Vegan Food for Non-Vegans: The Basics for Breakfast

I am the only vegan in my family. Wait, that’s not quite correct. I have 2 cousins who are vegan. But I am the only vegan who lives in my house. And, for the most part, I am the only vegan in my circle of friends. Which means that I am generally the only one advocating for plant based food at any meal. As I’m sure I’m not the only person in this situation I thought I’d start a series on foods that I have successfully fed to the non-vegans in my life. This will take more than one post and, for some people, seem very simplistic. But the truth is that sometimes we need to start with basics.

So if you are brand new to eating a plant based diet or trying to feed some people who are very uncomfortable with your choice, here are some ideas to start. Some of these are going to seem like no-brainers, but I think that sometimes it is easy to forget that starting at the beginning with something is ok.  Remember when I say basic I really mean BASIC.  I read somewhere a quote that some people think there is some secret list of “vegan foods.”  Really, it is much simpler than that.  So if you are feeling overwhelmed here are some things to start with.

This series is going to take a little while because I plan on breaking it down into meal ideas.  Of course you could have breakfast for dinner or lunch for dinner or lunch for breakfast or breakfast for lunch or or or… lol.  But this gives me a good way to break things into categories for future referencing.  I hope this series helps someone to feel a little more confident in their choices and eating!  Oh, and I hope that you will add some comments at the end.  Comments are a very important part of this blog as I am just one person and I love all the different perspectives that others can add!

Basic Breakfast ideas

  • Healthy Cereal with Soy Milk or Rice Milk or Almond Milk (Wait a minute!  As much cereal as I eat I don’t have a picture of this.  Really??  Oh well…)

Look for something where sugar is NOT the first ingredient and that does not include honey, eggs, milk, or butter in the ingredients.  Some people will tell you this is not the healthiest breakfast and, well, they would be correct.  But if you’re just starting a transition to veganism sometimes you need somethings that are very similar to what you ate before.  A similar option would be to make your own granola.  It’s not hard at all (there are tons of recipes on the web) and it still seems like cereal.

  • Oatmeal  

I like mine with peanut butter and maple syrup, to be honest.  But there are many different combinations that work and don’t contain animal products.  This would be a good place to introduce earth balance and soy milk or almond milk.  Almond butter and almond milk would be a nice duo.

  • Waffles  

While this picture shows some frozen vegan waffles topped with a vegan chocolate frosting and blueberries, there are many good vegan waffle recipes out there.  My kids can’t tell the difference.  Some goods ones are my sick girl waffles with chocolate chips and this whole wheat vegan waffles recipe I like to use.

  • Pancakes  

Very similar to waffles; in fact you can use the same recipes and just ladle them onto a griddle.  My kids can’t tell the difference.  Yes, we sometimes like ours to be a little decadent!

  • Fruit smoothies

I don’t really follow a recipe for my smoothies.  Basically I fill my blender between half and 3/4 full of fruits, add a little liquid (often rice milk or soy milk), and then blend.  Once it’s very well blended I often add in between 1 and 2 cups of greens, usually spinach but sometimes kale and then drink.  I do need to let you in on a dirty little secret, though.  No one else in my house likes it with greens in it.  I truly believe it doesn’t change the taste, but something about the color is off-putting to them.  I’ve fought that battle over and over again but have finally decided to give in a bit.  I make the fruit portion and give some to my daughter, then add the spinach to my part.  At least she’s getting some fruit and I figure that, eventually, she’ll get used to it and have it with greens.  In my opinion having a big glass of fruit in the morning beats a doughnut at least.

  • Toast with nut butter 

Seriously, does it get any easier than this?  But I think we often forget that this is a vegan breakfast.  Add a banana and some soy milk and you’ve got a fine easy breakfast that most people, vegan or not, are ok with.

  • Fruit 

Sometimes, particularly in the summer, I have just fruit for breakfast.  A big bowl of fresh fruit.  Maybe I’ll add a muffin (yep, that one is next on the list) or some toast with nut butter.  But the fruit is the main thing.  Why not get all that yummy goodness on a spoon?

