Breakfast. Salad. Two mismatched words that in all honesty sound unappetizing when paired together. But I have incorporated this unlikely morning hero into my weekly routine for the past few months, and I hope you will hear me out as I try to convince you of its merits.
A couple of months back, after curiously viewing a recipe for Breakfast Salad on the New York Times cooking website, I was intrigued, but thought the whole thing sounded like a terrible idea. Salad? For breakfast? Hard pass.
But then, I couldn’t get it out of my head, and the more I thought about it, the more I realized the idea of soft-boiled eggs, fresh vegetables, and avocado was not the worst way to kick off the day. I began to wonder. Could a breakfast salad work for my weekday morning meal?
I decided to give it a try, and discovered the most difficult part of learning to like salad for breakfast was mental. The first three days I ate it, I had to employ a bit of willpower to get through it. It tasted great, but the mental hurdle was real. I took a couple of days to make friends with chewing lettuce first thing in the day, but once my mind was convinced, and once my body began responding positively to my new nutrient-dense, protein-packed breakfast, I found the Breakfast Salad very easy to enjoy.
I was also delighted to discover that the combination of greens, vegetables, protein, and healthy fat kept me full and sustained for upwards of four to five hours each morning. As I continued to make the Breakfast Salad, I found ways to get the eggs exactly the right consistency, the dressing to pop with flavor, and the best way to prep and store the ingredients for the coming week. Each morning all I had to do was assemble the components and dig in.
Fast forward to mid-May.
After several weeks of starting my day with a beautiful and beneficial Breakfast Salad, I hit a post-graduation-party wall and was less than motivated to do any grocery shopping or food prep. It happens. Motivation ebbs and flows, and this is to be expected. I sustained myself on whatever was around…mostly Banana Bread from Hurley House, or yogurt and berries. I started to feel sluggish, hungry, tired, and empty in an overall kind of way. I didn’t have any energy. I chalked it up to recovering from the emotional and physical exertion from planning and executing Jake’s Graduation Party. So I kept resting, eating whatever was around, and waiting for my energy to return.
The energy did not return.
After two weeks of feeling less than ideal, I decided to jump back in and began preparing the Breakfast Salad again. Three days in, I felt like a different person. I felt physically and mentally sustained, and had the overall sensation that my body was operating from a state of abundance instead of a nagging sense of nutritional need. Granted, I also improved my nutrition at lunch and ate an apple every afternoon for a snack, but I firmly believe the Breakfast Salad is playing a major role in how my body feels.
I am including a recipe for Breakfast Salad below, but the idea is to find ingredients you like. I settled on a bed of greens, sliced cucumber, halved cherry tomatoes, jammy eggs, sliced chicken sausage, cubed avocado, and an herby Greek yogurt dressing. I like this combination a lot, but you might want to incorporate other ingredients.
If you decide to try the Breakfast Salad, let me know what you think and how you feel!
- 1 cup plain, non-fat Greek yogurt
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs (I like dill and chives, but you could use basil, parsley, or even mint)
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (usually from one lemon)
- Kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- a few shakes of tabasco
- 4 links chicken and apple sausage (I like Applegate)
- 12 eggs
- butter lettuce, baby spinach, or your favorite salad greens
- cucumber, sliced
- cherry tomatoes, halved
- fresh avocado, chopped
To prepare the herbed yogurt dressing…
- Combine the greek yogurt, lemon juice, chopped fresh herbs, 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, and a tabasco.
- Give the dressing a taste. It should be highly seasoned and very punchy. Add more lemon juice or salt until you get there.
To prepare the chicken sausage…
- This step is not mandatory, but I like the flavor sautéing the sausage adds. In a small skillet, heat a bit of olive oil over medium heat.
- Slice the sausages into rounds, add to the hot pan, and sauté until browned on both sides. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. I store the sausage slices in their own container for the week.
To make the jammy eggs…
- Bring a pot of water to a gentle boil. Bubbles should be breaking the surface, but you don't want to spattering violently or it will crack the eggs when you add them.
- Gently add the eggs to the boiling water. If your eggs are cold, allow them to cook for 9 minutes. If your eggs are room temperature, allow them to cook for 8 minutes. This is going to take a bit of trial and error to get your eggs done exactly to your liking. I like the whites to be fully set and the middle to be ever so slightly jammy, but make notes and adjust accordingly.
- Remove the eggs from the boiling water and submerge them in a bowl of ice water to cool. Once they are cool, carefully peel them. I store my peeled, jammy eggs in a plastic container all week, grabbing what I need each morning.
To assemble the salad…
- You can adjust and customize this to your liking, but I start with a base of either butter lettuce or baby spinach. Soft greens feel like the right choice for breakfast, but by all means, choose what sounds good to you.
- Next I add chopped cucumber, halved cherry tomatoes, and about half of an avocado before spooning dollops of the herbed yogurt dressing on top of the vegetables.
- After the vegetables and dressing, I add several slices of the sauteed chicken sausage and two jammy eggs, halved.
- As a final step, give the entire salad a sprinkle of salt and pepper to season the eggs, tomatoes, and avocados. Enjoy!