Breakfast has got to be my favourite meal of the day. Whether its a weekday or weekend, nothing gets me out of bed like knowing there’s a tasty and energising breakfast to look forward to.
But what do vegans eat for breakfast? Surprisingly or not, there are a ton of options, both of the healthy and unhealthy kind (you might be interested to know!). I’m always interested in the healthy; I like digging in to a good breakfast knowing its going to nourish me from the inside and fill me with energy for the day.
Having plenty of breakfast ideas is also essential for variety to keep you from getting bored. This is particularly important if you’re new to plant-based eating.
Here are some of my favourite plant-based breakfasts, which will hopefully give you plenty of ideas and help set your day off on the right foot.
This is kind of predictable I know, but a smoothie is one of my favourite ways to start a day of eating! Because the ingredients are already liquidized, the nutrients can be absorbed into your system quickly, giving you the energy and good clean glucose you need. They’re also great for on the go, drinking at your desk in the office (as I often do, ha) and generally doing other things at the same time.
My essentials for a great breakfast smoothie are:
- Handful of greens (usually kale, spinach or rocket)
- Frozen banana (this gives it an amazing creaminess)
- Berries, mango or any other fruit you fancy (I go for a handful of blueberries or mixed berries)
- 1-2 teaspoons of superfood powder (this is optional – I usually add a 1/4 tsp matcha and/or or 1 tsp raw cacao. Some people like to add maca, acai, spirulina or baobab powder to their smoothies.)
- Extra fat or protein (this for me can mean a tablespoon of plain soy yoghurt, tahini, hemp protein or sometimes a combo. Peanut, cashew and almond butters all work great too.)
There are so many amazing smoothie combinations, but it’s all about experimenting and finding your favourite. This recipe for the Easiest Breakfast Smoothie by Deliciously Ella is a great one to begin with.
Let’s face it – who doesn’t like porridge? And if you don’t, chances are you just haven’t had it made right 😉 Porridge is an awesome first meal of the day – its creamy, warming, comforting, and filled with highly digestible energy, fibre and complex carbohydrates. You can make it with water or some plant-based milk for extra creaminess, and a teaspoon of natural sweetener, such as coconut sugar or maple syrup. Pimp it up with toppings of berries, almond butter, cinnamon, dried fruit, granola, seeds, or whatever you fancy!
I will say that when cooking up oats, go for whole, steel-cut or rolled oats over fast-cook oats or ready-made porridge blends. That way you’ll be sure to get all of the fibre, protein and goodness with none of the added ingredients. It may take an extra two minutes, but its worth it!
3. Overnight Oats
‘Overnight oats’ give you all the benefits of porridge in that they’re tasty, energising and filling, but they’re also really easy, portable and can even be a nice alternative in the summer! With this breakfast, all the ingredients are combined the night before and left to soak, so in the morning you’ll have a creamy, delectable breakfast without any fuss.
Combine 1/4 cup to a half cup whole oats with a teaspoon of sweetener, some plant-based milk and any other add-ins of your choice. The add-ins are essential as they’re what give the oats their flavour and yum factor. Some options include chia seeds (for extra creaminess); nut butters, chopped banana, berries, dried fruit and even cocoa! There a ton of recipes out there – from PB&J to Red Velvet. Experiment and see what works for you.
4. Smoothie Bowl
There’s no doubt you’re already onto the whole smoothie bowl craze right now, but just in case, I’ll fill you in. A smoothie bowl is basically like a verryyy thick smoothie, served in a bowl and topped with a whole bunch of delicious goodies. When I’ve got time to spare to sit and savour my smoothie, or simply want a bit more sustenance, I’ll whip up a delightful smoothie bowl.
Make your smoothie as normal but use only a quarter of the amount of milk you would usually. OR you can add an extra banana or two – but then it starts to become ‘nice cream’ and we shan’t get into that…
Top your smoothie bowl with anything you like – I often use berries, goji berries, sliced banana, coconut chips, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds or a drizzle of yoghurt. Some pieces of raw/dark chocolate, cacao nibs or chopped dates are also great too!
5. Pancakes (duh)
If you know me well enough or follow my Instagram then you’ll have known pancakes would make it to this list! Pancakes are a sweet, indulgent-tasting breakfast that can also be a source of wonderful nutrients, if made right. Enjoy them on mornings of busy days, or a lazy weekend spent doing nothing.
Although you CAN still make pancakes the traditional way even if you’re vegan, I like to give mine a healthy make-over by using freshly ground oat flour, banana as my binding agent and some lovely plant-based milk. (Check out my easy peasy plant-based pancake recipe.) I love to top mine with berries, coconut sugar and lemon juice, though you can use whatever you fancy.
6. Avocado Toast
Another incredibly simple meal that’s popular with foodies right now is avocado toast – and for good reason! Avocado is a wonderful fruit with a creamy texture that has so many health benefits – from fighting inflammation with its polyunsaturated fats to providing plenty of hydration with its high water content. When mashed up and spread on toast, it makes a great savoury breakfast to start the day off right.
Take your avocado and, once peeled and de-stoned, mash up the flesh with the juice of half a lemon, some salt, pepper and a pinch of chilli flakes. (The chilli flakes are optional, but they add a little kick that works great with the coolness of the avo.) Then spread it on any bread you like – rye, spelt, wheat, multi-seed or sourdough – and top with some rocket, seeds or chopped cherry tomatoes. Delicious!
7. Peanut Butter on Toast
This is an old nostalgic go-to of mine – peanut butter on toast, which can again be changed up and made several different ways. Peanut butter is such a great source of protein, fibre and ‘good’ fats that when combined with the complex carbs in a slice of good wholegrain/wholewheat bread, it becomes a breakfast-busting machine! Make sure you get pure peanut butter though, with no added sugar or palm oil, or you’ll be adding a lot of unnecessary calories.
Top your PB on toast with sliced banana, your favourite fruit jam or a sprinkling of cacao nibs or cinnamon. Yum!
8. Buckwheat-Chia Pudding
This recipe is from Deliciously Ella and really makes a nice alternative to overnight oats. Although it contains chia seeds, its a much smoother texture to chia-seed pudding, which I’m not really a fan of, and has a sweeter taste too.
This buckwheat pudding (or ‘raw porridge’) is basically made by soaking 100g buckwheat overnight beforehand. You then blend it up the next morning with half a banana, handful of berries, 1/2 tbsp chia seeds and 1 tbsp maple syrup. You can use whatever kind of berries you like and top with whatever you choose – dried fruit, extra berries and seeds.
9. Homemade Granola/Muesli
I say ‘homemade’ here, because a lot of store-bought granolas and mueslis are just full of sugar, syrup and preservatives. There is nothing quite like baking your own granola, enjoying the sweet smells as it filters through the house and then tucking in the next morning, knowing it’s a bowlful of goodness.
My go-to granola recipe was always this cinnamon & pecan granola by Deliciously Ella, but there are so many amazing recipes out there like these ones by Punch Foods and Madeleine Shaw. Raw foodies might also prefer homemade muesli, which uses a lot of the same ingredients as granola but remains unbaked. I used to be a total muesli ADDICT and would have happily consumed it by the bowlful. However after I made my own, I realised I liked it much more.
Muesli and granola can be kept in an airtight container once made and will usually last you a week.
Got any other vegan breakfast ideas that I’ve missed? Share your favourites in the comments below!