Already predicted to remain a 2023 food trend, plant-based diets are here to stay! Based on consumer data, the AI-generated 2023 Food Trends Report predicts plant-based meals and products will continue to soar well into the future. This makes sense, as plant-based whole foods are packed with nutrients and closely linked to improvements in whole body health. The best part? Within this market, there’s a huge push toward clean eating (think: minimally processed whole foods that are sustainable, nutrient-dense, and free from artificial ingredients). And because breakfast is such an important meal of the day, we’re doubling up on the benefits with a plant-powered breakfast.
But, you may be wondering, what about protein? Isn’t a protein-rich breakfast important, too? It is! And contrary to popular belief, you can easily enjoy a morning meal that’s both plant-based and protein-packed.
Ahead, we’re sharing the best ways to add more plant-based protein to your breakfast and breaking down all the benefits!
Health Benefits of Adding More Plant-Based Whole Foods to Your Diet
There are many benefits of incorporating more plant-based whole foods into your diet, even if you’re not strictly vegan or vegetarian. That’s right — you don’t have to be vegan or vegetarian to benefit from this eating style! In fact, virtually every diet recognizes the importance of plant-based foods to some extent, encouraging the addition of whole foods like antioxidant-rich leafy greens and fiber-filled veggies.
If you think about it, plant-based foods in their whole form are some of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet! Foods like colorful fruits and veggies, nuts and seeds, whole grains, beans, and legumes are not only balanced in macronutrients (including plant-based protein), but they’re also full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
A diet rich in plant foods is associated with:
- Reduced inflammation
- Lower cholesterol and blood pressure
- Heart health improvements
- Reduced risk for cardiovascular disease
- Improved immunity
- Reduced risk for Type 2 Diabetes
- Weight loss support
The Benefits of a High Protein Breakfast
As we mentioned, a protein-rich diet is equally as important! Similar to the benefits of plant-based whole foods, kicking off your day with a protein-packed meal has shown to be very beneficial.
According to research, a protein-packed breakfast increases satiety and prevents overeating, reduces cravings for not-so-healthy foods, regulates hormones (especially ghrelin and leptin, our hunger hormones), and supports energy and metabolism.
The good news is that getting adequate amounts of plant-based protein in your morning meal is easier than you think. Ahead, we’re sharing the best ways to enjoy a plant-based breakfast packed with protein. Prepare to be fueled, satiated, and satisfied!
10 Ways to Add More Plant-Based Protein to Your Breakfast
#1 Protein-Packed Smoothies
Sans protein powder! That’s right — you can make a protein-rich smoothie with whole food ingredients — no protein powder needed.
Our favorite smoothie ingredients for a nourishing protein-packed, plant-based breakfast include:
Almond butter: 1 tablespoon = 3.5 grams of protein
Peanut butter: 1 tablespoon = 4 grams of protein
Hemp seeds: 1 tablespoon = 3 grams of protein
Chia seeds: 1 tablespoon = 2 grams of protein
Kale: 1 cup = 3 grams of protein
Avocado: ½ avocado = 3 grams of protein
Oats: ½ cup = 6 grams of protein
With this in mind, let’s blend up something nutritious and delicious, shall we?! Packed with plant-based protein from almond butter, avocado, and chia seeds, whip up this Blueberry Banana Blast Smoothie for a healthy start to the day.
- 1 banana, chopped
- 1¼ cups unsweetened almond milk
- ¼ tsp ground ginger (optional)
- 1 tbsp chia seeds
- 1 cup baby spinach
- ½ avocado
- 1 tbsp almond butter
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- 2 cups frozen blueberries
Step #1: Place all the ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth. If using fresh blueberries, add some ice to make the smoothie nice and cold.
#2 Meal-Prep Overnight Oats
Did you know that a ½ cup of oats contains nearly 6 grams of plant-based protein? And that’s without any additional ingredients added! If you include other protein-rich ingredients like nut butter, plant-based milk, and chia seeds, you’re looking at a mighty tasty breakfast loaded with plant-based fuel. Our favorite way to combine these tasty ingredients is with a mouth-watering overnight oats recipe! The perfect busy-morning breakfast.
- 1 tbsp almond butter
- ½ cup oats
- ⅔ cup blueberries
- 2 tsp chia seeds
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- ½ cup unsweetened almond milk
- ¼ tsp vanilla extract
Step #1: Mix together the almond milk, vanilla extract, cinnamon, and almond butter.
Step #2: Add the remaining ingredients, including sweetener of choice if desired, and stir well to combine. Place in the fridge overnight or for at least 4 hours for the oats to soften.
Step #3: Serve cold right from the fridge, room temperature, or heat up in the microwave. Add an extra splash of milk if needed if the mixture becomes too thick.
