A good friend of mine is due in just a couple weeks and she asked me for some good vegan recipes that would be easy to freeze and pull out later when she had her hands full with a new baby and still wanted something healthy to eat. Let’s face it, as GRATEFUL as Moms are to receive meals postpartum, sometimes the food is not the type you are used to eating. And sometimes it can be pretty difficult to request a certain type of food that is out of most people’s cooking comfort zones (vegan generally falls into that category, as can gluten-free, no fat, or high raw).
So immediately I thought of soups when she asked me that question. We do a lot of soups/stews - basically anything that’s vegan, hearty and filling, and has just a smidge of broth counts as “soup” in my book. Soups are easy to throw together (especially in the crockpot during a morning nap) and then voile! you have dinner 8ish hours later. So most of the recipes I suggest will be stew like in nature, with the exception of two. I came up with my own tasty Gardener’s Pie recipe, and have a great Lentil Sloppy Joe recipe that both freeze well. For me, I’ve had trouble finding good healthy casserole type meals (which generally freeze well), because once you cut out meat, dairy and pasta, I find it’s pretty hard to make a casserole. If anyone has any good vegan casserole suggestions, PLEASE LET ME KNOW!!
Please note that any and ALL pictures were taken by me on my dinky camera and I realize don’t do anything flattering to the food. They are merely to give you a rough idea of what the food looks like. I am no food photographer.
3-4lbs potatoes, cooked and mashed.
1 ½ cup French Lentils (or regular brown lentils)
1 can pinto beans
3-3 ½ cups water
1 onion, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
2-3 carrots, chopped
1/2c each corn and peas
1 bay leaf
1 Tbsp each Miso and Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp basil
1 tsp rosemary
salt and pepper
1tsp-1 Tbsp RWV
Cook and season mash potatoes as you normally would mashed potatoes. (I prefer to use garlic powder, salt, pepper, and veggie broth in my mashed potatoes - gives them plenty of flavor without adding any fat from oils, butters, cheeses, or milk).
Sort and rinse lentils in a mesh strainer. Place lentils, water, carrots, corn, peas, bay leaf, onion, garlic, Miso, Worchestershire, basil and rosemary in at least a 3.5qt pot and bring to a boil. Simmer for around 30 minutes or until done. (truthfully I always forget to time how long it takes, so I just stir and taste check to see when they’re done). When lentils are cooked, taste test to see if you need to add more herbs or salt and pepper. Add red wine vinegar a little at a time, according to taste preferences. There shouldn’t be much liquid in the pan, so if there is, drain some off into a cup.
Spread lentil mixture evenly in 9x13 pan and carefully spread mashed potatoes over top. Place pan in oven at 350 degrees until lentil mixture gets bubbly around the edges - around 20 minutes?
This bakes up nicely and freezes nicely. Eat half for dinner and freeze half for a rainy, postpartum day. :)
Santa Fe Chowder
(This recipe was originally gotten off of the FatFreeVegan.com’s website, but I can’t seem to find it on there now to link to it.)
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 gold or sweet potato, diced
1 cup diced carrots
4 cups vegetable broth
1 cup canned chopped green chilies
1 15oz can pinto or white beans, drained
1 13oz can light coconut milk
1 15oz can fire roasted diced tomatoes
10oz package of frozen corn
1/3 cup Dry Sherry (optional)
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp dried cilantro
1/2 tsp cumin, to taste
dash of chili powder, to taste
salt and pepper
Combine all ingredients but coconut milk in crockpot and cook for 8ish hours on low. Add coconut milk anywhere in the last hour before serving.
*Note - I have never used the dry sherry as I never have it on hand (also you might not want to if you are nursing). I rarely use 1 cup of canned green chilies as that’s a little hot for me. Usually I’ll use a little 4oz can or leave it out all together. Don’t skip the coconut milk - it adds a fun, creamy flavor you don’t want to miss! Although you can lessen the fat if you want to by using half a can of coconut milk and then freezing the other half for a later soup date.
Lentil Soup - No picture, sorry!
1 1lb bag of dried lentils, sorted and rinsed
1-2 potatoes, diced
1lb carrots, chopped
1 onion, minced,
2 medium cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp cumin
1 qt vegetable broth
2 Tbsp lemon juice
3 Tbsp Bragg’s Liquid Aminos (or tamari)
1 tsp of a Mrs. Dash seasoning you like (we do southwest chipotle)
1 can of diced tomatoes (optional)
7oz bag or several handfuls of fresh spinach
Place everything in crockpot except spinach and cook for 8ish hours until lentils are fully cooked. Right before serving, rough chop the spinach and stir it into the soup. The spinach will wilt down pretty fast and be ready to eat within 5-10 minutes.
*Note - Lentil soup is SO versatile and this recipe can really be played with according to your preferences. Use less carrots, add corn and green beans, leave out the tomatoes (what we have lately been doing), more cumin, totally change the spices, etc. This is really just one idea for lentil soup.
Lentil Sloppy Joes
(This recipe was originally found on the internet, but again I can’t find it now to link to it.)
1 1/2 cups lentils, sorted and rinsed
2.5-3 cups veggie broth
1 can diced tomatoes (fire roasted prefered)
1 onion, chopped
1 medium green pepper, chopped
1/4 cup ketchup
2 Tbsp Bragg’s Liquid Aminos (or tamari or soy sauce)
1/2 Tbsp yellow mustard
1 Tbsp mild chili powder
Bring lentils, onion, green peppers and tomatoes to a boil and simmer over low heat for about 30 minutes or till you achieve the preferred bite to the lentils. (we like a little bite to our lentils for added texture). Drain any excess liquid and stir in rest of ingredients. Pulse lightly in a food processor to just break up the lentils, and serve over whole wheat rolls or inside pita pockets!
*Note - I always use the whole bag of lentils if I am going to freeze some for leftovers (plus I hate having little bits left in bags), and I just increase the water and seasonings a little bit. Have hubby pick up some WW rolls on his way home from work and you’ve got dinner on the table!
So there’s a start to the homemade freezable vegan meals! I realize now that most of them are lentil based, so I guess I should hunt up some of my other recipes to post that aren’t lentil based! But we do use a lot of lentils and beans here because legumes are an EXCELLENT source of protein. Also, I only posted one recipe that uses a food processor - the Lentil Sloppy Joes. If you don’t have a food processor but you have a blender, you could lightly break up the lentil mixture in that as well, but you would have to do it in much smaller batches than the food processor or the blender wouldn’t handle the thick mixture.