  • Muffins 

This is something you can make ahead and freeze for a quick breakfast.  There are lots of good recipes out there but two I like are Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Muffins and Banana Chocolate Chip muffins, both of which are also gluten free.  These blueberry muffins from Happy Go Lucky Vegan were a recent hit around here.  With a bowl of fruit, or a smear of nut butter, or just a banana these can make an easy breakfast that even non vegans won’t mind.

Let me make something clear:  This was, by no means, an exhaustive list.  I could go on and on about other breakfast ideas I enjoy like casseroles, tofu scrambles, things that involve tempeh bacon, etc.  But those things are not easy to present to a non-vegan.  They tend to take some getting used to.  This was a list I came up of very basic vegan breakfasts.  Now I’d like you to add to the list.  What are some breakfast foods you would be happy to feed to non-vegans?  What are some very simple things to start your day?


8 responses to this post.

  1. My omnivorous boyfriend and I were discussing good grab-em and go type of breakfasts we could both have once we move in together, including ones for sit down foods, and we agreed on everything but smoothies and toast.(he prefers milkshakes and has never expressed a desire for anything bread-y but pretzels and garlic bread).

    I even made an evernote document with ideas to keep in mind in case I ever draw a blank and to put in winners:


    • Great ideas Kale Blossom! I forgot about hash browns! They are a major favorite of mine but my son is allergic to potatoes so we have to avoid them here. I’m hoping there will be lots more ideas of things to discover!


  2. thank you. I am trying to become vegan to help my RA but am a bit overwhelmed. I also have the added difficulty of being highly allergic to soya/veg protein. But this helps greatly 😉


    • Hi Laura! So glad this helped. My main goal in starting this series was to make it not seem so “strange” to go vegan. Do you eat beans for protein? One of our friends is also allergic to soy so I try to keep that in mind when I cook. I’ll make sure to include options for lunch and dinner that do not include soy. Let me know if there are specific things that overwhelm/confuse you and I’ll try to address them. Going vegan has helped me take back some control when the disease took it away. I hope it helps you as well!


  3. Hi! Just wondering if going vegan really helped with your RA? I have done a gluten free and it helped a bit but then it all came back, I tried going dairy free but I only liked the coconut milk but it made my bones “cold” all over. I am so tired about thinking about food and whether giving up anything can actually help with my RA. I went med free for two years and did well just eating right etc but then it came back with a vengeance. I am back on my meds. It’s also hard to cook and eat different from the five others in my household. I do like your site and will come back often for ideas!


  4. Posted by Linda P. on February 5, 2012 at 10:47 AM

    Great article. This is an issue I’ve struggled with since switching to vegan eating about eighteen months ago. I live in a small town in Central Texas, where Mexican or TexMex is not only an accepted breakfast food but a sometimes sought-after one. So bean burritos are a quick, go-to breakfast food that’s as acceptable to non vegans as vegans. If company is around, I can add fresh fruit and hash browns for a brunch meal. I also use make the filling for spicy sweet potato and black bean empenadas from Quick-Fix Vegan but use the empenada dough from Veganomicon, bake them and then freeze them. They’re easy to pull out of the freezer and warm either in the oven or in the microwave, and have the advantage of being able to be held in the hand for a quick on-the-go breakfast.


  5. Posted by Linda P. on February 6, 2012 at 7:42 PM

    You’d think, living in Texas and priding myself on my spelling and grammar skills, too, I would have spelled “empanada” correctly instead of spelling it “empenada,” and that I would have edited that sentence that includes “I can also use make . . . . ” Oh, well, we all have days like that.


  6. […] it’s only been, what, 2.5 months since I started this series?  On January 30th I published The Basics for Breakfast specifically aimed at feeding non vegans vegan food.  I also said I’d write others.  Sorry […]


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