If you are worried about your iron intake as a new vegetarian or vegan – look no further than a jar of blackstrap molasses.
This is a natural sweetener which, unlike sugar, actually has a lot to offer in terms of health. Iron, calcium and potassium as just some of the happy minerals you’ll find in this amazing foodstuff.
How to use it though?
I’m still experimenting myself. So far, I’ve found that it’s pretty good in a bowl of porridge – the baby and I each have a teaspoonful of it in our oatmeal in the morning to start the day with an iron boost (to help with iron absorption I’d recommend a glass of orange juice to complement this healthy breakfast.)
Although it is a sweetener, blackstrap molasses has a somewhat bittersweet taste so is perfect for savoury dishes.
Here’s my take on the classic baked beans.
a generous splash of olive oil
4 spring onions, finely chopped
1 red pepper, finely chopped
1 can cannellini beans
1 can black eye beans
1 carton passata
1 teaspoon paprika
1 generously heaped tablespoon of blackstrap molasses
Heat the oil in a saucepan, add the spring onions and pepper and fry for about 5 minutes until soft. Drain the beans and add these, cook for about 2 minutes. Add the passata, the paprika and the molasses and simmer for about half an hour (or longer if time allows). You could add salt and pepper to season but I find that it doesn’t really need any extra seasoning.
I like this served with rice or on the side of some vegan sausages.
To make it suitable for babies, simply mash the beans a little after cooking and make sure the spring onions and pepper are fried until really soft.
If you have any good blackstrap molasses recipes please share them in the comments – thanks!