Posts Tagged ‘vegan breakfast’
My First Time

The other day I was sifting through my desk at work, and somehow a recipe had gotten trapped in a folder full of very project management important documents. It was a hand-written copy of my very first vegan recipe. My younger sister went vegan when I was in college. I believe that she ran into some “vegangelists ” at a concert and was quickly converted over to a plant-based diet. I am not proud of the fact that I was not as understanding as I should have been. It just seemed so foreign to me that she would choose to avoid all animal products. Plus, she’s always been thin and gorgeous, so the benefits to her appearance were not as evident as they were on someone like me. Now I realize that she had it right back then. One Christmas I went home and, as a show of good faith, baked vegan pumpkin muffins for breakfast. Even though I wasn’t sold on the whole “vegan thing” at the time, I do remember very distinctly that these muffins were more delicious than I thought they would have been.
I’ve tweaked the recipe just a little bit, because it did include a fair bit of sugar and fat. I left out some of the sugar, which leads to a spicier muffin, and replaced most of the fat with applesauce. Applesauce is hands-down the best fat replacer when it comes to breakfast breads. It keeps them moist and delicious without adding unnecessary inches to your waistline. These muffins are really delicious and perfect for a chilly morning, or, if you live in Southern California like me, just any time that you get a craving for some pumpkin awesomeness.

First-Timer Muffins

  • 1 1/2 c. flour
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 tsp. ginger
  • 1 c. pureed pumpkin
  • 1/4 c. white sugar
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/3 c. soy milk
  • 1/3 tsp. vanilla
  • 6 tbsp. unsweetened applesauce
  • ener-g egg replacer for 2 eggs (pre-mixed)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a muffin pan with muffin liners.
Whisk together the flour, spices, baking soda, and baking powder.
In a large bowl, add the applesauce and sugar and mix well. Add the pumpkin and vanilla and blend until creamy.
Add the ener-g to the pumpkin mixture and mix well.
Add the soy milk and flour mixture, alternating between the two.
Spoon 1/4 c. batter into muffin cups and bake at 350 for 35 minutes
Makes 9 muffins at 150 calories each.

Light and Refreshing Fruit Salad

Is this really a recipe? I guess that I’m not sure. I think that on a very technical level, any time you put together more than 3 or 4 ingredients, it can be considered some kind of a recipe. Also, my fruit salad is more than just a couple of pieces of fruit cut up and thrown in a bowl. It has a very secret, very special dressing that is chock full of cinnamon. When I make it in the afternoon, I use champagne, but when I make it for breakfast, I use orange or pomegranate juice or whatever juice I have laying around. Obviously, such a fancy dressing gives this fruit salad a wow factor that makes me look brilliant and the people around me look very satiated.

Fruit Salad “Recipe”
4 cups of assorted fruit. I like apples, strawberries, and bananas. You can get exotic and use kiwis or even throw in some berries, it’s up to you.
1/4 c. fruit juice or champagne
1 tbsp. cinnamon
1 tbsp. agave
I’m not going to belittle you with instructions, just be sure to mix the dressing before you toss it with the fruit.

Quinoa Rice Pudding

Last week I decided to screw around experiment with quinoa. I cooked up a big batch to use as a side dish for my chana masala, but it expanded more than I thought it would, and I was left with a whole bowl left over. I industriously put it in the fridge and vowed to figure out what to do with it later. As it turns out, later came the next morning. It was unnaturally cold for Los Angeles, although I think my vintage apartment building might have a bit of a draft problem. So, I turned on my extremely dangerous gas heater and set about making something warm and comforting for breakfast.
My inspiration was this youtube video from Bethany Frankel, star of The Real Housewives of NYC and an organic chef (or something). Let’s take a moment to rant about Bethany. Her method of naturally skinny dieting basically focuses on eating 2-3 bites of something and then pawning it off on someone else. Originally this method, like Bethany herself, annoyed the hell out of me. But as I cook more and more for this blog, I can empathize with her at least a little bit. Plus, her idea of using leftover brown rice was my inspiration. The biggest difference in mine is that I cooked mine on the stove, because I do not own a microwave. I don’t believe that anyone should be eating anything that can only be cooked in a microwave. Sure, I use it at work to heat up leftovers, but at home I cook only on the stove. If I need to reheat something, it’s going to get re-heated the same way it got cooked in the first place. That’s it for me on my soapbox, now on to the breakfast pudding!