#3 Warming Plant-Powered Breakfast Bowls
Prefer a warm breakfast? You can get all the benefits of overnight oats with a warming bowl of whole grains like oven-baked oatmeal or cozy quinoa porridge! And if you want to up the plant-based protein even further, add a drizzle of nut butter or a sprinkle of protein-packed seeds, like hemp seeds.
Try this Decadent Chocolate Peanut Butter Oats recipe — it tastes like dessert for breakfast, yet it’s made with nutritious plant-based whole foods like oats, peanut butter, and almonds that are packed with protein!
- ½ cup oats, rolled
- 1 cup oat milk
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp cocoa powder
- 1 tsp peanut butter
- dark chocolate chips, melted
- 1 tbsp peanut butter, to drizzle
- banana, sliced
- 1 tbsp slivered almonds
Step #1: Combine the oats and the oat milk in a saucepan over medium/high heat and bring to a boil. Add the cinnamon, cocoa powder, and one teaspoon of peanut butter. Stir well.
Step #2: Reduce the heat to medium and simmer. Cook for 7-10 minutes or until the oats are soft.
Step #3: Transfer to a serving bowl and top with a drizzle of melted dark chocolate, peanut butter, sliced banana, and almonds.
Step #4: Enjoy!
#4 Plant-Based Protein Energy Bites
Make a batch of protein-packed energy bites using plant-based ingredients. When you’re in need of on-the-go energy, it’s the easiest way to fuel your morning while satisfying your sweet tooth. Plus, you can easily adjust the flavor or customize the recipe with your favorite ingredients (like adding in cacao powder or swapping out PB for almond butter).
Try this yummy FitOn PRO Peanut Butter Chickpea Cookie Dough Balls recipe! Made with creamy peanut butter, fiber rich chia seeds, and protein-packed chickpeas, it will keep you satiated and satisfied all morning long. P.S. while it tastes like a decadent treat (ahem, raw cookie dough), it’s made with whole food ingredients and totally healthy.
- 1 tbsp chia seeds
- ½ cup peanut butter
- ⅓ cup chocolate chips
- 1 tbsp chia seeds
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 15 oz chickpeas
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
Step #1: Drain and rinse chickpeas. Dry them with a paper towel and discard any chickpea skins that fall off. Don’t worry about removing them all, just the ones that naturally come off.
Step #2: Add chickpeas, peanut butter, maple syrup, vanilla extract, chia seeds, and cinnamon to a food processor. Blend until smooth and creamy. Gently fold in chocolate chips.
Step #3: Use your hands to roll into 1 inch balls. Serve immediately or store in the fridge for up to 4 days.
#5 Chickpea-Topped Avocado Toast
Give traditional avocado toast a plant-powered upgrade. Make your favorite avocado toast recipe, and simply top it with a serving of roasted chickpeas! In addition to adding 5 grams of protein per half-cup serving, roasted chickpeas also provide a tasty and flavorful crunch!
Some other protein-packed plant-based toppings? Try a sprinkle of hemp seeds or nutritional yeast!
#6 Plant-Based Breakfast Scramble
Skip the eggs and give tasty tofu or tempeh scrambles a try. This plant-based breakfast is not only loaded with protein, but it’s also an easy way to load up on various veggies! Some of our favorites include zucchini, mushrooms, tomatoes, and sauteed sweet potatoes.
Looking to spice up your morning? This Simple & Spicy Tofu Sofritas recipe will satisfy your savory breakfast cravings any day of the week. Packed with plant-based protein and loaded with healthy flavor, this will be a new breakfast staple!
- ½ tsp ground cumin
- 16 oz tofu, extra firm
- ¼ tsp oregano
- ½ cup pasta sauce
- ½ tsp smoked paprika
- 2 tbsp avocado oil
- ½ cup onion, diced
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 garlic, minced
Step #1: Cut the tofu into horizontal planks. Use a tofu press of a kitchen towel to press out as much liquid as possible. Roughly chop the tofu into small chunks.
Step #2: Make the sauce: Add the oil to a skillet over medium high heat. Add the onion and cook for 4-6 minutes until beginning to soften. Add the chipotle peppers, adobo sauce, and garlic. Cook for 1-2 minutes until very fragrant. Add the tomato sauce, vinegar, cumin, paprika, and oregano. Let simmer for 4-5 minutes over low heat.
Step #3: In another skillet, heat the remaining oil over medium high heat. Add the tofu to the skillet and let it brown slightly. Stir and then use a wooden spoon to scramble the tofu and break it up into smaller pieces Add the sauce to the tofu and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Season well with salt and pepper.
Step #4: To serve: Serve over your favorite grains with fresh vegetables or fold into tortillas to make tacos or a burrito.
