Breakfast is one of those weirdly divisive things. Are you savoury or sweet? Is it coffee before or after? Is it even the most important meal of the day anymore?
Well, some of these questions are very personal (coffee first, of course), but some are just shifts in the way we think (nutritionists now agree that if you’re not a breakfast person, that’s ok – you should listen to your body).
But the idea of breakfast itself is an ever shifting and changing thing. What we typically think of in Australia as milk and cereal, hot buttered toast or possibly a smoothie to-go, is actually widely varied right around the world and has more to do with the available foods and technologies, successful marketing and the structure of your day than what foods are actually ‘breakfast appropriate’… which is not even a thing.
In Hong Kong dumplings and salty congee porridge are common breakfast fare. In Japan you might find green tea poured over rice and served with smoked eel. In Sri Lanka it could be sweet pastries or curry… you get the point.
Typically in cultures that require a specific morning start to a sedentary work day, we prioritise convenient and quick breakfasts over cooked ones.
But in societies where work days involve more physical labour it’s common to have heartier breakfasts to see the active body through to lunch.
What I do know is that we shouldn’t limit ourselves by an idea of ‘breakfast food’, because any food can be good for breakfast… just ask anyone who has ever had leftover pizza or bolognaise first thing in the morning.
Here are some breakfast recipes to help us all think differently about how we start the day.
CAKE FOR BREAKFAST: BANANA BREAD
This is what banana bread has been doing for us for years. I don’t care how you look at it, banana bread is just cake you can eat without judgment early in the morning.
The great thing about banana bread is that you can make it ahead and take it into the office to toast and layer with butter when you’re ready. Make one loaf and you have a whole week of breaky ready to go.
RECIPE HERE: Easy five-ingredient banana bread
COOKIE DOUGH: BAKED BREAKFAST OATS
This is a social media trend that brings a bunch of good things together – oats, cookies, cookie dough and chocolate. It’s also a bit like a cake in a pot, with a molten chocolate core. Are you in? Let’s call it cookie dough oats cake. Just yes.
You can make this vegan if you like by using egg replacer, but considering it’s already dairy and refined sugar free, I like this version.
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 1 small banana
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon s peanut butter
- ¼ tsp baking powder
- pinch salt
- ½ cup oat milk
- handful of choc chips
- extra chocolate pieces, for molten centre
Note: Recipe makes 2 pots
- Blend all ingredients except for choc chips and choc pieces until smooth.
- Stir in chocolate chips and spoon the mixture into greased ramekins and then bury a piece of chocolate in the centre of each one, making sure it’s covered up with batter.
- Bake the pots at 180°C for 15-20mins.
- Serve warm and dig into the molten chocolate centre.
LOADED SWEET POTATO: TOPPED WITH PEANUT BUTTER AND SEEDS
Now this one is a new favourite of mine and it’s right off the wall. Potato for breakfast is not that uncommon – hash browns, bubble and squeak etc. – but sweet potato doesn’t often get a look in. Enter the loaded sweet potato that takes a traditional baked potato and tops it with flavours that are a bit more usual at breakfast time… but you do you and top it with whatever you like.
- Sweet potatoes (as many as you like)
Toppings of choice – suggestions include:
- peanut butter
- seeds and nuts
- maple syrup or honey
- Heat your oven to 180°C, line a baking tray and then line your sweet potatoes up on the tray. Using a fork, poke some holes in each one and then bake for 1hour until very soft inside the skin.
- Serve hot with the skin split open and topped with your favourite breakfast toppings and finish with a sprinkle of seeds and drizzle of maple syrup.
Tip: you can bake the potatoes at the beginning of the week and heat them up at work in the microwave.
PIZZA: FULL ENGLISH ON TOP
This is basically just your usual pizza base stepping into the role of toast with a full English breakfast on top. Crack an egg into the middle before your put it in the oven and then serve it up.
Our toppings include:
- Pre-made pizza base with red sauce
- bacon, cooked and ready
- pork sausage pieces, cooked
- Swiss brown mushrooms, cooked
- pizza cheese
- 1-2 eggs
- Preheat your oven to 180°C and place your pizza base onto a tray.
- top your pizza with your preferred breakfast toppings, leaving out any fresh greens until it come out of the oven. Finish with cheese crack 1 or 2 eggs on top making hollows in the cheese to hold them.
- Bake for 10minutes or until all your toppings are hot, the eggs are cooked and the base is crisp and the cheese is melted. Finish with any fresh items you like.
RECIPE HERE: Breakfast pizza
BREAKFAST BURRITO: SCRAMBLED EGGS
This is another great one that you can make ahead. Choose your fillings, wrap them all up and then pop them in a sandwich press the next day at work. So very good.
- burrito wraps
- black beans, onion and capsicum fried down together
- hot sauce
- sour cream or melting cheese
- smoked paprika
- Dice your onions and capsicum and sautee in a little olive oil until softened and sweet, then toss in your drained black beans and some smoky paprika. Once warmed through, set aside.
- In the same saucepan scramble some eggs and set aside.
- Dice your avocado.
- Lay a burrito wrap out flat and smear it with sour cream or spread some grated cheese over it, leaving edge room to wrap it up into a burrito shape. Fill the middle with a good amount of the bean mix, lay some scrambled eggs on top and add some avocado. Wrap the burrito up firmly, enclosing one end.
- When ready, toast it in a hot sandwich press and serve with hot sauce.
MINCE: SAVOURY MINCE ON TOAST
This is a dish I grew up with. My Grandad loved it on white toast as a treat. Essentially it’s a great excuse to have something like bolognaise at breakfast time with some added veggies to sustain you through the day. It’s another dish you can make ahead and then just reheat at work for the greatest and most envy inducing breakfast. If all else fails, just repurpose your bolognaise with some added peas in the mix.
You eat bacon and sausage for breakfast… why not a mince mix?
- 1 onion, 1 carrot, 2 celery stalks, all diced
- 200g mushrooms, sliced
- 1 cup frozen peas and corn mix
- 1 teaspoon crushed garlic
- 500g beef mince
- 2 tablespoons instant gravy powder
- 1 cup tomato puree
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce (or more)
- parsley, to finish
- White toast, to serve
Heat some olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan and add onion, carrot and celery and sautee until sweet and soft. Stir crushed garlic through, then add mince to the pan and cook (breaking into small pieces) until browned off and crisping.
- Add gravy powder, tomato puree, ¾ cup of water, sliced mushrooms and the Worcestershire sauce and give it all a good mix. Bring to the boil and then reduce to a simmer until the sauce thickens to a gravy – about 5 minutes.
- Stir in the peas last of all until just bright green and serve on hot buttered white toast with parsley garnish.
BREAKFAST SALAD: POACHED EGGS WITH GREENS AND SEEDS
Salad is another dish that we often forget about at breakfast. But if you’re looking to cut back on carbs, then go with all your usual breakfast faves, but ditch the toast and make it a salad!
- shredded greens – like kale or baby spinach
- green apple, diced
- baby broccoli, broken into small pieces and blanched
- avocado, sliced
- nuts and seeds of choice
- cider vinegar
- lemon juice
- avocado or olive oil, to dress
- eggs, soft boiled and peeled – or poached
- Wash, dry and shred all your greens and place in a large bowl with diced apple, blanched broccoli, splash of apple cider vinegar, dash of olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice. Add a pinch of salt and toss the salad together.
- Place the greens into a serving bowl and top with a halved boiled egg, some slices of avocado and a sprinkle of your nuts and seeds of choice.
RECIPE: Gluten Free breakfast salad with poached eggs
Easy no-cook Mother’s Day breakfast