What's for breakfast? This guide will keep you inspired in the morning with flavorful plant-based recipes, both savory and sweet. Enjoy smoothies, breakfast bowls, scrambles, muffins, and more!
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Yum. Yum. Yummmmm. Are you a diehard breakfast fan like we are? Would you be perfectly pleased to have breakfast for every single meal of the day? If super crisp hash browns, softly sweet pancakes, savory tofu scramble, or fresh fruit-filled smoothie bowls sound like heaven to you, our Guide to Vegan Breakfast will be a lifesaver (literally)!
When you’re just starting out on your vegan journey, simple things can sometimes get confusing. Starting your day with the right food can truly help to motivate you for the rest of the day. With this guide, you’ll have the best tool to transform a basic, dairy-filled breakfast to a delicious and downright delectable meal that’s plant-based and positively free from animal suffering.
An easy way to make breakfast as simple as possible without having to pour through stacks of plant-based cookbooks, is to make a vegan version of an already familiar and favorite breakfast. What does that mean exactly?
For example, if you usually have cereal, fruit, and milk in the morning, all you need to do is replace the dairy milk with a plant-based beverage. There are so many creamy and delicious nut and seed milks on the market (some with added flavors such as vanilla, chocolate, or hazelnut, too!) that there won’t be a lack of choices.
Are you a sweet or savory breakfast lover? Do you prefer early morning eats that are less like lunch and more like dessert, or the other way around? Luckily, we’ve got you covered for both in our vegan breakfast guide!
Can you believe how many delightful decisions you might have to make? I’m drooling just thinking about all of the interesting and appetizing options! How about you?
Quick and Easy Vegan Breakfast Tips
When you wake up in the morning, the very thought of making breakfast might cause a mini meltdown (believe me, I’ve been there!). To make things easier for yourself (and your stomach), here are a some really simple recommendations for planning your first food of the day.
Make Your Food the Night Before – Even if you’re not a planner, it’s worthwhile to take a few minutes each night (or even on one night) to cook or cut up or corral your breakfast-to-be. Match a batch of overnight oats, fruit salad, granola bars, vegan blueberry muffins, or literally anything you have a fancy for. If you make several portions in one go, you’ll have breakfast all set for the entire week. You’ll be so happy you made the effort.
Blend It Up Beautifully – If you can only slurp down something sweet and cold before you start your day, smoothies are an optimal option. Grab your blender, add some frozen fruit, a cup of protein-filled plant milk, a handful of gorgeous greens, and, in moments, you’ll have yourself a healthy, delicious, plant-based breakfast. This mango smoothie recipe is one of our favorites!
If All Else Fails, Fall to Fruit & Veg – You really don’t need to rely on recipes to fill your belly. Have a bowl of fruit by the door ready to grab or cut up chunks of fruit and slices of fresh veggies to snack on until you’re in the right mindset to make a meal.
Fancy Vegan Breakfast Feasts
On the flip side, creating a beautiful vegan breakfast dish might be the very thing you love to do. When you have a little extra time to put into cooking up something special, it can be really satisfying. Along with recipe ideas, here are a few ways to make these meals more meaningful.
Feast Your Eyes on Flowers – Nothing brightens up a special meal more than fresh flowers. If you can choose a few from your very own garden, what a treat! If not, try to support local businesses and buy organic, if you can.
Talk About a Pretty Table – It’s time to break out your special occasion plates! Cover your table with a charming table cloth, a variety of soy votive candles, and glittering crystal glasses. Eating breakfast has never been so enjoyable.
Let’s Get Local – When available, pick out local produce for your memorable morning meal. You can’t go wrong with super fresh strawberries, apples, or oranges and you’ll be supporting local businesses to boot!
There are so many reasons to love oatmeal—high levels of heart-healthy fiber, supremely satisfying, chock full of whole grain goodness, and so easy to adapt with different tasty toppings. You can enjoy it cold, warm, hot, or even in a smoothie! Which of these oatmeal recipes would you be most ravenous for?
Overnight Oats – Choose from enticing Strawberries and Cream, Apple Pie, or PB&J.
If scrambled eggs are your morning go-to, you may feel a bit lost when it comes to planning a plant-based breakfast. The ideas above should get you started, and many people find that scrambled tofu (aka “tofu scramble”) fills all their breakfast scramble desires. But if you just can’t imagine life without eggs, don’t worry! There are several vegan egg brands coming to life that can give you that familiar morning egg scramble experience.
There are other powders and vegan egg products out there, but these are the most popular and the most egg-like, in our opinion. This is a swiftly evolving arena, however, and new vegan egg substitutes are sure to come to life frequently as humans continue to unlock the magical power of plants, so stay tuned!
And who knows, cultured eggs (eggs grown from animal cells without harming the animals) may be here before we know it. Cultured meat (aka “Clean Meat“), cultured dairy, and cultured eggs can give you the same experience of eating your favorite animal foods without the cruelty, the antibiotics, the hormones, and lots of other “no thank yous” that are traditionally served up with these products.
If you’re jonesing for a hard-boiled egg, you’re unfortunately out of luck. There is no spot-on vegan hard boiled egg that we know of—yet. You can try our vegan deviled potatoes though!
How to Replace Eggs for Baked Goods
Lovers of baked goods for breakfast are my kind of people! Don’t you just love the smell of mouthwatering vegan crumb muffins in the oven, piles of lemon poppyseed pancakes puffing up in a skillet, or wonderfully thick waffles waiting for you in the waffle iron? Mmmm…I’m getting hungry just thinking about it!
