The Secret Vegan Project

Start with breakfast.

2nd March 2015

I decided to start with breakfast as its my least favourite meal of the day. There I said it, get over it and move on. As someone who’s been ostracised from civilised breakfast society for decades for putting fresh orange juice on my muesli instead of milk me and breakfast just don’t really hang out anymore. I tend to skip it entirely on a weekday and weekends are reserved for the traditional fry up or a hodge podge of saturday nights leftovers including chip butty’s, curry and my favourite of all time cold pizza. I realised not only did I need to veganise breakfast time but my attitude to the most important meal of the day had to change.

Choosing just one meal to focus on gave me much more confidence to get started and felt so much easier than trying to plan an entire weeks shopping list for a family of three. I made a short list of things I actually like to eat for breakfast then set about searching for ways to veganise them.

Smoothies

In addition to breakfast not being my thing I have another revelation, my digestion cannot tolerate most fresh fruit first thing in a morning on an empty stomach. I’ve tried and tried it all ways and fought my body on this for years. I firmly believe fruit is the perfect choice for breakfast, it’s just not the perfect choice for me. With this in mind I made it my mission to discover the perfect vegan smoothie I could enjoy without any nasty after effects.

If you are able to tolerate fruit as your first meal of the day then there really is an unlimited variety of flavour combinations for you to enjoy. In your excitement of concocting your fruit feast don’t overlook this perfect opportunity to include ingredients with huge health benefits, not only for vegans but for everybody.

Some of my favourite ingredients include:

  • Oats soaked in your vegan milk of choice in the fridge overnight gives the smoothie a delicious creamy texture.
  • Seeds rich in vital nutrients such as chia, hemp and linseed.
  • Ripe avocado, coconut oil and nut butters to give you a daily dose of healthy fats.
  • Natural superfoods including Cacao Nibs and powder, Maca powder, Spirulina and Aloe Vera.
  • Flavour enhancing herbs and spices. My favourites are ginger, coriander seed, cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom.

I found this decadent recipe for a creamy chocolate breakfast shake by Minimalist Baker which perfectly satisfies my sweet tooth and caffeine monster in one go.

Muesli

Choose shop bought varieties carefully ensuring they are honey free and if the ingredients include chocolate chips or cocoa this is unlikely to be from a vegan source unless the packaging states its suitable for vegans. If not clearly labelled as vegan check if the packet says fortified with vitamins. Vitamin D2 is plant derived but Vitamin D3 is animal derived. If the packet simply states Vitamin D then I would assume its D3 and contact the company directly to double-check the source. Muesli is widely available without added vitamins.

Making homemade muesli is always going to be your safest and tastiest bet. Its much easier than you think and can be tailored exactly to your personal taste without any hidden nasties. This recipe for Nourishing Muesli by Nutrition Stripped is simply delicious and who knew muesli could be so pretty?

Toast

Using the words Bread/Vegan in the same sentence seem to stir up all kinds of controversy that I don’t feel quite prepared for, either at this stage of my journey or at 7.30am on a Monday morning as I grab the nearest thing that passes for breakfast whilst heading out the door. As nutritional labels go many bread products appear vegan on the surface but after exploring this area further all is not as it seems. The obvious culprits such as egg, milk and honey are usually clearly labelled and fairly easy to avoid. Not so obvious are the fortified vitamins, casein, whey, animal derived fats and additives that many argue are lurking within commercial bread products. I found this article on breaking down bread at Serious Eats really helpful. If in doubt bake your own, stick to vegan approved brands or narrow down your three favourite breakfast breads and contact the manufacturers directly for confirmation.

Once you’re satisfied you’ve got the bread sorted you’re going to need  something to top it off. Vegan butter has been my saviour over the past few weeks as I transition into my new vegan lifestyle. I fully appreciate that vegan or not, butter is not the healthiest thing I can eat but on days when I’m feeling lazy and hangry a piece of hot buttered toast sorts me right out.

My taste preference is usually always savoury over sweet but when it comes to toast I swing both ways! Oh she glows has an ode to toast that elevates this humble breakfast staple to the next level. Although the recipes are a bit involved for a quick breakfast I’m sure with a little planning these could easily be prepped or made the night before and resurrected in the morning.

The Vegan Full English

The Full English is definitely more of a weekend treat than a daily go to but as it’s so widely enjoyed I don’t really feel like we can talk about breakfast without it. If given the choice I would always choose to include some form of potatoes, I’m certain it’s the Irish in me but there’s something about potatoes for breakfast that for me is the ultimate in comfort food.

So provided there’s room on the plate besides the potatoes (a-hem) what else do we need on there? Well for me there has to be vegan sausage, mushrooms, tomatoes and some form of toast to scoop up all the thick, sticky beans. I’m overjoyed to discover the best ever full English on mouth-watering Vegan  which features a rich v-egg omelette that more than makes up for the traditional scramble. If it’s too labour intensive then a simpler tofu scramble works just as well. Of course it wouldn’t be a full English without topping the whole thing off with a dollop of HP sauce.

Vedgeree

Onto my new favourite spicy, filling, breakfast Vedgeree. This satisfying vegan version of Kedgeree is currently the only way I can eat and enjoy my nemesis that is Tofu. I first ate the fish and egg version of this many years ago whilst trying to avoid the greasy streaky bacon and lukewarm rubbery eggs on offer at the American breakfast buffet in the crew mess hall onboard Royal Caribbean. I would sneak down into the bowels of the ship were the international staff mess was located and gorge myself on bowls of hot, sticky rice amongst the company of those that thought it was perfectly normal to be feasting on such goodness at 7am.

Rich in warming spices and teeming with fresh wholesome veggies this is not a breakfast for the faint hearted but If you can stomach it I find it fills me up right through until tea time. You really can throw anything you find lurking in the back of the fridge at this and it just works a treat. I always make mine the day before using either leftover rice or the quick and dirty whole grain packet rice for a super fast heavenly breakfast treat. My favourite secret ingredient is a generous squeeze of lime pickle to give it the hot and sour combination that I’m such a big fan of.

Depending on whatever I happen to have in I’ve used all kinds of combinations of the following ingredients:

  • Smoked Tofu
  • Spring onions
  • Celery
  • Fennel
  • Mushrooms
  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Butter beans
  • Cooked Lentils

The only disappointment being that due to my carefree attitude with my ingredients I can never make it the same way twice. If you’re looking for a bit more consistency then you should get great results with this simple but tasty version from The Moral Munch.

I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the tasty breakfast discoveries I’m making and how easy it’s been to not only veganise them but to rekindle a taste for the most important meal of the day. Now I can’t swear to making breakfast a daily ritual 365 days a year but I definitely feel like we’ve kissed and made up.

I gathered together the links above for easy reference in my Pinterest board Breakfast like a vegan King/Queen. You’re welcome.

Start with Breakfast

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