When you first receive the magical news that you’re pregnant, your whole world is turned upside down in the absolute best way possible (cue happy pregnancy emojis!). No matter how prepared you *think* you are, everyone has that moment of worry when they realize that they’ll be eating for two for the next eight months or so. It’s common to ask your OBGYN what foods you should avoid during pregnancy (no raw sushi for you!), but it’s not until later that you start considering which foods you should add to your pregnancy diet. 

 

Not being an expert in maternal diets I did my research in order to be able to put together something safe and simple.  What inspired me to write this was my dear friend Tracy. Quick background; We go absolutely waaay back, well over half a decade! At first to me, she was first just a model booker at the modelling agency I signed with, but over the years she became one of my closest friends, she has been among the very few people I could trust for advice and guidance & she always has that motivational talk prepped and ready to kick my ass into gear on those low days. I have found myself sitting many times at her desk just chatting and being around her energy which is just so peaceful and calming. She really means a lot to me; is what I am trying to emphasize here.  When I found out she was pregnant I was beyond excited and happy for her. She is also a fan of my recipes and I must admit because of the Christmas rush I have not been able to put out the articles as frequently as I did, and yes I know I could have easily wrote ahead of time and just automated it all. But then I’d be missing out on the point! Producing authentic and real time content. But that’s a subject for another time!

 

This one is for my dear friend Tracy and her little one, and if by any chance any pregnant women come across this website; please feel free to try not just this recipe but my other recipes as well. 

However before you do (Disclaimer: For all pregnant women, reading this Please consult with a medical expert before attempting this recipe or any other recipes on this website in order to ensure that you or your unborn child wont be negatively affected) I research all my content thoroughly before posting however I still recommend you exercise caution for you and your little one.

2 Power Meals for Pregnant Women

SPICY RED PASTA WITH LENTILS

 

Sometimes, you just need a hearty, comforting pasta dish, especially in the midst of winter.

This recipe does the trick, delivering on flavor, simplicity and heartiness. This red sauce is spicy, bold, and infused with red lentils for added protein.

Plus, it’s vegan and gluten-free, and it comes together in just 30 minutes. Shall we?

I’ve wanted to make a dish with red lentils for a while now, because they’re tender, slightly sweet, cook quickly, and pair especially well with sauces and soups. Not to mention, they’re rich with health benefits, including iron, fibre, folate, and protein.

The sauce itself is incredibly simple, relying on a base of garlic, carrots, and tomatoes for flavour and texture. Next comes tomato paste and sauce for rich tomato flavour. And spices like red pepper flakes, basil, oregano, and sea salt bring it to life. Serve with gluten free pasta for a seriously delicious and hearty plant-based meal.

Ingredients

LENTILS

1/2 cup dry red lentils (rinsed in cool water for 1 minute)

2 cups water

1 pinch sea salt

PASTA SAUCE

1 Tbsp olive oil

3 cloves garlic, minced (3 cloves yield ~1 1/2 Tbsp)

1/4 cup carrots (very finely diced)

1/4 cup diced tomatoes (optional)

1 15-ounce can tomato sauce*

2 Tbsp tomato paste

1 pinch sea salt (plus more to taste)

1/2 tsp red chili flakes (divided)

1 Tbsp dried or fresh oregano

1 Tbsp dried or fresh basil

1-2 Tbsp sweetener of choice (such as organic cane sugar or coconut sugar)

1 Tbsp vegan parmesan cheese (optional // plus more to taste)

BBQ Chickpea Deep Dish Pizza

Sometimes I think I might have missed my life’s calling, which was obviously to be a pizza-topping-thinker-upper. The options are ENDLESS! And somehow always tasty. Funny how that works.

Maybe it’s because in my past life I came from a long lineage of pizza bakers, but I’ve never felt particularly tied down by the traditional tomato sauce + mozzarella + basil combo. There are just too many other flavours out there that need to be piled on top of a disc of dough for me to stick with just one for the rest of my life…instead I want to try them ALL. (Except PINEAPPLE) and I’m taking you along with me.

This BBQ sauce and chickpea medley has actually been lurking around my brain for a while as a potential pizza topper. The Barbecue sauce serves as the sauce and it’s topped with layers of gooey gouda, caramelized onions and peppers, and chickpeas. I highly recommend going spicy with the barbecue sauce that you use for this, otherwise it comes off as a little bit too sweet with the sweet caramelized onions and the sweet peppers.

Because I love a good thick crust, I made this deep dish style. The advantage of this is that deep dish dough only takes about a half hour to rise instead of the two hours required for thin crust dough. However, if you’re using store bought dough (which is totally fine!), you can go either way as long as you adjust the baking time and temperature accordingly (see instructions in the recipe below).

Ingredients

For the pizza crust:

2 1/4 teaspoons yeast

1 cup lukewarm water, divided

A pinch of sugar

2 1/2 cups bread flour, divided

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon salt

For the pizza toppings:

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced

Salt and black pepper, to taste

1 tablespoon water

1 red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced

1 (14.5-ounce) can chickpeas, drained, rinsed, and dried

1/3 – 1/2 cup barbecue sauce

8 ounces gouda, grated

Instructions

For the Crust

In a small bowl whisk together the yeast, 1/4 cup of water, and a pinch of sugar. Let the mixture sit while you prepare the rest of the dough.

Meanwhile, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the bread hook attachment, combine 2 cups of bread flour, olive oil, salt, and remaining water. When the yeast becomes foamy, add it into the bowl with the flour. (If the yeast doesn’t become foamy, it may be dead and you’ll have to start over with new yeast.)

Mix the dough on medium speed until well-combined. If the dough is still sticking to the sides of the bowl after a minute or mixing, then add in more flour. Mix on medium-high speed for 4 minutes. Cover lightly with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the oven to 220 degrees

In a large skillet, heat the remaining olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions to the pan along with a sprinkle of salt. Saute for 8-10 minutes, stirring every 2 minutes, until starting to caramelize and brown.

Add a tablespoon of water to the pan and saute for another 3-4 minutes. Stir in the bell pepper slices and saute until tender and starting to brown, about 3-4 minutes. Stir in the chickpeas. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.

Grease a 12-inch oven-proof pan or cast-iron skillet. Spread the dough in the skillet so that it reaches the sides. Top with 1/3 cup of the barbecue sauce, spreading it around the dough and leaving a 1/2-inch edge for the crust. Top with the grated cheese and the vegetable chickpea mixture. Drizzle with 1-2 tablespoons of additional barbecue sauce, or to taste.

Put the pan in the oven and bake for 15 minutes or until the cheese is bubbling and the bottom of the dough is golden brown. Let cool for 5 minutes, then slice and serve.