The Best Gluten Free and Vegan Soft Foods to Eat After Dental Surgery

If you're a regular blog reader of mine, you probably know that I'm a huge texture hound when it comes to food. I love my crunchy homemade vegan granola, my chewy dried fruit and my creamy smoothie bowls. Which is why figuring out delicious gluten free soft foods to eat after surgery (in my case, gum graft surgery) has been especially challenging. It's amazing how hard eating can be when nothing tastes really good...and a girl can only eat so many bowls of mashed potatoes.

So, to help out anyone else needing soft foods after wisdom teeth, soft foods after oral surgery or just soft foods after surgery of any kind, I'm rounding up my 15 favorite gluten free and vegan soft foods to eat (plus, recipes on how to use them!). As always, make sure you follow your doctor's orders and only eat the food your doctor advises or allows.

The Best Gluten Free and Vegan Soft Foods to Eat After Dental Surgery

As a bonus, though, most of the soft foods and recipes I'm listing below are as healthy as they are delicious...and even if you don't have to eat soft foods, these gluten free recipes are scrumptious enough to be included in any diet!

1. Mashed Potatoes

Whether you've just had your wisdom teeth removed or got gum graft surgery like me, mashed potatoes are one of the easiest soft foods to whip up and enjoy. Like I mention above, though, it can be easy to overdo it on the mashed potatoes and never want to look at another spud again.

The key to making your gluten free and vegan potatoes something special is throwing in lots of secret ingredients. My personal favorite is mashing potatoes with a little coconut milk, thyme and curry powder. When I have turmeric on hand, I add that as well for an even brighter yellow color. Obviously, vegan butter, gluten free gravy and even BBQ sauce are fair game as well!

2. Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are one of the best soft foods to eat after oral surgery for two reasons. One, they're freakin' delicious AND antioxidant-loaded. (Talk about a win/win). Second? You can eat them with savory or sweet gluten free meals.

The Best Gluten Free and Vegan Soft Foods to Eat After Dental Surgery

If you're craving a sweet treat after your gum graft surgery, I've enjoyed sweet potatoes (mashed with no skin!) topped with nut butter and bananas. For a savory version, BBQ sauce or avocado is especially delicious on top.

3. Pasta, cooked well

One of the hardest parts about gum graft recovery, at least in my experience, is getting in enough calories while eating soft foods. Pasta can help with that! My personal favorites are gluten free rice pasta from Tinkya and vegan chickpea pasta from Banza (a great way to sneak in extra protein!). Whatever pasta you do use, be sure to eat it well-cooked, or perhaps even over-cooked, so it's super tender.

4. Superfood-packed Soups 

What kind of food blogger would I be if I didn't mention soup in a list about the best gluten free soft foods to eat after surgery? Soup was actually a lot more challenging to eat than I anticipated, so I'd suggest waiting a couple days into your recovery before you try it. However, it's an easy way to sneak in some superfoods, from turmeric to a rich vegan broth. Plus, it's easy to make your own soup (just check out my "Easiest Gluten Free Green Veggie Soup" for proof) and you can throw in whatever steamed veggies, pasta, beans or spices you happen to have on hand.

The Best Gluten Free and Vegan Soft Foods to Eat After Dental Surgery

5. Steamed and Mashed Vegetables

Trust me. It may sound fun to eat ice cream and smoothies nonstop after oral surgery...but you get sick of sweets pretty fast. That's where steamed and mashed veggies come in. My personal favorite has been steaming thinly sliced zucchini and squash. On the first couple days after my gum graft surgery, I threw the steamed veggies in my Vitamix (you can use any blender!) and pulsed a few times to get a rough puree. I think they taste delicious on their own, but some extra spices never hurt!

Need more ideas for gluten free mashed vegetable sides? Mashed cauliflower can be almost as addictive as mashed potatoes, especially when you use coconut milk, thyme and oregano. Not to mention fall favorites like pumpkin, butternut squash, beets, carrots or parsnips. It definitely did feel frustrating to be eating an adult version of baby food for five days straight...but you'll be amazed at how delicious this "baby food" really can taste.

