Each month FBC member and nutritionist, Sondi Bruner, takes a favourite dish and shows you how to adapt it to be allergen-friendly, as well as delicious and healthy. This month she's throwing caution to the wind and showing us how to make filling delicious egg free breakfasts and brunches!
If breakfast or brunch is served without eggs, is it still breakfast or brunch? Discuss.
I've been writing these allergen-friendly columns for a while now, so it probably won't surprise you to hear that my answer is a definitive 'YES.'
However, I constantly encounter people whose major struggle when they change their diets is figuring out what to eat for breakfast. I find people have a much easier time navigating lunch and dinner with food allergies and intolerances, happily transitioning from glutenous pasta to brown rice pasta or swapping cashew milk for dairy in their soups if it means they won't suffer from brain fog or bloating or raging diarrhea. (Side note: is it inappropriate to talk about pooping in a food-related post?)
But breakfast? Breakfast is a whole other story. When you remove eggs and toast from the equation, people begin fanning themselves and scanning the room for fainting couches.
Unfortunately, many of us are intolerant to eggs (myself included), and egg allergies are the second most common food allergy in children. So what to do if you're unable to eat them, or are set to serve breakfast or brunch to someone who can't have eggs?
Not to worry - there are plenty of ways that you can create delicious, satisfying and hearty breakfasts and brunches, no eggs included.
Here are some of my favourite egg breakfast substitutions.
Smoothies can be a great addition to any breakfast meal, but they can also be the main event. This is an ideal breakfast option if you're kicking it solo, but I wouldn't recommend it if your large, burly family is coming over (they may throw your smoothies at you). The key components to a meal-worthy smoothie are:
- Frozen fruit (any kind)
- Greens. I like using milder greens like spinach and romaine, but you can go hard-core with things like kale, Swiss chard, collards and arugula too.
- A Healthy Fat. Half of an avocado is a great choice, as is a spoonful of nut/seed butter, chia seeds, hemp seeds, flax seeds, or coconut oil. The nut and seed options also offer a good dose of fibre!
- Protein. The nuts or seeds listed above are great sources of protein. You could also try adding a protein powder.
- Liquid. I'm lazy, so I usually use water, but you could also toss in some non-dairy milk, coconut water, chilled tea or ice.
Our good friend tofu is a superstar at soaking up flavour, so it's the perfect candidate for a well-seasoned scramble. I typically create tofu scrambles as a way to use up the produce in my fridge - really, anything goes. Start off with a base of sauteed onions and garlic, then toss in options like:
- Spices. Cumin, coriander and turmeric is a good combo, plus the turmeric will add an egg-ish yellow hue. Italian spices like dried basil, oregano and parsley work well, as do cayenne pepper, chili powder or hot smoked paprika for a little kick. And salt and pepper, of course!
- Tofu. Don't use soft or medium-soft tofu in a tofu scramble - it won't hold up to stir-frying and you'll end up with tofu mush. Try a medium-firm or firm tofu instead, and crumble it into the pan after you add your spices so it can begin to soak up the flavour. I like my chunks to be about 1/2-1 inch in size, so more surface area is available to grab onto flavour, but still maintain that scrambled 'eggy' look.
- Your favourite veggies. My preferred combo is sweet potatoes, carrots, zucchini, bell peppers, mushrooms and greens, but of course you could add anything you like.
- Vinegar or Sauces. I like using the salty, fermented flavours of gluten-free tamari or soy sauce, or you could add a splash of apple cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar, rice vinegar or red wine vinegar.
- Citrus Juice and Zest. Depending on the flavour profile you're aiming for, a bit of zest and juice can really brighten things up. For example, if you're making a Greek-style scramble with artichokes, olives, tomatoes and oregano, a splash of lemon would be absolutely awesome.
- Liquid. You may need to add a bit of extra liquid to keep the pan from getting too dry. Remember, the veggies will sweat out some moisture, so you don't want to toss in too much at the beginning. I usually just use water, but broth is an option, too.
Eggless Breakfast Burritos, Tacos or Huevos Rancheros
I love Mexican-style breakfasts because you can easily omit the eggs and no one will notice because you can heap them with refried beans, rice, salsa and guacamole.
To make your burritos or rancheros gluten-free, use 100% corn tortillas, or buy a gluten-free brand of tortillas (I prefer using corn, as many gluten-free tortilla products split all over the place when you try to roll them). For a dairy-free sour cream, try the cashew version from this allergen-friendly remix, or leave out the garlic and coconut oil from this cashew cream cheese.
Also, any of the tofu scramble options above would easily work as a filling for eggless breakfast burritos or tacos.
Chickpea Omelettes and Frittatas
Chickpea flour is a great savoury ingredient to use in vegan omelettes, frittatas and quiches. It creates a lovely hearty batter, and pairs well with a wide variety of fillings and spices.
