The United States Department of Agriculture suggests that adult men and women eat between two and three cups of vegetables each day. Unfortunately, many of us struggle to meet that recommended daily amount and are constantly on the lookout for ways to sneak in veggie servings throughout the day. Adding good-for-you produce into your breakfast is a great — an often overlooked — way to ensure you meet your daily needs. With these six recipes, you can use carrots, zucchini, spinach, and sweet potatoes to create nutritious muffins, pancakes, waffles, and breakfast sandwiches. You’ll never have to worry about not eating enough vegetables again.
1. Coconut-Carrot Morning Glory Muffins
Carrot’s are the superstar of Eating Well’s breakfast dish. Web MD explains that just one carrot provides more than 200% of your daily vitamin A requirement, which is key for good vision, a healthy immune system, and cell growth. This hearty muffin also includes whole grains and four grams of protein per serving.
- 1 cup whole-wheat or white whole-wheat flour
- ½ cup old-fashioned rolled oats, plus 2 tablespoons for garnish
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
- ⅓ cup honey
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ¼ cup coconut oil, melted if necessary
- 2 cups shredded carrots
- ½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut, plus 2 tablespoons for garnish
- ½ cup raisins
Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Coat a 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray. Whisk whole-wheat flour, ½ cup oats, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and allspice in a medium bowl. Whisk eggs, applesauce, honey, and vanilla in a large bowl. Whisk in coconut oil. Gently stir in the flour mixture just until moistened. Fold in carrots, ½ cup coconut, and raisins.
Divide the batter among the muffin cups. Sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons each oats and coconut. Bake the muffins until they spring back when lightly touched and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with only moist crumbs attached, 30 to 35 minutes. Let stand in the pan for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.
2. Vegetable Pancakes
Paula Deen’s recipe via Food Network proves pancakes don’t have to be sweet. This savory plate of flapjacks is packed with vegetables, including carrots, zucchini, and green onions. It yields 8 servings.
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 1 egg
- ¼ cup milk
- 1 cup grated carrots
- 1 cup grated zucchini
- 2 green onions, sliced
- 2 tablespoons oil
Directions: In a mixing bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, salt, and pepper. In another bowl, beat together the egg, milk, carrots, zucchini, and onions. Add this to the dry ingredients and stir until combined. Using a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of oil over medium heat. Pour the batter by tablespoons into the pan, making a few pancakes at a time. Cook about 2 minutes on each side and golden brown. Add the remaining oil to the pan as needed. Serve pancakes at once.
3. Whole Wheat Zucchini Oat Waffles
Whole Wheat Zucchini Oat Waffles will get your day off to a nutritious start. Using zucchini, Greek yogurt, and whole-wheat flour, you’ll create wholesome waffles that are sweet on the inside and perfectly crisp on the outside. Veggie and the Beast’s recipe yields 2 servings, with each containing 18 grams of protein, nearly 7 grams of fiber, and 30 percent of your daily calcium needs.
- ¾ cup Greek yogurt
- ½ cup grated zucchini
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon butter, melted
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¾ cup whole wheat pastry flour
- ½ cup old-fashioned oats
- ½ tablespoon baking powder
- 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Directions: Preheat your waffle iron. Combine yogurt, eggs, melted butter, and zucchini in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, oats, baking powder, brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just combined. The batter will be thick. Coat your waffle iron with nonstick spray, then scoop the batter onto the waffle plates. Cook the waffles according to your waffle iron’s instructions. Top with maple syrup.
4. Microwave Egg and Vegetable Breakfast Sandwich
Forgo getting a greasy McDonald’s breakfast sandwich, and make your own veggie-packed one instead. Foodie Crush’s recipe contains spinach leaves, tomato, and avocado, and is incredibly easy to whip up in the morning — it takes less than five minutes to make. Plus, eating spinach is a fantastic way to start your day. All Women Stalk explains that nutrient-rich spinach is packed with potassium and magnesium, which work together to increase your energy levels. You may not even need your morning cup of coffee after loading up on the leafy green!
- 1 everything-flavored bagel thin
- ¾ cup egg whites
- 10-15 fresh spinach leaves
- 1 individual serving-sized wedge of herb and garlic cheese
- 2 slices tomato
- 2 to 4 slices avocado
- Kosher salt
- Hot sauce
Directions: Toast bagel thin in the toaster or toaster oven. In a small bowl, add egg whites and spinach leaves, season with kosher salt. Place in microwave for 1 minute, 30 seconds, keeping an eye on the eggs so they don’t overflow. Smear wedge of cheese on toasted bagel thin and add slices of tomato. Spoon egg out of bowl in a single patty and place on top of cheese and tomato, top with avocado. Season with more salt and hot sauce if desired.
5. Sweet Potato Maple Pecan Quick Bread
Sweet potato flavors pair wonderfully with cinnamon, ginger, and pecans, creating a breakfast dish that could also pass as a healthy dessert. Sweet potatoes are another superfood that provide you with a welcome energy boost. Men’s Fitness states that the vegetable contains energy-stabilizing high-fiber carbs, and its potassium helps your body relax, which lowers your blood pressure and lessens stress that can cause fatigue. The North Carolina Sweet Potato Commission’s recipe yields 10 to 14 servings.
- 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup firmly packed brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 cup sweet potatoes, cooked, cooled and mashed
- ½ cup pure maple syrup
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- ¼ cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- ¼ cup milk, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- ¾ cup chopped pecans
Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter a 9-by-5-by-3-inch loaf pan. In a medium-size bowl, beat butter and brown sugar until creamy. Add sweet potatoes, maple syrup, eggs, milk, and vanilla; mix well. Sift together flour, baking powder, soda, and spices. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture; add the sweet potato mixture and pecans; stir just to combine.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean. Remove the pan to a wire rack. Cool for 10 minutes before removing the bread from the pan; finish cooling on the rack. Store the completely cooled bread in an airtight container at room temperature.
6. Spinach and Scallion Dutch Baby
Take a walk on the savory side by preparing Food & Wine’s Spinach and Scallion Dutch Baby. This recipe combines vegetables and sensational seasonings, creating a produce-packed filling that’s surrounded by a crisp and crunchy crust. It yields 8 servings.
- 1 pound baby spinach
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 4 large scallions, thickly sliced
- 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Directions: Remove the top rack in the oven and preheat to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the spinach until wilted, about 1 minute. Drain and let cool. Squeeze the spinach dry and coarsely chop it. In a blender, mix the eggs, milk, flour, 1½ teaspoons of salt, ⅛ teaspoon of pepper, and the nutmeg until smooth. In a 12-inch cast-iron skillet, melt the butter.
Add the scallions and cook over moderate heat until tender, about 3 minutes. Add the spinach and cook until heated through, about 1 minute; season with salt and pepper. Increase the heat to high and cook for 1 minute without stirring. Pour in the batter, sprinkle with the Parmesan and transfer the skillet to the oven. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden. Cut into wedges and serve hot or warm.