Vegan Starters With Staying Power
Breakfast is a tricky meal for me; if I start the day off with the traditional sweet stuff, I can feel off-balance for hours. I prefer savory breakfasts, but rarely have time to create leisurely morning meals. Thus, my usual go-tos are fast but nourishing, combining whole foods in satisfying ways that taste great and keep me going smoothly long after the sugar would have worn off.
I admit to loving fresh eggs from pampered local chickens I know personally, a treat I fully enjoy when they come my way. Most days, all of our meals are at least vegetarian and more and more often vegan. Vegan lunches, snacks and dinners are never hard to dream up, but it took me a while to figure out how to put together simple, satisfying and above all FAST vegan breakfasts.
A Wholesome Swiss Breakfast
Many years ago, I spent time with an Italian-Swiss family, living in an amazing, huge old hand-built house perched high on a mountainside so steep I was nervous about falling off. I loved breakfasts in that house, sitting with the family around an enormous wooden table drinking tart rosehip juice and eating warm bread with thick homemade plum jam. There was always some kind of muesli as well, oats soaked overnight in water or milk and lemon juice, then enlivened with chopped fruit and nuts. I still eat muesli quite often, since mornings can be busy and as long as I remember to mix it all up at night, it provides almost instant gratification in the morning.
The softness or chewiness of this close-to-classic Bircher muesli will vary depending on how much liquid you add. If you prefer slightly runny oatmeal use more. If you like a stiffer mixture, use less, then alter till you find your own preferred proportions. Swiss Bircher muesli has quite a bit of lemon juice and just a little honey, and those elements can also be tweaked to get the flavor you like best. Try different “milks” to change it up; coconut is rich and warm tasting, while hazelnut or almond seem more refreshing on a hot day. I always add pumpkin seeds as well as the traditional chopped nuts, since they are surprisingly high in protein and low in carbs and add a most pleasing crunchiness as well. In winter, I add golden raisins and slivers of dried apricots to the oats and let them plump up overnight.
2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
2-3 cups nut or coconut milk (or soy, etc.)
1-2 tablespoons honey or Grade B maple syrup
1-2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup chopped hazelnuts, almonds, or any
2 tablespoons toasted pumpkin seeds
1 ripe apple, grated
2 cups chopped nectarines, peaches, plums or pears
1 cup ripe berries
Put oats, “milk” of choice, maple syrup, and vanilla in a lidded jar, shake to blend and refrigerate overnight. In the morning, fill 2 bowls with fruit, add oatmeal mixture, and top with nuts and seeds.
A Bevy Of Vegan Breakfast Sandwiches
In Denmark, open faced sandwiches or smorrebrod combine an amazing range of ingredients and flavors. Breakfast sandwiches might pair rye bread with raspberry jam or almond butter and banana slices topped with chocolate shavings, or walnut butter with sliced peaches or radishes. Here are a few of my own favorites to try, with room for lots of seasonal variations. If you don’t like rye bread, try cinnamon bread with mashed banana, strawberries and mint, or warm rolls split and stuffed with mashed avocado and radish sprouts…
Avocado and Not-Really-Bacon Breakfast Sandwich
2 thick slices sourdough rye or any bread
1 ripe avocado, mashed
2 strips soy bacon, cooked and chopped
2 slices sweet onion
Toast bread, spread thickly with avocado, then top with bacon pieces and an onion slice. Serves at least one.
Apple Cinnamon Sandwiches
2 thick slices cinnamon bread
1/4 cup fresh applesauce
1 tart apple, thinly sliced
dash of cinnamon
Toast bread, spread with apple sauce, top with apple slices and sprinkle with cinnamon. Serves at least one.
Nutty Vegan Breakfast Sandwiches
2 thick slices sourdough bread
1/4 cup hazelnut butter
1 banana, sliced lengthwise
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
Toast bread, spread with nut butter, top with banana slices, sprinkle with seeds and toast again for 1-2 minutes. Serves at least one.
Vegan Tex-Mex Sandwiches
4 corn tortillas
1 ripe avocado, mashed
1/4 cup salsa
1/4 cup chopped sweet peppers
1/4 cup halved cherry tomatoes
Toast tortillas, spread with avocado and salsa, then top with peppers and tomatoes. Serves 2.