No-bowl breakfast

A bowl full of breakfast is one of the easiest things ever. Throw in some cereal and milk, grab a spoon, and you’re done. Maybe toss some oats and add-ins into the bowl, microwave quickly, and there’s your piping hot meal with very little effort.

Bowl-Based Breakfast Efficiency Experts, LLC

That ease can be alluring, especially if it’s, oh I don’t know, the last two weeks of the semester in the same month as a bunch of holiday stuff and several client deadlines coupled with your spouse’s business travel and multiple early-release days from kindergarten. Before you know it, you look up from the 187th bowl of breakfast and realize… you’re in a rut.

And by you, I mean me. Faced with another (albeit tasty) bowl of almond-topped Ezekiel cereal recently, I found myself looking for someone to throw me a rope ladder down into the breakfast bowl rut. Thankfully, a smoothie, a sandwich, some tangy bread, and several other no-bowl breakfast recipes came to my rescue. (more after the jump)

Barbecue egg & veggie breakfast sandwich

The only rule was no bowl, so that meant I could get away with something like this pumpkin spice smoothie from Serious Eats.

I still had some fresh cooked pumpkin in my freezer, leftover from Halloween and a recent Recipe Redux, so I popped that into a blender along with the other ingredients and gave it a whirl. I think I overdid it on the ice cubes, and underdid it on the spice, but otherwise it was a relatively fast, drinkable take on weekend breakfast.

Another recipe on this week’s list needs no such caveats. When I baked pistachio apricot breakfast bread yesterday that I found on Cuisinart’s site, it met to such rave reviews from the staff of Husband Food-Testers Quarterly that I may need to bake another loaf already.

If you’re also staring into the breakfast bowl abyss with something between boredom and dread, let’s see if I can’t throw you a lifeline with this week’s worth of recipes:

  • Baked oatmeal with walnuts and raisins, from Cooking Light (here)
  • Barbecue egg and veggie breakfast sandwich (recipe follows below)
  • Breakfast pizza with spinach, mushrooms and goat cheese, from Men’s Health magazine (seriously) (here)
  • Breakfast salad with cinnamon toast croutons, from A Spicy Perspective (here)
  • Cornflake-crusted banana-stuffed French toast, from Epicurious (here) – this isn’t health food, certainly, but I’d still swap some whole-grain-wheat flakes in for those corn flakes.
  • Pistachio apricot breakfast bread, from Cuisinart (here)
  • Pumpkin spice smoothie, from Serious Eats (here)

In the interest of full disclosure, the sandwich recipe that follows originated from the same bowl rut – I routinely microwave some frozen broccoli in a bowl and top it with an egg over medium and some barbecue sauce. But add some more green and stick it all between some bread, and TA DA! Rut-buster breakfast sandwich. Enjoy!

Barbecue egg & veggie breakfast sandwich (text file here)

This recipe calls for an egg over easy, which is another way to say fried egg. Need instructions? See this from Livestrong.

It may seem a little weird to slice broccoli florets into slivers, but that’s the only way I can get the little buggers to cooperate in a sandwich. And true to my nascent RD roots, I’m going to insist that you include the broccoli and the spinach to get a double-veggie-punch into this meal.

Another fussy tip: toasting the whole-wheat English muffin is important to overall sandwich structure. Too crispy and the contents have a hard time gaining purchase, then fall out all over your lap. Too soft and the thing will wobble and give way in your hands, again falling all over your lap. Aim for a happy medium when toasting.

1 serving, approx. 270 calories

1 whole-wheat English muffin, toasted

1 egg

½ cup of baby spinach

½ cup of frozen broccoli florets

1 Tbs barbecue sauce

Ground black pepper to taste


Toast the English muffin to medium crispiness.

Put the broccoli florets in a bowl with a splash of water. Microwave for 2 minutes. Allow to cool slightly, then slice from the top into layers as thin as you can manage.

Heat a non-stick pan over medium-high heat, and cook over medium.

Layer the spinach on one half of the English muffin. Top with the egg, then broccoli, then barbecue sauce. Grind some black pepper over the top, if desired. Top with the other half of the English muffin and enjoy.


  1. Joe says:

    As awesome as broccoli is, it seems pretty unwieldy here (I can barely operate my pants in the morning, let alone a knife with which to slice florets). What would you recommend for a stand-in? Asparagus seems an easy answer, but I’m not sure it’s nearly as healthy…

    Monotonous Morning Meal Man in Minneapolis

    • eatingtheweek says:

      I will give my nascent RD stamp of approval to asparagus, as well. Any fresh or frozen green vegetable that you can easily heat up & cram into that sandwich is ok by me – the ulterior motive is just to get people to veg-up their sandwich.

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