Plant-Based Breakfasts: Properly Fuel Your Day

Due to the break-neck pace at which most of us live life, the most important meal of the day seems to be the most neglected. When we cheat the breaking of the fast, we then often make poor choices for mid-morning snacks or lunch because we are so famished. Try these make ahead and simple solutions for your morning rush. Charging up with slow-release, whole-grain proteins keeps me from getting “mid-morning hangries” and carries me through to making wise selections for a proper lunch.


Multigrain Kutia 

(Serves 6-7)

This lovely mixed-grain morning cereal with Ukrainian roots is my absolute favorite. It is easily made ahead and reheated quickly by putting about 1/2 cup water under the grains in the bottom of the pot, then steaming on high for 3-5 minutes. The recipe is adapted from Pure Vegan by Joseph Shuldiner. I often put the grains and water in covered pots overnight to soak. This step makes them more easily digested and cuts the cooking time a bit. I love the way it looks in pint-sized Mason jars for a very portable breakfast. Get ready, get set, go!


1 cup semi-pearled farro

1 cup kasha or kamut

1 cup quinoa


dried cherries

slivered almonds, toasted

agave or maple syrup, a drizzle

dark chocolate, grated or chopped

cinnamon, a sprinkling

almond milk (ridiculously simple recipe follows)

If not soaking the grains, bring 1 1/2 cups water to boil in a small saucepan and add the farro. Turn down the heat to simmer, cover and cook 25-30 minutes, or until water is absorbed. (If you are using the soaking method, just bring the pot to a boil, then lower to a simmer, cooking for just a few minutes less).

Simultaneously bring 3 cups of water to boil in a large saucepan. Add the other grains, turn down the heat to simmer and cover. Cook for 15-20 minutes or until water is absorbed. Let stand covered to steam while the farro finishes cooking.(If you are using the soaking method, just bring the pot to a boil, then lower to a simmer, cooking for just a few minutes less).

Add the farro to the larger pot and fluff lightly to combine all the grains. Serve into bowls and top each with the cherries, almonds, agave/maple syrup, chocolate and cinnamon. Pour almond milk over it all.


Almond Milk

(6 Cups)

2 cups raw almonds

5 cups water

1 cinnamon stick, broken in half

1/4 cup agave or maple syrup, if desired

Place the almonds, water and cinnamon stick in a blender. Soaking for a few hours will extract more flavor and nutrients from the nuts, but I have made a yummy quick version of this nut milk without the soaking.

Blend the nut mixture until smooth and creamy. Pour it all through a nut milk bag or fine mesh strainer over a big bowl. Stir in the agave or maple syrup. Refrigerate.


Ful Medames (Egyptian Breakfast Beans)

(Serves 8)

This dish is likely older than the pharaohs and is a common street vendor breakfast in the Middle East. It is traditionally served with lemon wedges and topped with a fried egg. We serve our vegan version over brown rice in lieu of the egg. Make it up ahead, reheat and get out the door. (This breakfast also looks very nice in a Mason jar!)


3 pounds fava beans, soaked for 8-10 hours (Use the small round kind, not the flat kind)

2 sweet onions, diced small

1 head garlic, peeled and put through a press

1 tablespoon cumin

cayenne, 2 pinches

1 lemon, zested and juiced

6-8 cups cooked brown rice


2 cups parsley, chopped

paprika, a sprinkling (We like the smoked Spanish on this dish!)

salt and pepper, to taste

1 lemon, cut into wedges


Drain and rinse the beans. Place them in a large pot, covering with 4 inches of water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until the beans are tender, about 1 1/2-2 hours.

Meanwhile, saute the onion in a bit of water or vegetable broth until tender and beginning to brown. Add the garlic, cumin, cayenne, lemon zest and juice. Cook 5 minutes longer, adding water by the tablespoon if needed. Set aside until the beans are done.

When the beans are finished, drain all but 1 cup of the liquid and add the onion mixture. Mix well. Portion over prepared brown rice. Top with the parsley, salt, pepper and paprika. Serve with lemon wedges on the side.


Irish Oatmeal

(8 servings)

Because of its simplicity and speed of preparation, this is our breakfast of choice at least three days each week with different toppings for variety. Mason jars. Again.


2 cups steel cut oats

6 cups water


Soak the oats in the water overnight in a covered pot. In the morning, bring to a boil. Uncover and reduce to medium low for 15-20 minutes (depending upon how chewy you like your oats). Portion it out in bowls and serve with a nice combination of fruit, nuts, natural sweetener and spices.



Dried Currants, Pecans, Almond Milk

Chopped Apple, Walnuts, Brown Sugar, Cinnamon

Fresh Pear, Toasted Almonds, Agave, and a splash of Vanilla

Fresh or Poached Frozen Peaches (in water or white wine, with a splash of almond extract)

Sliced Banana and Pecans

Berries, Toasted Almonds