Make-Ahead Vegan Breakfasts to Save Time and Keep You Full!

Moment Cafe PragueBreakfast: allegedly the most important meal of the day, and almost definitely the most easily skippable. As a reformed chronic breakfast-skipper, I can sympathize with anyone who just isn’t hungry enough to eat in the morning. (And don’t let the breakfast evangelists get you down — it turns out that the science behind breakfast’s importance has been over-stated and misinterpreted.)

These days, I nearly always eat something within an hour or two of waking up. On weekdays, that means I’m eating at my desk; I’m just not hungry enough to eat before I leave for work. (And, to be honest, I simply don’t want to get up early enough to make and eat breakfast at the house!) So I’ve come to rely on to-go options that will give me a burst of energy and keep me full.

If you, too, are in search of vegan breakfasts that you can make ahead of time and take with you, I have you covered! Here are some of my favorite ways to eat breakfast without digging into that stash of Clif bars you keep in your desk. (Save those for afternoon slumps!)

Top-down view of a metal baking dish filled with a casserole-like baked oatmeal studded with blueberries. To the right is a tan baking mitt, and across the top of the dish is a wooden spoon.

Make-ahead oatmeal breakfasts

There’s a reason overnight oat recipes are still popular: they’re awesome! Overnight oats are portable, dead easy to make in advance, and quite healthy. (As long as you don’t sweeten them into oblivion.) Put together your jar of ingredients before bedtime and by morning, you’ll have breakfast ready to go. You can even make a large amount and parcel it out for a few days’ worth of breakfasts!

Here are my favorite easy overnight oat recipes:

If cold oats don’t appeal (especially during the winter), you can always heat up your overnight oats. Or you can make fresh hot oatmeal in the morning, provided you have access to a microwave at work. I do this frequently — before I leave for work, I’ll fill a jar with a big scoop of quick oats and a handful of frozen berries. When I get to work, I’ll pour everything into a bowl and add some soy milk and hot water, then cook it in the microwave. The berries add flavor and a little extra nutrition; I don’t need to sweeten my oats when I use them. No, quick oats aren’t as nutritious as rolled or steel-cut oats, but they’re certainly better than no oats at all!

Baked oatmeal is another oat-based breakfast favorite of mine. You’ll need to prepare the baked oats in advance, but then you can reheat portions for a hot, oat-y breakfast that’s not quite oatmeal and not quite a breakfast bar. My banana bread baked oatmeal or baked blueberry oatmeal would both work here!

(Semi-)healthy breakfast bars or cookies

Pumpkin Spice Baked Oatmeal BarsIf you’ve overdosed on oats or just want something a little more indulgent, a batch of breakfast bars or cookies might fit the bill. (They could also be a great option if you’re used to eating sugary muffins or pastries for breakfast and want to transition to a slightly healthier baked good.) What moves a bar or cookie into breakfast territory? Well, my completely unscientific definition is that if it contains less sugar than a normal recipe and has other redeeming factors (whole grains; extra protein to keep you full), it counts! Perhaps best of all, you can make a batch on the weekend and it’ll sustain you for the entire week.

Here are a few options to get you started. I’d pair one of these bars or cookies with a piece of fruit for a rounder meal.

Easy vegan pudla

My love for pudla (savory chickpea-flour omelettes) never wanes! Although I typically enjoy pudla for dinner, you could make a double batch and save one for breakfast. Just reheat and serve with your favorite toppings. My basic recipe is here, but you can also make them smaller and thinner, like crepes. Play around with flavor profiles and mix-ins for infinite pudla fun!

Leftovers for breakfast!

Greens & Grains Bowl // govegga.comWhat? Last night’s dinner for today’s breakfast? Why not?! Plenty of folks enjoy savory food for breakfast, and you can too. If last night’s kale and grain bowl was particularly tasty but didn’t leave enough leftovers for a full lunch, why not just eat it for breakfast? There are worse ways to start the day than with veggies. You could even purposefully make extra roasted or pan-fried potatoes and call them home fries the next day. Now that’s thinking ahead!

Filling breakfast smoothies

Although I prefer to make my smoothies right before eating them, some recipes handle overnight refrigeration just fine. I personally wouldn’t do it with a banana-based smoothie (because I find that the banana flavor and texture get a bit odd), but any other fruit and nondairy milk smoothie should work OK! Add protein powder for even more staying power.

PB granola and vegan yogurt // govegga.com

Other easy vegan breakfast options

Let me know if I’ve missed any other great make-ahead vegan breakfast recipes!

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VeganMoFo 2015: PB&J Overnight Oats for Breakfast

VeganMoFo 2015 bannerIf you’re a regular reader, you know that every year I get very into the Vegan Month of Food (aka VeganMoFo). Themes are my JAM, and I love coming up with a new one every year. But not this year. This year, the powers-that-be at MoFo HQ are doing something a little different by offering up daily prompts that participants are highly encouraged to follow. And I’m happy to join! No more MoFo stress for me; this year, I’m going to revel in the simple deliciousness of vegan food. And what better way to start than with breakfast?!

