Brunch Like a Boss

Move over, breakfast; brunch is really the most important meal of the day. More inclusive for those who sleep late, anyone can enjoy this timeless meal. Balancing sweet and savory cravings through a variety of equally comforting and energizing options, it doesn’t have to be fancy to hit the spot. Make every bite count, especially during Veganuary, by starting with the best vegan brands.

Nature’s Fynd has all the staples you need to take your brunch game to the next level, effortlessly. Using their Fy™ nutritional fungi protein base to build both meatless breakfast patties and dairy-free cream cheese, it’s unlike anything else on the market. This is a complete vegan protein with all 9 essential amino acids that’s grown using a fraction of the water, land, and energy compared to traditional animal products. Whether you want to reduce your impact on the environment, eat healthier, or make more compassionate choices, it’s an easy decision when building your Veganuary meal plan.

Plus, most importantly from a culinary perspective, it tastes amazing.

Build a better bagel sandwich with a schmear of Original Cream Cheese, so smooth and spreadable that you’d think it was softened butter. In fact, it even melts into the toasted surface of a still-warm slice of toast, infusing all that goodness right into the bread itself. It’s perfect for either sweet or savory applications, which makes it incredibly versatile.

Use it to slather on pancakes, or stuff French toast! Strawberry jam is my jam, personally, which creates an experience not unlike cheesecake filling that you can justify eating as an entree.

Step it up with Chive & Onion Cream Cheese for an aromatic allium twist, made with real vegetables rather than weak flavorings and extracts. Fresh, bold, and bright, it adds an extra zing to just about anything. Don’t limit yourself to using it solely as a topper; a dollop livens up a simple scramble, adding richness and umami in one fell swoop. Be it tofu, lentil, or chickpea-based, this plate of plant-based eggs will wake your taste buds right up, even before the first cup of coffee.

For a meatier main, look no further than the Original Meatless Breakfast Patties. Juicy and tender, all you need to do is heat and eat for perfect results every time. Notably high in protein but low in fat, you can’t beat these nutritional facts. They have 75% less fat than pork sausage per serving, too. Pair with hearty hash browns for an instant brunch bowl, balanced and deeply satisfying in a flash. Subtle herbs and spices add nuance to each bite, keeping you coming back for more, while still playing nicely with any other accompaniments invited to the party.

Meatless Maple Flavored Breakfast Patties provide a more complex study of contrasts, bringing together the woodsy, earthy flavor of real maple syrup with savory seasonings. Ideal for those who want a little bit of everything, you don’t have to make any sacrifices here. In fact, you can use them to enhance other goodies like pancakes or waffles by chopping them up and mixing them right into the batter. Since I’m a big fan of filling up all the crevasses of my Belgian waffles with all the syrup they can hold, this is a way to boost that flavor without going overboard on sugar.

The real beauty of brunch is that there’s no one way to do it, all through Veganuary and beyond. Especially if you start with Nature’s Fynd on the table, you’ll always wake up on the right foot.

This post was made possible as a collaboration with Nature’s Fynd. My opinions can not be bought and all content is original. This page may contain affiliate links; thank you for supporting my blog!

Breakfast of Champions

Who says noodles aren’t for breakfast? The mere idea that any food is off limits at a certain hour of the day is enough to send me into a fit of rage. No one’s going to tell me what I can and cannot eat without explanation. While Americans are more likely to reach for cereal or toast, noodles are established in Asian cultures as a reliable staple starch to fill that same void. It goes well beyond reheated leftovers, like finding yesterday’s pizza in the fridge for a quick fix. There’s a reason why ramen shops open at 7am in Tokyo, and it’s not just for a cup of green tea.

When I saw the Fortune Noodle Blogger Recipe Challenge had only two categories for entries, I knew right away what I needed to make. You could submit a stir-fry, or “for your creative side, create a Fortune Noodles breakfast recipe.” I could almost see the smirk on that smug face, daring me to step out of line. The gauntlet had been thrown down.

