When I gave birth to my last son, one of my priorities during early labour was to prepare a protein rich meal to put in the slow cooker to eat after the baby was born (one of the benefits of homebirth – not having to suffer the hospital meals!). Giving birth is hard work, so make sure you eat well afterwards so your body can recover.
My plans for this labour are pretty much the same (except to reduce the labouring time of 20 hours down to maybe 8 hours!):
- I’m going to make a lasagna in the slow cooker (which takes about 8 hours to cook on low, so it will be ready soon after I give birth if all goes to plan!)
- Make a pot of raspberry leaf tea to drink during labour
- And if contractions still aren’t too strong, I’m going to make a birthing-day cake
I’m hoping all of that will help pass the first few hours of labour easily, so when I’m finished all that I plan to relax, breathe, and work on helping my baby out into the world.
Slow cooked lasagna is an awesome slow cooker meal, whether you’ve just had a baby or not. This recipe does require a bit of pre-preparation for the “ground beef substitute” but I usually make a batch of this to keep in the freezer to use for lasagna, bolognese, pies, or other recipes that need that “meaty” feel (umami is the Japanese word for this “meaty” texture of food). If you don’t have time for that, feel free to use some canned green lentils instead – 2 cans would be enough for this recipe, or lighten it up with 1 can of lentils and 1 1/2 cups of grated carrot, zucchini, or whatever other veggies take your fancy.
Slow Cooker Vegan Lasagna
1 tbsp olive oil
Dried lasagna sheets
1 tbsp olive oil
About 1/2 batch of VeggieConverter’s “ground beef substitute“, frozen
1 jar passata
100g of baby spinach leaves
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup plain flour
2 cups rice milk (or other non-dairy milk)
1 tsp vegetable stock powder
Get out your slow cooker and turn it on to preheat.
Dice the onion and fry in a frying pan with 1 tbsp olive oil for a few minutes.
Add the “ground beef substitute” and continue to fry for a few more minutes until it unfreezes a bit.
Add the jar of passata, stir well, and remove from heat.
Next, make the bechamel sauce by heating the 1/4 cup olive oil in a small saucepan, then add the flour, stir well for about 10 seconds or until combined and not lumpy.
Add the rice milk gradually, stirring after each addition.
When the bechamel sauce is slightly thickened (but easily pourable), remove from heat and stir in the stock powder.
Now it’s time to assemble the lasagna:
Add 1 tbsp of olive oil to the bottom of the slow cooker dish.
Layer the bottom with lasagna sheets.
Layer 1/3 of the bechamel sauce.
Layer half the “ground beef substitute”.
Layer half the spinach leaves.
Add another layer of lasagna sheets and repeat with another 1/3 of bechamel sauce, the rest of the “ground beef substitute” and rest of the spinach, then another layer of lasagna sheets and top with the rest of the bechamel sauce.
Put the lid on your slow cooker, and leave to cook on low for 6-8 hours (could also cook on high for about 3-4 hours).
What’s your favourite vegan protein-rich meal?