Plants: It’s what’s for breakfast
The times, they are a-changin’ has been a refrain for roughly five decades now, and these days, it even appears to be true for what and the way we eat. Plant-based and completely animal-free diets and lifestyles are increasingly popular — so much so that chains like McDonald’s and TGI Friday’s have begun offering meatless burgers. According to The Economist, a quarter of twenty-five- to thirty-four-year-olds in the U.S. claim to be vegan or vegetarian. As 2018 drew to a close, that publication declared 2019 “the year of the vegan.”
That makes the new year a mighty sweet spot for German bloggers and cookbook authors Nadine Horn and Jörg Mayer, who stoked summertime inspiration with 2018’s VBQ: The Ultimate Vegan Barbecue Cookbook and are back with the North American edition of The Ultimate Vegan Breakfast Book: 80 Mouthwatering Plant-Based Recipes You’ll Want to Wake Up For (published by The Experiment), intended to “bring creativity and variety to your breakfast table” and offer enticing alternatives for the first meal of the day — long a traditional stronghold of eggs, meat, and cheese. It’s a delightful book full of colorful photos designed to encourage you to fill your mornings with vibrant fruits, veggies, and critter-free concoctions.
Breakfast is easier than barbecue to approach from a meat-free standpoint, so Horn and Mayer spend less time discussing equipment, ingredients, and in-depth techniques. Still, they do include some pretty basic directives, such as a method for infusing water with produce and herbs, and the suggestion that — whodathunkit — you’ll have more time for a nutritious breakfast if you get up earlier. They excel elsewhere, though, with instructions for crêpes, waffles, and pancakes without egg or dairy; making your own breakfast “sausage” and tempeh bacon; and creating nut milks. They also highlight a wide variety of plant-based substitutes for common early-day ingredients, like cashew cream cheese, a garbanzo-based scramble and quiche filling; and tofu eggs and omelets. (Many of these rely on a “secret ingredient” called kala namak, a black volcanic stone salt with an egglike smell and taste.)
Recipes range from simple smoothies — served in both glasses and bowls — to breads and crackers (many gluten-free) along with things to go in and on them. There’s no shortage of sweet stuff, with an entire chapter dedicated to the topic plus recipes for treats like Chocolate-for-Breakfast Porridge and Wake-Up Popsicles. Some offerings sound less appealing — raw carrot cake, for example, or frothy banana coffee, the unfortunately euphemistic-sounding golden milk, and “clumpy” granola. Others, though — miso oatmeal with peas, an onion tart, hash-brown BLTs, pesto bread, and a meat-free version of the “full English” — might make you glad to say, “Good morning!” to an animal-free breakfast.