- Food and Cooking
How to Make a Vegan/Vegetarian Full English Breakfast
The Full English Breakfast is a breakfast that goes back a couple centuries, and was designed to provide people with enough fuel to keep them full during long, strenuous workdays. While the traditional full English does prominently feature meats and animal products, it is possible to make substitutions for these ingredients to cook up an equally delicious but decidedly healthier meal. No matter where you fall on the vegetarian spectrum - from wholeheartedly vegan to "schmegetarian" (like me) who eats eggs and seafood but not meat, it's quite easy to create a variation of the full English that fits your dietary preferences.
The first course of a full English is pretty veg-friendly. It usually consists of juice, fruit, preserves, and/or tea. Traditionally, orange juice or grapefruit halves with sugar were served. You can substitute sugar for stevia or agave if you prefer, and if you like your tea milky, you can use soy, almond, or rice milk instead of dairy milk.
The second course is also basically fine as-is. This course usually consists of cold or hot cereal, especially porridge. The only substitution you might consider is the dairy milk you add to your cereal - use soy, rice, or almond milk instead, and sweeten with stevia or agave to taste.
Here's where we need to start getting creative. The third course is often referred to as "bacon and egg" or the "fry-up" and consists of eggs (usually fried), bacon, sausage, tomatoes, mushrooms, and in some regions black pudding. Sometimes baked beans, hash browns, fried potatoes, toasted or fried bread, or pancakes are also eaten during this course.
My suggestion would be to use veggie bacon and sausage, definitely go for the tomatoes, mushrooms, and potatoes, spring for the baked beans if you really have an appetite, and as for the eggs - if you eat eggs, then it's no problem. If you don't, try a nice tofu scramble instead.
There is also another dish called "bubble and squeak" which is especially delicious and veg-friendly. It's a fry-up of potatoes and veggies (whichever ones you like). You can have this along with all of the above, or use it to substitute something else.
You can have fried or toasted bread (I suggest whole grain bread), but there will be bread in the fifth course too.
Usually the fourth course is a meat/seafood course. Typically it's either deviled kidneys or kippers, which are whole salted or pickled herring. Now, you can skip this course altogether if you'd like, but you can also substitute fried or baked tofu, or a similar soy product. And of course if you eat fish, you can just have the kippers.
You could also make a vegetarian kedgeree, using tofu instead of fish, and stir-frying it with rice, seasoning, and veggies, hard boiled eggs optional.
If you've made it this far and still have room for more, here's the fifth and final course. This is sort of like the denouement of the full English and consists of toast and marmalade or jam. It helps cleanse the palate after the rich, seasoned foods in the third and fourth courses, and it also serves as a kind of dessert. I recommend using whole grain bread topped with citrus marmalades like orange and lemon because they aid digestion, help cut the oiliness of the fried foods, and serve as an astringent and breath-freshener, too. Follow this up with another cup of tea (or two), or some coffee if you prefer, to put the finishing touches on your meal.