The Pantry: Postpartum Pasta Salad

I really love cooking for postpartum clients - generally I make light and meals. This way I’m not spending the entire postpartum visit in the kitchen and can still help with breastfeeding, newborn care, and anything else the new parents need. Postpartum nutrition is incredibly important, especially for the first several months. Your body goes through a huge transition after giving birth and nourishing it with healthy, nutritious, and soul-filling foods goes a long way in supporting your postpartum recovery.

Talk to your postpartum doula about your nutritional needs, any allergies/sensitivities and cravings. Ask for her favorite crockpot recipes or snack ideas, I guarantee she’ll have tons to share!

Today I’m going to share with you one of my favorite postpartum meals: Postpartum Pasta Salad

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I remember the first time I made this pasta salad. It was for new parents of a bright and bubbly 2 week old. Things were going well but the mom commented that she felt like she was struggling to get enough calories, despite the tons of food in their fridge and freezer. She had very little support and her husband had already returned to work. She was sick of take-out and was overwhelmed by the thought of cooking. Her milk supply was suffering and she was constantly hungry. After talking with her about her favorite foods and making sure she didn’t have any allergies I asked her if I could take charge and make some easy & nourishing meals. She gladly accepted.

I looked amongst the pantry and fridge and gathered ideas for several recipes - this one was their favorite. It’s been a staple for my postpartum clients ever since!

The thing I love most about this recipe is that it’s super versatile and it stores in the fridge easily. It can be eaten hot or cold and can be easily altered to accommodate vegan, vegetarian, omnivore, or gluten-free lifestyles. It has healthy fats, bright & nutritious vegetables, salt, carbohydrates, and protein.

On top of that it’s just so dang easy to throw together!

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First, make the pasta - I typically like fusili, penne, or rotini. They’re sturdy enough to hold up with the ingredients and doesn’t need to be reheated to taste amazing!

While the pasta is cooking wash and cut the veggies, cut the meats and cheeses. Today I used hard salami, pre-crumbled feta, cucumber, kalamata olives, pre-sliced pepperocini, marinated artichokes and mini sweet peppers. You can customize however you like. Other favorites include: onion, tomatoes, black olives, asparagus, broccoli - really anything!

Once cooked, strain and put in the fridge (or the freezer) to cool.

While the pasta cools, I like clean up the kitchen. Your postpartum doula will always clean up after herself with the goal of leaving your kitchen tidier then she found it!

Once cooled, mix the pasta, veggies, meats, and cheeses together and toss.

Add olive oil, vinegar (this recipe had red wine vinegar, but balsamic is also amazing!), a bit of salt and pepper, all to taste. I usually add a small amount of each and toss into the pasta mix then ask my client if she wants more. Everyone’s tastes are different and I want to accommodate their taste buds, not mine.

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I make a big batch so the new parents can have some fresh the day it’s made and then I pop the rest in an air-tight container and store in the fridge. It can be stored up to 5 days, but I find it’s usually gone in 2 or 3!

Moms love it because it’s healthy and nourishing to their postpartum bodies... not to mention it can be eaten with one hand! Dads love it because it’s hearty and easy! It’s always a big hit and something I recommend to any new parent.

Bon Appétit!