Hey all! So obviously this post isn’t just for pregnant mammas. Anyone can enjoy these dishes! I am just personally relating this post to pregnancy because these are the cooked dinner meals I craved while pregnant with baby number two- in which I happily obliged.
If you are a pregnant mamma looking for some healthy vegan food choices, but are having trouble finding those meals that “hit the spot,” maybe some of these dishes will inspire you! Or if you are someone who just wants some whole cooked plant food inspo, this post is for you too. 🙂
I eat what I’m gravitating towards and what feels good and satisfying. Most importantly, I never restrict my calories and eat fruits and vegetables in abundance. As my hunger increased, I desired and gravitated towards some cooked whole plant foods in the evenings a few times a week. This happened when I was pregnant with Elvis as well and I simply go with the flow and make sure to eat until I’m totally satisfied.
A lot of us women who go through pregnancy find that pregnancy and food is a weird combo! Sometimes you can’t even put in words why certain dishes sound repulsive to you, yet others sound amazing. And then the next day, when you think of that dish you were obsessed with the day before, you think, “Oh Gosh no, please. I can’t even think about eating that again tonight.” Huh? All I can say is, I don’t know…I have no idea. Like I said, food is just weird when it comes to pregnancy! It wasn’t like this for me all the time, but I definitely had those moments where I felt incredibly hungry and I could only possibly imagine eating one thing. (A few of my examples: heirloom tomato and avocado. Or baked golden potatoes. Or a vegan burrito. Or a cold green smoothie with mango and pineapple and collard greens. Or a guava kombucha.)
But then again I’ve met a few moms who didn’t have this experience at all, and food was the way it is when they are not pregnant.
Some people have asked me if I ever craved non vegan foods while pregnant and the answer is no-to either pregnancies. I have been vegan for almost 9 years now so eating animals and their byproducts are non foods to me; like cardboard and soap water. Also, eating enough calories to satisfy both in mind and body is very important in being able to make healthy and ethical choices, whether pregnant or not.
Before sharing these recipes, I want to say that I really enjoy eating some tender lettuce greens with cooked meals for a crunchy and hydrating addition to my dinner. Eating raw tender greens with cooked food can help aid in digestive efficiency and healthy bowel movements because of their high water, fiber and enzyme content. So, cheers to lettuce greens! For more tips on achieving great digestion, please refer to the main page of my website HERE, and sign up for my email subscription. Once you confirm the subscription, “My Top 8 Tips for Great Digestion” will be emailed to you.
For info on why I don’t use any oil in my dishes, check out my blog post “Let’s Talk Oil”.
If any of these recipes are too large a portion for what you normally enjoy, of course feel free to adjust the ingredient sizes. Or simply make the same amount listed in the recipes to share with your friend, partner or children!
The first dish I’m going to share is so simple. I’m a big SAUCE fan as you will see in the recipes below. Also note that every dish including a sauce is homemade. I prefer to make my sauces from scratch rather than using store bought sauces for obvious reasons (healthier, no preservatives/additives, no oil/salt). Making sauces from scratch takes a few minutes longer than simply opening a jar, but to me, is well worth the few extra minutes of effort.
Baked Potato and Yam Wedges (oil free/salt free)
served with a homemade tomato sauce
For the wedges
An abundance of your favorite organic root veggies like sweet potatoes, yams, golden potatoes, russet potatoes etc. (About 2 pounds is a meal for me)
For the tomato sauce
About 14 ounces of glass bottle or canned organic tomato sauce (check ingredients to be sure they are clean. I purchased tomato sauce that only has two ingredients: Organic tomatoes/organic tomato puree. Bionature is a good brand as well as Jovial, which comes in a glass bottle, that you can generally find at health food stores. OR you could of course use fresh organic tomatoes!)
2-3 big medjool dates, pitted
1/2 a stick of celery
1 tsp dried oregano
a few sprinkles of black pepper
Slice and boil the potatoes until 3/4 done (about 15-20 min). Then place them on a baking sheet on parchment paper and sprinkle black pepper, paprika and garlic powder over the spuds and pop in the oven at 425° for about 40 minutes. Super soft inside but crispy on the outside.
For the tomato sauce, blend all ingredients until smooth. Then pour sauce into a sauce pan to warm/cook. Voila, you’re done!
Next is this pad thai noodle dish that I love so much! It’s not really reminiscent of traditional pad thai, just that these specific type noodles taste great as the base for the dish. I don’t know what to call the dish, so don’t laugh at the lack of creativity with the name.