Inspired by a combination of Japanese okonomiyaki and Korean buchimgae, my crispy noodle pancakes aren’t the type you’d slather with butter and drown in maple syrup, but a more savory morning entree. Bound by an eggy chickpea flour batter, they’re almost like little omelets with chewy yaki soba inside. Laced with carrots and scallions, they’re simple and comforting, quick and easy, and completely adaptable to any taste preferences.

If you want something spicier to really wake up your taste buds, try using the Hot and Spicy flavor noodles and swap out the shredded carrots for roughly chopped kimchi. Amp up your veggie intake by adding a handful of peas or corn into the mix. Top things of with sliced avocado or guacamole if you can’t face the day without your beloved avo toast. In fact, try all of the above, all at once! The only way you can go wrong is if you don’t embrace breakfast noodles to begin with.

Not a morning person? Don’t worry, these are perfect to make in advance! Just cook as directed, let cool, and then pop them in an airtight container in the fridge for 5 – 7 days. Pop them in the toaster oven or air fryer to reheat in minutes. For long term storage, you could even toss them in the freezer to keep for up to 6 months, though I seriously doubt they’ll stick around that long.

I strongly believe that noodles are, and always have been, the true breakfast of champions. Hopefully the judges agree with me! Check out more inspiration from JSL Foods via Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook.

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Breakfasts to Savor

A new day is dawning in the kitchen, jostling the soundest of sleepers awake. Far removed from the dusty boxes of cereal and granola bars, bold, bright aromas infused with spice and umami fill the air. Though the standard American diet leans heavily on sweets for the “most important meal of the day,” polls have shown that the majority of those chowing down before noon prefer a savory breakfast.

Skip the batter, forget the flour, and stick firm slabs of tofu straight into the waffle iron for a high-protein foundation to hold a deeply umami lashing of espresso-spiked gravy. Waffled Tofu with Red Eye Gravy provides a hearty, gluten-free vehicle for enjoying this thick, creamy sauce enriched with sautéed mushrooms without any regrets.

If dry cereal is more your speed, you’ll be bowled over by Curried Coconut Granola. Warmly spiced clusters of thick oats and coconut flakes are baked to golden-brown perfection with minimal added oil. They’re perfect for sprinkling over unsweetened yogurt, plain oatmeal, soups, salads, or simply eating out of hand.

Craving buttery pastries, flaky and crisp? Skip the sugary frosting and syrupy fruit filling with Cheesy Broccoli and Bac-un Toaster Tarts. White bean-based cheese sauce fills flaky pastry pockets along with smoky bites of tempeh bac-un and tender-crisp broccoli florets.

Some Americans consume eggs in the morning, but have you heard of the latest Indian street food sensation taking the world by storm? Bread Omelets wrap up a fusion of French toast, scrambled eggs, and an egg sandwich all in one neat package. My vegan version is made with chickpea flour seasoned with black salt for the same sensation, without the eggs or dairy.

South of the border, Chilaquiles have been an essential staple for using up stale tortilla chips but take on greater flavor when prepared fresh, from scratch. Homemade corn tortilla chips are baked and not fried in this take on breakfast nachos. Little prep or planning is needed to throw together fresh salsa, black beans, and diced avocado in a meal that can be scaled for one or one dozen.

Tall stacks of pancakes dripping with syrup may sound dreamy, but the sugar crash soon to follow isn’t quite as satisfying. For a substantial morning meal that will power you through the day, skip the sugary stuff. The breakfast revolution will not be sweetened.

Get all these recipes in the 2021 Issue 1 of Vegetarian Journal, and online at VRG.org!

Hit the Snooze Button

Don’t sleep on Snooze AM Eatery. As the name would imply, the door of this establishment opens bright and early, but you’ve still gotta be quick to snag a table. Devoted to all things breakfast, brunch, and lunch, you’re out of luck if you show up in the afternoon. That considerable barrier to entry is just one of many reasons it took me so long to venture out, even though it’s a few minutes away. Tallying up the strikes against Snooze, my hesitancy was not without merit.

