Veggies for Breakfast
I’m a type one diabetic, which often means breakfast foods don’t work. Even the healthy alternatives (some smoothies have more carbs than the carbiest bagel!) are full of too much sweet for this gal’s blood sugars. And I have learned through my diabetes, when you first get up everyone’s blood sugars are more sensitive — diabetic or otherwise. I won’t go into detail, but breakfasts are best when they are made up of less carbs and more proteins and fiber. BORING you say?
I’m here to tell you it is NOT.
Veggies matched with eggs, bacon, or some kind of root hash are fantastic — and don’t have to take you all morning (though I do highly recommend a lazy Sunday afternoon brunch sometime soon, it is fantastic—I will not show you any photos of me, mainly because my hair is sticking up and I am wearing my slightly fluffy purple bathrobe that hasn’t been washed since I don’t know when — it’s kind of matted and brown on the sleeves and has random things shoved in the pockets — old grocery lists and a rock Austen found out on the back porch, some tissues for her ever-running nose, etc.). So here’s Austen instead.
The basic scrambled eggs and veggies
Got leftover veggies? Salsa? Some kind of roast or sausage? A little pork chop? Kale? Chop up almost anything small enough and it tastes good with some eggs, salt and pepper. A veggie scramble is what my family eats almost every morning.
Some of my latest leftover faves: broccoli (roasted or steamed), zucchini noodles chopped up to about 1-3 inches, left over roasted zucchini, roasted cauliflower, roasted carrots, and most any green (spinach is especially easy — wilts in a minute or less!). I often add a little garlic — I don’t eat cheese, so this helps make up that empty hole in my life. Onions are always good — you can pretty much put a sauteed or caramelized onion in anything.
If it is uncooked, chop it up to your desired size and cook it first. Preferably in butter or bacon fat or coconut oil (yes – hard fats are just fine! you should ALWAYS save your bacon fat — it is better for you than olive oil if you are cooking, olive oil has a low smoke point that is always exceeded when you are cooking on your stove top).
Crack and scramble your eggs right in the pan, add some cheese if you like that (if I’m in a hurry, I just skip the cheese grater and use a knife to sliver the cheese in with the eggs). I cook my eggs on medium low heat, the scrambled curds form easily, and I am less likely to overcook them. Mark Ruhlman taught me that generally, eggs need tenderness. I’ve changed the way I crack them too — softly against one and other rather than on the sharp edge of a pan or bowl. Plus, you can find out which eggs are strongest (it is often the blue eggs for me). I never fish around for egg shells anymore — really!
Frittatas are another great way to go, but do take the extra step of cooking in the oven, so would be more of a lazy Sunday option.
These are the ribboned version of kale chips — Chop up a few leaves of dino kale — I roll the leaves up like a cigar and slice them as thin as I can get them) at the beginning of the week, get my pan hot with some bacon fat, and cook the kale until it is crispy. I add salt and eat it as a breakfast side or throw it ontop of eggs. So good.
Not into eggs? Still want something savory?
I love veggie hash. You can shred all sorts of things — and if you have a food processor, this can be done in a short amount of time — and if you’ve got the processor out, shred up a bunch of veggies for the week. I eat hash for breakfast, or as a noodle or rice substitute for any meal. My favorite hash veggies are: kohlrabi!!, rutabaga, carrot, winter squash (I generally just julienne this rather than use the food processor, but you can also slice it into 1/4 inch c shapes and saute or roast — this is a great leftover use for squash), and of course, potatoes. I haven’t tried zucchini, but I bet it would be good. The trick is to have something shredded, something chunky (like broccoli, chopped zucchini, etc.).
I usually throw in some ground sausage into the mix—adds great flavor. Many will top this with a fried egg and some cheese.
Here is a great recipe from the Nourished Kitchen to help inspire.
I have a lot of food allergies, so I turn to Mickey when I need a new idea that isn’t going to make me feel ill. She has a great recipe for veggie skillets that plays well with many veggies. Don’t forget to add some basil or other fresh herbs. Herbs are really good for you and add so much flavor.
The sweeter side
I totally get that you want a little sweet to start your day. If that is your thing, here are a few ideas.
Try this green smoothie ratio that incorporates greens in a balanced way — great way to use up some excess greens. It is a ratio that allows you to use a host of different fruits and greens so you can use what’s in your fridge and freezer. I use this a lot for my daughter — she has a cup full of blueberries and spinach in one hand and a forkful of broccoli, cheese curd egg scramble in the other. I have a friend that has started making baggies using this ratio and throws them in the freezer so all she has to do before she leaves in the AM is grab the baggie full of ingredients from the freezer and throw it in her Vitamix.
Make some batter for crepes and fill them with fruit or veggies — this could be sweet or savory. Blueberry season is upon us. . .
My last lazy Sunday, I made a double batch of Danielle Walkers’s crepes (grain free and good!) and made breakfast burritos with bacon, eggs, and a skillet full of veggies. You can also stick left over batter in the fridge and make a few more later in the week or make them all up and freeze some for later. Just put a little wax paper between each crepe).
Heidi Swanson has some great ideas for breakfast bowls including:
Yogurt Bowls: Plain Yogurt + pinch of salt + brown rice or barley + lots of chopped herbs + a pinch of turmeric + olive oil drizzle (scroll down to the bottom of the blog post)
Chia bowls and overnight oat bowls. With any of these bowls, you could add veggies and make it savory, but let’s face it — peaches, blueberries, cantaloup — they are all in season and filling our wonderful farmers’ market stalls. So savor the season and enjoy your fruit and your veggies. Don’t forget the nuts and seeds. So good!
Thanks for reading.
Next week Farmer Sarah will be writing about their daily lunches at Orchard Gardens Neighborhood Farm. Each of our farms has a kitchen and the staff there make food together and share a meal most days. She’ll be writing about what they made in a week — with photo documentation. I’m excited, are you?
Please do leave comments and questions – I am happy to hear how you eat your veggies and what modification or question you have for these ideas.
Check out our pinterest page based on this blog post: Vegetables for Breakfast!