the allergy) and I’m struggling to find an alternative!

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Scratch that- someone on facebook just mentioned they use sunflower seeds in place of nuts! HOpe that helps #jenilee and @deborah

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Georgia

But from what i have read we should avoid diary ( cheese) when we want to have good absorption of iron. So isn’ t the parmesan counterbalancing the iron in spinach?

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Georgia, while iron absorption is decreased when consuming spinach with cheese, it is also enhanced by the vitamin C of the spinach. However, healthy kids who eat a varied diet, the amount of iron inhibition is usually not of concern.

Also, many healthy foods contain iron absorption inhibitors.No need to cut these foods out of your child’s diet. Iron absorption in healthy individuals will still happen.

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ceci

To” hide” spinach, kale or any green vegetable, use beets, you don’t need to cook it or peel it. Just wash it good and add to your mix. I use a Vitamix which I very powerful. Cut only the size of the tip of your thumb. Your smoothie would turn red. Used spinach liquefied in a potato puré and you will get green mash potato.

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And perhaps Pumpkin seeds as they are high in iron too?
Yummy looking recipe, I’m making this tonight!
🙂

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I tried this for a quick lunch to energize my daughter before swim class…..I added grilled chicken breast and chopped up broccoli, and she loved it! THANKS

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Shelley

Wrong wrong wrong it suppose to be half a plate of vegetables !! The food group is vegetables and fruit. Give more vegetables fruit has sugar in it.
Know more before you post

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Rebecca

Another momma asked but didn’t get an answer, we have a dairy allergy, what would be a good sub for the cheese? 🙂 ty

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sats

OMG, this was delicious. My son could not get enough of it and kept saying this is the ‘best pesto ever’. Thanks again for this amazing blog. Love love your recipes

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