It’s healthy to vary one’s diet to get the full breadth of nutrients available. I don’t stick to one particular breakfast but always try to have something different each day. However, especially with the end of school and finals crashing down upon me this past week, it’s easy to get caught up in convenience food ruts, always breaking down and heating up that frozen burrito or making that instant oatmeal, just dumping in fuel so I can get out the door. But I happen to be picky about what fuel I use to run my busy day. I prefer to eat something healthy and different, even if it means a bit more preparation.
I don’t believe in the common excuse “but I don’t have time to make a healthy breakfast or to cook myself.” That’s why I made time last weekend to go shopping for ingredients. I tried to buy the most eclectic stuff I could find in the produce section of my local market, accumulating a diverse combination in my grocery basket that made my mom’s eyebrows do a little wiggly dance on her forehead. I informed her, “today I’m making a recipe. Tomorrow I’m going to have a DIFFERENT breakfast.” She smiled as I added the disclaimer, “I don’t know if it will be a good breakfast or not. But at least it will be different.” That evening, I made most of the recipe ahead of time, assembling the raw veggies and the hot food in separate containers to prevent the spinach from wilting. I popped them both in the fridge, and on Monday morning all I had to do was mix it all together in a bowl and devour.
Luckily for me, the breakfast was not only different, it was also great tasting. Here’s what I put in: a plantain banana, a good source of vitamin A and C, fiber, and protein, cooked in honey and spices; a tad of caramelized onion (mostly just for flavor); one Lightlife brand veggie protein link (basically a fake-meat sausage/hot dog for vegetarians) that contributed protein for not many calories but could have been more flavorful; all served on a bed of the superfood spinach; tossed with cherry tomatoes, feta cheese for calcium and protein, and a sprinkling of cranberries. The result: a healthy and yummy make-ahead breakfast salad that pleases the palate and provides essential nutrients. You do have time to make a healthy breakfast. With a little planning over the weekend or in a free evening, this nourishing meal can easily be thrown together the night before you intend to enjoy it. So go ahead and take up the challenge! Step outside your comfort zone. Try a different breakfast. Make this Plantain & Protein Breakfast Salad.
Plantain & Protein Breakfast Salad
- 1/4-1/3 of a small white onion
- 1 tsp Earth Balance Whipped or Original Buttery Spread
- 1/2 tsp brown sugar
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1 medium plantain banana
- 1 tsp organic honey
- dash of cinnamon
- dash of nutmeg
- dash of sage
- 1 Lightlife brand Smart Dogs Jumbo Veggie Protein link (or other veggie hot dog of your choice)
- 2 cups baby spinach
- 5 cherry tomatoes
- 1/4 cup Lucerne brand reduced fat crumbled feta cheese
- 1-2 tbs dried cranberries
Directions: To make caramelized onions: First, prepare the onion by chopping off both ends, peeling off the skin, washing the onion, then cutting off the amount you want to use.Cut this into several rough strips.
Toss the onion strips with the salt and brown sugar.
Place Earth Balance in pan. Heat to medium until Earth Balance is melted.
Place onion pieces in pan. Cook over medium heat until they are very soft and brown.
Remove from heat and set aside.
Now, make the honey-spiced plantains: Peel plantain banana. Cut into circular slices, then cut each slice in half to speed up cooking.
Mix together plantain slices, honey and spices.
Spray pan with nonstick spray. Place plantain pieces in pan. Cook over medium heat until they begin to soften. Remove from heat and toss with the caramelized onions.
Cook the veggie dog according to directions on package. Cut into round slices.
If you aren’t eating this right away, Store the onion, plantain, and veggie dog pieces in one airtight container. In a separate container, assemble the cold veggies: combine spinach, tomatoes, feta cheese, and cranberries.
Store both containers in the refrigerator.
The following morning, heat hot food in microwave. Then place all ingredients into desired serving bowl and toss. Enjoy!
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