22 Postpartum Meals Every New Parent Will Appreciate

Feeding yourself can present a real challenge when your body’s on the mend, your hands are almost never free and you can’t remember the last time you got a full night’s sleep. Fortunately, our roundup of the best postpartum meals has got you covered with comforting pasta bakes, light summer salads, warming soups and a whole host of other quick, easy and nutritious recipes that you’ll want to return to again and again.

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1. Skillet Gnocchi Bake with Sausage and Kale

  • Time Commitment: 45 minutes
  • Why We Love It: One-pan, crowd pleaser, high protein

Fresh, store-bought gnocchi are tossed with sausage and kale-packed sauce and sent straight into the oven for a quick and easy comfort food meal that will keep you full for hours.

2. Instant Pot Chicken and Dumplings

  • Time Commitment: 55 minutes
  • Why We Love It: Instant Pot, high protein, beginner-friendly

Tender chicken, pillowy dumplings and a richly flavored broth combine to create a hearty soup that comes together in less than an hour, but tastes like it took all day to make. Yep, the instant pot is a postpartum dream come true.

3. Mark Bittman’s Spinach Carbonara

  • Time Commitment: 25 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <10 ingredients, <30 minutes, high protein

Because you deserve a meal that’s decadent, nutritious (hello, leafy greens) and packed with all the creamy, barely cooked eggs you couldn’t eat when you were pregnant.

4. Chickpea Caesar Salad with a Cheater’s Dressing

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes
  • Why We Love It: Vegetarian, beginner-friendly

In a previous life, you roasted chicken and whisked together a homemade aioli for a classic Caesar salad. Now, a can of chickpeas and a mayo-based dressing that tastes exactly like the real thing will make you realize you really never needed to go to all the trouble.

5. Caprese Pasta Salad

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes
  • Why We Love It: Crowd-pleaser, <10 ingredients, make-ahead, <500 calories

Creamy cheese, sweet tomatoes, and fresh herbs harmonize beautifully with a tangy dijon-balsamic dressing in this crowd-pleasing recipe. The best part? It’s a pasta meal that’s actually meant to be eaten cold.

6. Deli Sandwich Dutch Baby

  • Time Commitment: 20 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <30 minutes, high protein, one-pan

You spent nine long months avoiding cold cuts, so it’s only fair to have your long-awaited deli sandwich fix served on a silver platter…or in this case, on a fluffy, savory pancake known as a Dutch baby. (Try not to play favorites, though—your other baby isn’t half bad, either.)

7. Watermelon Cucumber Salad with Feta and Honey-Lime Dressing

  • Time Commitment: 5 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <30 minutes, <10 ingredients, healthy, crowd pleaser, gluten-free

Hydrating, refreshing, savory, healthy and ready in five minutes. Let’s just say this salad checks all the boxes.

8. Leftovers Frittata

  • Time Commitment: 25 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <30 minutes, <10 ingredients, one pan, gluten-free

This highly customizable frittata recipe is possibly the only thing that could make a person excited to clean out the fridge and consume last night’s veggies. Best of all, it’s delicious for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

9. 50-50 Buttered Noodles and Greens

  • Time Commitment: 20 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <10 ingredients, <30 minutes, kid-friendly, high protein

This simple and satisfying pasta dish comes together with minimal effort and can be enjoyed by the whole family…once your bundle of joy starts eating solids, that is.

10. Smashed Chickpea Salad Sandwich

  • Time Commitment: 15 minutes
  • Why We Love It: No-cook, beginner-friendly, <500 calories, <30 minutes

What’s not to love about a highly customizable and oh-so satisfying, no-cook meal that comes together with nothing more than a few pantry and refrigerator staples?

11. Cheater’s Italian Wedding Soup

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour
  • Why We Love It: Crowd pleaser, high protein

Italian sausage is the secret to the tender, flavorful and entirely fuss-free meatballs that star in this hearty winter soup. Psst: Don’t skimp on the Parm.

