A Relaxing Weekend Brunch

Brunch is a casual meal usually composed of a variety of dishes that are easy to prepare, including ones that can be made ahead of time. This way, the host and/or hostess can relax and enjoy the meal as much as the guests do. The purpose of brunch is for family and friends to get together to delight in one another’s company in a casual, unhurried atmosphere.

Some foods - such as bagels and rolls, vegan ‘cream cheese,’ and hummus - can be purchased at natural foods stores, specialty shops, bakeries, and well-stocked supermarkets. So can vegan waffles and ‘sausages.’ Still, there is plenty of room for creative cooks to come up with dishes and menus of their own.

Brunch can be served either buffet-style, with everyone helping themselves, or family-style, with the food placed on the dining table to be passed around as desired. Beverages, like foods, are usually kept simple—for example, tea, coffee, fruit juice, or combinations of these.

All the recipes included here are easy to prepare, and some do well if made ahead of time, further helping the host and hostess relax and enjoy their family and friends.

Cranberry Tea Punch

(Makes approximately 612 cups)

This is a refreshing beverage that can be served hot or chilled over ice.

  • 5 regular-sized (not family-sized) tea bags
  • 212 cups boiling water
  • 14 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 14 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 34 cup sugar (Use your favorite vegan variety.)
  • 2 cups cranberry juice
  • 112 cups water
  • 12 cup orange juice
  • 13 cup lemon juice

Place the tea bags in a teapot or saucepan and pour the boiling water over them. Let steep for approximately 10 minutes.

While the tea is steeping, mix together the cinnamon, nutmeg, and sugar and set aside.

Remove the tea bags and add the sugar mixture, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Stir in the cranberry juice, water, orange juice, and lemon juice. Serve hot, or chill and serve over ice.

Total calories per 1-cup serving: 133 Fat: < 1 gram
Carbohydrates: 35 grams Protein: < 1 gram
Sodium: 5 milligrams Fiber: < 1 gram

Tofu Scrambled 'Eggs'

(Serves 3)

This recipe is excellent for breakfast, weekend brunch, or a light lunch or dinner. Serve with oven-fried potatoes, whole grain toast, and fresh fruit, if desired.

  • 2 Tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1-112 Tablespoons soy sauce or tamari
  • 12 teaspoon dried minced or granulated onions
  • 12 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • One 1-pound block firm tofu, rinsed, patted dry, and cut into 12 - to 34-inch squares
  • 2 Tablespoons vegan imitation bacon bits
  • Additional water as needed, one Tablespoon at a time

In a 10" skillet, blend together the sesame oil, soy sauce or tamari, onions, and turmeric. Heat over medium heat until mixture bubbles rapidly. Add tofu, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook. As tofu cooks, mash with a potato masher or a serving fork until the tofu resembles scrambled eggs. The tofu should cook for approximately 10 minutes or until thoroughly heated and ingredients have blended.

Add imitation bacon bits and cook 3-4 minutes longer. If mixture begins to stick to the pan, add a little water, a Tablespoon at a time.

Total calories per serving: 245 Fat: 17 grams
Carbohydrates: 5 grams Protein: 17 grams
Sodium: 426 milligrams Fiber: < 1 gram

Smoky Scrambled Tofu

(Serves 3)

This recipe is an ideal part of a ‘traditional’ breakfast, with toast, juice, coffee, and vegan ‘sausages,’ if desired.

  • 12 teaspoon salt
  • Dash black pepper
  • Dash cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon instant minced onion
  • 12 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 Tablespoon garlic-flavored olive oil
  • One 15-ounce block extra firm tofu, rinsed and patted dry
  • 12teaspoon liquid smoke

In a small cup, stir together the salt, pepper, cayenne, onions, and turmeric. Set aside.

In a 10" skillet, heat the oil. Crumble the tofu into it. Sprinkle with the seasoning mixture and stir in the liquid smoke.

Scramble, stirring with a fork to break up any large pieces, until tofu is hot and golden yellow in color.

Note: Liquid smoke is available at many grocery stores, usually in the condiment section near the ketchups and barbecue sauces.

