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Vegetarian Breakfast Ideas?

An old friend of my husband is coming to stay for a few days, and has been vegetarian for at least the last 10. Usually she just comes for dinner, and likes my antipasta/mezze platters, spaghetti and marinara sauce with organic/vegan meatballs (bought frozen), salads, felalfel and hummus; (she eats dairy, sugary stuff, not totally strict!)
I was just going to put out some cereal and lemon pound cake for breakfast, but decided I'll take Sunday off so I can spend some time, now I want to make something fancier. I guess I could do waffles, pancakes,french toast...how about something lighter/healthier. My default breakfast for overnight guests is usually eggs and bacon/sausage, but I guess that's out!

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  1. -salsa & cheese omelets
    -a healthy berry mix on crepes or waffles
    -good yogurt with assorted fruit, honey, and granola
    -smoked salmon & bagels, if she does fish

    9 Replies
    1. re: C70

      Thanks for the quick reply, I doubt if she eats eggs or fish, it's mostly an animal thing, although weight control is involved. But she eats things with eggs mixed in, so since she's staying a few days maybe I should ask her more of her beliefs...I wish it was summer, I would definitely do something with fruit (although it does FEEL like summer right now!) Crepes might work though. I think someone mentioned a Nutella filling once, I'll have to look.

      1. re: coll

        nutella doesn't sound light or healthy to me!

        Having worked in a breakfast restaurant, I'd definitely recommend having the yogurt/fruit/granola option available. It was extremely popular with the healthy crowd.

        best of luck.

        1. re: C70

          I looked up the Nutella crepe, it's actually banana with a little nutella, which sounds great as I just bought a big bunch of bananas which should be overipe by next weekend!
          Thanks for mentioning yogurt too, I have plenty on hand right now and I know what you mean about the healthy parfait type sundae.

        2. re: coll

          How do you not eat eggs, but then eat items like bread and waffles and pancakes that have eggs in them?

          1. re: showlett

            Exactly. that's what I'm wondering. She eats Krispy Kreme, even if they don't contain eggs who knows what's in there, so I'm not sure until she gets here. I sure have a lot of idea of things to serve though.

            1. re: showlett

              She might be inconsistent/irrational (many people are) or unaware those things contain eggs.

              Or she just doesn't like the taste of eggs on their own.

              1. re: piccola

                She talked to my husband last night, says she doesn't eat eggs but does eat muffins. Can't wait to discuss this with her in person. (She was never much of a cook so probably doesn't even know!) Her veggism started after she saw some radical film in the 80s about feedlots and all that jazz, I never had the time to really discuss it with her before. I just assured her at the time that I knew where meat comes from. Should be an interesting weekend! (in a good way)

                1. re: coll

                  That's funny! I hope you have a good time, eggs or not!

              2. re: showlett

                I know a lot of vegetarian-ish people who will eat things with eggs in them but can't stand the taste/smell/texture of an in-your-face egg. I'm not saying it's rational, but a naked egg does seem to be closer to the animal world than a muffin or pancake.

          2. Western omelet

            Raisin bread, or other nice bread/bagel + cream cheese, honey or jelly

            Selection of juices (the hispanic section of most large markets has such a wonderful variety now - I love guanabana juice)

              1. re: chowser

                Thanks for the ideas guys, I almost forgot oatmeal: maybe I should try that crock pot method, this friend is a crock pot aficianado and might be amazed! And bagels, since she moved to Georgia a few years back; I really should think of some NY specialties! My brain is starting to work now....

                1. re: chowser

                  Yum, looks great! Have you ever tried making this recipe with steel-cut oats?

                  1. re: miss louella

                    No, but I'm not a big fan of baking w/ steel cut oatmeal because it gives it a crunchy texture. I think it would really appeal to some people so it's just a personal thing. I have soaked steel cut oatmeal in the liquid for an hour and then put it in the food processor. It's better but I don't like it as much. If you like crunchy texture, it soaks overnight so it might be fine. I've played around w/ it, like adding some cream to it 15 minutes before it's done. W/out, it's like a huge oatmeal cookie, w/ cream (half and half because it's what I had), it's creamy and pudding like.

