What do vegetarians actually eat? Part one: Breakfast

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What do vegetarians actually eat for breakfast? Being vegetarian or vegan is not just about eating rabbit food! There are hundreds of breakfast options out there - here are just a few. Hopefully this post will offer inspiration to vegetarians who may be stuck in a rut - and an explanation to those meat-eaters who can't quite get their head around vegetarianism!

In the 20+ years I’ve been vegetarian (gosh is it that long? My vegetarianism could buy wine in a pub!), I’ve been asked this question more times than I can count: What do vegetarians actually eat?

Of course, if you’re veggie, you’ll know how ridiculous a question it is. It’s not like we just chomp on lettuce all day long (in fact I eat very little lettuce). Vegetarian options are almost limitless.

But, for people who know nothing but the standard meat and two veg, vegetarianism can be a hard concept to understand.

To help out these uncomprehending meat-eaters, I thought I’d write a little mini-series of posts to help answer their questions – starting with what do vegetarians actually eat for breakfast? (see also: what do vegetarians eat for lunch? and what do vegetarians eat for dinner?)

Hopefully these three posts will help people to understand that there’s so much more to vegetarianism than just rabbit food. And, I’m hoping they’ll also be useful to any vegetarians who may be in need of some new ideas. It’s so easy to get stuck in a rut, eating the same few things over and over again (especially when it comes to breakfast!) – so perhaps these posts will offer some new ideas or remind you of an old favourite. Some of the ideas below link to actual recipes, and others are just there for inspiration.

So next time you’re asked whether you truly do survive just on cabbage and carrots, feel free to point people towards this post. Hopefully it will help them to see just how many options we vegetarians have!

What do vegetarians actually eat for breakfast?

Homemade instant oatmeal

Porridge (oatmeal) with honey, jam, chocolate spread, or just a bit of brown sugar. Can be cooked on the hob, or in the microwave if you’re in a rush – or, make your own instant oatmeal from scratch, which just needs hot water.

– Yogurt with fresh or frozen fruit – my personal favourite are frozen blueberries. I also often sprinkle a few chia seeds over my yogurt.

Chia pudding – just mix some chia seeds with milk, and they swell up to give a pudding-like mixture.

– Cottage cheese with honey and fruit – I’ve been obsessed with cottage cheese since I used it to make struklji! It’s a great high-protein alternative to yogurt.

Healthy apple crumble smoothie

– Smoothies – either a green smoothie or a plain fruit smoothie, made with milk or yogurt for protein. I also like to add a few oats for a heartier breakfast, like I did in this apple crumble smoothie.

– Cereal – I genuinely love Bran Flakes, but sometimes also have Weetabix or muesli. Usually with milk, sometimes with yogurt.

Veggie scramble – a variety of vegetables cooked into scrambled eggs or scrambled tofu. I like to serve mine on toast.

– Frittata, filled with whatever veggies you fancy and baked until set. Cook it at the weekend and it will be great for the next few days’ breakfasts.

Banana and peanut butter overnight oats

Overnight oats – basically like cold porridge. Just mix some oats with milk and flavourings the night before, and it’s ready by morning.

– Fruit salad

– Beans on toast – proper British baked beans from a tin (like you can see in the photo below), not just any old beans! Or you can even make homemade baked beans if you’re feeling fancy.

Veggie bacon or veggie sausage sandwich – my personal favourite brands are Quorn and Cauldron, but most supermarkets do own brand stuff these days, so it’s worth trying a few kinds to find your favourite.

Eggs benedict (poached eggs served on an English muffin, topped with Hollandaise sauce) – use sautéed spinach or vegetarian bacon for a perfect veggie version!

Full English breakfast baked eggs

Baked eggs – just crack an egg into a ramekin with whatever veggies or cheeses you fancy, and bake until the whites are set. Serve with toast for dipping!

Breakfast burritos – make a batch and keep them in the freezer! They’re really high in protein, so good if you have a busy day ahead.

– Fried / scrambled / poached eggs on toast

– Granola – great sprinkled over yogurt!

– Avocado toast – especially topped with a fried egg.

– Toast with jam or peanut butter (or both!)

– Croissants, English muffins, crumpets, bagels, etc. – spread with butter and honey.

Veggie hash – potatoes fried up with whatever veggies you like the look of, and finished off with a fried egg.

Kale and potato breakfast hash

What have I missed off the list? Feel free to offer up more inspiration in the comments!

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  1. “My vegetarianism could buy wine in a pub” Ha ha ha ha ha ha! Brilliant. Now I need to think of all my vegetarianism (24 years) can do :-)

  2. What a lovely and educational post, I never really put much thought into what vegetarians eat for breakfast but it looks like it’s just the same as I do as I rarely have things like bacon for breakfast. I am more granola, porridge and overnight oats

  3. I’m not a vegetarian but I love vegetables. I eat meat because every time I tried not to, my blood tests weren’t very good. I actually never have meat for breakfast, and I’m one of those who never skip breakfast, I simply love it! So thanks for the ideas, my favorites are oatmeal or yoghurt with fruit. I’d love to try chia seeds, but I wonder what they taste like. A friend told me they tasted like soap (!) to her.

  4. YES! I love this post SO much. People ask me all the time “what do you even eat? salads?” Today someone asked what kinds of sandwiches I can even eat. What kind of question is that!? Looking forward to this series!

  5. These all look so tasty!! I’m not vegetarian but don’t think meat at breakfast is necessary so would happily have any of these options in the morning. I’ve never had cottage cheese before but veggies seem to be obsessed with it so maybe I should..

  6. Wow what a collection – I cannot believe that in this day and age, people are so uneducated to believe that vegetarians remain undernourished because of a lack of meat. Overnight oats are my go to breakfast – veggie or not!