3 Easy (and Yummy) Plant-Based Diet Breakfast Ideas for Beginners

woman breakfast in bed

Given how well-received our Plant-Based Diet for Beginners (and Curious Omnivores) series was, I thought it would be helpful to follow up with some healthy plant-based diet breakfast ideas.

I’ve included our three favourite go-to brekkie options. They’re all super easy to make and one of them you can even prepare ahead.

I’ve also linked to a few other breakfast treats I think you might enjoy. Let me know in the comments if you try any and what your favourites are.

When you’re just starting out, adopting a vegan lifestyle it can seem a little daunting. Actually, make that a lot daunting.

You’re used to eating whatever you like and now you’re not sure what’s permitted and what’s verboten.

Thank goodness for Google and allergen lists (more on than further down), because even as double-digit vegans Sporty and I still find ourselves scratching our heads occasionally.

Take oats, for example.

Is Oatmeal a Plant-Based Food?

Yes. Oats by themselves are 100% vegan. It’s how you prepare oatmeal (the liquid you use for cooking or soaking) that determines whether or not it remains vegan-friendly.

If you’re intent on buying single-servings of instant oatmeal (I hear you, they do make life easy), you’ll often find that cow’s milk and sugar have been added to increase the creaminess and flavour.

Not to worry, it’s easy enough to avoid inadvertently consuming dairy. Flip the package over and take a look at the allergens. They’ll either be listed separately or highlighted in bold.

Allergens actually make it super easy to know whether or not a product is plant-based. The only ingredient not listed as an allergen is honey. If you’re avoiding it make sure to scour the food label.

The fail-safe option, however, is to stick with plain rolled oats. (You can’t go wrong if all you’re buying are the oats.) If you’re a general knowledge nerd, Nairn’s (the guys who make those delicious oatcakes) explain where oats come from.

Okay, we’ve covered oatmeal, but what about other food? I’m glad you asked. Helpfully, Vegan First explains in detail how to know if your food products are vegan, leaving us free to focus on breakfast.

Finally.

1. Bircher Muesli (aka Fancy Overnight Oats)

oats are the perfect plant based diet breakfast choice

Bircher Muesli is a fancy term for soaked oats, so don’t get yourself in a tizz just yet. It’s super easy to make, I swear. Plus, it’s almost impossible to mess up, so even if you have difficulty locating the kitchen you’ll still be able to make this.

As whole food plant based breakfast ideas go, this one is right up there as a firm favourite in our house. We prefer green smoothies for the nutrient punch they pack, but oats win the race when it comes to convenience.

Oats are usually gluten free, too, so if you suffer from gluten intolerance they’re a good option.

What you’ll need:

  • Rolled oats (¼ – ½ cup)
  • Non-dairy milk* (½ – ¾ cup)
  • Goji berries (handful)
  • Almonds (7-8 chopped or whole)
  • Grated apple (1/2)

*Soy, rice, oat, almond milk, etc.

Optional additions:

Optional toppings:

Method:

Put all the ingredients except for the milk in a bowl. Add liquid until the oats are just covered. Err on the side of less, because you can always add more if it seems too thick or stodgy.

You can prepare this the night before and leave it in the fridge or you can make it in the morning. The oats really only need an hour or two to soak. However, if you decide to make breakfast in the morning it’s a good idea to chop the nuts up as they won’t have had time to soften. If you don’t mind the crunch factor, skip the last step.

Notes:

Avoid quick-cooking oats if at all possible, because your breakfast will get mushy. Although if that’s all there is, go for it. With the toppings and additions, it’ll still taste good. Make sure you buy oats where ‘oats’ is the only ingredient listed.

Be adventurous. Swap out the non-dairy milk with water. We normally use water because it’s more cost-effective. Also, the milk is more of a nice to have than a must.

Be even more adventurous and chop and change the other ingredients as well. Try mixing in cacao for a chocolatey flavour or maca if you’d prefer something maltier.

You can replace the goji berries with dates, raisins, white mulberries or any other dried fruit that takes your fancy. Leave them out completely if you’re not a fan.

Adding things like banana and raisins will sweeten the deal anyway, but if that’s not enough, cinnamon is a great natural sweetener, so give that a go before reaching for the maple syrup.

Try going without the extra sweetener though, if you do your taste buds will eventually adjust and you’ll learn to appreciate the natural flavours more.

3. Plant-Based Smoothie (Berry or Chocolate)

POST BODY strawberry smoothie

Some of us are lazy and prefer drinking our breakfast. Sporty doesn’t fall into this category, but maybe you do. If that’s the case, read on and be instantly smitten. But first, allow me to dispel a myth.