Nicole’s Healthy Breakfast Bowl

  • 1/3 c. cooked quinoa
  • 3/4 c. almond milk
  • 1 tbsp. egg replacer
  • 1 tbsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp. sugar free maple syrup
  • a box of mini raisins
  • a few almonds (I used 7)
  • 1 tsp. brown sugar

  1. In a small saucepan, beat together egg replacer and almond milk over medium-high heat. Stir constantly until it starts to simmer.
  2. Add cinnamon, vanilla, and maple syrup, stirring well.
  3. Add quinoa and raisins and return to a simmer before lowering to medium heat. 
  4. Add quinoa and raisins and cook for 3 minutes, or until mixture thickens and quinoa is heated through. 
  5. Serve garnished with raw almonds and brown sugar.

serves 1 at 346 calories

Tofu Scramble

This morning I woke up and had an intense craving for tofu scramble. I have done some recipe research on it  in the past, but never gotten around to making it. Usually I want something sweet for breakfast: pancakes, french toast, or even just an english muffin with peanut butter, but every once in a blue moon I want something salty and with a little heat.
I luckily had all the ingredients on hand for my tofu scramble, except for onions. Somehow I never seem to have onions in the house when I need them, and when I do have them in the house, they go bad because I don’t use them. Luckily it was a Saturday morning and the farmers market was in full swing across the street. I threw on my sneakers and my members only jacket and “rolled out” as I like to call it when I leave the house looking like an abonimable snowman in the morning. I am NOT a pretty sight to wake up to in the morning, in case you were wondering. I got to pay a visit to my favorite farmer, a Brit who sells Spanish Onions, which are smaller than regular onions and thus the perfect size for my table-for-one lifestyle. I came home and put together my scramble. I’ll be honest, it was a little off. I think that the nutritional yeast plus the daiya just gave it too strong of a flavor, so I adjusted the measurements before posting it below. That’s right, readers, I do all of the mis-adventuring so that you don’t have to.

Tofu Scramble

  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 6 oz of tofu cut into 1/2″ cubes
  • 4 medium mushrooms, sliced
  • a handful of frozen spinach (take it out of the fridge about 15 minutes early, but it doesn’t have to be totally defrosted)
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • dash of cumin
  • 1/2 tbsp. nutritional yeast
  • 1 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1/4 c. water
  • 1 oz. cheddar-flavored daiya
  • fresh ground black pepper
  1. Spray a pan with non-stick cooking spray and sautee the onions for 2 minutes over high heat. 
  2. Crumble in your tofu. Don’t mash it completely, just crumble it until it resembles scrambled eggs. Turn the stove on to high and add the mushrooms and spinach.
  3. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add the garlic powder, salt, cumin, nutritional yeast, and soy sauce. Stir well.
  5. Add the water, you may need more or less depending on how much water was in the tofu when you started.
  6. Reduce heat to medium and cook for 3 minutes. 
  7. Turn off the head and stir in the shredded daiya cheese until melted. 

Serve with tortillas, over toast, or with hash browns. I went with the hash browns and a nice cup of Sumatra coffee with almond milk. This recipe serves 2 people at about 210 calories each, or just one very hungry person

Florentine Tofu Scramble

This past weekend, I made a spinach and basil pasta salad for a veggie hikers potluck. It was a pretty good pasta salad, although nowhere near as delicious as some of the other food that people brought. It left me with a good deal of leftover basil. One day I’m going to get myself a window box and plant some herbs in it, so that I can avoid the mess of having to buy such a huge package of basil. I’ve literally used basil every day this week: pesto pasta salad on Sunday, pesto sauce on my pizza on Monday, basil on top of my stir fry on Tuesday, and today I used it in my tofu scramble. 
Catherine de Medici is credited with introducing the term “florentine” into french cooking. In 1550, she declared that anything with spinach would be refered to as florentine. Unfortunately, it has come to traditionally refer to a dish with spinach AND a creamy sauce. My tofu scramble has no such creamy sauce, but I’m going to stick with Catherine on this one and call it Tofu Florentine. The important thing is that it is absolutely delicious. I’ve tried making tofu scramble before and was not 100% impressed with the flavor profile that I put together. This scramble, however, is exactly what one would expect. It’s made light by the spinach and grape tomatoes, but is still delicious and filling. I served it on top of an english muffin, and it is probably the best breakfast I’ve had so far this week.

