It’s always fun to see what search terms bring people to my blog. One of the most enduringly popular phrases that leads people to In My Box is “spinach for breakfast.” Well, I don’t seem to get spinach in my box anymore, but instead these past few weeks have been all about “avocado for breakfast.” Avocados have always been a treat, something to be savored and parceled out, but we have been in the heart of major avocado season, and my CSA box, the farmer’s market, and Rainbow have just been overflowing with beautiful, ripe, local(ish) avocados. And in the midst of this unprecedented avocado glut I’ve discovered that the beautiful, precious avocado is the brilliant answer to all my vegan, gluten-free breakfast needs.
Fatty, filling, and flavorful — avocado turns a collection of dairyless, gluten-free ingredients into a satisfying meal.
It all started with the breakfast burritos. Breakfast burritos are one of my top, top foods. (I know I have a lot of top foods but really, this time I mean it!) But this month I have elevated the vegan, gluten-free breakfast burrito to its highest form. It all started with these amazing Gluten-Free Teff Wraps from La Tortilla Factory. These things are serious flour tortilla impersonators. They’re flexible, light, chewy, roll without cracking, and brown beautifully in a pan. (My favorite burritos have that browned, crispy exterior to contrast with their soft, gooey interior.)
First I lightly brown one side of the wrap in a cast iron pan with no oil, and then flip it over so the browned side faces up. Then I just throw in anything that seems yummy. A thick smear of refried beans, a stripe of soy cream cheese, some sweet potato chunks maybe, or some leftover rice bowl with dandelion greens or even steamed broccoli. Top it all off with salsa and several slices of perfectly ripe avocado, leave it in the pan until the outside is golden and a bit crisp, then roll it up and eat it while moaning with pleasure. Sounds pretty amazing, right?
Then, inspired by Vegan Express by Nava Atlas, a cookbook I’ve been reading as part of my quest for simple, easy meals, I started making what Atlas calls “big quesadillas.” It’s like a breakfast burrito… only with no rolling! Brilliant, eh? Daiya cheddar vegan “cheese” was on sale at Rainbow this week so I decided to try it out, so I’ve been adding it to my quesadillas alongside my avocado, which I have to say really does make cheese irrelevant. (Plus, :-8******* That’s the “vomit” emoticon Duck invented for me. I am not a fan of Daiya. You know how American cheese tastes like the plastic version of cheese? Well, Daiya tastes like the plastic version of American cheese. And it doesn’t even melt very well. Ugh.)
Into every avocado-for-breakfast life, a little rain must fall, and one day I inevitably ran out of my precious teff wraps. No problem! That merely inspired my new, new favorite thing: Soft-cooked polenta, warm, mixed thoroughly with mashed avocado, a few squeezes of lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste. It’s seriously the best thing ever, and so ridiculously simple. I invented it when I made a batch of polenta for breakfast and discovered to my total surprise that Earth Balance can indeed go bad. (I do think that tub had been in there since January or so.) I wanted something to add that little kick of smooth, fatty mouthfeel to the polenta, and so of course I turned to my best friend and constant companion. Look what a lovely shade of green the polenta turns! And the lemon sets the flavors off beautifully. It’s a true FASS meal, with fat from the avocado, acid from the lemon, salt from the salt, and sweet from the cornmeal.
So the next time you’re wondering what on earth to eat for your vegan, gluten-free breakfast that will be satisfying and delicious, turn to your friend the avocado! (And don’t worry about that whole fruit-made-of-pure-fat thing – read this article, The Avocado Advantage, and all your worries will melt away! Just like a delicious mouthful of perfectly ripe avocado…)