Vegetarian Postpartum Meals
July 24, 2014 4:43 PM   Subscribe

I want to make a drop-off meal for a family of four after the mom gives birth. Mom is vegetarian, dad and the two little boys are not. I am not vegetarian and I have no idea what to make! Ideas?

I am looking for something not too difficult, that will hopefully be appealing to the whole family. It's okay if there is a meat component that is added separately/on the side. No soups and I prefer something that doesn't require reheating in the oven since she's due in August and it will likely be hot. I'm not a great cook, so recipes are greatly appreciated! Thanks!
posted by Safiya to Food & Drink (18 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
Focaccia (tastes great when cold + you can change the veggies if you know what the family likes/dislikes or add some meat on one side + it keeps well so the kids can take it to school or eat it for lunch the next day).
posted by travelwithcats at 4:53 PM on July 24, 2014

Spinach lasagne or eggplant lasagne, with a bag of salad and a container of homemade dressing. (Also, if she's breastfeeding, a giant bag of whole almonds -- the one-handed, milk-supply-supporting snack of breastfeeding champions!)
posted by DarlingBri at 5:01 PM on July 24, 2014 [5 favorites]

stuffed peppers with rice. baked ziti. Pitas and chopped salad and hummus if you want something cold.
posted by fingersandtoes at 5:17 PM on July 24, 2014 [2 favorites]

Vegetarian lasagna is the go-to for this kind of thing (I've never made this one, but it seems easy and basic enough. There are many, many others). If you want, bake it and separate it into individual portions that can be microwaved. If lasagna seems too complicated, how about a baked zita or something of that sort?

Cheese enchiladas may also be a good choice (also lots of recipes out there, but also pretty simple). Bean burritos may also be a good choice (individually packed & then heated in the microwave as needed).

I would say any sort of veggie casserole that can be individually portioned would work.

Also think about quiches (buy a pre-made crust if you need to) or a frittata (basically a quiche without a crust). Both more easy to make than you think & can be eaten hot or cold.
posted by darksong at 5:22 PM on July 24, 2014

I love this vegan meatloaf. Add more spices than you think you need (the tofu really sucks them up). It's very hearty, makes a ton of portions, and is super delish. It really needs a sauce but if you don't want to fuss with the mushroom sauce in the recipe then a thick glaze of tomato sauce on top before going into the oven would work well.
posted by Jason and Laszlo at 5:33 PM on July 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

Homemade, baked macaroni and cheese.
posted by KathrynT at 5:34 PM on July 24, 2014 [4 favorites]

Sloppy joe mix from vegetarian crumbles tastes surprisingly delicious and meat-like (as a carnivore, it was one of the few meals I'd regularly make voluntarily to share with a vegetarian roommate). It also keeps well, scales well, and is kid-friendly and easy-to-make. Deliver with fresh sandwich rolls and some celery/carrot sticks.
posted by Bardolph at 5:36 PM on July 24, 2014

I vote food that's good at room temp--my early breastfeeding days were marked by a lot of room temp food that would've been better warm or chilled. Also, fork-friendly foods only--nothing like trying to eat a sandwich or taco over the head of your newborn.

Maybe a nice pasta salad with roasted (grilled) veggies? Just marinate and grill some zucchini, onions, tomatoes, etc, and then cut them into bite-sized pieces, mix with cooked pasta, toss in a tin of rinsed and drained beans, sprinkle with cheese, and dress it with something. You could include grilled chicken on the side for the meat eaters to add to theirs. This is pretty easy to customize, too--add kalamatas and feta and oregano with a red wine dressing, and you've got Greekish pasta salad; add corn off the cob and black beans and a smoky dressing and you've got southwesternish pasta salad, etc.
posted by MeghanC at 5:39 PM on July 24, 2014 [3 favorites]

I like a tortellini salad, boil cheese tortellinis. Kids love 'em!