For one, it’s a franchise, boasting 46 restaurants spread out across 8 southern states, bringing quality and consistency into question. Second, and this is a big one, the “plant-powered” section of its egg-heavy menu isn’t actually a cheat sheet for vegans. Those helpful suggestions are still littered with eggs and cheese, turning a simple order into a daunting demand. Study up online before arriving and don’t expect assistance from your server, who’s more surly than smiley after dealing with grouchy hipsters in need of a coffee fix. On top of all that, no matter which location you visit, parking is almost guaranteed to be a nightmare, and lines are inevitable. Do check in on the virtual waiting list but don’t forget to clear your agenda for the next few hours, regardless.

Sounds like a terrible experience, right? Speaking to the strength of the food itself, despite those myriad affronts to common sense, I’d still sign up for another round of impersonal insults for another bite. Much as I want to hate it, especially in this sea of brilliant plant-based eateries, Snooze still pulls its weight with some truly winning dishes.

Thank goodness, the cocktail program is equally strong, because you’re going to need a drink to take off the edge. The wait is much easier to stomach with a stiff Cosmopolitan in hand. Tart, bright, slightly sweet, it’s the eye-opener you didn’t know you needed.

For optimal results, pretend it’s the late 90’s again and no one really understands what the word “vegan” means. Stress that all toast comes dry, no butter, cheese, or milk in any entrees, and substitute tofu for eggs. True, some dishes are emblazoned with an unmistakable “V”, like the impossibly light and fluffy Vegan Bliss Pancakes, but don’t let your guard down. It never hurts to make your needs known, especially in an establishment not necessarily built with dietary restraint in mind.

Throwing down a Tofu Scramble that could hold its own against the heavy hitters in town, you get your choice of three inclusions from a generous list of options. All the usual vegetables make an appearance, in addition to subtly spicy soyrizo, and even a whole lobe of buttery avocado at no extra cost. Savory, well-seasoned, hot, and deeply satisfying, you can’t go wrong with this classic dish. Plus, it comes with a side of hash browns, which are delicious served in a tight cylinder or smashed flat if requested “extra crispy.”

Branch out just a little bit to try the Sweet Potato Veggie Smash Up, veganized with that eggy tofu scramble crowning two grilled sweet potatoes, infused with a touch of maple syrup. Piled high with asparagus and umami-rich mushrooms, it’s finished with pickled onions for a perfect briny contrast.

You snooze, you lose. Set your alarm clock at least an hour or two earlier to beat the crowds and claim your table. It might sound daunting, but it’s worth the extra effort to start your day on a delicious note.

Greatfruits

Life is like a box of CSA produce: You never know what you’re gonna get.

We all know what to do when life gives you lemons, but what about grapefruits? Sure, you could give them the same treatment and turn them into grapefruit-ade, but it doesn’t have the same kind of ring. Simply topped with a sprinkle of sugar and brûléed for breakfast is a nice treat, but it feels like so much work to painstakingly dig out each little segment first thing in the morning. When all I want to do is just go back to bed, that level of effort is really asking a lot.

Best suited for advanced preparation, they’re a perfect match with chia pudding, soaked overnight and ready to enjoy no matter when the alarm clock rings. As both an ingredient and topper, the excess grapefruits infuse the whole elegant assembly with bright, citrus flavor. Perfumed with floral notes from orange blossom water and the distinctly spicy taste of cardamom, the pudding itself contains volumes of rich, complex flavor that far exceed the average bowl of oats.

Simple grapefruit supremes would be a fine topper for a simpler finish, but they take on greater substance when gently gelled with agar, straddling the line between jelly and compote. Full of zest to spark your enthusiasm for a fresh new day, grapefruit will suddenly become the shining star amongst the predictable array of seasonal produce picks.

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