There is probably no meal that is as heavy on carbs and sugar and light on veggies like breakfast. We eat waffles, pancakes, toast, and cereals. Almost no one thinks to eat a salad or a plate of vegetables for breakfast. Fruit, yes but veggies, not so much. We wait to eat our veggies at lunch and dinner. But there is no reason why our breakfasts can’t be made healthier with the addition of veggies and greens.
The first meal of the day is the perfect time to do something healthy. Studies show people, including children, are more open to trying new things and making healthier choices early in the day as opposed to later on. We tend to be more motivated in the morning whereas, by evening, we are tired and seeking comfort. Even if you already eat a healthy breakfast, adding additional veggies and greens can make it even better.
Here’s how to eat more veggies at breakfast and do it deliciously and simply.
1. Add Veggies to Scrambles, Omelets, Frittatas, and Quiches
Now that you’ve mastered the art of making vegan scrambles, omelets, frittatas, and quiches without eggs (you have, right?), make them even healthier by adding veggies and greens to them. The great thing about all these breakfast foods is that they are blank canvases just begging for some color from the palette that is veggies.
Read this 7-Step Guide to Making the Best Tofu Scrambles and then try these veggie-filled recipes: Summertime Tofu Scramble, Southwestern Tofu Scramble with Greens, Tofu Scramble with Spinach and Nutritional Yeast, and Tofu Scramble with Broccoli Noodles. If you prefer omelets, read How to Make a Vegan Omelet and then try this Chickpea Flour Omelet with Spinach, Onion and Bell Peppers, Low-Fat Silken Tofu Omelet or this Vegan Soufflé Omelet filled with veggies.
Frittatas are light, healthy and can feed a crowd. Fill them with whatever veggies are your favorites or make this Spinach, Artichoke and Vegan Mozzarella Tofu Frittata or this Vegetable Frittata that has zucchini, bell peppers, tomatoes, and olives. Similar to frittatas are quiches. Try this Easy Spinach and Pepper Quiche or Swiss Chard Quiche with Wild Mushrooms. For adorable individual portions, make this Spinach, Tomato and Vegan Cheddar Mini-Quiches with Lemon Cashew Cream.
2. Veg Up Your ‘Taters
Some of my favorite veggie dishes involve potatoes and while potatoes are indeed vegetables, we can make them healthier by adding veggies to them or substituting vegetables in place of them. Hash is one of those recipes that give you the freedom to use whatever ingredients you like.
To make my Mushroom and Asparagus Potato Hash: boil 1 lb. small red potatoes until fork tender. Let cool and then cut into bite-sized pieces. Heat 1 Tbs. vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the potatoes to the skillet and cook until the potatoes are crisp and browned, about 8 minutes.
Transfer them to a plate. Add one small chopped onion and 1 chopped red bell pepper to the skillet and cook for 4 minutes. Add 1 lb. of asparagus that has been trimmed and cut into ½” pieces and 8 oz. chopped cremini mushrooms to the skillet. Cook until the mushrooms are browned and the asparagus starts to soften, about 7 minutes. Stir in 2 minced garlic cloves, 1 tsp. dried oregano, 1 tsp. paprika, 1 tsp. kosher salt and ½ tsp. black pepper. Return the potatoes to the skillet and toss everything together, cooking until heated through. Taste for seasoning adjustments. Serve immediately.
Mix greens, chopped green beans or other veggies to these Ketchup Baked Home Fries. Serve this Warm Potato Salad with Spinach and Chickpeas. Top your potatoes with veggies like these Potato Hashcakes, add in veggies as in these Greek Spinach Potato Latkes with Vegan Feta and Tzatziki Sauce or swap out the spuds as in these Sweet Potato Latkes with Chutney Sour Cream and Curried Apple, Onion and White Bean Topping.
3. Veggie Pancakes and Waffles
Who doesn’t love pancakes and waffles topped with vegan butter and maple syrup? Yum! But there’s no reason that we can’t add veggies to these breakfast favorites. If you get happy in autumn because it’s pumpkin season, you’ll love these Pumpkin Pancakes with Cranberry Maple Syrup, Pumpkin Pie Pancakes, and Pumpkin, Apple and Pecan Waffles. Sweet potatoes are easy to add to any batter. Try these Sweet Potato Pancakes with Cinnamon Maple Sage Butter and these Sweet Potato Waffles. Maybe you’re like me and prefer savory to sweet dishes.
You’ll love these veggie-friendly savory breakfasts like this Tomato, Chive and Chickpea Pancakes, Savory Chickpea Flour Pancakes with Tamarind Syrup, Mushroom Rosemary Pancakes, and Vegan Falafel Waffles.
4. Make Healthier Muffins
Sure you make your muffins healthy by using whole grains and avoiding refined sugars but you can go another step further and add veggies to your muffins. Veggies add moisture and sweetness to the mix and some can even act as a binder or egg replacement.
