super breakfast week, day four: BOMB VEGAN BREAKFAST!

Today’s post comes to us from my good friend Joanne.  Joanne studied nutrition when we were undergraduates (and a cappella nerds) at USC together.  Since graduating, she’s built upon her nutritional knowledge and blossomed into a raw vegan maven.  Joanne posts her fabulous concoctions as Facebook notes entitled “Bomb Vegan Dinner 101.” As you’ll see in this post, Joanne knows her stuff! Don’t be intimidated by the bit of work it would take you to sprout those lentils ahead of time; it’ll be worth it. And I’m sure (though I haven’t tried or asked Joanne) that cooked lentils made ahead of time and stored in the fridge might also work.  Without further ado, I present to you: Bomb Vegan Breakfast 101!

Okay, so first I have a confession to make: most of the time, I actually am not much of a breakfast eater, for a few different reasons. I’m not a wake-up-hungry type of person – thirsty, yes! And after sipping on water and tea from the time I wake up, by the time I’m out the door I feel deceivingly full (of liquid)… even though it won’t be long before I’m snackin on some fruit, which I guess could be considered my actual breakfast. It also must be mentioned that having perfected my morning routine down to the minute, I need a breakfast option to be quick and easy to squeeze in between lunch assembly and dog walking, or it won’t happen. Lastly, and I may get some dirty looks here, but typical breakfasty foods just don’t excite me very much. Yeah, pancakes, crepes, and French toast are all delicious, but I just don’t feel great after eating them. I need something that will provide me sustenance and energy but without weighing me down. As a vegan who also prefers eating as much raw food as possible, my breakfast usually isn’t very thrilling – give me some fresh fruit and a handful of raw nuts and I’m good to go. But that’s not very blog-
worthy now, is it?

So, as you can see, breakfast and I have had a very casual yet non-committal relationship. It’s not that I’ve been afraid to commit to breakfast; I think I just hadn’t found the right breakfast for me! After countless mornings of slipping out the door, trying to avoid scornful glances from the fruit sitting forlorn and uneaten in their baskets, I eventually broke down and agreed to seek counseling – after all, I had been neglecting breakfast, when breakfast had never been anything but good to me. The mediator I chose to help me reconcile with the most important meal of the day is called Raw Food: A Complete Guide For Every Meal of the Day. I’ve found some recipes here that give me exactly what I’m looking for in a breakfast: light, energy-rich foods that are quick and easy to throw together in the morning with just a little preparation. Lately, my go-to has been this fiber-filled fruity delight:

Sprouted Green Lentils with Apple

  • ½ C green lentils, sprouted*
  • 1 Apple (your favorite kind!), cubed
  • Cinnamon, to taste
  • Honey, to taste
  • And, pictured in Joanne’s version: Walnuts and currants!

Mix it all up in a bowl and enjoy!
* You can buy sprouted lentils at a market, but they’re also easy to make! All you need are lentils (duh) and a sprouting jar – any canning jar with a mesh top, or cheesecloth stretched across and secured with a rubberband. To sprout the lentils, soak 8-12 hours, drain and rinse once or twice a day until the tails of the baby sprouts begin to show (usually 2-3 days). Sprouting the lentils transforms it from a raw food into a “living” food. This is a raw-foodie idea in which soaking or sprouting (seeds, beans, nuts, lentils) activates digestion-assisting enzymes that lay dormant in raw foods; the enzymes are awakened in the living food, aiding in the digestion and absorption of nutrients – thereby maximizing the nutritional value of the food.

A couple variations I have tried using the above recipe: using maple syrup or agave instead of honey, adding shredded carrot, or crushed nuts (try walnuts or almonds!) for extra protein and prolonged satiety. I especially like the idea of adding some sort of nut into this mix, because this creates what most vegans know very well as a complete complementary protein – when foods are combined to provide all 9 essential amino acids (the ones that can’t be manufactured by the human body). These essential amino acids are found in animal protein, leading many people to the common misconception that people who don’t eat animal protein are lacking in protein altogether. However, I’ll let you in on a vegan secret – it’s actually really easy to eat enough protein! It’s all about combining foods to form “complementary” proteins. The easiest formula to follow is to think of foods in the three categories of grains, legumes, and nuts/seeds; then, combine foods from two of the three categories. Sound complicated? How about… rice and beans! Hummus and whole wheat pita bread! And – lentils and almonds! Complete complementary proteins are everywhere! Another cool thing about creating complementary proteins is that you can space them out between meals; have some nuts in the morning, and a grain or legume at lunch and you’re good to go!

So, at this point I’ve slightly derailed the breakfast blog, but now you can see why and how this seemingly simple recipe can be so fulfilling! The sprouted lentils with apples will give you tons of energy, fiber, and keep you satiated until lunchtime. Not to mention, it’s such a sweet way to start your day! Dear Breakfast, please accept this Ode to You as a reconciliation. You really are important, and I will neglect you no longer!