Vegetarian cooking with a breakfast skillet

In Michael Pollan’s “Food Rules,” the American journalist advises everyone to eat “breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, dinner like a pauper.” Breakfast foods like omelets and skillet potatoes are a great way to consume the essential nutrients for sustainable energy to be productive and focused throughout the day.

Pictured above, I made eggs in one bell pepper cut, some mild salsa (tomatoes, onion, cilantro and olive oil) and mashed potatoes with parsley. I made two skillet breakfasts, both with the same foods, and it only took about twenty minutes to prepare.

And looking at the ingredients, you already know how cheap it was to make. Eggs and potatoes are some of the healthiest, most versatile foods you can make at such a low cost.

If you’re looking to watch your cholesterol, try using two egg whites in place of one egg with the yolk in your breakfast omelets. But if the 200 mg of cholesterol present in egg yolks doesn’t concern you, leave the yolk in; the yolk also contains a lot of great health benefits that you won’t get from egg whites alone.

For skillet potatoes, melt some butter in your skillet (or just add vegetable or olive oil), then add the potatoes and cook until tender. Diced potatoes are popular in breakfast skillets, but I’ve found that sliced red potatoes have the best flavor. For some extra flavor, add rosemary, thyme, oregano, parsley and garlic salt.

Skillet potatoes are typically paired with the savory likes of sausage or bacon, but alternatively serving with vegetables can be equally satisfying. I’ve found that broccoli, green beans, mixed peppers and asparagus go especially well with skillet-roasted potatoes.

The simplicity of making all your breakfast foods in one skillet and then serving it on that same surface is especially appealing for someone living in a small apartment. I typically serve the food on a thick wooden tray or a wicker tray.

For the sake of convenience and personalization, I use one individual skillet for each person I’m cooking for. That way, everyone can choose what they want. And because I serve the breakfast skillet on wooden slabs, there are fewer dishes to clean.

For a snack, I sometimes use my skillet for making grilled cheese sandwiches– another accessible meal that you can customize with your favorite cheese and grilled vegetables. Try adding diced tomatoes, spinach leaves, portobello mushrooms, avocado wedges or sliced zucchini between two slices of bread. Spread butter on each side and grill for about 3 or 4 minutes on medium. Instead of butter, which is high in saturated fat, use olive oil, which is high in monosaturated fat.

Vegetable grilled cheese sandwiches are especially tasty when paired with a soup or pasta dish. My favorite combinations include: sun-dried tomatoes grilled cheese with spinach artichoke pasta, asparagus grilled cheese with veggie lasagna, and  zucchini grilled cheese with a basil tomato bisque.

But as you can imagine, the possible breakfast skillet combinations are practically endless.


This piece is one in a series of “Meatless Monday” recipes. Try this recipe and tell me about your favorite variation in the comment section below!