If you’re sick and tired of following the pack and ordering up a classic “sweet heavy” American breakfast, this post is for you! And even if you think that Salad for Breakfast sounds simply nuts – you should still read on. Maybe all this sunrise salad talk will inspire you to give it a try. Before you know it, you may be having crunchy green salad cravings before noon too!..
Last time I chatted about “veggies for breakfast” you guys caught on just fine. So I’m doing it again!
Sometimes sweet is nice (my vegan Pumpkin Cinna Rolls), but not everyday!..
Sweet Mornings. It always boggled my mind as a kid. I’d peer down at the bowl of cereal I had just devoured and see a few soggy bites of colorful grain cereal swirling around in my milk – which was now a fuzzy, gray, mashed-up-rainbowish color. A sweet sugar rush on my lips, I’d head out the door.
Yup, like many children of the 80’s and 90’s, I was a cereal junkie. Pops were my fave. I couldn’t wait for breakfast. Sugar at sunrise? Yes please! Of course my parents yanked those sugary cereals from my reach at every chance they could get – but really – what parent can compete with the marketing genius of Capt’n Crunch, the Lucky Charms leprechaun and those cute little kids shouting “Kix are for kids!”
Sweet breakfasts are a tradition in America. Donuts, muffins, cinna buns, maple-drizzled french toast, pancakes, sweetened cold and hot cereal, Poptarts, orange juice, whip-cream-topped coffee lattes, sweet yogurt parfaits and more make up our insulin-overdriving AM menu. But it only takes a few too many mid-morning sugar highs to make your somewhat more rational than childhood, adult mind pause and ask, “why is my breakfast always so sweet?”
As we grow up we tend to realize that fluorescent crunchy cereal may not be the best choice to fuel our day. But that “choice” we make is what really defines our diets. Even if you’ve canned the kiddie cereal, you may still be grabbing fat-laden, white flour muffins or sugary “healthy” granola bars for your AM fix – side of an XL caffine-infused latte.
Ask yourself this: what color is my breakfast? If it is brown and beige you need to seriously rethink your routine. Add some color to that meal (and I don’t mean the fluorescent rainbow sugar kind of color). I mean colors from whole food fruits and veggies!
Happily, it seems that since my youth, traditional American breakfast options have gotten better. Well, good stuff is out there for sure. Whole grain cereals with fresh and frozen fruit, frosty fruit smoothies, fresh juices, green juices, protein-rich tofu scrambles or a homemade vegan breakfast sandwich stuffed with grilled veggies.
And once you change your palate (vegans know this well) you’ll start craving healthy, green, whole foods – fruits and veggies. That evening dinner salad becomes the highlight of your day (you actually crave it!) – so maybe it makes you wonder..
Hm, why not salad for breakfast??
Salad it is! The first time I had a big bowl of salad for breakfast I was living in NYC. I had a huge bowl of vegan cole slaw chilling in the fridge from the day before. It was strange. I went to blend up a smoothie and that slaw caught my eye. Those crunchy greens all coated in creamy dressing, light, zesty, chilled, scrumptious. I had a morning salad craving.
I grabbed the bowl and my fork and dug in at around 10:30am. I thought I was nuts. I felt like I was living on the edge! Who eats a big bowl of salad for breakfast? But as I crunched further into the bowl feeling that immediate high of those vitamin and mineral-rich greens entering my body I was oh-so-happy. This totally made sense.
So whenever I have a greens craving before noon I don’t fight it. I embrace it! And I totally want you to do the same.
My basic recipe for a “Breakfast Salad” is below. But you can switch up the ingredients however you like. Just let the greens guide you 🙂
Time Note: “breakfast” doesn’t have to be 8am or even 9am. You can still have your coffee and toast when you rise. But don’t shy away from making mid-morning greens your true power fuel for the day! You can eat a big bowl of greens as a mid-morning bite or early lunch. You don’t have to wait until the sun sets to get up close and personal with a big bowl of veggies.
Kathy’s Breakfast Salad Components
The Greens: I like either something chilled and crunchy like a flavorful slaw or something super light like a spring mix or spicy arugula. Romaine hearts are nice too. You could also do something heartier like kale or even broccoli – but start out light and build to suite your taste buds. And of course you can add other “veggies” like shredded carrots, radishes, beets, sprouts and more. “Greens” really means veggies. However, leafy greens are the base of most my breakfast salads.
The Grains: I love adding a scoop of whole grains to my salad. I like brown rice or quinoa best. For ease, I grab one of those microwavable brown rice packs and scoop about 3/4 cup of grains over top my greens. The grains really give the salad more weight and the slight warmth of the grains is a nice accent to the cool veggies. You could try: wild rice, white or brown rice, millet, barley, quinoa..
The Fruit: I have to add an accent of fruit to my breakfast salads. Citrus is my fave. Freshly cut grapefruit segments, mandarin oranges, or tangerines are lovely. Also try berries, apples, grapes or tropical fruits like banana and papaya. Dried fruit is also a nice touch. Fruit gives the salad some zing, adds hydration and adds a subtle amount of that ‘sweet’ you may be used to.
Seeds/Nuts: Super important step because you will be adding some healthy fats, protein and fiber. Nuts and seeds are packed with nutrients and will help keep you full longer. Pumpkin seeds, pistachios, walnuts, hemp seeds, sunflower seeds, pecans and more are fabulous.
The Dressing: I keep the dressing simple. Something light and zingy or mildly creamy for slaws. Apple cider vinegar based dressings are probably my have for the AM. The alkalizing effect on your body is great for the AM. A light accent of oil is nice too. I like lighter oils like macadamia nut or grape seed. Tahini is also a nice accent for a dressing. Rice vinegar is another zingy ingredient for your dressing. Another great ‘dressing’ is to simply squeeze some fresh orange juice and whisk it with a bit of oil, pepper, spices, pinch of salt. Light and lovely.
The Protein: Of course all fruits and veggies contain protein, but if you want to add some super dense protein sources to your salad try tofu cubes, seared tempeh, tempeh bacon or even beans! I love adding just a few cubes of my citrus-seared tofu cubes…
Other: I love adding other randoms like avocado, salsa, sauerkraut, coconut shreds, seaweed, assorted veggies and more to my salads. If you crave it – you can add it!
Breakfast Salad Recipe (as shown in photos)
2+ cubes Citrus Seared Tofu Cubes – recipe here
2 cups spring mix, organic
1 Tbsp dried cranberries, organic
1/2 white grapefruit, peeled/sliced/deseeded
1/3 cup mandarin orange slices
fine black pepper
dressing: macadamia nut oil/apple cider vinegar/agave/pepper
1 cup brown rice, short-grained
1/3 cup avocado cubes tossed in lime juice
1 Tbsp pistachios