That’s right, today’s prompt is: Rise and Shine! It’s MoFo time! Tell us about your breakfast.

Now, I’m no stranger to breakfast recipes — I’ve shared lots of ’em here. For a work-day morning, I generally keep things simple: oatmeal, a baked good, a piece of fruit… I usually don’t get much more complex than that. So for today’s breakfast, I opted for an easy, make-ahead breakfast: overnight oats. This time, I adapted a classic lunch flavor pairing (PB&J!) for breakfast. The addition of peanut butter adds a little extra hit of protein, helping keep you full for longer. You can use any jam, jelly, or preserve in this recipe; I opted for a homemade blueberry-lavender jam I whipped up a few weeks ago. It’s unsweetened and a little tart, so I added some brown sugar to my oats. Feel free to omit the added sweetener if your jam is sweet enough!

PB and J Overnight Oats

PB&J Overnight Oats
Serves two

  • 1 cup rolled oats (I use Bob’s Red Mill Rolled Oats)
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • Heaping 1/4 cup natural peanut butter
  • 1 T brown sugar, agave nectar, or maple syrup (omit if your jam is sweetened)
  • Dash salt
  • ~1/4 cup jam of choice

Add the almond milk, peanut butter, sweetener, and salt to an airtight container and whisk until the peanut butter is emulsified and fully incorporated in the mixture. Add the oats, cover the container, and shake for about 10-15 seconds. Refrigerate overnight.

To serve, layer oatmeal and jam in a serving jar or bowl. Top with chopped peanuts if desired. Enjoy!

Trying a new jam flavor? Let me know how your vegan PB&J overnight oats turn out!

Note: This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase something through my link, it costs nothing extra for you, but I get a few pennies to help cover hosting costs.

Pumpkin Overnight Oats (and a brief disquisition on calcium needs)

LVV MoFo 2014 mainMany of us think of essential nutrients in relatively simple terms: protein is for your muscles, iron is for your blood, and calcium is for your bones. Though the full story is obviously more complex, it’s not a bad summary in the case of calcium. 99% of the calcium in your body is stored in and used by your teeth and bones, and this is the calcium that’s affected by your diet. The other 1%, called serum calcium, is stored in your blood and isn’t affected by diet. (1) So for our purposes, we won’t concern ourselves with the 1% (insert your favorite wealthy-person joke here).

The other 99% of our bodily calcium takes on the crucial job of keeping our bones and teeth firm and strong. Throughout our lives, our bones actually remodel themselves frequently, taking up calcium and using it to form new bone-bits. (1) That’s why we can’t just stop worrying about our calcium when we “stop” growing—our bones actually don’t stop changing. They need constant sources of dietary calcium to perform that vital work. When we don’t get enough calcium, we’re at risk for osteopenia—a thinning of bone density. (2) Left unaddressed, osteopenia can lead to full-blown osteoporosis (“porous bone”). Folks with osteoporosis have significantly less bone density than they should, and they’re at an increased risk of bone fractures. (3)

As most of us know, postmenopausal women are one of the most at-risk groups for this disease. That’s because decreases in estrogen production during menopause reduce calcium absorption and increase bone resorption (the actual process by which your body breaks down calcium stored in bone and releases it into the blood). (1) But just being female puts you at an increased risk for osteoporosis, as does being caucasian, having a small body size, and being physically inactive. It’s important for children—especially girls—to reach their peak bone mass before adulthood, because having a high bone mass as a young adult is a solid indicator that you’ll retain that bone mass throughout your life. (3)

So, now to the million-dollar question(s): What should one eat to obtain maximum calcium? And how much calcium do we need, exactly? The NIH’s recommendations are a great place to start. As a non-pregnant, non-lactating female between 19 and 50, I need 1,000 mg a day. Where can I find those milligrams? Well, I can get 400 mg in just two tablespoons of my BFF blackstrap molasses. A cup of collard greens has 357 mg. Four ounces of tofu processed with calcium sulfate can offer anywhere between 200 and 400 mg. Various beans, greens, and calcium-fortified non-dairy products are also great places to start. There are a few factors that affect calcium absorption, however:

  • Vitamin D (whether food- or sun-derived) improves calcium absorption. (1)
  • Phytic acid and oxalic acid, which occur naturally in some plants (e.g. spinach) can inhibit calcium absorption. (1)
  • A high-protein diet can increase calcium excretion, but recent research indicates that simultaneous processes actually improve absorption, so the effects could cancel one another out. (1)

Whew! That’s a lot to think about. Let’s get to some food now.

Horizontal view of a small mason jar filled with a thick dark orange oat mixture.

Pumpkin Overnight Oats
Serves one

1/2 C + 1 T nondairy milk
1/3 C pumpkin puree
1 T blackstrap molasses (you can add more if you’re a fan like I am)
1 T pure maple syrup
1/2 tsp cinnamon (I actually prefer closer to 1 tsp, but again, that’s just me!)
Dash nutmeg
1/2 C rolled oats

In a mason jar or other container with a tight lid, combine all ingredients except the oats. Shake vigorously until well-combined. Add the oats and shake again. Place in fridge and cool overnight.