Total calories per serving: 180 Fat: 12 grams
Carbohydrates: 2 grams Protein: 14 grams
Sodium: 403 milligrams Fiber: < 1 gram

Apple 'Sausage' Stir-Fry with Beans

(Serves 4)

A wonderful blend of flavors and textures.

  • 1 Tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 Tablespoon nonhydrogenated vegan margarine
  • 4 vegan breakfast ‘sausages’ (either thinly sliced links or crumbled patties)
  • 112 cups peeled, cored apples that have been either chopped or thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 2 Tablespoons brown sugar or granulated vegan sweetener
  • 1 Tablespoon prepared mustard
  • One 1-pound can vegetarian baked beans

Heat the oil and the margarine in a small skillet, just until the margarine begins to melt. Add the breakfast ‘sausages’ and apples and cook, turning or stirring often, for approximately 15 minutes until the ‘sausages’ are nicely browned and the apples are tender. Add the brown sugar, mustard, and beans. Simmer, uncovered and stirring frequently, until mixture becomes bubbly and flavors have blended, approximately 10-15 minutes.

Note: This is excellent served with hash browns or with Tofu Scrambled ‘Eggs’.

Total calories per serving: 246 Fat: 9 grams
Carbohydrates: 37 grams Protein: 11 grams
Sodium: 797 milligrams Fiber: 8 grams

Grits Italiano

(Serves 3)

An easy, out-of-the-ordinary version of a traditional Southern favorite. Also good as a side dish for dinner.

  • 1 generous cup uncooked grits
  • 12 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon commercial Italian or pizza seasoning blend
  • 4 cups water

In a 2-quart saucepan, stir together the grits, garlic powder, salt, and seasonings. Blend in the water.

Cook over medium-low heat, allowing the grits to bubble gently but stirring often, for 5-8 minutes or until grits are thick. Serve immediately.

Note: This recipe is especially delicious when served with vegan ‘sausage’ links or patties.

Total calories per serving: 193 Fat: 1 gram
Carbohydrates: 41 grams Protein: 5 grams
Sodium: 776 milligrams Fiber: 1 gram

Lemon Syrup

(Makes approximately 1 cup or eight 2-Tablespoon servings)

*Pictured on the cover. This syrup has an intense sweet-tart flavor. Store in the refrigerator.

  • 1 cup granulated vegan sweetener
  • 6 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice<./li>
  • Approximately 212 teaspoons lemon zest

Put all ingredients into a small saucepan. Heat to boiling, reduce to a simmer, and cook, stirring almost constantly, for approximately 5 minutes or until slightly thickened.

Remove from heat and cool. Pour into a small bottle or jar that has no aroma from any previous contents. Use warm or cold over waffles or pancakes.

Total calories per serving: 96 Fat: < 1 gram
Carbohydrates: 25 grams Protein: < 1 gram
Sodium: < 1 milligram Fiber: 1 gram

Oatmeal Pancakes

(Makes approximately 16 pancakes)

A perfect option for weekend brunch or a weekday supper.

  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 12 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 3 Tablespoons granulated vegan sweetener
  • 112cups soymilk
  • 2 Tablespoons canola oil
  • Nonhydrogenated vegan margarine or additional canola oil to prepare griddle

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, blend together the dry ingredients. Make a well in the center and add the soymilk and oil. Stir until well-combined. Let batter sit for approximately 20 minutes before cooking. This will make the pancakes hold together well and make them easier to turn.

Melt the margarine or heat the additional oil on a griddle or in a large skillet. When griddle is hot enough that a few drops of water will dance on it, pour on the batter, using a scant quarter cup for each pancake. Cook on one side until golden brown. (Bubbles will form on the top.) Flip each pancake over carefully and cook on the other side until golden. Remove from griddle and repeat process with more margarine and batter until all of the batter has been used. Keep pancakes in a warm oven until all are finished.

Note: Best served with maple syrup and vegan ‘sausages.’ You may also want to try this recipe with Apple ‘Sausage’ Stir-Fry with Beans.