Tofu Florentine

  • 3.5 oz. firm tofu
  • 1/2 tsp nutritional yeast
  • yellow curry powder
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 a clove of garlic
  • 2 grape tomatoes
  • handful of frozen spinach
  • 2 basil leaves

In a nonstick pan, combine frozen spinach and 2 tablespoons of water, stirring frequently. While the spinach is defrosting, mince the garlic and cut the tomatoes into quarters. Roll up the basil leaves and slice lengthwise to create slivers.
Remove the spinach from the pan when it is fully defrosted and warm. Spray the pan with non-stick spray and add the garlic. Cook over medium-high heat until the garlic is browned. While the garlic is cooking, crumble the tofu into a bowl with your hands and mix with the nutritional yeast and a pinch of yellow curry powder. Add salt and pepper to your liking. You may wait until the end to add the salt and pepper, especially if this is your first time with the dish. It allows you to adjust the flavors to your liking.
When the garlic is brown, add the tomatoes, spinach, and tofu. Reduce heat and cook over medium until the texture resembles, well, scrambled eggs. Add the basil and give it a final stir before serving over toast or alongside hashbrowns.
Serves: 1 at 100 calories

100 Calorie Vegan Muffins
I am always a woman on a mission. My ongoing goal is to develop a vegan baked good that is low in calories and fat while still being delicious. My idea is that once I find this perfect baked good, I will be able to open a vegan bakery in the Cayman Islands and retire for the rest of my life. That, or I will be able to eat it for every meal until I get sick of it (which would probably never happen). Last week, my mission was to find a great blueberry bread recipe. I ended up not being able to make it to the potluck where I intended to bring said  recipe, but I still consider last weekend’s study in blueberries a success. One might think that I would be sick of blueberries after working with them all last weekend, but the fact of the matter is that I had one more recipe I was dying to try.
I have had a recipe for weight watchers 1-point blueberry muffins for awhile now. I used to make them all the time before I went vegan, so I have been meaning to re-work the recipe to eliminate the eggs and milk. The recipe also calls for vegetable oil, and I wanted to experiment with replacing it with applesauce. This time around, I decided to try using almond milk and complemented it with an almond and date crumble on top of the muffins. I also cut out the sugar from the muffin batter, prefering to harness the natural sweetness of the dates. I used my new favorite flour for this recipe: Arrowhead Mills Whole Wheat Pastry Flour. It’s got the fiber of whole wheat flour, but the lightness of a good pastry flour, which leads to delicious and hearty baked foods. The frugalistas out there will be happy to know that it’s available in the bulk section of Whole Foods for I believe $1 a pound. Now that’s cheap. 
These muffins are delicious and they weigh in at only 99 calories each, with 1.5 grams of fat (from the almonds and almond milk) and 3 grams each of protein and fiber (not bad for a little muffin).
100-Calorie Vegan Muffins
  • 1 3/4 c. whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • ener-g egg replacer for 2 eggs, pre-mixed
  • 3/4 c. almond milk
  • 1/3 c. unsweetened applesauce
  • 3/4 c. blueberries
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 6 dates
  • 20 almonds
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  1. Pre-heat over to 400 degrees and line a muffin tin with liners. Because these muffins tend to stick, I also spray the inside of the liners with a little cooking spray. 
  2. Stir together flour, baking powder, and salt. 
  3. In a separate bowl, combine ener-g, almond milk, vanilla, and applesauce and mix well. 
  4. Add all of this mixture to the dry ingredients at once and stir until moist.
  5. Fold in he blueberries
  6. Drop by heaping tablespoons into muffin cups and bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes
  7. Combine the dates (be sure to take the pits out), almonds, and cinnamon in a food processor and blend until it resembles a slightly sticky crumb.
  8. Sprinkle the crumble on top of the muffins and then bake for an additional 10 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Yields 12 muffins at 99.3 calories, 1.5 g fat, 3 g. of fiber, 3.1 g. protein.
Tea Party Treats

I love baking. There’s nothing more satisfying than the smell of baked goods filling up an apartment. I was looking for a good scone recipe for my Valentine’s Day tea party, specifically something that would pair well with pumpkin butter. I found a great recipe online at recipezaar. It incorporates raisins, oatmeal, and cinnamon. Cinnamon has been my number one secret ingredient lately. I use it every morning in my coffee, and I jazz up almost every recipe with a sprinkle here or there. Cinnamon has been scientifically proven to help reduce fasting blood sugar in diabetics (that’s a good thing).In Ayurvedics, it’s used to soothe indigestion and colds. I’ve been doing some reading about Ayurvedics lately (I am a Kapha in case you were interested),
Scones are great candidates for being veganized. Regular scones are made without eggs, and it is easy to replace the butter and milk with earth balance and soy milk. This recipe will create scones that are crumbly and dense, which is exactly what we are looking for. If you’re daring, you could probably incorporate some almonds, pecans, or walnuts. It makes 8 large wedge-shaped scones that clock in at 248 calories each, which is significantly less than the average 400 calories in those scones from Starbucks.

