Enjoy watching your toddler feed themselves lentils!

Yes, it’s true, these little balls of deliciousness are perfect toddler food but they’re also a popular snack with older kids, too. The secret is that the sweet potato (or kumara), is ROASTED, so they’re rich and enticing which means the lentils aren’t noticed at all.

To get the mash, I chuck the whole sweet potato into the oven (don’t peel it or anything so tedious) and cook it for about an hour at 180C. Then, whenever you’re ready during the day, you can get onto making this super-healthy, egg-free snack.

Perfect for independent toddlers

Perfect for independent toddlers


Sweet potato, lentil & rice balls

1 cup roasted sweet potato
1 cup cooked brown rice (or white rice is ok, too)
1/2 cup grated cheese
1/4 cup cooked brown lentils (I use tinned – give them a good rinse)
1 tbsp tomato chutney (or beetroot relish is also good)
1 cup panko breadcrumbs (or gluten-free breadcrumbs are good, too)
Spray oil

Preheat the oven to 180C. Line a large oven tray with baking paper.

Mash the cooked sweet potato in a large bowl. Evenly mix in the rice, cheese, lentils and chutney.

Roll bite-sized balls of mixture, coat in the breadcrumbs and place on the tray. Spray them with oil and bake for 20-25 minutes. Turn once during cooking (if you can be bothered) and give them an extra spray of oil part way through.

Makes about 30

*THESE FREEZE!

Usually you’ll have more than one cup of mash after roasting a whole sweet potato. Just up the quantities of the other ingredients to suit and make a heap – these freeze well. Just remember for reheating that you need to thaw them then bake them in the oven – they go soggy in the microwave.

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22 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Clare said,

    Also works really well with roasted pumpkin 🙂

  2. 3

    Tammy said,

    Hi I have a 2yr old boy who cannot have any dairy products so just wondering what I can substitute for the cheese or can I just love it out?

  3. 7

    Claire Bailey said,

    Hmmm, i am currently roasting both sweep potato for a mystery purpose after having some leftover after making pasties. I think I may have just found a use for them, rather than just picking at them during the day when feeling like a snack. Will you be doing another run of VS2?

    • 8

      wendyblume said,

      I’m undecided Claire. I’ve got the new book printing within the next month, and I really don’t have warehouse room for 3 books. But I won’t say never.

  4. 9

    Gen said,

    These sound great! Mr 15 months likes to feed himself and loves sweet potato! Any suggested uses for the rest of the tin of lentils? I don’t use them very often.

  5. 12

    Belinda said,

    They sound delicious! Would cooked red lentils work too? If they do I can make them now!

  6. 14

    Reblogged this on Play with Food and commented:
    I will be trying this recipe with my toddler!
    Enabling your toddler at mealtimes by handing over control helps them establish healthy eating habits. Finger food options, like these, are perfect for letting them learn.
    What are your favourite toddler finger foods?

  7. 15

    anu said,

    Can I replace rice with something else bec my 19months old hate rice… And can I add beans in this??

  8. 17

    mary said,

    Is the tomato chutney a binding agent or strictly for taste? It requires such a small amount that I’m wondering if I can successfully make these without it – since I don’t have it readily available. Your input would be much appreciated!

  9. 21

    Emma said,

    Silly question sorry!

    Do you freeze them before or after baking?


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