Hey everyone! It’s a rainy afternoon here in Madrid, and this morning while I was sitting down to breakfast I knew exactly what post I was going to write for you today. I’ve been noticing lately, that if there’s one meal of the day that really changes for me according to the seasons and the weather, it’s breakfast. Yes, I do buy my fruits and veggies mostly depending on what’s available seasonally, and winter does bring about more soups and stews for lunch and dinner than the summer does, but my breakfast preferences also vary drastically depending on the weather. Some tried and true favorites are always present, but I find it’s quite different to wake up on a chilly morning than it is to wake up on a hot and sunny summer day. Regardless of the inspiration for this post, I also thought it was time to talk about our first meal of the day, the breaking of our ‘fast’, and how we can include variety and lots of nutrients in it when you’re vegan. There are probably some new vegans among our readers this year, and I know that as a former bacon and egg, or grilled cheese breakfast eater before I was vegan, I wondered many times how breakfast could still be delicious when I changed my diet to a plant-based one. This means that today we’re having a breakfast post bonanza! I’m dividing the options for sweet toothed breakfast eaters (a.k.a my husband) and savory breakfast eaters (a.k.a. me!), and of course the sweet/savory combo folks (a.k.a me again!) can mix and match ideas for the perfect breakfast bite. Drinks will also have their own little section at the end. Let’s get to it!
Scrumptious delights for the sweet-toothed breakfast eater
– Good ol’ toast!: You can never go wrong with the classic toast and preserves. Choose your favorite whole grain bread, English muffin or bagel and spread on some non-dairy butter or nut butters (cashew butter, almond butter, peanut butter, or your favorite), all natural fruit preserves or jams, or even a simple drizzle of agave, maple syrup or bee-free honey for those of you who like my mom, grew up loving toast with butter and honey.
– Classic PB&J: Although we included this one in the previous breakfast, it really does deserve recognition on its own. Especially when using peanut butter. I also decided to give it its special spot to point out a couple of important things. Always buy an all-natural brand. Commercial brands include tons of salt, sugar, preservatives and even added oils! My peanut butter has but one ingredient: organic peanuts. It’s really all you need to look for. Did you know that peanuts aren’t technically nuts? That’s right! They’re legumes! That means they’re in the same food group as black beans, chickpeas, lentils and the works, and it also means that when you have a PB&J sandwich or use peanut butter in a recipe or smoothie, it counts as one of the three protein servings you need in a day.
– Cold cereal with goodies: Ahh.. the classic quick American breakfast. You can be vegan and enjoy your cereal too with all the plant-based milks available nowadays. Just as you did with peanut butter, try to stay away from commercial cereals no matter how much you love them and get your taste buds used to the natural cereals made from whole grains you can usually mix and match at a health food store. Commercial cereals have so much sugar in them you might as well be having brownies for breakfast! What I like to do is buy some bran flakes, bran sticks, granola, and oats, keep them in mason jars in my counter and mix and match them in the morning. They are much less sweeter than commercial ones, so I pile on some natural toppings to make it a completely decadent experience (decadent yet super healthy!): cut up bananas (a must!), blueberries, raspberries or strawberries or a combination, chopped walnuts, ground flaxseeds or some chia seeds for my omega 3s, chopped dates or chopped figs, sometimes some sunflower or pumpkin seeds for added crunch.
– Warm morning oatmeal with goodies: This is quite possibly one of my favorite winter breakfasts. If you’ve never made oatmeal before or you think it takes a really long time or is difficult, think again! In a small saucepan add some oats, and double the amount of water. I make 3/4 cup of oats and double the water for my husband and myself. Add a pinch of salt and bring the oats and water to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, cover it, lower the heat and let it cook for 15 to 20 min. You don’t have to stand there! Go take a shower while it cooks! Once the time has passed you’re ready to pile on the goodies, choose your favorites: a splash of plant-based milk, some chopped walnuts, ground flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, blueberries, chopped dried fruit or raisins, sliced strawberries, a drizzle of maple syrup, agave or a bit of brown sugar for sweetness, and always a yummy sprinkle of cinnamon. If you want to get really fancy, I love the contrast between hot and cold, so I top my hot oatmeal with a bit of jam straight from the fridge, some peanut butter, or my favorite, cold leftover pumpkin butter I make from scratch when I make my banana nut muffins. How easy was that! It turns a gooey goopy uninteresting mess into a total texture filled bowl of goodness!
– Leftover grain bowls with goodies: Grab some leftover brown rice, quinoa, or your favorite grain and top it with some chopped dates, walnuts, ground flaxseeds, some agave nectar, some fresh fruit and a splash of plant-based milk and have the heartiest, chewiest warm breakfast bowl. This is another one of my winter favorites and so quick to make, as it relies on leftovers!
– Fresh fruit and yogurt: In the summer, I love a simple bowl of soy based yogurt topped with berries, cherries, bananas and chia seeds, and sometimes some granola for a crunch. Simple, cold, and super healthy!
– Delicious french toast: We’ll have a new and improved recipe for you soon, but there are so many yummy vegan versions out there, that there’s no need to avoid this timeless favorite. I top mine with strawberries, blueberries, bananas and walnuts, and of course some maple syrup. Here’s our omega 3 maple cinnamon french toast to tide you over until our new recipe comes around!