                2. Popovers: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

                  If you go the savory route and add cheese, this thread has some ideas for accompaniments: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

                  I've been buying fantastic ricotta cheese in the Arthur Ave area of the Bronx, and topping it with honey, fresh rosemary or thyme and toasted pine nuts. Heavenly. Alternately, you could top with drunken figs (there's a great recipe in Zuni, which I've been meaning to post about


                  Speaking of Zuni, there are a couple good egg recipes: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...


                  1 Reply
                  1. re: rose water

                    I'm going to have to find out next weekend if she eats eggs, not sure. I just got a couple dozen from the local farmer so they're not raised cruelly, which is her big gripe. I also have extra ricotta right now, not from Arthur Ave but a very good "old fashioned" brand, and some dried figs, I almost think that might be a good additon to the antipasta the night before (any hints?)

                  2. You could buy some morningstar meat-replacement products. The breakfast sausages are really good, and you would probably like them too.

                    fruit salad with dips (yogurt, cottage cheese, ricotta)

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Jacey

                      I'm making marinara with vegan/organic meatballs, made by Franklin Farms out of mostly portobello mushroom. Last time she was here, I made Dr Praeger veggie burgers and she went crazy for them.

                    2. Quiche!
                      I love stuffed banana walnut french toast!

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: lollya

                        That's so weird, on my lunch break I just saw a recipe for banana stuffed french toast and was thinking about it!

                      2. French toast, either the baked ones you fix the night before and refrigerate and put in the oven before serving or the ones fixed in the morning, sauteed in a little butter or margarine, good with strawberry jam or blackberry jam or almost any kind of jam.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: pralinepatty

                          I love good jam and preserves on french toast and pancakes, almost as much as good maple syrup.

                        2. I'm not a vegetarian, but I love most of things they eat so I have a few good recipes for the following few:

                          Baked stuffed French Toast with Bananas and Peaches and carmel pecans

                          Joes's Special made with veg meat scramble and egg whites & spinach

                          Dried Bing Cherry & Pecan Scones or
                          Savory Cheddar, Bacon & Spinach Muffins

                          Aunt Lils Best Banana Bread

                          Quiche with roasted veggies, asparagas, zuchinni, roasted red peppers, grilled scallions, roasted garlic, fontina, monterey and cheddar cheese

                          Veggie Egg White Burritos made with red potatoes,scallions, 3 cheeses and spinach

                          Prune & Oatmeal Muffins

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: chef chicklet

                            Banana stuffed French Toast seems to be calling me....with some preserves and maple syrup on top. Got to check the freezer for any of the last batch of banana bread too. It's that time of the year, bananas, apples etc are on my mind.

                            1. re: coll

                              I know what you mean, I thought about it all day yesterday, after seeing several others with the same idea. Just seem perfect for right now.
                              I'm going to make a wonderful breakfast for my family this coming weekend.

                          2. Yogurt (thicken by draining overnight) with light honey and berries and granola.

                            Cinnamon rolls.

                            Scones (any flavour).

                            Cornbread with honeybutter.

                            Assortment of toasts (or croissants) with jams.

                            Biscuits with vegetarian gravy.

                            Tea, coffee and juice. Smoothies if you're adventurous.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: librarian

                              Smoothies sound good, I could add some rum to mine and give her the healthy edition! And the yogurt could come into play there.

                            2. Coll, it's a sign!!!! i had it served breakfast in bed at the W Hotel awhile back and man, it's delicious!

                              1. If she eats eggs, dutch baby with lemon juice and powdered sugar.

                                Yogurt parfaits with layers of berries and granola.

                                Bagels with cream cheese or butter, or jam or peanut butter, or hummus. You can add red onion, cucumber and tomato slices on the side

                                1. My mom's a vegetarian (not vegan). She's not easy to satisfy, but some of the things she likes are simple (if that makes sense!) What I mean is, she's very particular about food, restaurants, etc. But she does also have simple things she likes.

                                  She loves oatmeal. Very thin crepe-like pancakes with some jelly (if your guest is weight-watching, there are some ok low-sugar versions of jelly & syrup). She likes vegetarian bacon, but she hasn't had meat in so long, what does she know? I haven't tried it. My stepfather said it tastes like salty cardboard.

                                  My husband makes this good vegetarian meal for me:
                                  fresh fruit topped with some yogurt and some good granola (we like Whole Foods bulk coconut granola). You can add some raisins, too, if you want.

