Five Simple Vegan Breakfasts

One thing that people often ask me is, “What do vegans eat for breakfast?”  In a meal that is often a landmine of fried foods and processed meats, I can see why plant-based fare doesn’t immediately pop to mind.  And when people are considering going vegan, I’d say that looking at what they’re going to eat for breakfast is a good place to start.  After all, when the sun is only starting to peep from the horizon and dreams are still fresh in the mind, it’s best to make it simple to start the day with something easy, healthy, and satisfying.  No one wants to awake from a deep slumber only to look across the kitchen overwhelmed and wondering, “What am I going to eat here?” When I’m not looking to make something involved like a tofu scramble or waffles, here are five easy things I fall back on in the morning:

1.  Peanut butter toast and fruit.  I eat this probably half of the week.  It’s uncomplicated and practically fool-proof.  Whole grain toast goes in the oven, it’s slathered with peanut butter (or your nut butter of choice), fruit is washed, and it’s ready to go.  The fruit changes depending on the season, which keeps it interesting.  If necessary I can eat it while I do my hair and make-up.  It’s ready in less than ten minutes, and it’s something I can eat regularly without feeling bored.

Similar alternatives – hummus on toast with a few slices of avocado and a sprinkling of nutritional yeast flakes or Eggy tofu & toast.

2.  Whole wheat tortillas slathered with nut butter and banana slices and toasted in a dry pan, or as I like to call it, El Elvis.  In the same vein as peanut butter toast, consider this the lazy man’s crepes.  Protein, whole grains, and fruit come together in one convenient package.  Have any left over?  A wedge or two makes a nice mid-morning snack.

Similar alternatives – hummus or pureed beans on toasted tortillas with salsa, hot sauce or jalapenos.  Many times I’ll take the black beans or pinto beans I prepared for tacos the evening before, blend them in the food processor in the morning, and then spread them on tortillas.  It’s an easy and instant black bean hummus.

3.  Cold cereal and non-dairy milk.  Look through the cereals at your natural food store, and you’re sure to find several cereals that are animal-product free.  I’m often mixing it up and trying something new.  At my local grocery store, they even have cold cereals in the bulk bins, which means I can try a small amount and see if I like it.

4.  Oatmeal.  This hot and fiber-rich option is great for cold, winter mornings when something warm sounds best.  It feels hearty and substantive, and it can be changed up by adding a spoonful of pureed pumpkin, a handful of berries or dried fruit, a sprinkling of cinnamon, a dollop of nut butter, or slices of banana.

Other similar option – creamy polenta.  I like De la Estancia organic polenta, because it’s a fine grain polenta that has a good, creamy mouth-feel and is ready in five minutes.  Add a handful of sun-dried tomatoes, a spoonful of nutritional yeast flakes, and a little non-dairy milk for a quick and savory breakfast.  I often top it with warmed cannellini beans and sautéed spinach for a more substantive breakfast.

5.  Smoothies.  They are a great on the go meal, but also a nice way to start the morning with a hefty serving of fruits and vegetables.  I feel good knowing that I’ve gotten that much health out of the way first thing.  They have little room for user error.  Why not leave the complicated meals for later in the day?  My current favorite smoothie is my Sweet Cashew Kale Shake, but the Mango Banana SmoothieChocolate Peanut Butter Cup Smoothie, and Kale and Pumpkin smoothie are also well loved.  Don’t feel like eating first thing in the morning?  Pour a smoothie into a mason jar, top it with a lid, and take it to work to sip as you read over morning emails.

Similar alternatives: Warm Vegetable Smoothies

24 thoughts on “Five Simple Vegan Breakfasts

  1. Great down-to-earth post showing the “real-world” breakfast choices of a busy vegan. I think people sometimes get caught up in all the fancy, complicated vegan recipes they see, and decide eating a plant-based diet is too hard and time-consuming. For the gf, rice cakes and corn tortillas make a good sub for toast and wheat wraps.

    • Thanks, Andrea! You’re right; fancy and laborious meals may take up more space on blogs, but many day-to-day meals are often simpler and more attainable. It’s good to show that being vegan can be quick and easy. That’s something that you do on your blog sometimes that I like as well. And thanks for the gluten-free suggestions!

  2. we had forgotten most of the quick indian breakfasts which were naturally vegan after moving to seattle and just eating eggs , eggs and eggs. breakfast is definitely something that stumps a lot of people.. the eggs like dairy, fill up the brain..
    this is lovely collection!

  3. I’ve been experimenting with a vegan diet and after reading through this article I realize that I’m already having a vegan breakfast.

    • That’s great, Linan! I think breakfast can initially perplex people because they immediately jump to omelets, bacon, and sausage. However, there are so many breakfasts that just happen to be vegan or can easily be veganized like pancakes and waffles. Good luck with the remaining meals of the day! :)

  4. These recipes look really easy and simple to make. I wonder if you have any suggestion for breakfast that would be easy for my husband to have, you see he works away from home and stays in a hotel for up to two weeks at a time. To make matters worse he leave for work around 3am and the only thing that’s open at that time are gas stations, he is also out in the field where they have no access to stores and or restaurants.

    • Does your husband generally have a refrigerator in his room? If so, my go-to breakfast at hotels is cereal and rice milk. I just pack a box of cereal in my suitcase. (Putting it into a plastic container makes it a little easier to transport.) I also pack or pick up a box of rice milk (or any non-dairy milk he prefers) when I get there. As long as he’s checking luggage, bringing the plant based milk shouldn’t be a problem. I often do that while traveling, and I haven’t had a problem with the milk exploding in my bag or anything.

      For non-refrigerated options:

      Instant oatmeal packets could be a good option. Just add hot water. For more pizazz, adding nuts or dried fruit for the topping would be good.

      Many of the Lara Bars flavors are vegan, and they’re one of my favorite in-a-rush snacks. The banana bread flavor is my favorite. They’re filling and made with whole foods.

      Justin’s makes individual packets of nut butter. He could pack a bag of bagels, bread, or crackers, and spread the nut butter onto them. Wild Garden also sells individual packets of hummus, which he could use in the same way.

      If he doesn’t mind a non-traditional breakfast, Dr. McDougall makes a line of dry vegan soups. He’d just have to add hot water, which I’m sure the hotel could provide for him. For less packaging in his suitcase, he may want to move the soup to sealed plastic baggies, and then grab a bowl from the hotel.

      I haven’t tried them, but I’ve seen Go Picnic meals at my local Co-op. Not all of them are vegan, but several of them are. If he put one or two in his bag, breakfast would be ready for him at any time.

      I hope that helps! Best of luck!

  5. I love that you have shown that a vegan breakfast can be so simple and similar to “normal” breakfasts. Nobody wants to spend ages making breakfast in the morning unless it something special for the weekend.

    • Thanks, Lexy! That was my hope! While a vegan breakfast can certainly get fancier, most mornings I’m totally happy with something that takes 10 minutes or less to make.

  6. I’ve only recently switched to being a vegetarian in a transition to becoming vegan, and I didn’t know what to eat besides eggs… It had me feeling very sluggish. These little suggestions are very reasonable and extremely helpful. Thank you!

  7. Pingback: What’s for breakfast? | DearPete

  8. This is so helpful! We went vegetarian last March, and now we’re ready for Step 2, vegan, and we were so intimidated by the recipes. That’s just not gonna happen. But this is! I’m heading right for all the links you shared above, too! And you have a new subscriber. Thank you!

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