This post is from KS contributing writer Debra Worth of Worth Cooking
I learned a long time ago that I felt much better when I had loads of vegetables in our diet. That means far more to me than any research paper, or dietary guidelines. So, I wanted to eat more, and enjoy them, of course. Thus began a journey I am still on of figuring out tasty ways to add vegetables, and LOTS of them, into my diet.
I am going to be sharing some of the ways I like to incorporate vegetables into breakfast, specifically, because that is often the hardest meal to add them to. Also, if I eat vegetables for breakfast, I am more motivated to eat healthy the rest of the day.
I will be sharing both general ideas for adding vegetables, and linking to specific vegetable friendly breakfast recipes. While I have not tried every one of these recipes as my family has several food allergies, they are examples of the ideas I use day in and day out to get myself and my kids excited about vegetables.
Sweet Breakfasts with Vegetables
Warm Cereals + Beta Carotene
How is that for a category? Oddly named or not, this has some of my favorite ideas. Fall is coming which means all things carrots, sweet potato, and, of course, pumpkin. All vegetables. Why leave breakfast out of the fall deliciousness? Add some pureed squash or sweet potato, or grated carrot to warm cereals.
The great thing about most orange vegetables is they have their own sweetness. I always feel like a
mad scientist nutritionist whenever I can cut back on the sweetener needed for oatmeal/rice pudding/quinoa because I added vegetables! I usually do add some sweetener, but less is needed. I also always add vanilla and spices for a true autumn taste.
Note: If adding grated carrot to warm cereals, make sure they get cooked. If the cereal takes a while to cook as is the case with quinoa or steel cut oats just cook it at the same time. If doing a quicker cooking cereal (quick oats, for example) make sure you simmer the carrot for a bit before adding the oats/other cereal.
- Overnight Carrot and Oat Porridge
- Pumpkin Pie Quinoa
- Overnight Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal
- Carrot Cake Quinoa Porridge
- Quinoa Porridge with Carrots and Mango
Vegetable Rich Puddings and Custards
Beta carotene rich vegetables aren’t the only things that go well with breakfast– avocados make a deliciously creamy pudding. Simply puree with flavors and sweetener of choice. Plus, they are a really great vegetable breakfast without eggs (something we have needed until recently, due to allergies).
- Peanut Butter Chocolate Avocado Pudding
- Chocolate Avocado Pudding
- Avocado Lime Pudding (pictured)
- Strawberry and Avocado Pudding
Now back to the orange vegetables. We just recently added (duck) eggs back into our diet, so I have been loving making puddings and custards. When naturally sweetened they make wonderful breakfasts:
- Butternut Squash Custard
- Pumpkin Souffle – (Not a custard really, but I do not have a souffle category)
- Pumpkin Pie Porridge
- Browned Butter + Cardamon Carrot Pudding
Veggie Filled Baked Goods
I rarely have time to bake for breakfasts, other then occasionally on Saturdays. So, most of these I would recommend you make ahead of time for quick, healthy breakfasts. For added vegetables, serve these along with some of the other ideas as they are not as high in vegetables as some of the other ideas.
Green (or Orange) Smoothies
I absolutely love smoothies, as do my children and husband. Usually, I make them pretty straight forward with fruit, but occasionally I will get a little more creative with the nutrition and throw in some vegetables.
- Avocado makes smoothies incredibly creamy. Since I don’t like to add sweetener beyond fruit, I keep the avocado to about 1/4 of an avocado per serving so it is not too overwhelming.
- Then of course there are the popular green smoothies. My favorite green to use is spinach. But, other ones work too (you just might want to steam them first). Simply add a handful of greens to a smoothie.
- Frozen cubes of squash puree, or other lower flavor frozen vegetables, work great too. I have replaced ice with frozen squash before with great results. I have even used cauliflower… but that did not go over well, hence the recommendation of lower flavor vegetables.
Savory Breakfasts with Vegetables
Sauteed Vegetables + Eggs
When we did whole20 (whole30 we cut short, oops!) I kept seeing breakfasts for sauteed or pan fried vegetables topped with eggs. Simple, but delicious.
- Cook what vegetables you have (steam/pan fry/saute)
- Season with salt, garlic, and other seasonings of choice.
- Top with poached, fried, or soft boiled eggs.
- Let the yolk coat the veggies. Enjoy.
Specifically, I tried it with asparagus (pictured) and kale. I wish my photo of the kale had turned out so I could have featured it more. It was so delicious. My 5 year old son, whose perspective on greens is “humans aren’t really supposed to eat leaves” thought it was delicious. The runny yolk over the vegetables was delicious!
Vegetables Cooked In Eggs
Almost any vegetable that is not super water-y can easily be cooked in eggs. Simply cook the vegetables ahead of time (or use leftovers) and bake or scramble with eggs and salt and other seasonings and cheese if desired.
I enjoy Spanish tortillas and make it both with traditional potatoes and other vegetables as well. I particularly like using butternut squash and sauteed mushrooms (pictured above).
- Quiche with Butternut Squash Crust
- Spanish Tortilla (like I said, I also switch up the vegetables in this)
Hash + Leftover Vegetables
Hash is a delicious southern classic. If you are willing to deviate a bit from tradition, it is also a great way to use left over vegetables.
In the example above I chopped up some green beans and added it after the hash was done, stirring for a minute or so to heat through. Any other (non-watery) vegetables can also be used— whatever you happen to have around. For best results use vegetables that have been generically seasoned (garlic, onion, pepper, salt) so that it won’t clash with the flavors added to the hash.
Basic Hash instructions: par-boil or roast potatoes until you can poke them with a fork, with some resistance (half done). Cook in a single layer in a hot (I used medium heat and preheat several minutes), well-oiled pan for a few minutes. Flip, using the spatula to scrape up stuck pieces if need be. Repeat until well browned and soft. Continue to cook until soft and well browned. Add in chopped leftover vegetables of choice, heat. Season to taste. I like salt and pepper, paprika, and onion and garlic powders.
- Celery Root Hash Browns
- Sweet Potato, Bacon, and Apple Hash
- Basic Sweet Potato Hash
- Kale and Potato Hash
Latkes with Vegetables
Latkes (potato pancakes) are surprisingly easy to make, and these versions are stock full of vegetables (beyond white potato):
Vegetables that are Simple to Add
These things are simple to add to breakfasts, and can up the vegetable content in the meantime.
- Pesto (on top of eggs, etc.)
- Avocado Cream (pictured above with mushroom tortilla) or guacamole
- Salsa (on top of hash, etc.)
- Slices of salted tomato, cucumber, or avocado
- Sauteed peppers and onions
- Sauteed squash
- Baked sweet potatoes
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