                                  Also, I made some awesome vegetarian chili, and you could do Tex-Mex-y kind of burritos (if you find out she eats eggs) with homemade vegetarian chili, eggs, etc.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: luv2bake

                                    Wow guys thanks for all the ideas. I think she's going to be here two nights, so I MIGHT be covered. And I'm going to talk food to her, vegetarians are so different in the end. Thanks! ( But if you have any more ideas in the next few days, please post!!)

                                    1. Let's assume she doesn't eat eggs. You can definitely find recipes for baked goods without them - most scones or bicuits work, plus some muffins (esp. if you use vegan egg replacer).

                                      You could make cinnamon rolls or monkey bread using bread dough. Oatmeal, rice pudding (stovetop, not baked) and fruited couscous also work.

                                      If you're not opposed to tofu, you could make a scramble.

                                      If she does eat eggs, your best options are a frittata, strata/french toast, or an oven pancake (aka dutch baby).

                                      1. Breakfast Burritos - vegetables, beans, cheese, avocado, salsa, sour cream

                                        1. Folks in a lot of places eat savory foods for breakfast.

                                          I like phool (prounounced fool)- from the Horn of Africa and the Middle East. Basically fava beans with onion, garlic and pepper.

                                          I also like Japanese style breakfast- miso soup with rice and tofu.

                                          1. Thanks everyone so far, I'm getting a lot of ideas and this is actually fun, like solving a puzzle. I have another friend who lives close by who is also veg, although she'll occaisonally eat chicken(obviously not an ethical thing) and the next time she comes over for drinks, I have lots of new ideas for her too.

                                            1. Do check whether she likes sweet stuff at breakfast. Many people don't. (Had a black bean taco this a.m. myself.)

                                              1. Tofu Scramble!!

                                                Too easy!

                                                Sautee a bit of garlic and onion and fine chopped carrot and spinach in canola or olive oil 'till the veges are almost soft. Crumble in a block of tofu and add a bit (1/2 teaspoon) curry powder and a dash of Tabasco, salt, pepper. Stir a bit to allow the 'fu to cook and absorb the yellow curry color (eggy color!) Serve with Gimme Lean Vege sausage patties!!! Yumm!!!

                                                4 Replies
                                                1. re: jbyoga

                                                  I was wondering why nobody had suggested this yet...I'm not a vegetarian by any means, but I've worked in an event kitchen that catered to many veggies and vegans and I came to have a great love of the tofu scramble. It was a standard on our breakfast buffet and can be modified in any way you want...pretty much any spice combo that sounds good to you will work. Make sure you use firm tofu and press it a bit before crumbleing so you end up with a scramble and not mush.

                                                  1. re: wawajb

                                                    I probably haven't had it enough, but I really don't like firm tofu. Looks like feta, but tastes like....nothing! Now the silky (silken?)tofu my local Japanese place puts in their soup is another matter. But I wouldn't know where to get or what to do with it myself.

                                                    1. re: coll

                                                      The tastes like nothing part is why it worked so well for our breakfast scrambles...a blank canvas if you will, so we could make it go with anything depending on the flavors we added.

                                                      1. re: coll

                                                        I was about to suggest tofu and miso soup - Japanese breakfast (miso soup is pretty easy to make provided you have an asian or japanese grocery store around to get some miso paste and tofu). You can just grill firm tofu and season with salt and pepper - will be something like semisoft grilled cheese (haloumi type of). Speaking of which, grilled haloumi sounds good to me!

                                                  2. As someone who is concerned about my weight..I would suggest that you ask her what she likes to eat for breakfast. For myself, I don't eat sugary/bready stuff stuff for breakfast, even though I might eat it for dessert if served at a dinner party.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: Rhee

                                                      I'm planning on giving her several choices the night before, what with all the good ideas I've gotten so far.

                                                    2. What's wrong with fresh fruit and yoghurt? If she's not into dairy buy soy. Personally, I love ginger and will sometimes add chopped candied ginger, dates and pecans to the yoghurt then pour over fresh berries. Serve with the ever so light Brioche. YUM

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: Kitchen Queen

                                                        Yogurt will definitely be involved in some way, I have two containers in the fridge now. I know she eats dairy because last time I had cheesecake for dessert and she enjoyed that. Also told us sometimes she takes the family to Krispy Kreme for dinner, so she's not that strict.

