Traditional breakfast or brunch dishes such as Western omelets, bacon, quiche, and whole wheat muffins don’t work very well when you’re following a gluten-free vegetarian or vegan diet.
But luckily, the fact that your diet doesn’t follow a conventional pattern allows you to discover some really delicious—and innovative—breakfast and brunch recipes.
In the list below, there’s a combination of the sweet (vegetarian cheesecake and crêpes) with the savory (omelets, tofu scramble and avocado salad). You can mix and match the recipes to create a world-class brunch for your friends, or you can pick and choose among them, depending on your mood on any particular day.
Here are some great ideas for a gluten-free vegetarian and vegan breakfast or brunch:
- It wouldn’t be brunch without quiche, right? If you agree, then consider making a vegan quiche with tofu that features a vegetable like broccoli or asparagus. Just be sure to use a gluten-free pie crust. I’ve found frozen pie crusts suitable for a savory pie in my local grocery store’s gluten-free freezer section.
- Protein-rich, gluten-free quinoa can help you get needed protein when you’re eating gluten-free and vegetarian or vegan. There are lots of ways to spice up quinoa—find a great recipe online, or simply chop up some peppers and throw in some gluten-free spices of your choice.
- Combine some gluten-free multi-grain bread with eggs, milk, ground flaxseed, and vanilla to make delicious French toast that would be equally at home in a family weekend breakfast or a luxurious holiday brunch. I like Singing Dog brand alcohol-free pure vanilla. If you want to keep this recipe vegan, use a gluten-free soy milk and your choice of egg replacer.
- Brunches should include salads. You can choose a basic fruit salad, perhaps topped with a dressing made of vanilla soy yogurt and a little cinnamon. Or, you can decide on something more substantial, like a salad that combines sweet and savory flavors. (think: avocado and pomegranate with cumin-lime vinaigrette dressing). Just make sure any off-the-shelf salad dressing is gluten-free.
- If you eat eggs, it’s hard to go wrong with an omelet, since it’s already naturally gluten-free. You can go with tried-and-true omelet fillings, such as peppers and onions, or you could venture into lesser known territory with such fillings as artichokes and feta cheese.
Recommended Gluten-Free Vegetarian and Vegan Recipes
While you’ve likely got many ideas of your own, here are some favorite gluten-free vegetarian and vegan recipes that would go well at a brunch:
- Easy Pear Baked Oatmeal. This is a super-healthy (and delicious) recipe for oatmeal. If you’re vegan, substitute your choice of nut milk or soy milk. Just make sure to use gluten-free oatmeal.
- California Summer Vegetable Omelet. This beautiful dish will add color to your table and a healthy dose of vitamins to your meal. To make it vegan, omit the cheese or substitute dairy-free cheese.
- Mediterranean Vegetable Ratatouille. Another colorful addition to your brunch, this recipe would make a beautiful side dish or even could be featured as the main course. Make sure to use a gluten-free hot sauce (not all of them are safe).
- Flourless Banana Breakfast Cookies. For a sweet treat to end your brunch, you can’t go wrong with these vegan banana cookies. Again, make sure to source gluten-free oats.
A Word from Tips For Healthy Living
So how should you pull all this together when you’re having some friends over for brunch?
I think people tend to plan too many dishes when they’re holding a brunch—I know I’ve made that mistake. Therefore, I’m inclined to advise cutting back on the variety and to focus on a few important things: a couple of exquisite dishes, plus good gluten-free coffee (which rules out most flavored coffees, by the way).
To me, this means serving one grain-heavy dish (muffins, crêpes, French toast or English muffins), one protein-rich dish (omelet, quiche or tofu scramble), plus either a sweet fruit salad or a dessert (perhaps vegan cheesecake?). If you throw in a bowl of fresh melon or berries (whatever looks the best in the store the day before), your guests should have plenty to eat… and hopefully will rave about your brunch for days to come.