Spice Up Your Breakfast with Herbs

Herbs Turn an Ordinary Breakfast into a Gourmet Breakfast. You are limited only by your imagination.

I consider breakfast my most important meal of the day, and I never miss it. That said, I rarely ever eat breakfast at a restaurant. I prefer to fix it myself. Breakfast, for me, is a time for relaxing before the busy day begins. Here are a few ideas of herbs that will transform your breakfast from ordinary to gourmet.

Eggs, with or without breakfast meat, are a popular choice for many people. Try adding some chopped chives or a pinch of thyme for added flavor. If you like fried eggs in a bit of butter, add the herbs to the melted butter just before cooking. Or, stir the chopped herbs into scrambled eggs or an omelet.

And remember green eggs and ham from Dr. Seuss? Make your own scrambled eggs a fun green color by blending some fresh parsley with the eggs before you scramble them. Your kids will be giggling all the way through breakfast!

A wonderful vegetarian savory breakfast at our house begins with cooking up a skillet full of diced raw potatoes and vegetables—we like to include onions, garlic, peppers (either sweet or spicy), a bit of celery, some summer squash like yellow squash or zucchini. After all the veggies are cut up and in the skillet with enough butter or olive oil to cook without sticking or burning, I add about a quarter to half a cup of finely chopped savory herbs.

I change up the herbs I use from one time to the next, chives or garlic chives, mint, basil, thyme, parsley, and always rosemary. Just at the end of cooking, try tossing in about a cup of coarsely chopped tomatoes. You can serve this hardy breakfast on a plate with or without biscuits or wrap it into a flour tortilla and eat it as a breakfast burrito without the eggs. Of course, it is fine to add in some scrambled eggs if you like. We are meat-eaters here, so our potato skillet breakfast occasionally includes fried bacon or ham. Just before serving, sprinkle shredded Parmesan or Colby cheese on top. A side of salsa or pico de gallo with cilantro is wonderful too.

Another breakfast favorite in our house is yogurt with fruit and nuts. If you like this quick sort of breakfast, you can add a little chopped spearmint or anise hyssop (a teaspoonful is about right) or a sprinkle of cinnamon to the yogurt bowl with your fruit and nuts on top. Add just a few chocolate chips to make your yogurt breakfast taste more like dessert than the most important meal of your day!

Maybe you prefer pancakes, French toast, popovers, or waffles? All of these can include herbs in the batter before you cook them. Chop in a bit of mint, anise hyssop, lemon verbena, or lemon balm. Yum! If you top your pancakes or French toast with butter and fruit or maple syrup, use herb butter or herb cream cheese instead of plain butter.

If you bake muffins or bread and eat that for breakfast, add lemon balm or any kind of mint to the muffin batter. I like to add currants, raspberries, chopped apples, or bananas to the batter too.

Of course, smoothies are often the choice of those eating their breakfast on the go. I make smoothies with yogurt and fruit and those same sorts of herbs. Blend it together, and you’re all set. And may I suggest you get up a tiny little bit earlier, so you have time to make your smoothie and enjoy it leisurely instead of on the go? It will make your whole day start off in a really good way.

And last but not least, if you are a hot cereal sort of person, you have many great ways to turn a boring bowl of oatmeal, hot muesli, or 8-grain cereal into something fantastic! Cook your cereal as you normally do, but add some fruit to the water as it is heating up. Then add a pinch of any number of very tasty herbs, like licorice, cinnamon, Agastache, mint, or lime balm. If you plan to sweeten your bowl of cereal, use stevia or maple syrup instead of the typical spoonful of sugar.

Whatever breakfast meal suits you, season it up with different herbs. They are easy to grow in your garden, in a container on your porch, or indoors on a table or countertop. You are limited only by your imagination as to how many different kinds of herbs you might include in your gourmet breakfast meals.

Article text © Tammi Hartung. Photos © Saxon Holt excerpted from Homegrown Herbs.

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Tammi Hartung

About the

Tammi Hartung is the author of Cattail Moonshine & Milkweed Medicine, Homegrown Herbs, and The Wildlife-Friendly Vegetable Gardener. She has been growing and working with herbs for more than 40 years and is a frequent teacher and lecturer. She and her husband cultivate more than 1800 varieties of herbs, heirloom food plants, and perennial seed crops on their organic farm in Colorado.

Panayoti Kelaidis represents Denver Botanic Gardens in educational, professional, and promotional endeavors as an expert in horticulture, science, and art. He has traveled to South Africa on seven occasions over the last twenty years. He is the recipient of the American Horticultural Society’s 2009 Liberty Hyde Bailey Medal and the 2000 Arthur Hoyt Scott Medal from Swarthmore College.

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