How to Prepare a Healthy Full English Breakfast

To eat well in England you should have breakfast three times a day.

— W. Somerset Maugham
Cast your vote for Healthy Full English Breakfast

The Injustice Of It All

Why, oh why is the food of England so often maligned and scoffed at? The foods of other countries and cultures are celebrated and well documented.

I searched the shelves of my local library for cookbooks--there were dozens of titles for Italian, French, Indian, and Chinese cuisine. But the Brits? One copy of "Naked Chef" by Jamie Oliver.


What Is A Full English Breakfast?

  • bacon (OK, we'll delete this one)
  • sausages
  • poached or fried eggs
  • fried or grilled tomatoes
  • fried potatoes
  • baked beans

Equipment Needed

  • large mixing bowl
  • parchment paper
  • sharp knife
  • cutting board
  • cookie sheet
  • zip-lock bags for food storage
  • large sauté pan
  • small sauté pan with lid
  • non-stick cooking spray

Why? Could It Be That...


(1) the ingredients are inexpensive

Many of the foods we call "English" are comfort foods of the common family, made with simple, easy-to-prepare ingredients.


(2) it's not french

Typical English meals do not consist of elaborate sauces and unpronounceable techniques. (Snobby is as snobby does).

(3) Or Maybe It's the Names

Much as I love my family, I find it difficult to hold a straight face when confronted with:

  • bangers
  • bubble and squeek
  • faggots
  • girdle sponges
  • singing hinnies, and (are you ready for this?)
  • spotted dick

I Wouldn't Eat It Every Day, But....

In an effort to eat a more healthy diet (...you're laughing, aren't you?) our family usually opts for poultry and seafood rather than beef or pork.

On Monday through Friday we dutifully toast wheat breads and/or pour skim milk on whole-grain cereals. And truthfully, we're always in a hurry so toast or cereal works for us. But on the weekend, we like to eat a more leisurely breakfast, a Full English Breakfast (also known as a Full English).

I can forgo the fried potatoes (although unwillingly). And actually, eggs are not a bad dietary choice. But what about the "meat"? OK, bacon is out. We occasionally cook "turkey bacon", but honestly, it's not even CLOSE to being bacon, is it?

So what about sausage? Full of fat and guilt. But I think we can change that.

Here is a recipe for homemade Turkey Breakfast Sausage that has found a place in our diets, and we hope that you will like it too:

Turkey Breakfast Sausage Patties

  • 1 cup quick oats
  • 3/4 cup spicy V-8 (or you could use Bloody Mary mix)
  • 1 pound ground turkey (please use 92% fat free--the 99% fat free is too dry)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground sage
  • 1 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. dried thyme
  1. Soak oats in juice for 15 minutes in a large bowl. Add remaining ingredients and mix until very well blended. Form mixture into a 12-inch log. Wrap and freeze until firm enough to slice, about 1.5 to 2 hours. (Do NOT freeze solid).
  2. Cut into 32 slices (about 3/8 inch thick). Place on cookie sheet and freeze until firm. Remove from cookie sheet and store in zip-lock bag for up to 3 months.
  3. To cook, pan fry for 8-10 minutes--no need to thaw.

NOTE: You could substitute ground beef for the ground turkey, but the turkey version will have less fat.

Breakfast Sausage Patties
Breakfast Sausage Patties

It IS Possible to Make a Healthy Fried Egg

  • Non-stick vegetable spray (butter flavored)
  • 2 eggs
  • Salt and pepper, optional


Pre-heat a small non-stick sauté pan with a lid on medium heat. Coat the bottom of the pan with non-stick vegetable spray. Add eggs. Salt and pepper, if desired. Cover and cook for about 2-3 minutes. When covered, you do not need to turn the eggs. The whites will be set and the yolks will be sunny-side up and still moist and runny.

fried egg
fried egg

Tomatoes for Breakfast?

Most Americans would never dream of eating tomatoes for breakfast (unless you categorize catsup as a tomato). Need I remind you that the lowly tomato is actually a fruit, not a vegetable? Grilled tomatoes can be heavenly, or absolutely detestable--it all depends on the quality of the tomato.

  • Look for tomatoes that are firm--too soft and they will fall apart.
  • Medium-size round tomatoes are preferable
  • Don't use an expensive heirloom tomato--they are typically too large

instructions

  1. Slice your tomatoes in half, horizontally (through the middle, not from stem end to blossom end).
  2. Using your fingers, gently remove the seeds and discard
  3. Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high to high heat.
  4. Coat the bottom of the pan with non-stick cooking spray
  5. Salt and pepper the cut side of the tomato, and place cut side down in the pan
  6. Cook for about 3 minutes
  7. Gently flip over with a spatula and cook another two minutes or until heated through
  8. Garnish with minced fresh herbs if desired

NOTE: These tomatoes can also be prepared by broiling, cut side up. Brush with olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. Set the pan about 6 inches away from the source of heat and broil for about 4 minutes.

grilled tomatoes
grilled tomatoes | Source

What About the Potatoes?

I can't live without the potatoes (my Irish roots are showing). But they don't have to bubble in great gobs of grease to be tasty. Here is a recipe from Cooking Light that has helped us find a healthier weekend fare:

Photo: Karry Hosford
Photo: Karry Hosford | Source

And Finally...

There are the baked beans. With humble apologies to my paternal ancestors, I simply do not understand the unabashed passion for these overly sweet, mushy little orbs. The description provided on the Heinz website is absolutely poetic:

In the U.K., Heinz® Baked Beans are iconic. From the beautifully designed label to the irresistible taste, Heinz® Beans are a key ingredient in countless recipes or simply as a delicious heat 'n’ eat snack

GACK!

So, There You Have It

How likely are you to try a Full English Breakfast?

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© 2015 Carb Diva

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Comments 4 comments

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Carb Diva 22 months ago Author

Thelma Alberts - I just read your hub on German breakfast. Many similarities. As the years pass I begin to think that any day you are alive is a special occasion.


Carb Diva profile image

Carb Diva 22 months ago Author

Good afternoon Bill. You'll love the eggs and potatoes, and the sausage isn't half bad. If you DO try it, let me know. Thanks for your kind words. I aim to please.


Thelma Alberts profile image

Thelma Alberts 22 months ago from Germany

I love English breakfast but seldom eat it. Mostly on special occasion like my birthday or so. Reading this made me hungry. Yummy!


billybuc profile image

billybuc 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

Love your introduction....the recipe ain't bad at all, although the tomato stuff I could do without. :) I'm willing to give it a go!

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