Total calories per pancake: 135 Fat: 3 grams
Carbohydrates: 22 grams Protein: 5 grams
Sodium: 153 milligrams Fiber: 1 gram

Strawberry Pancakes

(Makes approximately 16 pancakes)

*Pictured on the cover. These tasty pancakes don’t even need syrup, but they are good with syrup, too.

  • 2 cups unbleached flour
  • 14 cup cornstarch
  • 2 Tablespoons granulated vegan sweetener
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 14 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups chopped fresh strawberries
  • 212cups soymilk
  • 2 Tablespoons canola oil
  • Additional canola oil to prepare griddle

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, blend together the dry ingredients. Add the strawberries and stir until coated with the flour mixture.

Make a well in the center and add the soymilk and oil. Stir to blend well, but do not beat.

Brush a griddle lightly with additional oil. Heat the griddle to medium heat and ladle on the batter, using enough batter to make 4-inch pancakes. Cook over medium heat until lightly browned on the bottom. Flip each pancake over and cook on the other side until lightly browned as well. Remove from griddle and repeat process with more oil and batter until all of the batter has been used. Keep pancakes in a warm oven until all are finished.

Total calories per pancake: 107 Fat: 3 grams
Carbohydrates: 18 grams Protein: 3 grams
Sodium: 233 milligrams Fiber: 1 gram

Jamaican Gingerbread

(Serves 20)

The crystallized ginger adds wonderful flavor and texture. Serve with a cup of hot tea anytime.

  • 3 cups whole wheat flour
  • 13 cup arrowroot powder or cornstarch
  • 12 cup granulated vegan sweetener
  • 12 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 12 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 Tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1 cup crystallized ginger in 14-inch dice (optional but highly recommended)
  • 12 cup canola oil
  • 12 cup molasses
  • 1 cup soymilk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • Vegetable oil spray to prepare pans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, blend together the flour, arrowroot or cornstarch, sweetener, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves, and gingers. Make a well in the center. Add the oil, molasses, soymilk, and vanilla and stir just until blended. Do not beat.

Spray two 9" x 5" loaf pans with oil and spoon batter into pans. Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center just comes out clean. Invert pans on a wire rack, remove gingerbreads, and cool.

Total calories per serving: 188 Fat: 6 grams
Carbohydrates: 32 grams Protein: 3 grams
Sodium: 127 milligrams Fiber: 2 grams

Breakfast Banana Cake

(Serves 10)

This is a delicious breakfast alternative to waffles or pancakes, and it’s easier, too. Or, if you prefer, tuck some into lunch boxes for dessert.

  • 12 cup canola oil
  • 14 cup strawberry preserves, jam, or jelly
  • 12 cup granulated vegan sweetener
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 34 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 212 cups all-purpose flour
  • 212 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup soymilk
  • 34 cup mashed very ripe bananas
  • Vegetable oil spray to prepare pan

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, stir together the oil, preserves, sweetener, and vanilla. Then, stir in the cinnamon, salt, and baking powder.

Blend in the flour, alternating with the soymilk, beginning and ending with the flour. Lastly, blend in the bananas.

Spray a 9" x 5" loaf pan and spoon batter into pan. Bake for approximately 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center just comes out clean. Cake should pull away slightly from the sides of the pan. Serve warm.

Total calories per serving: 293 Fat: 12 grams
Carbohydrates: 43 grams Protein: 4 grams
Sodium: 236 milligrams Fiber: 1 gram

Stovetop Rice Pudding

(Serves 6)

Delicious! The leftovers are great cold.

  • 2 cups uncooked brown rice
  • 12 cup dark raisins
  • 34 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup granulated vegan sweetener
  • 3 cups soymilk
  • Approximately 3 cups water

In a 3-quart saucepan, stir together the rice, raisins, salt, cinnamon, and sweetener. Then, blend in the soymilk and water.

Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring often. Reduce heat to a simmer, and cook, stirring often, for approximately 30 minutes until rice is tender and the pudding is thick. Serve either warm or chilled.

Total calories per serving: 437 Fat: 4 grams
Carbohydrates: 93 grams Protein: 9 grams
Sodium: 357 milligrams Fiber: 3 grams