Oatmeal Cinnamon Scones

1/2 c. earth balance
1 1/4 c. whole wheat flour
1/3 c. brown sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 c. old-fashioned oats
1/3 c. raisins
1/3 c. vanilla soy milk.

1. Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon together. “Cut in” the earth balance. You can either use a pastry cutter, or, if you’re not fancy enough for that, just a fork. You know that you’re done when the whole mixture is a nice, even crumb.
2. Add oats and raisins.
3. Stir in soy milk, until the dough forms at the center of the bowl.
4. Turn out onto a floured surface, and shape into a circle, aproximately 8″ in diameter.
5. Cut into 8 wedges and arrange on an ungreased cookie sheet. At this point, you may want to sprinkle on some granulated sugar (not included in the 250 calories).
6. Bake at 375 for 15-18 minutes, or until you can press firmly on the top of the scone.
yields 8 scones at 250 calories each

Vegan French Toast

Special consideration and thanks have to go out to my friend Carl, who makes one mean Vegan French Toast, and was nice enough to share this nearly-perfect recipe with me.

I love breakfast. It is my most favorite meal of the day, and I would indulge in breakfast foods for lunch and dinner if I could (and to be honest, I often do). One of my favorites is French Toast, but by the time I finish dipping the bread in eggs and slathering it with butter and maple syrup, I might as well have just eaten a Big Mac and washed it down with some orange juice.

I believe that a certain advertising campaign touts the beauty of the incredible, edible egg. An egg contains 54 calories,33 of which are from fat. It also contains 52% of your daily recommended cholesterol. My ener-g egg replacement powder contains a mere 15 calories per serving. Eggs are gross, they’re just little baby chickens who never got fertilized. Think about that the next time you’re confronted with a buffet’s omelet station.

I love French Toast, and when I was at the peak of my dieting, I used to wish that I could have it every day for breakfast. But, I shied away from it because of the cholesterol associated with the eggs, the carbs from the bread, and the sugar from the maple syrup. Vegan french toast addresses the egg problem, and the substitution of whole wheat bread instead of worthless white will provide you with important fiber. I like this recipe because it includes lots of cinnamon and vanilla, which makes the end result sweet enough that I use less syrup. Voila, french toast every morning.

A note on the bread: you can use any kind of bread you want with this recipe, with special consideration given towards whole wheat. This morning I tried it with Country Harvest Bread. It’s a special kind of bread that I buy from the farmer’s market across the street, and it’s full of carrots, raisins, whole grains, and nuts. Nuts are a little fatty, but the health benefits far outweigh any caloric short-comings.

Vegan French Toast
1 1/2 tsp. egg replacer (I use less than the original recipe, which calls for 2)
3/4 c. soy milk
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
3 slices whole wheat bread
2 tbsp. earth balance

1. Add egg replacer directly to the soy milk. Add vanilla and cinnamon and stir with a whisk. You may need to stir pretty hard, because you need to make sure the egg replacer completely blends with the soy milk.
2. Dip each side of the bread in the “egg” mixture. I like to let it sit for a few seconds so that it really soaks up some of the liquid.
3. Bring a pan to medium heat and coat the bottom with 1 tbsp. of earth balance. This is not the time to be stingy with the earth balance, as it is very important in getting a good crust on your french toast.
4. Cook for about 2 minutes, or until you have a nice golden brown crust on the bottom.
5. Flip the french toast, adding the second tbsp. of earth balance to your pan as you are flipping. It’s a technique that requires some practice, but again, you need the earth balance to get a perfect french toast.
6. Serve with fruit, powdered sugar, maple agave, or whatever else floats your boat. I’ve been meaning to try pumpkin butter.
Servings: 2 at 307 calories each

Tofu McMuffins

Sure, being a vegan means being healthy. It means raw fruits and vegetables and whole grains cooked in vegetable broth. It means nutrition and treating your body like a temple. However, some mornings, usually after a night of drinking, your body feels more like a temple of doom. You are hung over and feel awful and just want something heavy and greasy in your stomach. I used to rely on egg McMuffins from McDonalds to fill this void in my life. After a rough night, there was nothing I craved more than a delicious fried egg covered in gooey cheese and served on an english muffin. I could pair it with 1 or 2 (OK, usually 2) hashbrowns and some orange juice from concentrate (you know, to be healthy). What the hell was I thinking ?!?!?
It’s one thing to want something salty and carb-laden, but an egg McMuffin is a cholesterol, fat, cruelty circus that is too much for me to even contemplate now. It all goes back to my blog’s tagline, that there are no bad foods, just bad ingredients. This became my mantra as I set about making my own animal-free breakfast sandwich. It’s not the healthiest breakfast ever, but it comes in at around 300 calories instead of 600 or whatever is in those little yellow wrappers of death. Let’s face it, if this is going to be your breakfast, there’s a good chance that you spent the night before doing some damage to your body. Just because you feel like crap doesn’t mean you should eat crap. So, the next time that you get a little boozy, try this as your hangover cure-all along with a cup of strong black coffee.