#7 Loaded Breakfast Tacos
This savory breakfast option is a satisfying way to fuel up on protein-packed plant foods. Protein-rich ingredients like black beans, chickpeas, avocado, and kale make for filling and flavorful additions! You can even add in crumbled tofu or tempeh for an added boost. Wrap it all up in your favorite breakfast tortilla (which can be protein-packed too… hello chickpea tortillas!) and dig in.
When you’re craving dinner for breakfast, give these Vegetarian Burrito Bowls a go! Made with cauliflower rice for a lighted-up option that’s full of protein.
- 1 cup cauliflower rice
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 tbsp taco seasoning
- 14 oz tofu, extra firm, crumbled
- 14 oz kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- guacamole, to serve
- cilantro, to serve
Step #1: Start by heating the coconut oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and saute for 2 minutes.
Step #2: Next, add the crumbled tofu, kidney beans, tomato paste, and taco seasoning and stir well to combine.
Step #3: Cook for 2 minutes and then add a tablespoon of water to the pan. Cover and cook for 4 more minutes.
Step #4: Add the cauliflower rice to the bottom of a serving bowl and top with the tofu taco mix.
Step #5: Serve with guacamole and cilantro. Enjoy!
#8 Creamy Chia Pudding
Aside from their rich fiber content (a whopping 5 grams per tablespoon), chia seeds are packed with healthy fats and plant-based protein. And, they’re low in calories. The takeaway? They make for the most satiating, nutritious meal! And if you’re a sweet tooth lover, the good news is that making chia seed pudding is like enjoying a healthy dessert for breakfast.
Try this simple Easy Prep Vanilla Cinnamon Chia Seed Pudding recipe!
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 3 tbsp chia seeds
- 3 tbsp sliced almonds
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ½ cup mixed berries
- 2 tsp granular sweetener (or sweetener of choice)
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- Drizzle of nut butter, such as almond or cashews
- Fresh berries of choice
Step #1: Combine the almond milk, sweetener, and vanilla. Taste and adjust sweetness and vanilla strength if needed.
Step #2: Stir in the chia seeds until well mixed.
Step #3: Refrigerate for 4 hours. Stir before serving. Add the mixed berries and sliced almonds. Option to serve with toppings of choice!
#9 Breakfast Parfait
Whipping up a morning breakfast parfait is a quick and simple way to load up on good-for-you nutrients that pack in a considerable amount of protein. Best of all, it’s easy to customize and takes minutes to prepare!
Step #1: Make Your Base. To make your base, you’ll need a yummy and filling option like yogurt (we love Kite Hill Greek-Style yogurt for a protein-rich plant-based option) or chia pudding.
Step #2: Add A Crunchy Layer. Next, you’ll want to give your breakfast some texture by adding a crunchy layer — feel free to get creative here! Think: protein-packed cereals, a sprinkle of homemade trail mix or granola, or a handful of nuts and seeds.
Step #3: Flavor it With Fruit. Give Your parfait an all-natural flavor boost with fresh fruit. Berries are a low-sugar, low-calorie option that are full of fiber (and our personal favorite). But, this could be any fruit of your choosing!
Step #4: Repeat steps 1-3. To complete your parfait, add another layer of each previous layer. Store it in an airtight container or enjoy immediately!
#10 Oatmeal Raisin Breakfast Cookies
Thanks to oats, almonds, pumpkin seeds, and chia seeds, these dessert-like breakfast cookies are rich in plant-based protein, along with other nutritious ingredients like cacao nibs and cinnamon. Enjoy with your morning coffee and a fresh bowl of berries for a balanced meal!
- 1 cup oats, rolled
- 2 tbsp chia seeds
- ¼ cup shredded coconut
- ¼ cup pumpkin seeds
- ⅓ cup slivered almonds
- ¼ cup raisin
- ¼ cup cacao nibs
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp tahini
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 pinch sea salt
- ¼ cup water
- almond butter, to serve
Step #1: Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
Step #2: Add all ingredients to a food processor and blend until the mixture comes together, adding a splash more water if needed.
Step #3: Drop the cookie dough by the rounded tablespoon onto the parchment-lined baking tray, shaping them into rounds.
Step #4: Bake for 15 minutes until the edges are golden.
Step #5: Remove from the oven. Once cool, serve with a dollop of almond butter.
Fuel Your Day, The Plant-Powered Way!
As you can see, starting the day with a nourishing protein-packed breakfast can be quite simple. There are so many ways to mix and match your favorite plant-based foods to create a tasty, protein-rich meal. And, you don’t have to be fully plant-based to reap the benefits! Any eating plan can benefit from the addition of extra plant-based protein or plant-based whole foods, in general! So, go ahead and fuel up the plant-powered way.