It’s amazing the difference colour can make in encouraging children to try new foods. This recipe uses vegetable juice as a natural dye and it produces impressively vivid colours. These little beauties are very dense in nutrients with an array of fruits, vegetables, seeds and spices inside. Try freezing them and popping them in your kids lunch boxes to help keep everything cool.
- 1 tsp dried ginger
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp cardamom (if you don’t have a large spice collection you can substitute these for “mixed spice”)
- 500g dried apricots
- 1 x small sweet potato
- 2.5 cups oats
- 1/2 cup desiccated coconut + 1/2 cup extra
- 200g sunflower seeds
- 1 x fresh beetroot
- Dry fry the spices in a medium sized pot over low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon for 1 minute or until fragrant. Remove from heat.
- Grate the beetroot, use your hands to squeeze all the juice you can out of the grated beetroot (wearing gloves or a freezer bag over them to prevent staining the skin). Keep the juice and the beetroot separately.
- Peel the sweet potatoes and chop into small pieces. Roughly chop the apricots and add to the pot with the spices, along with the sweet potato, grated beetroot (not juice) and 2 cups of water.
- Place over medium heat, cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes until tender, adding more water if required.
- Meanwhile combine the coconut, oats and sunflower seeds in a bowl. Use a blender to process mixture until it resembles fine crumbs.
- In a zip seal bag combine the extra 1/2 cup of coconut and the beetroot juice. Seal the bag and use your hands to move the contents around until the coconut is coloured evenly. Place into a bowl ready to use to coat the balls.
- Once your apricot mixture is tender, use a blender to process it until smooth. (if you are using an enclosed blender you will need to allow the mixture to cool first)
- Scoop half of the blended apricot mixture into the bowl with the oat mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon until just combined. Use your hands to mix the ingredients together thoroughly, gradually adding more apricot mixture until you get the desired consistency. You want a consistency like play dough that will hold together, but is still moist to eat.
- Shape the mixture into balls, coat each ball in coloured coconut before placing on a chopstick or paddle pop stick like a cake pop, wrapping in paper like a lolly or placing in the freezer ready for lunch-boxes.
Tip: we made yellow and green coconut by mixing it with the juice of carrots and baby spinach from a juicer. You can use the leftovers as a replacement for sprinkles on desserts.