Diehard readers might recognize this recipe from last year’s MoFo. I have to share it again, though, because it’s a great source of calcium! One jar gives you at least 30% of your daily value (more if you load up on the blackstrap molasses). That’s a great way to start your day.

Sources cited:

(1) http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Calcium-HealthProfessional/
(2) http://www.spineuniverse.com/conditions/osteoporosis/osteopenia-osteoporosis-there-difference
(3) http://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/everyone/basics/vitamins/calcium.html

Note:

I’m neither a doctor nor a dietitian; please don’t treat my posts as medical advice! Consult a medical practitioner for specific medical or nutritional recommendations.

Apple Pie Overnight Oats

By the time this post goes live (thanks, pre-scheduling!), I will be in good ol’ Rhode Island! I found cheap plane tickets (thanks, Southwest!), and since this happens to be my dad’s birthday (thanks… grandparents?), I snatched them right up. I didn’t tell my dad I was coming, though, because who doesn’t love a birthday surprise?! (Me, that’s who. I don’t like surprises.)

Anyway, I’m excited to spend time with my family—even my brother is flying in from Seattle; by coincidence, he has a wedding to attend this weekend in RI. And I’ll get to see most of closest home-friends, some of whom I haven’t seen in ages. Basically, it’s going to be a wonderful long weekend.

But enough about me and my travel plans! Instead, let’s talk about me and my food. :P

Today I have yet another vegan overnight oats recipe to share with you, making this the third time I’ve blogged about something oatmeal-related this month. I hope you’re not tired of it yet! I make no promises that a fourth post won’t show up at some point. ;) For now, though, check out this yummy breakfast I devoured on Friday morning:

Nearly top-down image of a mason jar filled with chunky oatmeal, with lots of visible little apple pieces.

A big ol’ jar of vegan Apple Pie Overnight Oats! I chopped up half an apple and put it right in the oatmeal, and it really made this one special. It even *smelled* like an apple pie, redolent of cinnamon and deep brown sugar. Mmm. These oats sit a little lighter in your tummy than my pumpkin oats, but they’re no less satisfying.

Apple Pie Overnight Oats
Serves one

1/2 small apple, diced small
1/4 C unsweetened applesauce
1/2 c non-dairy milk
1 T brown sugar
1/2 t cinnamon
Dash nutmeg
Dash salt
1/2 C rolled oats (I use Bob’s Red Mill Rolled Oats)

In a mason jar or other container with a tight lid, combine all ingredients except the oats. Shake vigorously until well-combined. Add the oats and shake again. Place in fridge and chill overnight.

Do you have any travel plans in the near future? How do you feel about surprises?

Note: This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase something through my link, it costs nothing extra for you, but I get a few pennies. I’m not looking to make a fortune, just to cover hosting costs. :)

MORE OVERNIGHT OAT RECIPES:

Pumpkin Overnight Oats

When I wake up in the morning, my list of immediate tasks to complete is short: Use the potty, shower, feed and walk Moria. Notably absent from that list? Eating breakfast. I just can’t eat first thing in the morning; I need at least an hour for my stomach to settle. I’ve always been this way, meaning that my “breakfast” during high school was usually a bagel or something I could wolf down during homeroom, since I sure as hell wasn’t going to get up early enough to eat at home. Sometimes I didn’t eat breakfast at all.

These days, I never miss breakfast. I usually eat during my first hour or so at work. I like to keep cereal at my desk and almond milk in the fridge, but I often bring something else—muffins, fruit, whatever’s lying around. I’m also a big fan of oatmeal, particularly overnight oats.

If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, it’s beautifully simple. You soak rolled oats and your add-ins of choice in nondairy milk overnight, and they’re ready to eat the next morning. The taste and texture are notably different from cooked oatmeal;  overnight oats are less porridge-y because the oats retain their individual shape better. You also eat them cold. I was wary at first, but I adore them now.

For the past couple days, I’ve been loving this intensely flavorful, pumpkin-based oat concoction. A heaping spoonful of blackstrap molasses adds iron and calcium (not to mention a rich, deep sweetness), while pumpkin gives you Vitamin A galore. Add a big shake of cinnamon and you’re ready to start your day off right!

Horizontal view of a small mason jar filled with a thick dark orange oat mixture.

Pumpkin Overnight Oats
Serves one

  • 1/2 C + 1 T nondairy milk
  • 1/3 C pumpkin puree
  • 1 T blackstrap molasses (you can add more if you’re a fan like I am)
  • 1 T pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon (I actually prefer closer to 1 tsp, but again, that’s just me!)
  • Dash nutmeg
  • 1/2 C rolled oats (I use Bob’s Red Mill Rolled Oats)

In a mason jar or other container with a tight lid, combine all ingredients except the oats. Shake vigorously until well-combined. Add the oats and shake again. Place in fridge and cool overnight.

What’s your favorite make-ahead breakfast? What kind of overnight oats do you enjoy?

Note: This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase something through my link, it costs nothing extra for you, but I get a few pennies to help cover hosting costs.