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Four Filling Vegan Breakfasts

Freelance writer from the northeast coast of England with a fondness for vegan food and punk rock.

Start the day right

Start the day right

They do say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. While not everyone goes along with that concept, breakfast does provide us with a sizeable morning boost. I start most days at my desk with a cup of Earl Grey tea at 9.00 a.m., and I have my breakfast at 10.30. When it comes, I am ready for it and afterwards I feel recharged, reinvigorated, and ready to face the day.

For me, breakfast is porridge oats. I’ve been starting my day with it virtually every morning for many years. But on occasion, particularly at weekends, I do stray from the beaten track and delve into other delicious forms of breakfast. Here are some from my repertoire.

Four Vegan Breakfasts

  1. Overnight oats
  2. Sweet French toast
  3. Savoury French toast
  4. Tofu scramble burrito
Cut the mayhem from your a.m. with overnight oats

Cut the mayhem from your a.m. with overnight oats

Breakfast 1: Overnight Oats

While hot porridge oats gets me started on those cold winter mornings, in the summer months I’m drawn towards chilled and refreshing overnight oats. Apart from the health benefits of this super start to the day, which come from berries, seeds and nuts, as well as the oats themselves, the great thing about this breakfast is that it is ready and waiting for you when you rise.

What goes into overnight oats is entirely down to individual taste, and there is a vast array of delicious additions. For me, the following are essentials for a basic overnight oats preparation. Simply mix everything together in a jar and store overnight in the fridge. I do leave the addition of walnuts until the morning so they retain their crunch.

Ingredients

  • Oatmeal: I have a ¼ cup scoop in my oatmeal tub, so that's my daily measure.
  • Banana: I mash a banana into 1 cup of unsweetened soya milk, and whisk it to banish any lumps. Et voila – sugar-free banana flavoured soya milk.
  • ½ cup blueberries: Juicy, tasy, and bursting with antioxidants.
  • 1 tablespoon milled linseed (flax seed): Rich in thiamin, folate and vitamin B6.
  • 1 tablespoon whole chia seeds: See below.
  • ¼ cup sunflower seeds: Contains about half the RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) of vitamin E.
  • ½ cup walnuts: More antioxidants, and a source of omega 3

Chia seeds are, according to the packaging of my supermarket brand, a superfood. They are an essential addition to my morning oatmeal. These nutritional powerhouses offer much goodness from little substance. Here’s what just a single tablespoon of chia seeds brings to the bowl, alongside their percentage towards my RDA.

  • calcium: 7%
  • iron: 6%
  • magnesium: 12%
  • phosphorus: 10%
  • zinc: 6%
  • vitamin B1 (thiamine): 7%
  • vitamin B3 (niacin): 8%
Vegan French toast

Vegan French toast

In the 2010s, my cholesterol reading was above the recommended safety level, so taking eggs off the menu was a logical step. I thought at the time that I had enjoyed my last slice of French toast, but how wrong I was. Just as vegans enjoy such batter-based goodies as pancakes, crepes and fritters, French toast is also very much on the menu.

One of the great attributes of French toast, called gypsy toast in some areas, and egg bread in others, is that it can be served as the basis of a sweet or savoury dish. To demonstrate this versatility, here’s a French toast feast from each camp; sweet with banana, blueberries, cinnamon and syrup, and savoury, loaded up with sausage, mushrooms and tomatoes.

A local supermarket sells bloomer loaves, pre-sliced into one inch thick slabs, which are perfect for French toast. Any sliced bread will do though. Try wholemeal or sourdough to shake things up a bit.

French toast with sweet topping

French toast with sweet topping

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Read More From Delishably

Breakfast 2: Sweet French Toast

Sweet French toast, with sugar, cinnamon, maple syrup and vanilla, and then topped with fruit is a ubiquitous staple and a hearty comfort food at the same time. Here is a recipe for a vegan version of this much-loved treat.

Ingredients

  • ½ cup plain/all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup unsweetened plant milk (I use soya)
  • 1 tablespoon cornflour/cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon icing sugar (powdered sugar)
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • coconut oil or vegan butter for frying
  • maple syrup for drizzling

Method

  1. Put the flour, cornflour, icing sugar and cinnamon into a bowl and dry whisk to eliminate clumps and incorporate the ingredients.
  2. Add the milk and vanilla extract and whisk until a smooth batter forms.
  3. Pour the batter into a shallow receptacle that is wide enough to accommodate your bread.
  4. Put a knob of oil/butter into a pan over medium heat.
  5. Dunk a slice of bread into the batter bath, making sure it is completely covered.
  6. Lay the bread in the oil and fry gently, flipping after 1 minute and giving the other side 1 minute more.
  7. Stack the cooked slices until the bread or batter is exhausted.
  8. Top with fruit, as in the photo for example, a drizzle of syrup and a dusting of cinnamon, or more icing sugar.

