Anything I know about living vegan, I learned from somebody else. In this collection, I point you towards some people and places that I found useful when figuring out what to eat for breakfast.
The most important meal of the day is also the easiest to veganize in my opinion.
Having said that, humans are basically walking talking bundles of habits, and it can be all too easy to fall back on a lifetime of routine when we’re rushing to work, dropping the kids off at school, or feeling a bit cranky if you’re anything like me in the morning.
Planning and forethought are key at first, but it soon becomes second-nature.
Whether it’s a simple bowl of oatmeal or a fancier affair at the weekend, I love starting my day as I mean to go on–making as many compassion-centered choices as I can and integrating my beliefs and values into every aspect of my life.
So, what do I eat for breakfast then?
Coffee! Tea! Cereal! Toast!
I don’t mean to be sarcastic (okay okay, maybe I mean to be ever so slightly sarcastic). But when people ask me what I eat for breakfast I can’t help but wonder what they eat for breakfast that makes a plant-based brekkie seem like such a mystery.
Plant-based eating is honestly not that complicated. If you’ve ever grabbed a banana on the go, you’ve eaten a vegan breakfast, and most mornings I eat cereal or toast like everyone else, minus the cow’s milk of course.
There are more plant-based milk options than ever before. No matter where you live, your nearest store should have at least one option, but many of us are spoiled for choice and it’s simply a case of choosing to ditch dairy and find our new favorite.
If you’ve ever grabbed a banana on the go, you’ve eaten a vegan breakfast.William Shakespeare
Now, don’t get me wrong, bread and cereal can contain animal parts and products, so you’ll have to read the label until you find your favorite substitutes. Or, if you have the time and inclination, making your own will save you some money and you can control exactly what goes into it.
Vegan-Friendly Bread & Cereal
- List of 20 (Supermarket-Friendly) Vegan Bread Brands
- Easy Whole Grain Seed Bread
- My New Roots Life-Changing Bread
- 8 Best Vegan Cereal Brands to Start Breakfast Off Right
- Surprisingly Vegan Cereals That’ll Have You Running to the Grocery Store
Tasty Toast Toppings
Peanut Butter Jelly Toast is a budget-friendly topping, and Avocado Toast is another quick and tasty option that will make you feel fuller for longer. Most Sundays, I make a big batch of homemade hummus and use it in various ways throughout the week, including Hummus Toast for breakfast or a quick snack.
- Vegan Avocado Toast
- How to Make Hummus from Scratch
- 5 Vegan Breakfast Toast Ideas
- Savory Fried Tomato Toast
- 13 Vegan Toast Hacks That Will Literally Change Your Life Forever
Oats are a nutritious, delicious and budget-friendly breakfast option, especially if you’re able to buy them in bulk.
Oats are a good source of protein and vitamins and minerals such as magnesium, thiamine, iron and selenium. They are high in fibre, and studies have repeatedly shown that oats can lower cholesterol, reducing the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
Oats are the breakfast of choice most mornings for me. Nine out of ten plant-based doctors agree!
I try not to dwell on the past, but I’m often filled with regret that I didn’t wake up and go vegan sooner.
To a much lesser degree, I also wish I hadn’t been so skeptical when I first heard mention of “overnight oats.” They are my new favorite way to eat oats and, from now on, when someone says, “Hey man, you gotta check this out,” I am going to pay attention the first time.
My first favorite thing about this Peanut Butter Overnight Oats recipe is how quick and easy it is. Five minutes prep-work the night before then grab and go the next morning. When I was commuting to work at 6am, I would make this in a mason jar and eat it in the car!
My second favorite thing about this recipe is that it’s endlessly adaptable. I’ve made it with all kinds of nut butters, from almond to sunflower seed and, when my cupboards are bare, I’ve skipped that piece entirely and subbed in something else. I like to add half a sliced banana on top and stir in a tablespoon of nutrient-rich flaxseed meal or sprinkle with chia seeds.
If creamy oats are not your thing, then eat them as sweet crunchy clusters. In other words: granola.
Oats form the base of most granolas but, again, this breakfast basic is anything but. Granola is a great way to add a variety of healthy nuts, seeds and dried fruit into your diet and there are endless combinations to play with if you’re up for making your own.
Watch out for store-bought brands that are usually made with honey and may contain milk products. Top with fresh fruit or vegan yogurt.