Try making my Gluten-Free Zucchini Chocolate Banana Muffins. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a muffin tin with oil or cooking spray. Mix 2 Tbs. ground flaxseed with 1/3 cup warm water and let it sit for 10 minutes until it’s a loose paste. This is your binder. Mix 1 cup brown rice flour, ½ cup chickpea/fava bean flour, 1 tsp. baking powder, ¼ tsp. baking soda, 1 tsp. kosher salt, 1 Tsp. ground cinnamon and ½ tsp. ground nutmeg in a large bowl. In another bowl, mix the flaxseed/water, ¼ cup oil, ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce, ¾ cup brown sugar, 1 mashed banana and 1 tsp. vanilla. Fold in 1 cup grated zucchini that has been squeezed dry.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until the batter is smooth. Then fold ¼ cup chocolate chips into the batter. Fill the muffin tin about ¾ of the way since the muffins will rise. Bake for about 25 to 30 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Let the muffins cool in the tin and then transfer them to a cooling rack.
Start your day with these Pumpkin Muffins, Carrot Gingerbread Muffins, Roasted Rhubarb Granola Muffins, Butternut Squash Muffins, Flourless Tofu Zucchini Muffins, Zucchini Blueberry Muffins, Vidalia Onion Mini Cornbread Muffins and Savory Whole Grain Spinach Biscuit Muffins.
5. Veggie-Packed Juices and Smoothies
Some people prefer to drink their veggies. Putting your veggies into a juice or smoothie is a great way to get a ton of veggies into just one glass. My favorite green juice combo is kale, cucumber, and apple. If you’re new to smoothies and juices, don’t worry. We have you covered with great advice.
For smoothies, see How to Make a Basic, Beginner Green Smoothie that Rocks, The Best Order of Ingredients to Make a Superfood Smoothie, 10 Ingredients That Make a Super Smoothie, The Anatomy of a Filling, Healthy Green Smoothie: What to Use and What to Skip, and How to Make a Smoothie Without Using Bananas. For juices, read The Ultimate Green Juice Cheat Sheet and The Best Flavor Combos of Green Juice to Try for Your Sweet Tooth. Once you’ve read all the tips and tricks, use them to make Green Mojito Juice, Dandelion Green Smoothies and any of these 11 Awesome Green Monster Smoothies.
6. Veggie Spreads and Dips
Maybe spreads and dips don’t sound like breakfast food but think about it – butter and cream cheese are spreads so why not try adding some veggie spreads to the morning meal. They can be spread on toast or eaten as dips with crackers, fruit or veggies. You can chop any vegetable finely and add it to your vegan cream cheese. Try scallions, broccoli or carrots or try this Garlic Herb Avocado Cashew Cream Cheese.
Instead of plain vegan butter, Learn How to Make Your Own Pumpkin Butter. One of my favorite breakfast spreads is hummus. While hummus is traditionally made with chickpeas, you can get as creative as you want including adding veggies to the recipe. Try this Smoky Chipotle Pumpkin Hummus, Red Pepper Hummus, Spicy Sweet Potato Hummus, Sweet Pea Hummus, Fresh Pumpkin and Kale Hummus, and Kale-Edamame Hummus.
7. Breakfast Burritos
Breakfast burritos are all the rage now. They are fun and easy to eat. What could be better than delicious breakfast food all wrapped up in a yummy tortilla?
Check out 10 Ideas for Creating Delicious Veggie Fillings for Your Homemade Burritos and get the recipes for my Mexican Breakfast Burrito and Italian Omelet Breakfast Burrito. You can also learn How to Make the Perfectly Layered Chipotle-Style Vegan Burrito at home or make these Vegan Breakfast Burritos.
8. Breakfast Soup
What? Soup for breakfast? Yes, soup for breakfast! It might sound strange in the U.S. but in many other countries, people start their day with a hot bowl of soup. It’s light, nourishing, easily digested and healthy. The most common soup eaten for breakfast is probably miso soup. Miso soup is fast and easy to make – see Miso Quick! How to Make Miso Soup in 10 Minutes – or you make it in advance and just warm it up at breakfast time.
It can be as light as you want it but for a breakfast that will keep you going until lunchtime, add lots of veggies and/or tofu cubes. Delicious recipes to try include Vegetable Miso Soup, Carrot Miso Soup, Roasted Garlic, Miso and Greens Soup and Miso Green Tea and Ginger Zucchini Noodle Soup with Tofu.
It’s so easy to add veggies to breakfast dishes. They add nutrients, fiber, and color to dishes plus they make any meal more satisfying without the sugar crashes of many typical breakfasts. Start your day right by starting it with veggies and see how good your day can be.
Lead Image Source: Low-Fat Silken Tofu Omelet