Growing up in Hawaii taught me a lot about the food choices of different cultures, primarily the Polynesians, Japanese, Chinese, Filipinos, Samoans, and Portuguese. I had never before seen anyone eat steamed fish, soup and a salad for breakfast! Once I got past the surprise, I began to wonder if breakfast could ever be typical lunch or dinner foods for most Americans. With the occasional exception of the delicious omelet for brunch, most vegetables are rarely on the menu.
As I began traveling the world, I quietly watched what native people were eating for breakfast. In Japan, miso soup, fish, rice, kabocha squash, cucumbers and pickled vegetables are popular choices. In China, steamed or fried dumplings stuffed with meat and vegetables are common in the morning. In Peru, I saw people eating chicken soup for breakfast that made my mouth water. It was filled with noodles and vegetables. While in England and Scotland, my hearty stick-to-your-ribs breakfast included baked beans, sautéed mushrooms, grilled tomatoes and a potato. And while in Berlin, I gawked at the gorgeous breakfast buffets filled with a luscious and colorful array of raw and pickled vegetables, assorted green salads, avocadoes, onions, peppers, fish, breads of all kinds, French pastries and much, much more.
Although it may seem a bit odd at first, adding veggies to breakfast can be fun and delicious, not to mention nutritious. It doesn’t have to be complicated, and leftovers often make good choices. Here are some ideas and recipes:
Broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts are fabulous scrambled with eggs. Sauté any of these veggies in olive oil until tender. Add beaten eggs and scramble to your liking.
Love sausage? Serve it with colorful bell peppers, leeks, cabbage and onions.
Serve any style eggs over a bed of steamed or sautéed leafy greens such as kale, bok choy, Swiss chard, collard greens or spinach.
Making pancakes? Toss in a handful of grated carrots.
Make savory muffins with onions, carrots, mushrooms and herbs or try Bacon and Sweet Potato Muffins. If you prefer sweet muffins, these Gluten-Free Morning Glory Muffins are made with carrots and zucchini.
Have leftover pizza for breakfast! It’s really good topped with steamed or sautéed onions, broccoli, summer squash, bell peppers or shitake mushrooms.
Fall is right around the corner. Hot soup with vegetables and seasonings such as ginger, garlic, scallions and carrots warms and nourishes the belly on a chilly morning. How about warming up with Chicken and Brown Rice Soup, Spicy Shitake Pho, Hearty Turkey Noodle Soup or Asian Noodle Soup?
Eat hot rice, millet, quinoa or buckwheat with sautéed bok choy or broccoli, a splash of tamari, a dash of seaweed seasoning and roasted sesame oil for a treat.
Make breakfast tacos with leftover or freshly cooked vegetables such as tomatoes, onions, green beans, broccoli or kale. Add eggs or tofu, avocado, favorite salsa or pico de gallo.
Do you eat lunch or dinner foods for breakfast? What veggies are your morning favorites? Let me know in the comment section below.