Editor’s note: It has been pointed out to me by my incredibly talented, intelligent, good-looking, scrunchie-wearing, meat-aterian, co-worker that a McDonald’s egg McMuffin only has 300 calories, and a sausage egg mcMuffin has 450. Since mine comes in at just under 300, your real savings are not caloric, but rather fat, cholesterol, and karmic.

Tofu McMuffin

  • 3 oz. square of tofu, rinsed and drained and dredged in cornstarch
  • garlic powder
  • salt
  • fresh ground black pepper
  • vegan cheese
  • 1/2 tbsp. earth balance
  • english muffin

Start by heating your pan over medium heat while you pop the english muffin into the toaster.
Sprinkle both sides of your tofu square with garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
When the pan is hot, coat it with nonstick cooking spray and drop the tofu in, cooking it for about 2 minutes on each side, or until you get a nice golden brown color.
Take your now-toasted english muffin out of the toaster and butter both halves with the earth balance. Place the warm tofu square on the english muffin and top with vegan cheese. I used the cheddar daiya and it changed my life.

Vegan Lemon Blueberry Bread

Even though I had trouble falling asleep Saturday night, I was up super early Sunday morning so I could bust out another loaf of blueberry bread before going to tutor. This variation uses lemon zest for a delicious, citrus-y flavor. This bread is a serious contender in my blueberry competition. I modified a recipe from Joy of Baking by using agave, earth balance, applesauce, and ener-g egg replacer.
I was still up in the air about whether I wanted to do a lemon recipe or just do another regular one and vary the flour, until I had dinner at Sante La Brea, a vegan restaurant near the New Beverly.  The dinner was ok. I had a vegan patty melt with cashew cheeze, and it tasted pretty much like I expected it to. The one thing that I like about vegan food is that it’s pretty consistent. It usually tastes the same no matter where you get it, so the mark of a really good vegan restaurant is one where you are pleasantly surprised. Anyway, dinner was ok, but what blew me away was the lemon cake that we had for dessert. It was moist and delicious, with the most amazing lemon icing. My recent tribulations have given me a newfound respect for any vegan baker, and this guy was on top of his game. I highly reccomend Sante La Brea for dessert. Maybe the next time I go I will try something different as a main course. Like I said, it’s right next to the New Beverly, and I’m in that neighborhood quite often to fuel my double feature addiction.

So, without further adieu, here is the third contender in the Great Blueberry Bread Bake-off.

Vegan Lemon Blueberry Bread

  • 1 c. whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 c. unbleached white flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 4 tbsp. room temperature earth balance
  • 4 tbsp. unsweetened applesauce
  • 4 tbsp. agave nectar
  • ener-g for 2 eggs (pre-mixed)
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tbsp. lemon zest
  • 1 c. fresh blueberries


  • 1/4 c. raw turbinado sugar
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray the bottom and halfway up the sides of a bread pan.
Whisk the flour, salt, and baking powder together.
In a separate bowl, cream the earth balance, sugar, and applesauce until light and smooth. Add the egg replacer, vanilla, and lemon zest and stir well.
Add about half your flour and blend it in, then half your soymilk, then the rest of your flour (minus about 2 tbsp), then the last of your milk.
Toss the blueberries in the remaining flour and then fold gently into your batter.
Pour into a baking pan and bake at 350 for 55 minutes.
Allow the bread some time to cool, and then combine the raw sugar and lemon juice over medium heat until the sugar melts. Drizzle it over the bread.
8 servings at 196 calories each

The result: This bread didn’t rise as well as the banana blueberry bread, but it also didn’t fall and go to mush like the walnut struesal blueberry bread. However, the flavor was hands-down the best one. If I did it for the pot-luck, I would probably just bake a double batch in one loaf pan. I think I can do that. Does anyone know? The real charm of this bread is its bright citrus-y flavor. This is easily my favorite, but we will have to wait and see the results of the great office taste test.