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Recipes for healthy grain-based breakfasts

A savory grain bowl topped with grated cauliflower, yogurt and parsley
Savory grain bowls are a great alternatives as an egg-less breakfast.
(Jennifer Chong / For The Times)
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In last week’s newsletter, I offered up recipes that swap other ingredients for eggs, in breakfasts, dinners and desserts. But the era of expensive eggs will continue for some time. Many readers wrote to me saying how they’ve been struggling with this particular grocery store phenomenon and would love to have more egg alternatives for breakfast. And while you might be thinking, “It’s not that hard; just eat toast,” that’s easy for toast people and not so much for others.

I am a die-hard egg eater, and these past few weeks have been difficult for me to find other breakfasts that I like as much. Because I eat eggs for their protein, as much as their taste, it’s more difficult to find things that fit the bill. Plus, our breakfasts are very personal to each of us, and this egg shortage has highlighted how difficult it is to simply switch to something else when you’re so used to a particular cherished breakfast.

I’ve tried throughout my life to like oatmeal, but something about it just doesn’t land with me. My friend Lukas Volger has, for the past several years, posted daily oatmeal recipes as inspirations throughout the month of February on his Instagram account, and those have been massively helpful to move the needle in the oatmeal-eating direction (check out his past posts and follow along for his future ones if you too need some oat-spiration).

If you’re also dipping your toe into oatmeal as an alternative to all the egg-based breakfasts, try Genevieve Ko’s recipe for simple Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal. It has all the ease of those microwave packets but is infinitely tastier, flavored with cooked diced apples and fresh, raw slices on top. You can control the amount of sugar and salt as well.

Throughout my own oatmeal journey, I’ve found savory grains are more my speed. This recipe for Barley Porridge With Mushrooms, Herbs and Poached Egg doesn’t even really need the egg. Barley and oats are flavored with shallots, parsley and thyme and cooked in mushroom broth until deeply savory. A sprinkling of Parmesan cheese enriches it perfectly, adding the fattiness missing from the egg yolk.

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Thea Baumann’s Lentil and Rice Bowls With Grated Cauliflower, Spinach and Yogurt is a wonderful dinner, but I prefer it as breakfast. French green lentils, riced cauliflower and rice are cooked together with spinach and scented with cumin, cilantro and scallions until perfectly tender. I make a batch ahead of time and then rewarm large scoops the next day in some warm chicken or vegetable broth until revived. This also takes well to a sprinkling of Parm on top.

And when you need a break from even the grain bowls, try these Whole Wheat Pancakes, and substitute the eggs with ½ cup plain yogurt. I’ve been making these for the past couple weeks, and they’re just as good, maybe even better, made with the yogurt, which adds a light tang to the nutty pancakes. And if you’ve got protein powder, a scoopful integrates easily into these flapjacks. Make the whole batch, cool any extras, then freeze them in a bag. That way, the next time you need a breakfast as convenient as cracking eggs in a bowl, you’ll just have to pop a couple of the pancakes in your toaster. You won’t miss the eggs at all.

Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal

Fresh apple simmered into this oatmeal lends a natural sweetness so you don’t have to add extra sugar. Sprinkling cinnamon on at the end instead of during cooking gives the oatmeal a bright spice flavor that mellows with the residual heat of the porridge.
Get the recipe.
Cook time: 10 minutes.

A white china bowl of oatmeal topped with sliced apple rests on a wooden surface.
(Los Angeles Times)

Barley Porridge With Mushrooms, Herbs and Poached Egg

This soothing porridge is topped with sautéed mushrooms, a poached egg (optional, of course), grated Parmesan and a ladleful of herb broth. Use chicken stock instead if you want, and you’ve got an elevated yet comforting dish that’s perfect served at any hour.
Get the recipe.
Cook time: 35 minutes.

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Lentil and Rice Bowls With Grated Cauliflower, Spinach and Yogurt

Grated cauliflower, lentils and rice add texture to this easy, one-pot vegetarian dish dotted with steamed spinach and scented with cumin. Leftovers are great warmed up the next day in some broth; just save some fresh cilantro leaves for topping the bowls each day.
Get the recipe.
Cook time: 45 minutes.

A savory grain bowl topped with yogurt and herbs
(Jennifer Chong / For The Times)

Whole Wheat Pancakes

Whole grain flour makes these pancakes a bit more nutritious and gives you a good reason to source local or heirloom flours. Use ½ cup plain yogurt in place of the eggs here and enjoy the light tanginess they add to the nutty batter.
Get the recipe.
Cook time: 45 minutes.

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