Add olives, grape tomatoes, artichoke hearts, fresh spinach leaves, arugula, chunks of cheese, blanched asparagus or green beans, whatever sounds like a good idea. You can even include some salami in a separate bag for Dad and the little dudes. A jar of homemade vinaigrette to dress it with. Great cold or at room temperature (I really like it at room temperature)

Added kid fun, you can make them on skewers for them to dip into dressing.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:14 PM on July 24, 2014 [6 favorites]

Whole-grain or bean salads would be great here. The basic formula is grains/beans + veggies + crunchies + vinaigrette. Some examples:
Farro and carrots with honey harissa dressing (add toasted almonds/walnuts, and make the dressing to taste with any smoky warm spices on hand if harissa is hard to find)
Apple, almond, and smoked mozzarella farro salad
Curried bean salad
Lentil salad with olives and herbs (add some veggies, roasted or blanched)

I generally add nuts to recipes that do not include them already for extra crunch. Include bread, and grilled or baked chicken for the meat-eaters.
posted by esoterrica at 6:36 PM on July 24, 2014 [4 favorites]

Similar to lasagne, you could use this Italian Gratin recipe from Moosewood New Classics.

Instead of lasagne noodles, it uses orzo, which cooks into a pasta sheet as the gratin bakes. If you skip the bread crumbs, all you have to do is cut veggies, assemble a sauce, and then layer according to the directions. Super easy, leftovers taste great cold, and it's hearty enough to satisfy the omnivores.
posted by amicus at 6:40 PM on July 24, 2014

The BEST postpartum meal anyone brought us was a black bean/sweet pototo/quinoa salad which was great warm or cold.

It was similar to these:

An assortment of sliced fresh fruit (pre-cut pineapple, melon, grapes) was also really nice for snacks while nursing.

I'm going to anti-recommend lasagna. We got multiple pans of it & ended up not eating quite a bit because you can only eat lasagna so many times in a week. Plus, it took a while to heat up and when I needed to eat I needed to eat RIGHT AWAY.
posted by belladonna at 6:50 PM on July 24, 2014 [5 favorites]

No need to make something hot. Try a middle-eastern approach: olives (maybe pitted for convenience), some awesome freshly-made sourdough bread from a local bakery (can be frozen; a kindness if you slice it), hummus, mozzarella ovolini or other appropriate cheese, home-prepared carrot sticks (NOT baby carrots -- ugh), a tiny bottle of lovely olive oil, some sliced cucumbers or a cucumber salad with fresh dill, a lovely lentil salad, and if you really want to cook something you can make the delicious middle-eastern green beans with tomato salad. Cubed melon or macerated strawberries for dessert.

Include extra-large quantities of the lentil salad, carrot sticks, olives, and hummus, since those keep particularly well. Some really good seeded crackers can be great to have with the hummus. Choose really high-quality hummus that doesn't have too much garlic (not sure how well garlic and babies go together; maybe check on that).

Give it to them in containers that are also part of your gift (or the deli containers you buy it in) so they don't feel they must return it; you can wrap the bread in foil for easy warming/storage/freezing.

Cool food, easy to prepare, looks nice on the plate, and you have enough energy left over to bring them another meal later :)
posted by amtho at 7:18 PM on July 24, 2014

This roasted veggie enchilada casserole is insanely good. Easy, flavorful, freezes and reheats well.
posted by purenitrous at 7:45 PM on July 24, 2014

I like these two simple salads that are very easy to make and taste good hot or cold:
Black bean and yellow rice salad (try adding toasted pumpkin seeds)
Corn and edamame sesame salad
posted by futonrevolutionist at 8:32 PM on July 24, 2014

Butternut bowties!
(Hint! Use a can of butternut squash instead of wrangling a fresh one.)

It is tasty and comforting in a mac and cheese kind of way, but is something different. Tasty either good or cold.
posted by ainsley at 9:13 PM on July 24, 2014

Lentil Shepherd's pie!!
posted by scuza at 9:53 PM on July 24, 2014

I don't think Lasagna is a great idea either unless she really likes it. Tastes so-so when it's not heated, and has little nutritious value. Hearty salads would be my vote; e.g.:

Wild rice is healthy and tastes great at room temperature.

This caprese pasta salad is to die for. Dad and kids can add chicken if desired.
posted by redlines at 9:33 PM on July 25, 2014

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