Iron rich lentil carrot balls are a healthy and nutrient rich finger food for baby

When I first started introducing solids to Penny the baby led weaning way, it didn’t take long until I started stressing about whether or not she was getting enough iron.

I second guessed whether the meals we were eating (and therefore, she was sampling) were high enough in iron. She ignores some foods, sucks on some for a couple of seconds, and demolishes others (namely pasta and anything on bread), so it is hard to know if she is getting enough.

I didn’t find many iron rich finger-food friendly recipes online. I wanted something high in iron and vitamin C for max absorption in a finger food form that would be easy to eat. I also wanted a recipe that would both babies, toddlers, and adults would like, just to add into my regular meal routine to help her get a nice big dose of iron.

Everyone kept suggesting lentils to me for iron, but I didn’t understand how my 6 month old without a developed pincer grip would be able to pick up and eat lentils, or what I usually make with lentils (curry, soup). True, I can spread just about anything on a piece of toast or on some noodles, but I wanted something different that I could make a big batch of, freeze, and use for an easy lunch or dinner.

Enter these amazing iron rich lentil carrot balls!

These are especially tasty and nutritious because they are made with almond meal, chia, and hemp seeds instead of breadcrumbs. This was my first time using almond meal in place of panko and it worked amazingly well! If you read my post on 7 easy kitchen swaps for a healthier pregnancy, you’ll know I’m a huge fan of almond meal and using healthy, protein packed flours whenever you can.

I recommend keeping chia and hemp seeds as a fridge staple so that you can throw them into smoothies, smoothie bowls (been on Instagram lately?), salads, granola, and many other dishes. If you don’t have them on hand, not to worry, you can omit them or replace them with any type of breadcrumb.

In this one delicious meal  (or snack, if you end up eating 3 right off the baking pan like me) you’ve got: lots of vitamin packed veggies, iron rich lentils, good fat filled chia and hemp, and protein strong almond meal and sunflower seeds. I also added Parmesan cheese because let’s face it, kids and adults alike are way more likely to devour a meal that has cheese in it. Especially when it gets crispy from the oven (my absolute favourite thing!!).

I recommend making a double batch of these iron rich lentil carrot balls so that the whole family can have them for dinner and you’ll have leftovers too. You can serve these in a pita like a falafel, over a green salad, or as a side with hummus or tzatziki. Go ahead and freeze these too, you’ll be glad you made extra!

Iron rich lentil carrot balls

Yield: Makes 12-15 balls


  • ¾ cup prepared lentils
  • 1 large carrot, grated on small side of box grater (if your carrots are small, put in two)
  • ½ white onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp sunflower seeds
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ½ cup spinach, finely chopped
  • 1 sprig of thyme, leaves removed from stems (or 1 tsp dried)
  • ¼ cup + 2 tbsp almond meal * (see note for substitution)
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp hemp hearts
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil


  1. Heat oven to 425 and line a baking sheet with parchment.
  2. Add all ingredients to a large bowl and mix well.
  3. Use your hands to prepare balls: squish firmly
  4. Put balls on baking sheet; drizzle with olive oil (about ½ tbsp.)
  5. Bake for 20-25 min, flipping once half way through

Note: if you don’t have almond meal, you can replace the almond meal, chia & hemp hearts with ½ cup breadcrumbs.

Try these out and let me know what you think!