In which breakfast is tackled by a Vegan, Gluten-free Menu Plan

"Green smoothie" with apple, pear, kiwi, ginger, lemon, kale, mint, and coconut milk

Vegan, gluten-free breakfast is really, really tough. I think it’s the hardest meal category to adapt – well, that and baking, obviously. I was never that into sweet or super carby breakfasts, so I don’t miss pancakes and waffles much, but I really miss eggs and yogurt. I miss them not only for their tastiness, but also for how filling and easy they were.

This week I decided to step up my menu planning. First of all, I want to start planning breakfast, too. Not necessarily scheduling it, but having a roster of options on hand so that, whatever my appetite and time-frame, I am not just stuck wandering around the kitchen, hungry but unsure what to make. I also want to make a few larger dishes that I can eat over several days. I want to make sure I am getting fresh veggies with every meal by planning out what vegetable I’ll have each night, not just buying a bunch of different options and hoping I cook one. I want to eat more seaweed, that mineral-rich magic food. And for whatever reason (maybe because it just got ridiculously cold here) I want to make soup. Which means I want to plan out in advance when to defrost my homemade stock from the freezer. I also want to make stock this week – my scrap bag is full to brimming.

So there’s a lot on my plate – literally and figuratively – this week, but I feel good about getting it all done. I actually planned this week out a few days ago and took the whole list to the store and stocked up on everything I’ll need. Making some larger dishes means I’ll have to cook on fewer nights. And I’m thrilled about having some answers to the sleepy, cranky morning question of “What’s for breakfast?”

In the spirit of dishes that last for more than one meal, I made my first nut-loaf this week. It’s a classic staple of old-school vegetarian cooking and something I’ve always wanted to make. Most recipes either call for eggs or bread or both, however, so I hadn’t attempted it before. But the awesome blog Vegan Lunch Box has created the Magical Loaf Studio (I love the name – it reminds me of Questionable Content’s Magical Love Gentlemen yaoi spoof) where you can choose all your own ingredients, and then it puts them together in a magical recipe for you! I chose lentils as my protein, millet as my carb, and flax meal as my binder. I think the loaf came out fantastic – dense but not at all dry, savory and delicious with sage and thyme flavors, and topped by a sweet tomato sauce that provided a perfect counterpoint. The texture even seems like it has egg in it – as I eat it I have to keep reassuring myself that it’s vegan!

This week’s Angela’s Kitchen is hosting the Gluten Free Menu Swap with the theme of coconut. I don’t cook much with coconut, but I do happen to have two coconut recipes on my meal plan this week – coconut milk in my green smoothie (under breakfast ideas) and vegan coconut macaroons for Passover. Yummmm… I love macaroons! And of course you can also check out the huge compendium of Menu Plan Mondays from all over the web at OrgJunkie!

Roasted asparagus with Meyer lemon

Monday
Magical Loaf Studio Production 1: Lentils & Millet & Mushrooms with sweet tomato sauce (recipes are below)
Roasted asparagus with Meyer lemon

Tuesday
California Minestrone (defrost stock!)
Spinach avocado grapefruit salad (Moosewood Lowfat, p 135)

Wednesday
Leftovers

Thursday
Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie (Moosewood Lowfat, p 238) (defrost mushroom gravy from freezer!)
“Venice in your mouth” escarole

Friday
Edamame and Tofu Succotash
Easiest broccoli with garlic and soy sauce
Quinoa

Saturday
Leftovers

Sunday
Fennel and kale pasta with Tinkyada brown rice pasta
Baked sweet potato

Baking
Coconut-orange macaroons

"Fronch" toast

Free-form brainstorm of GF Vegan Breakfast Ideas:

This discussion thread from a college forum has a ton of great ideas.

Vegan with a Vengeance “Fronch” toast made with GF, vegan bread (This stuff is seriously insane – it tastes better than regular French toast, in my opinion. No need for the bread to be stale when using GF bread.)

Green Smoothie (quarter recipe for blender, add some coconut milk for healthy fat)

Quinoa mixed with pre-cooked sweet potato & other leftover veggies, rolled up hot in nori roll, with flax oil and sesame seeds sprinkled on (bake sweet potato ahead in toaster oven)

Miso soup with seaweed and beet greens (I would use white or light miso, not dark miso, for breakfast miso soup)

For those who do like sweet & carby breakfasts: Quinoa Breakfast Brownies

The classic: Roasted root vegetables, tempeh bacon, and tofu scramble (I still haven’t found a tofu scramble recipe I love, though. Any suggestions?)

Plus: See more great breakfast ideas from Angela of Angela’s Kitchen in the comments section below!

Miso soup with wakame, carrot, beet greens, and shitake mushrooms

Magical Loaf Studios Production 1: Lentils & Millet & Mushrooms
This recipe was generated for me by Vegan Lunch Box‘s Magical Loaf Studio

Ingredients:

1/2 cup walnuts
2 TB olive oil
One onion, diced
One large garlic clove, minced
One large carrot, peeled and grated
Two celery ribs, diced
One cup mushrooms, cleaned and chopped
2 cups cooked lentils
1 cup cooked millet
1/4 to 1/2 cup vegetable juice, as needed
1 heaping TB flaxseed meal
1/4 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. dried sage
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
1/4 tsp. dried rosemary
Several dashes vegetarian Worcestershire Sauce
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 tsp. salt

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350º. Spray a loaf pan or 8×8 square baking pan with nonstick spray and set aside (an 8×8 pan makes a crisper loaf).

Grind the walnuts into a coarse meal using a food processor or spice/coffee grinder. Place in a large mixing bowl and set aside.

Sauté any vegetables you’ve chosen in the olive oil until soft. Add to the large mixing bowl along with all the remaining ingredients. Mix and mash together well, adding only as much liquid as needed to create a soft, moist loaf that holds together and is not runny (you may not need to add any liquid if the grains and protein are very moist). Add more binder/carbohydrate as needed if the loaf seems too wet.

Press mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until cooked through. (Mine took well over an hour.)

Let the loaf cool in the pan for 10 to 15 minutes, then turn out onto a plate or platter and slice.

Cold leftover slices of make a great sandwich filling.

Sweet & Smooth Tomato Sauce (for topping loaf)
Adapted from a recipe at Tinned Tomatoes

1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1-2 clove garlic, minced or crushed
1 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes
1 T. tomato paste
1/3 C. water
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp dried basil
Freshly ground black pepper and salt to taste

Sautee the onion and garlic until soft and translucent. Add in the tomatoes, tomato paste, 1/3 C. water, sugar, and basil, crushing basil between finger to release flavor. Simmer gently for 15-20 minutes until reduced and thickened. Adjust seasonings as needed. Puree until fairly smooth in a food processor.

Makes enough sauce for a nut loaf made in an 8×8 square pan.