When you become vegan, you might begin to think that bread-based goods are off limits for you. Not at all! If anything, they’re more accessible because they’re heaps healthier, have tons more fiber, and just taste way better. Don’t worry—slices of hearty, homemade zucchini bread glistening butter and toasted to a golden brown are still in your future!
It’s easier than you think to replace eggs in your vegan breakfast foods. Sure, the liquid (plant milk for dairy milk) is the first piece of the puzzle to substitute. The next is usually the binder, which are usually eggs.
Chia or Flax Egg – (1 tablespoon of chia seeds or ground flaxseeds per 3 tablespoons of water) This is the option I choose most often, not only because it seems to have the best results, but you’re also giving yourself the added benefit of healthy fats and omega-3s. It’s a win-win!
Commercial Egg Substitutes – (see package instructions for amounts and mixing) Both Ener-g egg replacer and Bob’s Red Mill have easy-to-use powders that you can keep in your cupboard and use when needed.
Banana – (½ banana per egg) Make sure to use a brown speckled banana (that means it’s ripe) and mash with a fork. Perfect for things like banana muffins, pancakes, or sweet breads.
Applesauce – (¼ cup per egg) Unsweetened plain works best, but if you want a sweeter baked item or a hint of cinnamon, choose that instead.
Nut Butter – (3 tablespoons per egg) Try to pick a nut butter that has no other ingredients besides nuts. That way, you can control the amount of oil, salt, and sugar in your recipe. Or, make your own!
Soft Tofu – (¼ cup per egg) Just puree the soft tofu until it has the texture of a scrambled egg. I love that this option is completely neutral and will take on the flavor of whatever you’re baking. Pretty handy!
Vegan Coffee Creamers
Another important topic comes in the form of breakfast beverages. Specifically with coffee creamer. There are some serious concerns about curdling and separation. If can’t have your coffee or tea without this creamy concoction, don’t panic.
Here are a few helpful tips and tricks to finding your perfect vegan creamer:
Put Seeds & Nuts Second – Many people have found that using a nut or seed milk didn’t really give them the rich consistency that they were looking for. Instead, choose a soy or oat-based milk that will mimic the taste and texture of a dairy-based cream. These are both also more neutral in flavor than nut or seed-based milks.
Limit the List of Ingredients – A really first-rate product will only need a few ingredients to create a great flavor and character. Look for creamers with cleaner, less processed foods such as soy, oats, coconut sugar, and water. Shy away from artificial flavors, additives, oils, and trans fats.
Go for Organic – Because nuts, seeds, soy, and oats are some of the most antibiotic-filled foods grown in the world, I would highly recommend choosing organic if you can afford it. That way, you’re saving yourself a lot of harm from powerful pesticides and also supporting plant-based businesses.
Create Your Own Creamer – If you’ve tried everything that’s available and you’re still unhappy, maybe it’s time to try homemade almond milk. The trick is to use half the amount of water that the recipe calls for. Usually, it’s 3-4 cups. In that case, I would try using two cups first to see how you like it and then decrease to one and a half if that’s not quite thick enough for you.
Fast Food Vegan Breakfast Options
Sometimes, there’s just not enough time to make or eat breakfast at home. If you’re in a pinch and really need to stop for an early morning snack on the road, here are some tips for vegan breakfast options:
Einstein Bros Bagels: Choose from a number of vegan-friendly bagels and enjoy along with peanut butter, strawberry jam, hummus, or salsa and veggies. Also choose from cinnamon twists, fresh fruit cup, and chips for sides.
Denny’s: A toasted English muffin or slice of toast with peanut butter and jelly (or margarine and pancake syrup), hash browns, oatmeal (made with water), fruit, and a juice or coffee/tea.
Dunkin’ Donuts: Beyond Sausage Sandwich (no egg or cheese), brown sugar oatmeal, hash browns, juice or coffee/tea.
IHOP: Oatmeal (made with water), maple syrup, fruit cup, potato pancakes, English muffin, toast (with jelly, peanut butter or avocado), hash browns, veggies, grits and a juice or coffee/tea.
McDonald’s: Fruit and maple oatmeal (made with water), apple slices
Panera Bread: Steel-cut oatmeal (made with water or almond milk), toasted bagel with strawberry spread, Better Than Avocado Toast, peach & blueberry smoothie (made with almond milk), apple, banana, fruit cup, and juice or coffee/tea.
Starbucks: Blueberry or classic oatmeal (made with water or plant milk), sprouted grain/multigrain/plain bagel with avocado, hazelnut or almond butter, chickpea bites and avocado protein box, fruit salad, fruit bars, dried fruits and nuts, and an assortment of coffees/teas with plant milk.
Favorite Breakfast and Brunch Cookbooks
If you’re still in search of extra ideas for breakfast or brunch, here is a list of popular vegan cookbooks on this very subject:
We also highly recommend the breakfast and brunch recipes from The Friendly Vegan Cookbook. We might be a little biased, since this cookbook was written by World of Vegan founder Michelle Cehn and Plant-Based on a Budget founder Toni Okamoto, but the recipes were all rigorously tested and have gotten rave reviews. Our favorites are the crunchy granola, creamy mango smoothie, and toaster pastries (just like vegan Pop Tarts). Definitely give those a go!
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