– It’s always time for pancakes: Every single Sunday on this planet, and I mean every single Sunday, if you come to our house in the morning you will be served a stack of super fluffy pancakes topped with fruit, walnuts, tons of maple syrup and some non-dairy butter. What can I say? Once you start a tradition like that people won’t let you stop doing it! No, you don’t need eggs or milk or any kind of animal products to make amazing fluffy pancakes. Mine are famous! And they are of course completely vegan. We’ll have more recipe versions soon including my new over-the-top fluffy ‘buttermilk’ pancakes and my new pumpkin pancakes with cinnamon butter. What about the good old favorite? Here’s our recipe for blueberry pancakes and a whole brunch menu to boot!
Scrumptious delights for the savory breakfast eater
– Good ol’ toast again!: This time with savory spreads that can include mashed avocado with a little lime juice and sea salt, some non-dairy cream cheese (Tofutti brand is my favorite), some melted vegan cheese or even some homemade cashew cheese (we’ll be making some together soon!). If you want to get really fancy, in a food processor combine some silken tofu and some artichoke hearts, a drizzle of lemon juice, some sea salt and pepper and process until creamy but still a little chunky, fancy artichoke spread in a pinch!
– Classic grilled cheese or your favorite breakfast sandwich: Buy some vegan cheeses or vegan deli slices and make your favorite sandwiches. I add some nutritional yeast to my grilled cheeses for added flavor and nutrition. A yummy tofu-egg salad on a bagel is also one of my favorites. Find our no-egg salad recipe here!
– Pizza toast!: A regular at our house! Simply top some bread with your favorite vegan cheese, some very thin tomato slices, some dried oregano, salt and pepper and a tiny drizzle of olive oil, and place it in your oven or toaster oven under the broiler for a few minutes until the cheese melts. You’ll thank me later!
– Tofu scramble and tempeh bacon: If there was one thing I really missed when I went vegan it was eggs. So as soon as I started experimenting with tofu scrambles and figured out how I liked them, I was in heaven! There are many recipes online and it really takes a little time and some experimenting to find your favorites, but a basic tofu scramble includes some sautéed veggies, crumbled tofu, some turmeric for that yellow color, and some other herbs and spices (that’s where you find your own!). Our next few recipes will be breakfast inspired and tofu scramble will be one of them so stay tuned! We’ll add the link here once it’s up on the blog. For the tempeh bacon, cook up some store-bought tempeh bacon or use this tutorial to make a completely healthy at-home version. Classic no-eggs and bacon?! Yes please!
– Hello, I’m Kim and I was a sunny side up egg addict: Believe it or not, you can have some sunny side up egg goodness without eating eggs! There is now a product made with all natural ingredients called ‘The Vegg‘ which is quite possibly my favorite vegan product out there. It includes all sorts of healthy vitamins and minerals, nutritional yeast and a special kind of salt that gives this product a total egg-y flavor. You blend it with water and get the exact texture and flavor of an egg yolk, and I mean EXACTLY! Granted, you won’t have the egg white or the look of a sunny side up egg, but I warm it up and serve it in a little tiny ramekin next to toast tips or hash browns and I get that gooey delicious childhood favorite of mine. It was the only thing I was missing as a vegan, and now I’ve got it! The fact that it’s made with very natural ingredients is such a bonus. You can even make it into omelettes! What?!
– There’s nothing like a potato: How about some hash browns, potato nests or potato latkes to round out your breakfast meal? These are always making an appearance at out breakfast table, especially when making the previous two dishes. Here’s our recipe for potato nests using a spiralizer, and soon we’ll be making my mamma’s potato latkes with vegan sour cream and chives together! No time to make a potato dish in the morning? Simply make extra roasted potatoes whenever you make these for dinner, and heat them up in the morning to round out your meal.
Glug Glug Glug! Breakfast in a jug or mug!
Ok, ok, not all of these drinks are meant to be had for breakfast on their own, but smoothies are definitely a great way to get lots of nutrition in, first thing in the morning or when you’re on the run. Include ample vegetables (especially green leafy veggies like kale or romaine), not only fruits, use a frozen banana for extra body, some ground flaxseeds or flax oil for those omega 3s, some calcium fortified plant-based milk, and as many colorful berries as you can add! Get creative and change them up for extra variety. I’m not a big fan of drinking my breakfasts because I love to eat, but many people swear by them! Other delicious breakfast beverages include tea, coffee with your favorite plant-based milk, hot cocoa, fresh vegetable and fruit juices, and so many others.
I could go on and on forever with breakfast since it’s quite possibly my favorite meal of the day! Always remember, we are our own roadblocks to variety when it comes to breakfasts. We think something isn’t breakfast like or ‘doesn’t go together’, but so many cultures around the world have such completely different breakfast items that you shouldn’t feel bad if one day you wake up and you feel like having some leftovers from the night before, or have a craving for sautéed kale! There are cultures that have miso soup for breakfast, or beans and rice for breakfast, even little kids around the world are craving things like spicy sauerkraut in the morning, you get the gist. When it comes to breakfast, you can keep it traditional or not, and you can have limitless options as a vegan. Rise and shine!