Starting one's day with salad may seem like the opposite of want you want to do, but hear me out. I too was once very sceptical of the breakfast salad, but have since seen the way and am out to preach the good news. Breakfast salads are not only filling without being heavy, but they're delicious, easy to throw together, and they help prevent food waste (more on that in a moment).
Photos by Claire Lower
Look. I am a big fan of the traditional breakfast, but the heavier dishes can leave me longing for a nap before I've typed my first sentence. For those of us without large AM appetites, a tower of pancakes or bacon and eggs can be a little much first thing in the morning. As such, I tend to save these rich dishes for the evening and start my day with something a little lighter, but still very satisfying.
To make one for yourself, you'll need the following.
- A pile of something green: There are no rules here, and pretty much any salad green will do. I'm currently on a baby-kale kick, but shredded, massaged, adult kale makes a great base as well. In addition to providing a healthy base for the remainder of your meal to rest, this is the portion of the salad that will arm you with the smug feeling of superiority that comes from having eaten something green before noon.
- A simple dressing: I mix roughly equal parts olive oil and apple cider vinegar with a spoonful of honey for a very easy and bright vinaigrette, but you can use any other vinegar you enjoy, lemon juice, or even a mixture of lemon and orange juice if you want your salad to read as extra breakfast-y.
- Something extra filling: Just because you're not eating cream cheese-stuffed French toast doesn't mean you shouldn't be sated. Get avocado off of the bread and into the salad bowl. Some sort of cheese is never a bad idea — may I suggest bread cheese? — or you could crumble a bit of breakfast sausage (about one small link) or a couple of strips of bacon on top, because sometimes breakfast doesn't feel like breakfast without cured meat. Smoked salmon also counts.
- Some fresh plant parts: Tomatoes are an obvious choice here, but I also enjoy radishes — did you know there is a breakfast radish? — cucumbers, strawberries, blueberries, and — if I know I'm not going to be co-working with anyone that morning — thinly-sliced onion.
- An egg: This is arguably the most important component of the breakfast salad. You can fry it, poach it, scramble it, or hard-boil it the night before, but it must make its way onto the plate (or into the bowl, depending on your preferred salad-eating receptacle). Though all eggs are valid, I like one with a runny yolk, as it mixes into the dressing in a most pleasing way.
- Whatever leftovers you need to use up: The last bit of steak, some roasted mushrooms or carrots, or that 1/2 cup of quinoa that's been hanging out in the fridge for a few days are all good choices. Heck, I've even chopped up a piece of cold pizza and thrown it in, combining my two favourite breakfasts. (Bonus: Now you have a second thing to feel smug about, which is how good you are at not wasting food.)