To make an individual chickpea omelette, I usually start off by whisking 1/4 cup of chickpea flour and 1/4 cup of water. Depending on how many fillings you stuff into your omelette, you may need to add an extra tablespoon of flour or a few extra tablespoons of water. Another bonus to chickpea omelettes is if you have a flipping fail, you can always break it up into chunks and the dish magically transforms into a yummy chickpea scramble!
To whip up a chickpea frittata, begin with 1 cup of chickpea flour and 1 cup of water, then add in your veggies and spices. Oil a pan well, then pour the mixture in and smooth it evenly. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until the top is golden and the edges are pulling away from the pan. Slice and serve.
Both of these chickpea options pair perfectly with roasted potatoes or hash browns.
Gluten-Free and Vegan French Toast
For a sweet option, why not try vegan French toast using gluten-free bread (or regular bread, if gluten isn't an issue for you). Begin with 1/2 cup of non-dairy milk, then stir in your favourite spices (cinnamon and nutmeg are obvious classics, but you could also add cardamom, ground ginger, or cloves, too). To thicken the batter up a bit, either add a tablespoon of starch (arrowroot, tapioca, corn) or ground flax or chia, and mix well.
This should be enough to dip four pieces of gluten-free bread (gluten-free bread is on the smallish side, but you can easily double and triple the recipe for larger, glutenous pieces).
Fry your French toast on both sides until golden, then top with fruit, maple syrup, chocolate chips, or whatever else you want!
Why not make your guests do some of the work? Have a choose-your-own-adventure brunch where you lay out different kinds of fresh fruit, granola, nuts/seeds, dried fruit, coconut yogurt or coconut whipped cream, chia pudding, and jams and preserves, then allow your guests to layer as they choose. Fun, right?
Fruit crumbles are a lazy cook's dream. Just toss whatever fruit you have lying around in some maple syrup or honey, then top with a mixture of oats, coconut oil, sugar (preferably a non-refined version), shredded coconut, and nuts and/or seeds. (You could also make it Paleo by only using nuts, seeds and coconut in the topping, like this grain-free plum crisp.)
Whole Grain Porridges
Oatmeal is often the standard choice, but other gluten-free grains also work beautifully in breakfast porridges - such as buckwheat, quinoa, millet and amaranth. Similar to breakfast parfaits, oatmeal is very customizable. You can load it up with a variety of fresh and dried fruit, maple syrup or honey, spices, non-dairy yogurt, even chocolate chips.
And do you think I could convince you to try a savoury porridge? It's a great way to sneak some extra veggies into your day. I like to saute dark leafy greens and mushrooms together, then add them to my porridge along with gluten-free soy sauce and sesame oil. Sometimes, I'll add a handful of lentils while the porridge is cooking, or load my oatmeal up with sliced avocado, black beans and salsa. Just consider it, friends.
Okay, so what have I missed? Please share your favourite eggless breakfast recipes in the comments!
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 4 tbsp gluten-free soy sauce, or salt to taste
- 4 tbsp water or broth
- 1½ tbsp cumin
- 2 tsp coriander
- ½ tsp turmeric
- ¼-1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 350g package organic firm or medium-firm tofu, crumbled into large chunks
- 1 large sweet potato, cut into ½-inch cubes (about 2 cups)
- ½ of a butternut squash, cut into ½-inch cubes (about 3 cups)
- 1 large zucchini, chopped
- 1 bunch of kale, finely sliced
- In a large pan or pot, saute the onions and garlic in the olive oil until softened, about 5-7 minutes. Add the soy sauce, water or broth, spices and crumbled tofu, mixing well to ensure that everything is well coated.
- Toss your sweet potato, butternut squash and zucchini into the pan, and stir fry for about five minutes. Place a lid onto your pot or pan, turn the heat down to low, and allow the veggies to cook for about 10-15 minutes. Keep checking on the veggies to ensure the pan isn't too dry.
- When the veggies are tender, toss in your shredded kale and let it wilt gently for a minute or two. Taste, and adjust seasoning as necessary.
Check out more of Sondi's Allergen Friendly Remixes for great ideas on revamping your favourite recipes to make them allergen friendly! Got a favourite recipe you'd like to see get an Allergen Friendly Makeover? Let us know in the comments!
Sondi Bruner is a holistic nutritionist, freelance writer and food blogger. She educates people who follow allergen-friendly diets about how to eat simply, deliciously and safely, allowing them to rediscover the pleasure of food. When she’s wearing her writer’s hat, she works with natural health brands to create content that will help their customers live fulfilling, healthful lives. Find out more at www.sondibruner.com. Or you can follow Sondi on Facebook or Twitter