12. Easy, Lazy Chicken Soup with Beans and Greens

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Why We Love It: Crowd pleaser, high protein, <500 calories

Use canned beans and any kind of greens you have on hand to make this exceedingly easy and nourishing chicken soup—just don’t omit the miso unless you absolutely must, because it's responsible for some serious umami magic.

13. Easy Roasted Tomato Bucatini

  • Time Commitment: 55 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <10 ingredients, beginner-friendly, make ahead

A humble can of tomatoes takes on bold, deep flavor after a stint in the oven; add a dash of fish sauce for a savory flavor boost and a generous heap of Parmesan (because, duh) and you’ve got a restaurant-quality pasta dish that requires no energy to make.

14. Skillet Eggs and Chorizo

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes
  • Why We Love It: High protein, <500 calories, one-pan

Chorizo and chipotle chili give this shakshuka-inspired number a little extra kick, but it’s the beautiful, runny yolks that make this one-pan egg dish so delicious you’ll want to eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

15. Chicken Pesto Focaccia Sandwiches

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes
  • Why We Love It: Beginner-friendly, high protein

New moms often have their hands full, which is why we’re big fans of any meal that doesn’t require a fork and knife to eat. That said, you shouldn’t have to settle for a PB&J. Here, fresh, high-quality ingredients and homemade pesto combine to make a sandwich that’s truly crave-worthy. (Pro tip: Make a big batch of the pesto so you always have it on hand.)

16. Spicy Turkey Enchiladas with Pumpkin Seeds

  • Time Commitment: 40 minutes
  • Why We Love It: Crowd-pleaser, one-pan

Feel free to swap shredded rotisserie chicken in for the turkey, but don’t skip the pepitas—their pleasant crunch and toasty flavor really elevates the dish.

17. One-Pan Eggs with Asparagus and Tomatoes

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes
  • Why We Love It: one-pan, <10 ingredients, vegetarian, beginner-friendly

In case you needed more proof that runny eggs make pretty much everything more delicious.

18. Eggs Benedict with Easy Hollandaise Sauce

  • Time Commitment: 35 minutes
  • Why We Love It: Beginner-friendly, <10 ingredients, special occasion-worthy

A clever poaching trick promises perfectly cooked eggs and with some help from your trusty blender, even the hollandaise sauce is a cinch to make. In other words, you can finally treat yourself to the decadence of eggs benedict without any of the fuss.

19. One-Pot Vegetarian Chili

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Why We Love It: one-pot, vegetarian, gluten-free

This dump and go dinner simmers for hours while you go about your business. Best of all, it’s healthy, budget-friendly and tastes like a warm hug on a cold day.

20. Grilled Peach. Brie and Basil Sandwich

  • Time Commitment: 15 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <30 minutes, <10 ingredients, vegetarian

The convenience of a sandwich is hard to beat. This one, courtesy of Coterie member Maria Lichty, boasts a swoonworthy and downright gourmet combination of sweet peaches, creamy brie and fresh, aromatic basil that will make your palate sing all summer long.

21. Marinated White Bean and Tomato Salad

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Why We Love It: Make-ahead, <30 minutes, <10 ingredients, vegetarian

Don’t be fooled by the time commitment: This mouthwatering summer salad takes only five minutes to throw together and, after an hour marinating in the fridge, it’s a total flavor bomb that’s hard to stop eating.

22. 15-Minute Mediterranean Couscous with Tuna and Pepperoncini

  • Time Commitment: 15 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <30 minutes, beginner-friendly, Mediterranean diet

Kitchen staples like canned tuna (quality counts, here), capers and pepperoncini get tossed with quick-cooking couscous to create a colorful and flavor-packed meal in just 15 minutes flat…and that’s just plain smart.

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Freelance PureWow Editor

Emma Singer is a freelance contributing editor and writer at PureWow who has over 7 years of professional proofreading, copyediting and writing experience. At PureWow, she covers...