                                                      2. I always keep a lot of plain couscous on hand and it's just as easy to make sweet as savory....throw in blueberries/cranberries, or slice a banana, with maple syrup. It depends on taste

                                                        1. also wanted to throw in kutja as a wonderful wonderful breakfast dish. it's traditional during I believe Christmas time for Ukrainians...but is delicious anytime in my book.

                                                          It is wheatberries, poppy seeds, cream and sugar...

                                                          1. The following recipe (breakfast quesadilla) was just emailed to me by a yoga journal:


                                                            3 Replies
                                                            1. re: rednails

                                                              This is a great idea too, she will be amazed when I offer her a menu of choices.

                                                              1. re: coll

                                                                You might also look at vegetariantimes.com. (I think that's the right site name). I get their recipes every week, lots of good ideas.

                                                            2. IF she eats eggs, something super delicious, easy, good for you (kay, 'cept maybe the eggs..), and totally satisfying with just some hearty toast, is an Israeli dish called shakshuka. It's rich and tangy, and the eggs poached on top get wonderfully creamy.

                                                              Basically, simmer together, uncovered over low heat till thick, stirring occasionally (30 min or so):

                                                              -- a couple pounds of peeled tomatoes, or canned crushed or chopped tomatoes (these are just fine)
                                                              -- 5 or 6 chopped garlic cloves
                                                              -- a teaspoon or so of salt
                                                              -- a teaspoon or more of paprika (sweet or smoky is good)
                                                              -- 2 tsp tomato paste
                                                              -- a chopped bell pepper (optional)
                                                              -- a couple tablespoons of veg oil

                                                              Break 6 eggs over the top, break the yolks, cover the pan, and let poach for a few minutes until set.


                                                              OR.... what about garlic soup?

                                                              The easiest way -- saute some garlic in oil, add the infused oil to vegetable stock, top with toasted sourdough, monterey jack, green onions, and (depending) poached eggs.

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: juster

                                                                Wow, that sounds just like Eggs in Purgatory that my grandmother used to make, except Italian style! I'm really curious now whether our friend eats eggs, can't wait til she gets here so I can ask. I get my eggs from a local farmer, so I figure they're healthier than anything mass produced.

                                                              2. Even though it's not summer and berry season, I find that frozen berries are great for breakfasts. If there is a Whole Foods near you they have the most fantastic organic wild blueberries (smaller and tarter than cultivated). If not, then I need to stop being a cheerleader for Whole Foods (haha). I mix those with frozen mango, frozen raspberries, frozen strawberries, etc and make smoothies with plain yogurt and vanilla soy milk. The frozen berries make the consistency more like a milkshake. You could also use the frozen berries, thawed just slightly, for a more ice cream-y/sorbet version of the fruit, yogurt, granola parfait. As the fruit melts it develops it's own rich fruit sauciness, add a small sprinkle of sugar, and it'll be divine.

                                                                Oh! Speaking of out of season fruits and things. In Poland there is a traditional Christmas Eve dessert that friends beg my mother to make for them. It would make a great vegetarian breakfast. Stewed prunes and apricots. Just take a handful of prunes and another of apricots (you could add raisins, maybe a little cinnamon, maybe a little booze), covered with water in a small sauce pan, and stew until the fruit is soft. Serve in a soup dish with a drizzle of heavy cream. The water that soaks the fruit takes on a viscous saucy quality, it's almost like a dried fruit soup.

                                                                5 Replies
                                                                1. re: ballulah

                                                                  Oooh, that fruit stew sounds amazing. I imagine it would be good if you threw in some walnuts (i love soggy softened walnuts), or over greek yogurt. What kind of booze do you recommend, and when do you add it in?

                                                                  1. re: rose water

                                                                    I would use either a little whiskey, cognac or brandy, or maybe even a little spice rum. Something amber, rather than clear. Oh, and I would put it in with the water and stew it in the booze. I LOVE greek yogurt, but it is very tart, it might interfere with the soupiness of it. But do tell me if you try it that way, it could be wonderful.

                                                                    1. re: rose water

                                                                      I just had a yogurt that had dried plums ( i.e. prunes) and walnuts in it, probably Liberte? But (see below), I didn't realize they meant prunes and only realized later on when my stomach let me know! It tasted great, but no booze!

