Ask Kim: Veggies for Breakfast, Garlic Scapes

Linda, in Baton Rouge, La.: I planted garlic back in October and I now have nice green tops to my garlic. Is that what you are calling garlic scape? Do I cut off all the green and make pesto out of it?

Linda, do they look like curly cues? In the mid-Atlantic, garlic scapes typically don’t make an appearance until early June, but given that you’re in much warmer climes, I’d say you’re probably on the mark. Check out my recipe for garlic scape pesto -- you’ll need about eight scapes for one batch. Enjoy; I’m envious of your harvest, as I’ve been craving the pesto since last June!

Kim, I saw your comment about Americans needing to eat more veggies, and I agree. This is something I am trying to do for a number of reasons. Any ideas on incorporating veggies into breakfast?
Signed, “Agathist”

What a great question. But I’m going to throw one back at you: Does breakfast need to be portable or is it sit-down affair at home?

If time is not an issue, I love the idea of scrambling an egg or some drained diced tofu with chopped shallots, herbs and any quick-cooking greens (spinach, chard, kale, arugula, watercress). A toss in a hot skillet or wok, and you’ll have a hot breakfast in about five minutes. Similarly, you could fry up leftover rice with grated carrots or zucchini or any of those greens, then add an egg pancake or some of that pan-fried tofu.

You could also tuck these goodies into a flour tortilla or thin roti skin, heat up and wrap in foil for the commute, as suggested by blogger and cookbook writer Camilla Saulsbury.

For a super-sonic breakfast on the run, why not a smoothie heavy on the greens? I’m thinking spinach and/or kale whizzed up with a ripe banana, mango and/or pineapple chunks and maybe a small handful of berries, when in season. If it needs more sweetening, try a smidge of local honey or some agave nectar. The greens are easier to puree than a few carrots, which need the pulverizing power of a juicer. Speaking of easily pureed vegggies, how do you think a pumpkin smoothie would taste? Think we could thin it out with some apple juice, soy milk or oranges?

Nutritionist and cookbook author Jill Nussinow, aka The Veggie Queen, whom I had the pleasure of meeting last week in Denver, likes the quick results of the pressure cooker, which stews vegetables in minutes. Her “breakfast bowl” is a medley of whatever she’s got on hand, served with a whole grain or legumes. Sounds like something that you could have either at home or take to the job, no?

Personally, I think a cucumber-carrot-leafy herb sandwich with a shmear of hummus sounds like a breakfast of champions.

Got any brilliant veg-centric ways to start the day? Step right up and share with the class.

Ask me anything: E-mail me your kitchen questions, and I'll pick two or three from the mail bag each week to be featured in this here space.

By Kim ODonnel |  April 8, 2009; 7:40 AM ET Ask Kim
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Veggies for breakfast: what about a hash? I view them as a blank slate, like a fried rice, that will benefit from whatever vegetables that are on hand. Of course, it's nice to have leftover potatos on hand so you aren't boiling them up first thing in the morning, but they pair well with leafy greens, a little crunch (carrot, celery), and a basted egg on top. Yum.

Check out - there was a hash article recently:

(Hmmmm... what other wonderful things may be found at that website..?)

Posted by: CentreofNowhere | April 8, 2009 8:01 AM

What, no tomatoes?

Veggie omelet - tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, black olives, green chile, bell pepper, a little garlic, cheese if you choose.

Eat it on a plate, or wrap it to go in a whole wheat tortilla, with maybe a little extra salsa.

Posted by: lsgc | April 8, 2009 8:57 AM

What about ratatoue (sp!) for breakfast. Or stir-fry, if one has more time.

Posted by: fitday19550 | April 8, 2009 9:21 AM

How about incorporating beans for breakfast? I would do a scramble or breakfast burrito, but I can't eat cheese and it then sounds less appetizing. Any thoughts?

Posted by: chi_cass | April 8, 2009 9:28 AM

I like breakfast fried rice. Quickly saute in olive oil whatever veggies you have on hand (spinach, onions, cabbage work well), add leftover rice and saute a bit longer, then add an egg and bit of soy sauce, keep stirring and serve when the egg is done. It takes about 5 minutes. You can cook a big batch of rice on the weekend and use the leftovers throughout the week.

Posted by: fabiola1 | April 8, 2009 9:39 AM

I vote for the hash. I use sweet potatoes, onion, apple, and cabbage in mine. I don't usually add the egg, but it could be OK. I'm more likely to through in a handful of peanuts or some crumbled bacon.

Posted by: angusgoodson | April 8, 2009 9:39 AM

beans with a scrambled egg mixed in are great.

grits are also a great base for greens, tomatoes, etc.

and - I LOVE canned stewed tomatoes. if time is real commodity, it is great to be able to open a can of these to warm up and eat with a biscuit, or toast, or grits, or eggs.

Posted by: mee3c | April 8, 2009 11:17 AM

The Israelis do fresh vegetables for breakfast right. Start with diced (small) cucumbers and tomatoes, add fresh herbs (parsley or dill), a chopped hard-boiled egg, smoked fish, or chickpeas for protein, olives, maybe some tahini, ground black pepper, a drizzle of olive oil. Toss (yes, it's a salad). Eat with pita bread.

Posted by: dovekie1 | April 8, 2009 11:33 AM

Omelets, scrambles, omelets: anaheim chilis, avocado and sour cream; mushrooms, green onion, and asparagus; tomato, bell pepper of any color, and onion; spinach, onion, and mushroom; sweet potato, rosemary, red onion, and chevre; brie and strawberry (yeah, I know it's a fruit, but it's a great combo). Cheese is optional in any of them except where listed.

The focus is on vegetables, but whole, real, actual fruit is pretty important, too, and easy to transport. If you're on the go, why not have toast, a banana and some citrus. In the summer, have a bowl of berries and some stone fruit. In autumn, grab an apple and a pear. Then eat your vegetables for lunch and dinner.

Posted by: esleigh | April 8, 2009 12:50 PM

You guys are thinking too much! Just go for the time tested upma (pronounced as oop-Mah!) from southern India. A medley of vegetables like carrots, onions, green beans, potatoes and tomato chunks cooked in oil and water along with sauteed lentils and peanuts. After it is done cooking add semolina to give it the consistency of oatmeal porridge with semolina as the base for all this.

Posted by: sr_1945 | April 8, 2009 2:44 PM

Breaking nutrition news:

Beer isn't just for breakfast anymore.

Posted by: jhurley1 | April 8, 2009 5:01 PM

You could have had a V8!!!

Posted by: joeboe1 | April 8, 2009 5:34 PM

I can't wait for Garlic Scapes! The pesto is great, but just saute them in a little sesame oil with sea salt and pepper (until they get a little bit brown and shrivelly) for scapes at their very best. Oh, yum!

Posted by: Jess65 | April 9, 2009 7:48 AM

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