6. Roasted Spaghetti Squash

After my gum graft surgery, I was told that anything I could cut into easily with a plastic fork was fair game...so one of my favorite soft foods to eat after surgery was roasted spaghetti squash. Of course, I couldn't eat the seeds or the crunchy outer shell of the squash (which I'm crazy enough to throw in the freezer for when crunchy foods re-enter my diet). But spaghetti squash is delicious enough to be eaten as its own gluten free vegan dinner as long as you have the right toppings.

The Best Gluten Free and Vegan Soft Foods to Eat After Dental Surgery

In fact, you can turn your spaghetti squash into a healthier version of gluten free and vegan enchiladas, a low-carb alternative to spaghetti and tomato sauce or even Spaghetti Squash Nachos (though you'll have to omit the chips if you're eating soft foods after surgery). And if you've never tried spaghetti squash until now? Just see this as the silver lining in your dental surgery.

7. Mashed Beans and Black Bean Soup

Diving into my first batch of homemade vegan black bean soup (based on this awesome recipe) is what I was thankful for this Thanksgiving, especially since I had my gum graft surgery the day before. Mashed up beans (from chickpeas - hello hummus! - to black beans to whatever else your heart desires) are an easy way to get some vegan protein, and they taste extra delicious with a side of mashed potatoes or spaghetti squash. For an even cozier serving of comfort food, soup is where it's at!

8. Vegan Cheese Sauce

The secret to (happily) surviving on a soft foods diet for five days or more, at least in my experience, is to keep changing up the flavors every chance you get. One of the easiest ways to do this is loading your plate with sauces, like my favorite vegan cheese sauce. You can use this cheese sauce to whip up an easy vegan mac and cheese recipe or to turn your spaghetti squash into a (non) cheesy delight.

The Best Gluten Free and Vegan Soft Foods to Eat After Dental Surgery

You can also experiment with the vegan cheese sauce itself. Add curry powder (like in my curried cauliflower mac and cheese recipe) for an extra kick or throw in nutritional yeast for an extra cheesy flavor. When you're recovering from dental surgery, you may crave some pretty weird thangs (trust me...I know), so you never know what pairings of spices or flavor add-ins will become your new favorite.

9. Avocado

Speaking of flavor bombs, there's really no easier way to upgrade a simple gluten free dinner of mashed potatoes, beans and veggies than by throwing on some creamy avocado. Avocado is also an easy way to get enough calories on your soft foods diet (adequate healing uses up a lot of energy!).

Of course, you can always transform avocado into a creamy chocolate pudding, a spicy guacamole or even an avocado boat stuffed with a form of soft protein. The only limits are your dietary restrictions and your imagination!

10. Banana Ice Cream and Smoothies

You know that I love my vegan smoothie bowls and gluten free banana ice cream...and that couldn't be any truer than in the two weeks after my gum graft surgery. Although I can't eat the crunchy add-in's in my Sweet N' Salty Banana Ice Cream recipe, I've been making my own banana ice cream by just combining frozen bananas, coconut milk and cinnamon in my blender. You can also make vegan protein ice cream (like I talk about here) by just adding your choice of gluten free protein powder to the blend.

The Best Gluten Free and Vegan Soft Foods to Eat After Dental Surgery

Smoothie bowls are an equally delicious way to get extra calories and nutrients while eating soft foods. If you're struggling with your vegetable intake, add sliced raw zucchini and squash to your smoothies. I promise you won't taste the veggies at all! You can even experiment with adding cauliflower, sweet potato, beets (for a gorgeous color!) and superfoods like spirulina, maca or acai. I like to make a big batch of banana ice cream and smoothies and freeze them in microwave-safe containers. When I need something cool and creamy, I just defrost one of the mason jars in my microwave (usually for 6 minutes at 4 power, though this will vary by microwave and smoothie size). Then, you can just dig in!

11. Jam and Nut Butters

If you've ever wanted an excuse to eat your weight in nut butter, dental surgery is a pretty good reason! Avoid nut or seed butters with pieces of nuts or seeds in them if necessary. As for how to eat your nut butter, there's no wrong answer. Spread sunflower butter on mashed banana for an easy and tasty gluten free snack, or combine sweet potatoes with blueberries and cashew butter for a vegan breakfast that will make everyone jealous. And, as always, nut butter and smoothie bowls are a match made in heaven!

