Nature’s Cereal: How to Kick Up Your Plant-Based Breakfast Bowl Game

Sweet or savory, hot or cold, a breakfast bowl is the busy cook’s best friend in the morning. Here are our top tips to help you start the day off right, including easy make-ahead recipes.

1. Cook extra grains whenever you can. 

Simmering some quinoa for supper? Serving brown rice alongside a stew? Cook extra to use in breakfast bowls. You can also just make batches of grains especially for breakfast bowls, as we recommend for our Sorghum Berry Breakfast Bowl; they’ll keep in the fridge for three to five days. Count about ¾ to 1 cup cooked grains (or more, depending on your needs) for a single-serve breakfast bowl. 

2. Enlist leftover beans, vegetables, and sauces for savory a breakfast bowl.

Savory breakfast bowls often call for small quantities of beans and vegetables. Usually, what you have on hand can easily stand in for what’s called for in a recipe, whether it’s chickpeas in place of kidney beans or steamed corn instead of baby peas. Sauces can add extra zing, like the salsa used to jazz up savory Tamale Bowls. (For more leftovers-for-breakfast ideas, check out this article on How to Transform Last Night’s Leftovers Into a Great Breakfast .)

3. Make Overnight Oats! 

Something magical happens to oats when you let them soak in water or plant-based milk overnight. They turn lusciously creamy but retain some of their chewy texture for a breakfast bowl base that’s perfect hot or cold. (Yes, you can heat overnight oats in the microwave and enjoy them as a warm porridge!) You don’t even need a recipe to make overnight oats: Simply stir 2 parts liquid into 1 part oats, then refrigerate overnight. But if you’re looking for more inspiration, try one of these:

4. Mix things up with smoothies, sweet potatoes, or squash for your breakfast bowl base.

Thick smoothies, creamy sweet potatoes, and silken squash purées make delicious bowl bases, too. See how it’s done in the Manna Quinoa Breakfast Bowl and Rainbow Sweet Potato Breakfast Bowl.

5. Pre-prep ingredients for quick assembly.

The more breakfast bowl components you assemble ahead of time, the smoother things will go in the morning. 

  • Portion out single-servings. Scoop cooked grains into bowls, cover tightly, and store in the fridge for up to 3 days. Measure individual servings of oats into lidded jars at the beginning of the week, store in the pantry, and add liquid and flavorings just before bed the night before. 
  • Wash and drain berries and grapes. (Be sure to drain them well so no moisture is trapped.) Peel and slice fruits that won’t brown, such as kiwis, stone fruits, and citrus. Store prepped fruit in resealable containers in the fridge.
  • Chop seeds, nuts, and dried fruit, and store with a scoop or spoon for easy sprinkling.

6. Make your breakfast bowl a feast for the eyes.

You don’t have to be an artist to make your breakfast bowl look like a work of art. Arrange toppings in lines, circles, or overlapping mounds to showcase all their gorgeous colors and textures. Be sure to use a large enough bowl (3 cups is ideal) so that it’s easy to mix everything together before you dig in. 

More Super Easy Breakfast Bowl Recipes from FOK

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About the Author

Headshot of Mary Margaret Chappell

About the Author

Mary Margaret Chappell

When Mary Margaret Chappell first started out in the plant-based food world as a writer, editor, and recipe developer, she was a bacon-loving former pastry chef who didn’t think she could ever cook without butter. Fourteen years, four cookbooks, dozens of cooking classes, and hundreds of recipes later, her favorite thing in the world is sharing the tips, techniques, and recipes that show just how easy and delicious whole-food, plant-based cooking can be. The former food editor of Vegetarian Times magazine has done away with her dependency on butter and is honing her skills at baking with natural sweeteners. Chappell lives in France, where plant-based eating can often be a challenge, but the fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes available are simply amazing. Find her on Instagram and Facebook.
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