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Three Ethnic Vegetarian Breakfasts You Never Thought Of

By Edited May 26, 2015 2 0

Tired of the typical Western breakfast - eggs, a wide sampling of meat, fried potato, over-buttered toast with a jolt of caffeine.

Not up for waffles, pancakes or french toast.

Muffins make you yawn and croissants barely earn a glance.

Cereal with milk, or a hearty bowl of oatmeal make you sigh.

I am not sure when certain foods became dinner foods or breakfast foods, but it seems a Western thing. There are so many other breakfasts one can have other than the standard fare mentioned above.

After much traversing around the world and back again ... I have returned with three versatile, healthy and vegetarian recipes that are excellent for breakfast. Dishes from Egypt, Vietnam and India, all packed with nutrition and flavour they will fast become your favourite dishes.

Challenge your mind and change-up your idea of breakfast.

Ful Medames

Egyptian Brown Fava Beans

Ful Medames
Older than the Pharaohs themselves this traditional and popular Egyptian breakfast of dried fava beans is regularly eaten at all times of the day. From the farmers to the villagers, to the working class in big cities right up the chain to the powerful élite. It's served in restaurants and sold on the streets from vendors.

It's no surprise it is a national dish. There are as many variations of Ful Medames as there are Egyptian people. It is a versatile, healthy meal that is rich in protein and surprisingly satisfying.

Cooked and mashed fava beans are dressed with sautéed onion, chopped parsley, olive oil, garlic, and lemon juice. Served warm with toasted flatbread or pita, sometimes fried or hard-boiled egg.


  • 1 1/2 lbs of dried fava beans or broad beans

  • 2 cloves crushed garlic

  • A few squirts of lemon juice

  • Olive oil

  • Cumin

  • 1/2 an onion or less


  1. During the night before you plan on cooking this meal, soak the dried beans overnight in water, if you are using dried beans. Cans are just as good to many and good quality.

  2. Drain the soaking beans, rinse and cover with fresh water in large saucepan.

  3. Bring to a boil and simmer on low for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until beans are tender.

  4. Drain and place in medium bowl. Add remaining ingredients.

  5. Beans and remaining ingredients can be mashed together, or the beans can be left whole and mixed gently with remaining ingredients. It is more commonly served mashed together and I prefer the mashed versions myself.

  6. Serve hot with a fried egg and pita bread.


Indian Rice with Lentils

While this dish is not a national dish, it really should be. Much like chicken soups around the world, this dish, to the Indians is the food for healing the soul and comforting you on a chilly morning or during some turbulent period in your life.

It is basically a rice and lentil one pot wonder of flavours and textures. It is high in protein which is an excellent way to start your day.

Khichdi is the food of the poor, the food of the rich and the food of the gods. There are lots of different ways of cooking khichdi. For every Indian that eats it, there is a variation of some kind, it's versatile like that.

You can cook this the night before, but really it the perfect dish to make while you start your morning.

Not to shabby for some rice, lentils and fresh herbs.


  • 1/2 cup of Rice

  • 1/4 cup lentils

  • 1 onion thinly sliced

  • 1 stick of cinnamon

  • 4 cardamoms

  • 1 whole cumin

  • A bay leaf

  • A pinch of turmeric powder

  • 3 cups of water

  • Splash of Olive oil

  • Salt to taste


  1. Wash the rice and lentils well and mix together.

  2. Heat the oil and when it is hot, fry the cinnamon, cloves, cardamom and bay leaf. When the leaf starts going brown, add the cumin and let it sizzle for a few minutes.

  3. Then add the onion and fry well until it starts going brown.

  4. Chuck in the turmeric and give the masala (the mixture of spices) a good stir.

  5. Add the rice and lentils, and fry for a few minutes stirring the masala into the mixture evenly.

  6. Add some salt at this stage.

  7. Lower the flame to a medium heat, add the water, cover and cook.

  8. During this time, you can add raw carrots, potatoes, cauliflower, peas etc to make the dish even more healthy.

  9. When the lentils lose their shape and the rice is cooked, your khichdi is ready. It should have a runny consistency.

Pho - Vietnamese Noodle Soup

Pho Soup Vegetarian
Pho, a national dish, is a bowl of rice noodles, fresh herbs, and bean sprouts swimming in an anise and cinnamon scented broth.

Traditionally made with beef, this soup is equally good without the meat. You can literally add nearly any vegetable to this soup and it just tastes great. For breakfast though, I like it a bit on the lighter side usually, saving the hearty versions for bigger meals.

This soup tastes so much better as a morning re-heat. Sitting overnight giving the flavours a chance to dance around in the pot really does much to improve the flavouring of this dish.

And who does not love a 1 minute breakfast?

Who, I say?!


  • 7 cups vegetable broth or water

  • 3 large shallots

  • ½ cup dried shiitake mushrooms

  • 6 oz. pkg. Asian-flavor baked tofu

  • 6 oz. pkg. rice noodles

  • green onions

  • 2 cups soybean sprouts

  • 10 cloves garlic

  • A splash or two of low-sodium soy sauce

  • 12 slices fresh ginger

  • A dash of brown sugar

  • A splash of rice wine vinegar

  • A pinch of ground black pepper

  • 2 cinnamon sticks

  • 2 star anise

  • A few fresh basil stems

  • A few fresh cilantro stems

  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro

  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves

  • 1 lime

  • Some extra virgin olive oil


To make Broth

  1. Place all ingredients in large pot, holding back some you wish to add later on, such as mushrooms. Add broth and/or water about 7 cups.

  2. Cover the pot and bring to a boil.

  3. Reduce heat to medium low and let it simmer covered for about one hour. Slow light simmer, not a hard one.

  4. Strain the broth and return it to pot.

  5. Discard solids.

  6. Return broth to the heat and add in any veggies or ingredients that you want in your soup ... tofus, sprouts etc.

To make Pho

  1. Cook rice noodles according to package directions.
  2. Drain, and rinse under cold water (stops the cooking).

  3. Divide among 6 large soup bowls

  4. Ladle broth over noodles and top with tofu, sprouts, watercress, and green onions.

  5. Serve cilantro, basil, and lime wedges on the side stirred into soup.



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