Mother Earth Living

Make Energizing Breakfasts with Herbs

Breakfast is no time to skimp on flavor
By Debbie Whittaker
February/March 1999
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With the tang of herbs and the pizazz of protein, this omelet will brighten your day.

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In today's hurry-up-and-go world, breakfast often gets short shrift. Because I know that our minds and bodies perform better when energized by a healthful breakfast, I’ve looked for ways to make breakfast irresistible, and I’ve found the answer in my herb garden.

These recipes ­incorporate ­energizing herbs with their natural partners, omelets, home fries, and yogurt cheese. ­Because many fresh herbs are added after cooking, it is easy to enhance ­individual portions with—different herbs and herb ­combinations.

5 Easy Recipes for a Delicious Breakfast: 

• Chive-Sorrel Omelet
• Herbed Yogurt Cheese Spread
• Baked Grapefruit with Raspberry Jam and Lemon Balm
• Oatmeal Pudding Cake
• Herb Garden Home Fries  

Smoothies are perfect when you’re on the run: they’re fast, easy, and portable. If you make them with nuts, silken tofu, yogurt, or soy beverages, they can provide a protein boost to help you get through to lunchtime.

3 Tasty Herbal Breakfast Smoothies:

• Mango Mint Smoothie
• Rosemary-Carob Smoothie
• Chai Smoothie  

A healthy energizing breakfast includes high-energy complex carbohydrates in the form of whole grains and fruits. Rye toast, multigrain bagels, and nourishing oatmeal provide significantly more fiber than the popular white sandwich bread, hamburger buns, and French loaves. Juices made from citrus fruits, tomatoes, grapes, and carrots are rich in vitamins and minerals as well as natural sugars for energy. Low-fat home fries contribute to a nutritious, delicious meal.

Herbs eaten with a good breakfast make these foods taste all the better. Tarragon, sage, savory, thyme, mint, lovage, fennel, anise, lemon balm, mint, and rosemary are a few of the herbs that give an extra boost to the morning meal. Sprigs of fresh cilantro, tarragon, and chervil add zing to eggs Benedict, huevos rancheros, and home fries, especially after a long, sedentary winter. Sorrel and chives are high in vitamin C. Snip these and other early-growing herbs over cooked foods or tuck them in at the last minute to make the most of their delicate flavors and textures.

Breakfast fruits, juices, and the newly popular smoothies are a natural base for herbs, too. Try mints with melons and berries; lemon balm is a natural for enhancing citrus fruits. The hollow stems of lovage make crunchy, edible straws for tomato juices.

If you have trouble getting moving in the morning, try the spicy Chai Smoothie (page 30), or add some powdered ginger or cinnamon to pancake syrup or the jam you spread on toast. Chopped peppers, roasted or raw, are great additions to eggs and potatoes; the hotter the pepper flavor, the greater the kick.

Sage, rosemary, and thyme, either fresh or dried, are high in antioxidants and, according to folklore, provide welcome morning benefits: sage is believed to improve brain function, thyme is a traditional hangover remedy, and rosemary buffers stress.

Instead of coffee, try herbal teas. Sage and thyme make quite tangy teas. Lemon can help prepare you for a particularly stressful day. Mild-tasting raspberry-leaf tea is high in calcium.

To extract the most flavor when sautéing or baking dried herbs with eggs or potatoes, soak them for afew minutes in oil or melted butter. Using an oil already generously infused with the desired herb or herb combination is a shortcut you’ll appreciate on a busy morning.

Adding Herbs to Breakfast Foods

The following recipes incorporate energizing herbs with their natural partners, omelets, hash browns, and yogurt cheese. Because many fresh herbs are added after cooking, it is easy to enhance individual portions with different herbs and herb combinations. Pineapple sage and tarragon combine well with both summer and winter fruits, melons and berries are complemented by mint, and lemon balm tastes great with citrus fruits. The herbs that enhance fruits are good ones to add to batter for fresh breakfast muffins, scones, and other baked goods.

Passing a variety of herbs at the table lets family members flavor their own portions to taste.

Debbie Whittaker is a Denver, Colorado, food writer and recipe developer. 

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