Post-partum food prep for vegans
People give you all sorts of advice and opinions when you’re pregnant. Some useful, some weird, some downright offensive! But one thing that I have read and been told repeatedly is to prepare some meals for those first few weeks post-partum. It obviously takes the pressure off during a busy time when you will also be recovering from whatever kind of birth you’ve had, but also as a vegan with a non-vegan partner it means I know I will be able to eat well at a time when nutrition is important.
I do the vast majority of cooking in our house and that’s not to say my husband can’t or won’t cook, actually he’s brilliant and was especially so during my first trimester when I had horrible morning sickness. But his repertoire is limited without instruction and he will also be very tired and busy during those first few weeks after our baby arrives.
One midwife friend told me she knew someone who prepped three whole months worth of meals, which is quite a feat, but I think we’ll at least be sorted for the first 2-3 weeks with the recipes I’ve included in this blog.
When I started researching post-partum food prep two bits of advice popped up often:
Don’t just make dinners – breakfasts, lunches and snacks should be included too.
Make things you can eat one-handed. Because when you’re holding and/or feeding a baby, one handed meals are essential!
So, here is a list of things I’ve made (with links to the recipes I’ve used where applicable), but obviously there are lots of alternatives out there or you can swap in/out whatever you fancy. I hope you enjoy and would love to hear your feedback, ideas and suggestions for vegan post-partum food prep!
This non-vegan recipe was the original inspiration for my breakfast wraps, but I used wholemeal wraps, vegan hot dogs cut into strips, vegan bacon cut into strips, scrambled tofu (smoked tofu, onion, garlic, turmeric and oregano), baked cubed potatoes with smoked paprika, fried mushrooms and spinach, baked beans, grated cheese. It took a while to prep all the elements but I ended up making 16 wraps so was well worth it!
See my Instagram stories (@hanna_eats_vegan) for step-by-step photos.
Suuuuper quick and easy to make and freezer friendly (make sure you cut them up before freezing!). These can be used as a breakfast item, snack, sweet treat for after a meal or for essential night feed sustenance, just defrost before bed and leave close to wherever you feed in the night!
Soups may seem like a bad idea but make them smooth and stick them in a mug (you can even use a straw!) and Bob’s your uncle, who needs a spoon anyway?! They are also a brilliant way of getting bags of healthy vitamins and nutrients into your diet, just make sure you’re not drinking hot soup over your baby’s head while sleep deprived…
Jamie Olivers spicy squash soup
OK, this is one of my all time fave soups. It does take time (that’s why it’s best to prep before baby comes!) but it’s delicious and the added rice makes it super satisfying.
Chicken noodle soup
I had never made anything like this before but a lot of the non-vegan post-partum food blogs I read had a chicken noodle soup on their lists, so I decided to find a decent vegan recipe. In the end I actually combined two because I wanted to use king oyster mushrooms and vegan chicken. Using king oyster mushrooms and shredding them was also a total revelation to me! You get an amazing texture, I can’t believe I’d never done this before!
My one tip is not to do what I did and just throw the noodles in at the end – those puppies need to be precooked in a separate pan or they all stick together, oops!
No recipe required. I fry a LOT of mushrooms (get different types if you can afford it, otherwise just your usual white mushroom is all good) with some onion, garlic, fresh thyme (or dried if not). Season with pepper. Once all the moisture has come out of the mushrooms and they have started to brown add a couple of pints of stock. Bring to the boil and simmer for ten minutes, then whizz with a hand blender until smooth. Optionally you can add some vegan single cream (Alpro and Oatly both make a version). Cool and freeze. When you defrost, if you’re feeling fancy, serve with a little truffle oil and fresh thyme.
So quick and easy, this recipe has amazing flavour because you put a whole lemon into the stew which disintegrates into the mix and it’s also really filling because of the butter beans. I cook it for longer than it says to enhance the flavours and serve it with bulgar wheat, cous cous or a baked potato:
Smokey sausage stew
This is another super quick, one-pot recipe. It’s a Joolz/Jamie Oliver recipe so uses meat sausages. I just swap these out for vegan ones (my faves are VBites VegeDeli Sage and Marjoram).
Shepherds Pie with lentils
Wholesome and really tasty, this is such a good vegan recipe from Jamie Oliver:
The best vegan lasagne recipe you’ll find. Bosh roux sauces ingeniously include cashews so they are really thick and creamy:
There are so many good chilli recipes out there, this is one of my faves:
We always like to put a couple of squares of dark chocolate in ours.
Again, so many recipes out there, I like this one that includes veggie mince and marmite!
Mac and cheese balls with kale
Inspired by this recipe:
I used normal macaroni and added steamed kale, rolled them into tight balls and in breadcrumbs then baked, cooled and froze.
Risotto is probably not considered the best thing to freeze and reheat but I love it! I always follow Delia’s recipes because she bakes her risottos for very set times, rather than having to constantly stir them on the hob. Two of my faves are:
(I obviously just swap out any dairy ingredients for vegan ones).
Upsettingly, one of my favourite recipes has disappeared from the internet recently so I’ve had to try and remember this one, I made it last night though and it was almost perfect so here you go:
1 onion, 1 red pepper, tin of sweetcorn, 2 cups of frozen peas, 1 cup of brown rice, 2 tins of chopped tomatoes, 1 cup water, vegan chorizo, vegan chicken, tabasco, cumin, smoked paprika, chilli flakes, fresh parsley.
Fry the onion until clear, add the the chopped red pepper and chorizo, fry until everything starts to brown. Add the dry spices (I use a lot of smoked paprika and a bit of cumin and a dash of chilli flakes) and fry for a couple of minutes to release the flavour. Add the brown rice then two tins of tomatoes. Swirl the tins out with a bit of water and add that too plus as much tabasco as you fancy. Bring to the boil then simmer until the rice is cooked. Fry the vegan chicken separately then add to the pot with the peas and sweetcorn, let simmer for a little while until they’re cooked. Serve with chopped fresh parsley and optionally a spoon of vegan mayo. Et voila!
If you’re planning to breastfeed then you might want to consider making some lactation cookies. They include a few key ingredients that are supposed to help milk supply – porridge oats (high in protein and iron), flax seeds (high in essential fatty acids and contains phytoestrogen which is said to up milk supply) and brewers yeast (increases milk supply and is high in B vitamins, iron, and chromium which helps to stabilise blood sugar levels).
Cheese and spinach pastries
For these I used pre-rolled puff pastry (Jus Rol is vegan). Now the cheese takes a bit of prep and you need to make it the night before but it is so worth it! Check out this baked almond feta:
Once baked and cooled I added fried mushrooms and spinach with some fresh herbs (you could use basil, dill, parsley, mint, thyme or a combo). I mixed it all up together and made my pastries into a sausage roll type shape. Brush the top with soy milk, bake, cool and freeze.
I used this recipe for inspiration for my mini calzones:
I used wholewheat dough and made two versions; one with the leftover cheese and spinach mix plus some tomato sauce from my pastries and another with tomato, black olives, vegan salami, mushrooms and vegan mozzarella. I tried one of each and both are really good!
Aloo Gobi pies
I used pre-rolled shortcrust pastry (Jus Rol is vegan), cut it into squares, and then filled my pastries with the aloo gobi mixture you’ll find if you follow this link, I just cut mine into smaller pieces.
So that’s what I’ve done so far and to be honest our freezer is now completely full so I’m not sure how much more I’ll do. I would absolutely love to hear your feedback and please, if you know any pregnant vegans, share this with them! I’d also really appreciate a follow on my vegan Instagram where I post pretty much everything I eat!
Thanks and good luck with your post-partum food prep!