Vegan breakfast offerings on the rise
Vegan dishes, which do not include
animal-derived products, are increasingly
appearing on breakfast menus, and
improving in quality, according to Renee
Zonka, CEC, CHE, RD, MBA, dean of
Kendall College School of Culinary Arts,
Chicago. “Just like die-hard meat eaters
and everyone else, vegans seek high
flavor in their foods, but are often left
wanting,” she says. “Chefs are turning
to more nontraditional foods, such as
beans and legumes, whole grains, and
bold herbs and seasonings to enhance
the flavor and mouthfeel of vegan
with an Australian-style coffee drink
called a Flat White, made with soy milk.
The menu has also featured the vegan
dish No Animals Were Harmed During
the Making of This Breakfast—curried
tofu scrambled with cumin, tomatoes,
olive oil, carrots, cranberries and onions.
Yield: 8 quarts
Nana’s Housemade Gentle Breeze
Vegan offerings are also popular at Nana
in Chicago’s Bridgeport neighborhood,
says executive chef Guy Meikle. One of
the most popular vegetarian breakfast
items is the vegan tofu scramble, made
with asparagus, English peas, fava
beans and tofu marinated in thyme, olive
oil and protein powder.
At Smooch Organic Café in Brooklyn,
N. Y., cook Kirk Benttinen says a lot of
customers ask for dishes to be made
vegan, without cheese or dairy. The
Tamarama is a popular vegan dish, with
avocado, tomato, pepper, olive oil and
lemon juice, served with toast. It comes
“We try to always be mindful of
vegetarian and vegan customers,” Meikle
says. “For example, we try not to add
a [meat-based] stock to dishes if it’s
not necessary, but, rather, try to use a
½ cup unsalted butter
½ cup Gentle Breeze honey (or other
brand of pure, natural honey)
½ cup firmly packed light-brown sugar
¼ t. salt
1 T. grated orange rind
1 T. ground cinnamon
2 t. vanilla extract
4 cups uncooked steel-cut oats
1 cup raw sunflower seeds
½ cup toasted wheat germ
½ cup whole natural almonds
½ cup coarsely chopped walnuts
½ cup flax seeds
1 cup dried cherries
1 cup dried cranberries or blueberries
1 cup chopped dried apricots
¾ cup dried organic coconut flakes
Wild Eggs has two vegetarian eggs Benedict
on its menu. Bennies Gone Wild features
a mushroom patty made with the five-mushroom blend, cream cheese, egg yolks,
fresh herbs, roasted garlic and breadcrumbs.
The patty is served on a grilled English muffin
that is first layered with a grilled tomato slice,
and topped with a poached egg and roasted-tomato hollandaise sauce with fresh chopped
herbs and a balsamic reduction.
The corn/oat waffles at Nana are popular
and unusual, says Meikle. “They are gluten-free and vegan, because we use soy milk.
The waffles are made with dates, oatmeal,
cornmeal and soy milk. Everybody likes them.”
Roasted apple and ginger pancakes is a
flavorful vegetarian option at Nana.
GRANOLA AND MORE
Housemade granola is a popular vegetarian
breakfast staple, along with pancakes,
waffles and crêpes.
Smooch offers an unusual dish—Vegemite
Soldiers, ciabatta bread cut in strips,
buttered, and then spread with a thin
layer of Vegemite, a popular Australian
vegetarian food paste.
Method: Combine butter, honey, brown
sugar and salt in small saucepan.
Bring to a simmer over medium heat;
cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Remove from heat; stir in orange
rind, cinnamon and vanilla. Cool.
Toss together oats, sunflower seeds,
wheat germ, almonds, walnuts and
flax seeds in large bowl until blended.
Pour cooled syrup over oat mixture;
stir until coated. Using hands coated
with butter-flavored cooking spray,
firmly press oat mixture into large lightly
greased rimmed baking sheet. Bake at
275°F for 1 hour, 10 minutes, or until
toasted and browned (do not stir). Let
cool completely in pan. Toss together
cherries, cranberries or blueberries,
apricots and coconut in large bowl.
Break cooled granola into chunks;
gently stir into dried fruit and coconut.
At Wild Eggs, homemade granola has
dried bananas, cranberries, golden raisins,
apricots, almonds and pecans, and is
served with milk or vanilla yogurt. The menu
also includes two crêpes, one filled with
cream cheese and berries and the other
with an apple/bourbon compote.
The menu at Smooch doesn’t include
pancakes and waffles, says Benttinen, but
it does feature The Best Granola on the
Planet for Those Who Wish to Conquer
Their Breakfast World. “It’s so good. It
includes almonds, goji berries and oat
clusters. It is served with the granola on
the bottom and yogurt on top. Each server
has his or her own style for plating and
presenting it. They can be creative. It’s part
of the fun of eating here.”
Kathryn Kjarsgaard is a freelance food writer
based in Forest Park, Ill.