Breakfast is a pretty important part of my life. I honestly don’t understand people who can ‘forget’ or ‘not have time’ to have breakfast, and yet they somehow continue to function like a decent human being until lunch time. It’s probably (definitely) the #1 motivating factor in getting my butt out of bed in the morning, so it needs to be delicious enough to coax me out of my blanket cocoon, and also substantial enough to get me through the morning.
It’s also my personal opinion that breakfast is the easiest meal of the day to veganize. Why? Perhaps it’s because breakfast food tends to be quick and easy by nature, and often contains lots of fruit and grains anyway. If you’re thinking of trying out a vegan diet, breakfast is a nice and simple place to start. So without further ado, here are some typical breakfast options, and some ideas of how they can be ‘veganized’!
Porridge: Porridge is like a warm, comforting hug in a bowl. It can easily be made vegan by swapping out cow’s milk for any non-dairy milk that tastes good to you — you’ve got so many choices of non-dairy option! You can choose almond, soy, oat, hemp, coconut, rice, hazelnut…The list goes on. Almond is probably a good one to try first if you aren’t used to dairy-free milks. I tend to buy almond or coconut depending on my mood, what’s on sale, and so on. I like to add bananas, natural peanut butter (the runnier the better), raisins, some ground flaxseed, and some cinnamon and maple syrup. You could put the dry ingredients in a bowl the night before, and add the hot water and sweetener in the morning to speed up the whole food to face process. I generally make it in the microwave on work mornings, and it tastes just fine.
Cereal: Ah, good old classic breakfast cereal. Let’s start with the cereal itself. Many varieties are secretly vegan: Weetabix, Rice Krispies, Shreddies, Cheerios, even Cap’n Crunch and Fruit Loops. Many supermarket’s own brand cereals are vegan, just check the back of the box! I could spend all day listing them, so check out The Vegan Womble for a more exhaustive list for UK readers. (Warning, the site contains gratuitous cereal photos, so it may take a while to load on a slow connection). I generally don’t eat cold cereal for breakfast, for me it’s more of a night-time snack as it’s not as filling or nutritious as some other options. However, chuck some sliced banana, blueberry, or strawberry on top if you want a more balanced breakfast.
Toast: This one seems fairly obvious, as the only reason toast might not be vegan is: a) The bread is not vegan, which is uncommon in my experience, or b) You plan to put butter or cheese on it (do people actually have cheese on toast for breakfast? Probably not). My go-to is peanut butter, banana, flaxseed, and some cinnamon. Perhaps you’ve suspected by now that I am obsessed with peanut butter and bananas. I deny nothing. You can also buy vegan butter — which you will find with the other dairy alternatives in the chilled section of the grocery store. For some reason, avocado toast is really trendy lately as well, which I’m not mad about at all. You can’t go wrong with some mashed avo, salt, pepper, and a squeeze of lemon. Add some yeast flakes if you’ve got them for a B12 boost. Bonus: Most brands of english muffin and crumpet are vegan too! Don’t believe me? Just watch. I mean uh, just check.
Eggs: Rumour has it that there is some newfangled vegan egg substitute out there that is scarily realistic, runny yolk and all. I have not tried this, but I think a good old-fashioned tofu scramble does just fine at replacing a plate of scrambled eggs. It’s ridiculously easy to make. You just crumble up your extra-firm tofu and cook it in a pan with whatever spices you have handy, and whichever bits of veg you want to throw in. A pinch of turmeric gives it a lovely colour.
Sausage/’Full English’: Ever since moving to England, I have been fully convinced of the wonders of the English Breakfast. There are so many kinds of vegan sausage out there, it just depends what you like! I’m a fan of Linda McCartney’s, but there are some other kinds out there that are not trying as hard to emulate meat. I prefer the ones that just kind of do their own thing, and have no pretenses about containing veggies. Wicken Fen brand is not as widely available, but theirs are lovely. Tofurkey sausage is not for me, but others seem to enjoy it. Add some grilled tomato, hash browns, toast, some baked beans, and maybe some mushrooms sauteed in oil and garlic or some sliced avocado. You’ve got yourself a Full English breakfast. And I’m hungry now.
Smoothies: You can make the most basic and easy vegan smoothie using a combination of frozen fruit and dairy-free milk. Throw in some spinach or kale to make it extra healthy, add peanut butter or vegan protein powder, and you could certainly add some soy or coconut yogurt. Basically, chuck whatever healthy stuff you’ve got in there, and it’ll probably still taste delicious if you add enough fruit (disclaimer: I cannot accept responsibility if you choose to put broccoli in your smoothie and it tastes disgusting).
Pancakes: Vegan pancakes are a thing. Seriously. Search it on Google, and you will be overwhelmed with the amount of recipes that are available. Do you want to try “Basic Yet Brilliant Vegan Pancakes”? Perhaps some “Super Simple Vegan Pancakes”? Are you prepared for the “Best Vegan Pancakes EVER”?? Pick one and give it a go. You can’t go wrong, and you CAN lick the spoon because no eggs = no salmonella. High fives for not getting salmonella!?
There you have it! Vegan breakfast made simple. And the best part is, you can enjoy breakfast foods at any time of the day! The breakfast police aren’t going to come take you away for having pancakes at 4 pm. Or 8:30 PM, after say, writing a blog post…on an unrelated note, that’s it for now!
Enjoy, and don’t forget to comment with your favourite vegan breakfast!