Breakfast sandwiches have long been a morning staple. Now it’s time for breakfast salads to make a move onto the menu. While breakfast perennials like chicken and waffles or shakshuka are turning up throughout the day, it seems only fair that salads, once the province of post-noon repasts only, get a chance to be featured among traditional rise-and-shine fare.
You might say it all started with the arrival of the avocado toast trend from Australia (but then, didn’t just about everything?). Diners who quickly became accustomed to starting their days with a vegetable-forward meal are now more open to ordering early-morning—or brunch-specific—leafy greens, grains and other veg combinations.
In an article on food trends in Forbes, food writer Linda Burum said, “Salad is a staple on breakfast buffets in Asia. Now morning greenery is migrating stateside.” It’s a trend that’s also being supported by stronger-than-ever popularity for Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine, which includes vegetables and greens in many dishes, even breakfast ones.
Israeli-American chef Michael Solomonov, of Philadelphia’s Zahav, says that salad has long been a staple of Israeli breakfasts. His cookbook, Zahav: A World of Israeli Cooking has a chapter devoted just to breakfast salads. One of his favorite adaptations, featured in the book, is a kale, walnut, pomegranate and apple tabbouleh salad (recipe below).
On the menu
At Hugo’s in Los Angeles, the breakfast salad is made with turmeric rice scrambled with egg whites, almonds, currants, spinach, mixed mushrooms, ginger, garlic and organic tamari sauce, and served on organic mixed lettuce tossed with balsamic vinaigrette. Sweet Salt Food Shop, in the Los Angeles suburb of Toluca Lake, serves a popular create-your-own salad option, with choices of greens, dressings, topping and protein, that’s available daily after 8 a.m. One of the many Australian cafes in New York, Dudley’s, serves a number of breakfast salads, including a crispy rice salad served with a fried egg, herbs, watercress, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers and onion, seasoned with ginger and lime.
How to do it
To incorporate a breakfast salad special, take a look at the later-in-the-day bowls and salads already on your menu and consider how they can be adapted for early risers. Perhaps add a fruit ingredient, like berries or dried cranberries. Or make the dressing more protein-powered with the addition of Greek yogurts or nut butters. Add whole grains like teff, farro, amaranth or quinoa. Greens can be mild and soft baby greens, or perhaps kale, either shredded fine, roughly chopped or steamed. And of course, take advantage of the opportunity to offer an egg or avocado topping option for any breakfast salad you serve.