If you’re thinking about going vegan, you might be asking yourself one thing: What do vegans eat for breakfast? Unlike lunch and dinner, breakfast has always been the toughest meal for me to veganize. Growing up in Iowa, all I did was eat meat and dairy and my family’s breakfast of choice has always been pancakes, scrambled eggs with cheese on top, and bacon. After going vegetarian then vegan, I was fine whipping up most meals — but when it came to breakfast, I felt stuck.
Coming from a family where a lot of traditions center around food, it made me sad to think visiting home won’t be the same anymore: waking up to my dad’s pancakes and my mom’s eggs is a thing of the past. I’m totally fine making my own breakfasts at home, but every time I go to brunch the reality of breakfast in a meat-, egg-, and dairy-eating world hits me — especially when the only thing I can order is toast with a side of avocado.
My love of animals far outweighs my need for a traditional breakfast. I don’t miss dairy, eggs, and meat one bit and I’m more than happy with my decision. But, the next time I go home, I’m hoping to inspire my family to think outside the box a little as I continue to do so myself. With some easy swaps, making a vegan breakfast that still feels like part of the tradition is definitely doable — and delicious. Who knows — mom and dad might make the switch someday, too!
Start with these swaps the next time you’re struggling with making a vegan breakfast:
1. Scrambled Eggs
I absolutely loved scrambled eggs before going vegan. Other eggs I could do without, but scrambled? They were my thing. I thought my days of eating them were over, but then I discovered the tofu scramble, which is exactly like it sounds: crumbling some extra firm tofu, sautéing, and seasoning it to perfection. You’d be shocked at how much it will remind you of the real thing. And, to make them taste extra egg-like, add some aquafaba into the mix.
Try It: Southwest Tofu Scramble
Spoiler alert: Pancakes don’t need eggs! (Shocking, I know.) And, the best part is they taste essentially the same without them. To make the fluffy, airy pancakes you grew up with, the secret is adding some baking powder. Feed them to your family and they’ll never believe they’re 100% cruelty-free.
Try It: Fluffy Vegan Pancakes
Sounds super weird, right? Anyone who cut meat out of their diet but still wants to enjoy the taste of bacon will really love eggplant bacon. Made with sliced eggplant and a savory marinade, you’ll have a batch ready to be eaten in only 20-30 minutes. And if someone is giving you crap, tell them they’re only 28 calories each compared to 43 calories in the real thing. Score.
Try It: Crispy Eggplant Bacon
Omelets might seem out of the question for vegans, but not if you’re creative. You can actually make a tasty omelet without eggs thanks to tofu and chickpea flour. After cooking the batter like you would a normal omelet (just a little longer), fill it with a bunch of veggies – like meaty mushrooms — and even some vegan cheese. You’ll be left with a breakfast you’re sure to feel good about.
Try It: Vegan Omelet
5. French Toast
Another breakfast food that seems like it would be impossible to veganize is French toast. It is dipped in eggs, after all. But by dipping the bread in a mix of non-dairy milk and chickpea flour instead, you’re still left with toast that’s fluffy, golden brown, and just begging to be eaten.
Try It: Vegan French Toast
6. Breakfast Sandwiches
McDonald’s has nothin’ on this vegan breakfast sandwich. Take your bread of choice (whether that’s an English muffin or bagel), add some vegan meat (ham, sausage, or bacon), add some vegan cheese slices, and make some hash browns for a side dish. There are so many different options available, but one thing’s for sure: you won’t miss the greasy fast food version one bit.
Try It: Vegan Sausage Egg McMuffin
7. Breakfast Burritos
Breakfast burritos are typically stuffed with three things: eggs, meat, and cheese. But instead of that not-so-healthy combo, why not stuff it with a combination of rice, hash browns, black beans, and avocado instead? Because who doesn’t love an excuse to eat potatoes for breakfast?
Try It: Vegan Breakfast Burritos
I could personally eat waffles all day every day, and I’m pretty sure I’m not alone on that. For the perfect dairy- and egg-free mix, make this gingerbread-flavored version using spelt flour and oat milk. And just FYI: For those days you’re feeling lazy, there are many frozen waffles that are actually vegan — check the gluten-free ones, like these from Van’s.
Try It: Vegan Gingerbread Waffles
9. Cinnamon Rolls
Cinnamon rolls have always been a huge tradition for me. Every holiday, I whip up a batch and savor every bite. While a typical recipe contains milk, eggs, and a whole lot of butter, the vegan version is just as yummy — but so much healthier.
Try It: Easy Vegan Cinnamon Rolls
Like omelets, quiche is pretty much made of eggs. And heavy cream. And cheese. And meat. So, what’s a vegan to do? Swap in tofu, of course. It’s creamy, rich, and tastes weirdly similar to the original.
11. Breakfast Sausage
If you’ve been craving the taste of sausage with your breakfast, you don’t need to go out and buy the vegan versions in-store — it’s pretty easy to make at home. With a handful of ingredients — like sweet potato puree, oat flour, and vital wheat gluten — you can whip up your own veggie links to serve alongside your main dish.
Try It: Smoky Maple Breakfast Sausages
Other Vegan Breakfast Ideas
In need of some other vegan breakfast ideas? Here are some easy ones you can whip together in no time:
- Oatmeal with your favorite toppings
- Smoothie bowl
- Fresh pressed juice
- Peanut butter toast
- Avocado toast
- Overnight oats
- Energy balls
- Sweet potato toast
- Granola bar
- Breakfast tacos
- Bagels with vegan cream cheese
- Breakfast hash