Brown Rice Pad Thai noodles with Creamy Sauce
One 12 ounce package of Annie Chun’s Brown Rice Pad Thai Noodles
1/2 a zucchini
1/3 small head of cauliflower
For the sauce
2-3 cups organic corn, fresh or frozen (Be sure to thaw the corn first if you are using frozen)
1 creamy avocado (if the avocado is not creamy, the dish will be missing its potential for deliciousness)
3 sticks celery
1/2 a red bell pepper
1 lemon, juice of (make sure to discard the seeds!)
handful of arugula
about 1 tbsp of fresh dill
Sauté the zucchini, cauliflower and mushrooms in a little water. Boil a pot of water to cook your pad thai noodles. Meanwhile, blend all sauce ingredients except arugula and dill until smooth. You’ll need a good high-speed blender like the Vitamix to blend this sauce properly. (See my Vitamix banner at the top right hand side of this blog to get FREE shipping with purchase! Seriously my favorite blender in the world. I’ve had my Vitamix for 8 years now and we use it every day, multiple times a day. After 7 years of heavy use the container was having an issue blending, so I called the company and they sent me another container asap, free of charge! This company is amazing). Any ways, use the tamper to help it blend well. Once you have the right creamy smoothie consistency, add in the arugula and dill and pulse until well-combined. After noodles are cooked, pour cooked rice noodles back into the empty pot, along with the veggies and sauce, top with a little black pepper and stir together cooking on low heat until warm. So creamy and delicious!!
This next dish could not be easier. I really loved brothy soups during this pregnancy. Make a big ‘ol pot to serve to your family or make it for yourself and keep the extra in the fridge to reheat in a pot the next day.
24-32 ounces of low sodium veggie broth
one 28 ounce can/glass jar organic diced tomatoes (or crushed tomatoes)
4-5 big golden potatoes (or 2-3 russet potatoes)
1 head of broccoli
2-3 sticks of celery
5+ mushrooms (I love mushrooms, if you couldn’t tell)
1/3 an onion
2 medium carrots
2 tbsp dried oregano
1-2 tbsp chili powder
1-2 tbsp cumin
1-2 tbsp black pepper
1-3 handfuls of nutritional yeast
Option #1: M So my husband doesn’t think this dish has enough calories to satisfy him, so he adds 1 cup of cooked red lentils to the soup to make it creamy and heartier. I personally prefer it without the lentils, but either way is good! If you add lentils, cook them in a separate pot and add them to the soup towards the end after all the veggies are cooked down.
Optional #2: You can also top the finished soup with some avocado. It’s delicious! This idea came from my friend Loni (Follow her on IG at @lonijane).
Chop all the veggies and place into a large pot. Then add a little water (about 1/2 a cup) as well as a splash of veggie broth and turn the heat on to medium/high. Cover the pot but stir every minute or so to be sure that the veggies don’t stick to the bottom. The goal is to add enough liquid (water/broth) so that the veggies cook but don’t stick to the pot. Add a little more veggie broth as needed until veggies are cooked. Once all the veggies are cooked, turn the heat down to low/medium and add the rest of the broth. (Use as much as you feel like. If you like a brothy soup like I do, add lots. If you want the soup thicker, don’t add as much.) Also add the canned tomatoes and spices to taste. Stir until well combined and leave on low heat for about 10 minutes. Pour soup into bowls and top with the optional sliced avocado.
This next recipe is like a meal and a half for me. I double the recipe when making this dish for the family (Andrew, Elvis and myself). My husband eats a lotttt.
Brown Rice Spaghetti with Homemade Tomato Sauce
One 16 ounce package of brown rice spaghetti noodles (or other gluten free noodles)
1/4 an onion (Other great choices for veggies in this dish are broccoli or red bell pepper)
For the sauce
One 28 ounce can/glass jar of organic crushed/diced tomatoes
4 medjool dates, pitted
1 stick of celery
sliver of onion
one handful fresh basil
1 tbsp low sodium miso
black pepper to taste
dried oregano to taste
Optional: add 1 small boiled yam to the sauce (blended smooth). Makes it thick and creamy! So good. Got this idea from my good friend Carrie. You can follow her on IG at @kalecrush!
Boil water for noodles in a pot. In a large sauce pan, sauté veggies on medium heat in a little water. Add a little black pepper. While the veggies are sauteing and the water for the noodles is boiling, prepare the tomato sauce. Blend the tomatoes, dates, miso, and celery until smooth (and the chopped boiled sweet potato if you are adding this to your sauce). Then add the onion, basil, black pepper and oregano and pulse until well combined. Don’t over blend the herbs or they will turn bitter. Then, once veggies are mostly cooked, add the tomato sauce to the saucepan with the veggies and stir on low heat. Cook noodles according to instructions and once they have been drained/rinsed, add the noodles into the big saucepan to mix with the sauce/veggies for a few minutes to warm back up. Delicious and easy. If you are someone who is transitioning towards a vegan lifestyle and trying to cut out cheese but are having a hard time with dishes like pasta, try adding some nutritional yeast on top of the pasta for a “cheesy” flavor. You can find it in the bulk section of health food stores.
So, these are obviously recipe-type dishes. But I also had plenty of days where I enjoyed simpler cooked meals for dinner like boiled sweet potatoes served with lettuce and avocado. Or warm corn tortillas with spinach, bell pepper, avocado and tomato. Another example is cooked quinoa atop salad.
I hope you find these recipes as delicious as I do! Much love to you all.
Mango Island Mamma, Ellen Fisher