The same goes for jams. As long as you find a gluten free jam that is smooth (AKA, no pesky seeds, if you can't eat those at this point), you can start jammin' to your heart's delight.

The Best Gluten Free and Vegan Soft Foods to Eat After Dental Surgery

12. Mashed or Sauteed Berries and Bananas 

When you need soft foods to eat after surgery, fruit is usually a safe bet. Depending on your surgery and your doctor's instructions, you may have to avoid berries with seeds like strawberries and blackberries. (If you're recovering from wisdom teeth removal, walk away from the strawberries). Some dental surgery operations may also make you extra sensitive to acidic fruits. If you can eat sauteed berries, though, they're a great way to add flavor to plainer foods (like number 15 below).

As for bananas, you really can't go wrong with those! Besides being easy to eat, they can go with a variety of other foods - from sweet potatoes to pudding - and they're easy on the tummy. (And depending on how much pain medication you have to take, your tummy might need just as much TLC as your surgery site).

13. Pancakes 

The most hilarious part of my gum graft recovery was probably the night that I made three batches of three different kinds of mini gluten free pancakes. I was desperate for some kind of night snack that was plain and soft, but also tasty...and my pancakes certainly didn't disappoint!

The Best Gluten Free and Vegan Soft Foods to Eat After Dental Surgery

I ended up whipping up my vegan buckwheat pancake recipe using Pamela's new pancake batter (using this recipe but omitting the popcorn and pumpkin seeds), some chickpea flour pancakes based on The Little Tablespoon's super simple recipe and the tastiest gluten free pumpkin pancakes EVER thanks to this awesome vegan recipe. Nothing makes you feel a little better than pillows of pancake goodness!

14. Blended Chia Seed Pudding

Want something cold and creamy but want something besides banana ice cream or smoothies? Then you need to add blended chia seed pudding to your to-do list. You can basically whip up any of your favorite vegan chia seed pudding recipes and just throw it in a blender after it's gelled. (And if you need ideas, you can't go wrong with my superfood chia seed pudding recipe!)

I ended up adding strawberry and cacao powder for a chocolate covered strawberry chia seed pudding, but you can also experiment with spirulina, blended spinach or other greens, or even pumpkin puree and pumpkin spice. Can you say "pudding power"?

The Best Gluten Free and Vegan Soft Foods to Eat After Dental Surgery

15. Rice porridge

One of the plainest and most comforting gluten free soft foods to eat is probably this rice porridge. To make sure there wouldn't be any rice flakes to get trapped in my gum's nooks and crannies, I followed this recipe, which involves grinding up rice and heating it up on the stove top. It's amazing how quickly this rice flour transforms into a creamy vegan porridge! I used water and didn't add any spices since I wanted something extra plain to eat, but you can easily dress up this rice porridge with vegan milk, fruit and spices. You can also make this rice porridge as thick or thin as you need, depending on how much liquid you throw in.

Soft Foods to Eat: The Bottom Line

I'll admit it: when I first learned that I could only eat soft foods for five days after my surgery and had to avoid crunchy foods for two weeks, gum graft recovery sounded nearly as horrible as the surgery itself. I'll also admit to doing my fair share of drooling over off-limit foods and calling my mom (probably way too often) to complain. However, having to eat soft foods after surgery challenged me to look at food a new way and try out several new gluten free and vegan recipes, from gluten free black bean soup to vegan pumpkin pancakes.


The Best Gluten Free and Vegan Soft Foods to Eat After Dental Surgery

So if you are worried about finding soft foods to eat after surgery - whether it's gum graft surgery or wisdom teeth removal - know that it's totally possible to eat a delicious, healthy diet while limited to soft foods.

And if you can eat everything? Then I hope these 15 soft foods to eat have inspired you with new ways to shake up old staples and have given you some more delicious vegan recipes to add to your weekly meal plan!



Have you ever had to go on a soft foods diet? Are any of these foods or recipes some of your culinary staples? Tell me in the comments!

Comments

  1. Those fruity meals like pudding or smoothie look so awesome!

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  2. Thank you for sharing. Next week my dentist will remove my two upper wisdom teeth. I will print this helpful food list for my nightmare week after extractions :)

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