- 14 Simple Vegan Granola Recipes
- Best Vegan Granola Bar Brands
- Best Dairy-Free Yogurt Brands
- Easy 2-Ingredient Coconut Yogurt
Smoothies are another versatile, adaptable, and transportable breakfast option. They can be as fancy or as budget-friendly as you like, and can also be made the night before and in a matter of minutes.
Smoothies are a great way to use up a slightly overripe avocado, a half can of coconut milk, or sneak some spinach into ya. I often add an inch or so of grated ginger for a spicy kickstart to the day.
When making a basic banana smoothie, I like to throw in a 1/4 cup of oats or a big dollop of nut butter for extra protein. Speaking of which, this smooth and creamy Chocolate Black Bean Smoothie is packed with protein and other nutrients, but I promise you it tastes like dessert!
Smoothie recipes tend to call for a plant-based milk but, depending on the other ingredients I’m using, orange juice is often better and sometimes water works just as well. It’s hard to go wrong really. Experiment!
Minimalist Baker has dozens of smoothie recipes to choose from: a couple of my favorites are her creamy avocado banana green smoothie, and this 5-ingredient detox smoothie.
Plant-Based Pancakes & Wonderful Waffles
Did you know that we don’t need eggs or dairy to make our most loved recipes?
Baking is a science that relies on specific proportions of fat, wet and dry ingredients, sugar and salt and some sort of leavening agent. A chemical reaction is a chemical reaction–we can achieve the same effects without the exploitation.
Being vegan doesn’t mean giving up our favorite foods. We can still enjoy breakfast classics like pancakes and waffles with some simple adjustments–the most important one being our perspective.
- Simple Vegan Pancakes by Nora Cooks
- Vegan Buckwheat & Banana Pancakes by Detoxonista
- Vegan Gluten Free Waffles by Minimalist Baker
Before going vegan, the only time I ate tofu was at sushi restaurants when they bring you those tiny bowls of miso soup.
I’m a pretty adventurous and intuitive cook, but tofu was somewhat mysterious and ever so slightly scary to me, and it was almost a year of eating plant-based before I braved my first tofu scramble.
Well, put it on the list of other things I wished I’d tried a million years ago! These days, a tofu scramble with roast potatoes or sweet potato fries is my favorite Saturday morning brunch.
Now that I’ve got the basics down, I play around with veggies, spices and plant-based sausage, but this classic version by the BOSH boys was the recipe that helped me face my irrational tofu fears, and I think it’ll get you off to a good start too.
Mix It Up With These Satisfying Scrambles
- Tofu Bhurji (Indian Breakfast Scramble, by Vegan Richa
- Simple Southwest Scramble, by Minimalist Baker
- Tamagoyaki Scramble (Vegan Japanese Scrambled Eggs), by Okonomi Kitchen
Minimalist Baker’s Vegan Omelet is also good and uses a different type of tofu this time. Again, once you have the basics down, you can get creative with different veggie combinations and make it your own.
Even though it doesn’t look like eggs beforehand, the finished dish is almost identical to the omelets most of us were used to but….y’know…without the cruelty and exploitation.
A popular meal across the Middle East, North Africa and the Mediterranean, shakshuka is another dish traditionally made with eggs that is very easy to veganize while staying close to the original flavors and spirit of the meal.
Sop up the sauce with crusty country bread for a Mediterranean vibe or pita bread for a Middle Eastern version.
- Mouth Watering Vegan Shakshuka, by Zen and Zaatar
- 1-Pot Chickpea Shakshuka, by Minimalist Baker
Expand Your Foodiverse
One of the best things about being vegan is breaking outdated habits and expanding your foodiverse.
In retrospect, my diet was very limited and repetitive. Since becoming vegan, my food world is far more eclectic and adventurous.
Too, my sense of what ‘counts’ as breakfast has expanded and I’m less set in my ways than before. Meals that I previously associated with lunch or dinner are now part of my weekend brunch rotation. And being vegan has made me more proactive about seeking out new inspiration, introducing me to more food cultures and cuisines than ever before.
- Masala Dosa, by Vegan Richa
- Full Ghanian Breakfast, by The Canadian African
- Congee (Savory Rice Soup), by Conscious Cooking
There has never been a better or easier time to go vegan. Groceries stores have more and more options every day, and the Internet is teeming with recipes and YouTube tutorials.
Some of these recipes are super simple and others a little more elaborate and best suited for a lazy, laid-back weekend morning. And remember–when all else fails, if you’ve ever eaten a banana on the go you’ve eaten a vegan breakfast. You can do this!