                                                                      1. re: coll

                                                                        I know that story! Once in high school over winter break and immediately following Christmas, I was working on a history paper and procrastinating with my head in the refrigerator. I managed to polish off all the leftovers of the stewed fruit, a HUGE bowl of the stuff. My mother laughed at me when she got home because I found a new way to procrastinate...I spent most of the rest of the day in the bathroom.

                                                                    2. re: ballulah

                                                                      Our closest Whole Foods is almost an hour away (well if the LIE is backed up it could take a whole lot longer!). But there's a rumour that they may be building one out here in Riverhead in the next year or so, they're upscaling our town and that would sure be a nice addition. If so it could be a weekly thing for me. In the meantime we have a pretty good imitator, Wild by Nature, run by a local supermarket chain, they're only 20 minutes away so I should check out their frozen berries and fruit tomorrow. Unfortunately prunes don't agree with me, wish I could tolerate them, I even had some dried figs last week and they acted just like prunes!! Hate when people try to sneak them in (my Morrocan friends add it to everything). Amaretto is really nice with fruits. I was thinking of smoothies, if my place has some of the nicer frozen fruits like Whole Foods, maybe I'll do that. Thanks

                                                                    3. In addition to the great suggestions above, a great default is muesli. Soak old-fashioned rolled oats in dairy (milk, cream, etc.) over night, and then add chopped apples, raisins, nuts, and/or honey etc. for flavoring in the morning.

                                                                      1. Great suggestions above. Just to add, if you do want to do sausages, etc for the meat crowd, I have found that the Boca brand of meatless "meats" are good. I eat them because they are way less fattening. Just had the Boca sausages last night with my omelette for dinner. The key is to pan fry them vs putting them in the microwave. They get a nice texture that way.

                                                                        1. Try cream stone ground grits made with parmesan reggiano. Lovely!! In lieu of the traditional ham or shrimp accompaniments, try some kind of tofu substitute

                                                                          1. My BF is a strict vegetarian (no meat, no eggs, only cheese without animal rennet, etc) and he loves the following breakfast treats:
                                                                            Steel cut oatmeal with walnuts and dried fruit
                                                                            Pumpkin-ginger scones (there are many scone recipes that don't call for eggs)
                                                                            Cinnamon buns (many recipes call for buttermilk and no eggs)
                                                                            Pancakes or waffles (even Bisquick is a good alternative for making veg stuff, just leave out the egg if it's an issue and add a little sour cream or yogurt)
                                                                            And, like many other posters - the fake sausage patties are actually quite good. The Trader Joe's brand frozen veggie patties are my favorite and have a nice traditional sage-y flavor.

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: thewaz

                                                                              I have a giant box of Bisquick, thanks for the info!

                                                                            2. If you are 20 minutes from Wild By Nature, you are also close to Trader Joes next to Smithhaven Mall. They have terrific frozen fruit at quite reasonable prices. Good dried fruit can be gotten at the health food store in Rocky Point or at Trader Joes.

                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                              1. re: susanl143

                                                                                I love Trader Joe too, I only go there a few times a year as it's about 45 minutes away and I hate the traffic around there! But it happens I'm going there Monday after my doctor appt, I can't go into that area and not stop by for goodies. I go to the Wild by Nature in Hampton Bays, I'm on the east end, I did used to always go to the one in Seatuket before. We have Citarellas out here also, as a bonus!

                                                                              2. Hey, if it's not too late, you could try Aloo Tikkis, Indian style potato pancakes. Easy to make and delicious.

                                                                                Boil potatoes and mash them well with some salt.
                                                                                chop onions, green chilis (jalapenos will do), and some ginger.
                                                                                fry the onions, green chilis and ginger (onions first, of course), and set aside. You can add peas if you like but it is not necessary. If you do add them, mash them first.

                                                                                Now you can either just mix the potato mash with the fried onions together and then make them into medium size patties and shallow fry them (add bread crumbs to hold the patty together); or you can spread the potato mash, stuff it with the onion mixture, fold the potato over the mix and reshape it, and then fry it. The former method is easier but the patty is more likely to fall apart if you don't bread crumb it.

                                                                                I'm sure you can find a better recipe online. But, served with bread and ketchup, or a spicier habanero sauce (el yucateco is perfect), it makes a delicious veggie breakfast.