Tip: If aesthetics isn’t your bag, you can squash the blueberries to stop them rolling off the bread when you eat.

Himalayan black salt (kala namak)

Himalayan black salt (kala namak)

What Is Kala Namak?

Kala namak is a form of rock salt from the Himalayas. It has a pronounced sulphur taste, which makes it ideal for adding an egg-like flavour to dishes. It should be used sparingly though, as adding too much will have your food tasting like those stink bombs we made with our junior chemistry sets. Kala namak is widely available in supermarkets, often branded as Himalayan black salt.

French toast with savoury topping

French toast with savoury topping

Breakfast 3: Savoury French Toast

Obviously if we’re having sausages and mushrooms with our French toast, we don’t want the sweeteners of the above recipe. This savoury batter uses a different base to the sweeter version, but it tastes great.

Ingredients

  • 4 slices bread
  • ½ cup chickpea flour
  • 1 tablespoon cornflour/cornstarch
  • ¼ teaspoon Himalayan black salt (kala namak)
  • 1 cup oat milk or other plant-based milk
  • Coconut oil or vegan butter for frying

Method

  1. Put the gram flour, cornflour and black salt into a bowl and dry whisk to eliminate clumps and incorporate the ingredients.
  2. Add the milk and whisk until a smooth batter forms.
  3. Pour the batter into a shallow receptacle that is wide enough to accommodate your bread.
  4. Put a knob of oil/butter into a pan over medium heat.
  5. Dunk a slice of bread into the batter bath, making sure it is completely covered.
  6. Lay the bread in the oil and fry gently, flipping after 1 minute and giving the other side 1 minute more.
  7. Stack the slices until the bread or the batter is exhausted.

Suggested accompaniments: Fried mushrooms, vegan sausages, fried tomatoes, vegan bacon, baked beans, vegan black pudding.

Tips:
If your slices are particularly thick, carefully hold the slices on end in the oil with tongs to ensure all the batter is cooked

If you see loaves of bread in the supermarket that have reduced price stickers on them, grab a bargain with a mind to making French toast for breakfast, as the bread will be past its best and partway to becoming stale, which is ideal for French toast.

Makes a great TV snack with sweet chilli sauce.

Tofu scramble with vegetables and spices

Tofu scramble with vegetables and spices

Breakfast 4: Tofu Scramble Burrito

In the video "What Plant-Based Doctors Eat for Breakfast" (see above), two of the contributors cite tofu scramble burritos as their favourite vegan breakfast. This substantial start to the day is something I would have considered more suitable as a lunch, but I’m now a convert. Dr Ayesha Sherazi MD has tofu scramble with garlic, onion, turmeric, paprika, coriander and cumin, while Dr Barry Grits MD likes his with ancho chilli sauce (something I’ve yet to try).

Tofu scramble makes a tasty, protein-packed filling for a burrito or wrap, and it goes well as part of a fried breakfast. The key to consistency is to allow the tofu to simmer for a few minutes so liquid evaporates and the scramble becomes firmer.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 red pepper, chopped (or any colour)
  • 2 cloves garlic (or more if you’re a fiend for it)
  • 300 grams silken tofu
  • 1 teaspoon chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • ½ teaspoon Himalayan black salt (kala namak)
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a pan and saute the onion and pepper until soft.
  2. Add the garlic and saute 1 minute more.
  3. Add the chilli, coriander, cumin and turmeric, and stir to incorporate the spices into the oil.
  4. Pour in the tofu, and break it down with a wooden spoon or spatula.
  5. Add the nutritional yeast, salt and pepper, and stir the mixture while it simmers.
  6. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the scramble to coll a little before spooning it onto wraps.

Tips:

  • Other tasty additions to tofu scramble include sweetcorn, mushrooms, jalapenos, and smoked paprika.
  • Overslept? Have this mid-morning and call it brunch
Ready to roll

Ready to roll

Breakfast Playlist

As a young man I ran a punk music fanzine, which brought me into contact with some bands from the Newcastle-upon-Tyne area. Blood Robots had split up by then, so I never got to see them play live, but I did become good friends with two former members, Micky and Sned. This deliciously resonant track, Dust, is taken from a Gateshead Music Collective compilation LP Tracks from the Station. The Station was a renowned music venue that was situated in a former police station social club, and I attended many a raucous gig there.

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