You don’t need milk to make your smoothie creamy and delicious. It’s true.

Okay, if there’s no milk in the smoothie, how on earth do you get that amazing ice-cream like consistency? I’m glad you asked. Allow me to enlighten you forthwith.

What you’ll need for a berrylicious smoothie:

  • Rolled oats (¼ – ½ cup)
  • Water (1 cup)
  • Blueberries (½ cup)
  • Frozen bananas (1-2)

What you’ll need for a chocolicious smoothie:

  • Rolled oats (¼ – ½ cup)
  • Water (1 cup)
  • Frozen bananas (1-2)
  • Cacao powder (1 T)
  • Cacao nibs* (1 T)
  • Peanut butter* (1 tsp)

*Optional, but very much recommended for added crunch and tastiness

Method:

Put all the ingredients in your blender and blend on high for about 30-60 seconds. What you’re after here is a smooth, lump-free consistency that’s thick enough to seem decadent and liquid enough to drink. It’s a very scientific process, but with practice you’ll soon get the hang of it.

Notes:

If oats don’t agree with you or you’re simply not a fan, leave them out. I like them because they keep me full for longer and add some creaminess to the mix. Double win. You could also sub them with oat bran or granola, but then reduce the quantities to no more than a quarter cup or so. You know, to avoid it becoming a complete fat fest.

Definitely try making the smoothie with water first, then if you really feel like you need additional creaminess you can try adding half milk (non-dairy, obvs) and half water. Water is the shizz, just give it a chance.

Also, the frozen bananas are the key ingredient here. You can use fresh if that’s all you have, but the taste and consistency won’t be nearly as delish. I’m not sure what happens to the banana molecules when you freeze them, but they somehow get much sweeter.

Finally, if you feel like the smoothie isn’t sweet enough you can always add a couple of dates to the mix. Just leave the blender on for a bit longer to get rid of all the lumps. Unless of course you like that sort of thing, in which case don’t.

One last point, I swear. 

If you don’t have one already, the JTC OmniBlend is the best blender for smoothie bowls and smoothies, hands down. We’re so smitten with Blendobi (our JTC), that he’s featured in our logo.

If money’s tight or you prefer something more compact, the Nutribullet is another great option. We loved ours! Take a look at our juicer versus blender post to see our thoughts on it.

3. Plant-Based Toasties

Plant-Based Diet Breakfast - avocado-toast

I’m not a fan of savoury fare first thing, but evidently a lot of people are. If that’s you, then these toastie options will do the trick. Along with being ridiculously easy to make, toast also offers a blank canvas of possibilities to please the palate and fill your tummy.

What you’ll need:

  • Bread (rye, essene, wholewheat, spelt, etc.)
  • Topping of choice (see below for suggestions)

Optional toppings:

  • Almond butter* and sliced banana (add maple syrup if it’s Sunday)
  • Hummus and pan-fried cherry tomatoes (or plain old sliced tomatoes)
  • Avocado and grilled red peppers (check out this avo toast for extra inspiration)
  • Scrambled tofu (if you’re feeling slightly more adventurous)

*As tempting as it is, try to stay away from wild cards like chocolate peanut butter.

Method:

Erm. Slice bread and place in toaster. Toast. Remove when done and place on plate. Add toppings and serve. Or, put everything on the table and let everyone make their own. Eat. Drink coffee. Be happy. Repeat.

Notes:

The bread you choose will depend on your taste. Being German, Sporty likes dark rye, while I prefer essene bread. The only thing I’d say is to avoid white and overly processed bread. If possible, buy directly from a local bakery.

More Healthy Plant Based Breakfast Recipes

These additional plant-based breakfast recipes are to show you just how exciting you can make your plant-based breakfast menu. They’re also a way of putting you in touch with other vegan food blogs, so you don’t get stuck rotating through our three options.

Yeah, we’re cool like that.

Making a Plant-Based Diet Breakfast is Super Easy

vegan brunch

Whipping up an easy plant based healthy breakfast doesn’t have to be a daunting or laborious task. Think about what you’d like to eat, have a gander in your fridge and pantry to see what ingredients you have available and get creative.

Remember, a lot of recipes might be easy, but they can still be time consuming to prepare. Our advice? Save the creative juices for the weekend and prepare ahead during the week. There’s nothing like knowing you have a chia pudding waiting for you in the fridge to make you bounce out of bed in the morning.

Vegan nerd, much?

Image credit Dana Tentis on Wunderstock and Bakd&Raw by Karolin BaitingerMariana Medvedeva and Brooke Lark on Unsplash

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