These are strange times for the first meal of the day. On one hand, The New York Times has practically declared war on breakfast, claiming there's nothing magical about it, even while nutritionists are telling us it's the most important meal of the day. It's also just plain tasty, and, with its wake-up-late hours, breakfast's weekend cousin brunch extends the realm of sweet and savory options. Brunch doesn't have to mean endangering your diet -- at least not when they come in the form of these super-satisfying brunch bowls that feature ingredients fit for making a healthy start.
This North African dish of poached eggs in cumin-spiced tomato sauce almost feels like a cheat. It's full of flavor, and the egg is cooked and seasoned in an all-in-one healthy process: by poaching in the sauce. For all its North African spices, shakshuka is a dish that's fairly adaptable to anyone's preference on the spice spectrum -- from mild to well-seasoned to impressively hot and spicy. It's also incredibly easy to make. You're essentially chopping vegetables, crushing tomatoes and simmering.
Related: Full Recipe: Shakshuka Bowl
Quinoa “Taco” Bowl
Tacos continue to become a national obsession. While tortillas quickly run up the calorie count, you can put together a fast and delicious taco bowl that you can really enjoy without guilt. While it may sound like a rationalization, you can extend this dish's flavor by incorporating small amounts of the very components you're avoiding, such as by thinly slicing good-fat avocados. There's even cheese and sour cream -- it's all in the portioning.
Related: Full Recipe: Quinoa "Taco" Bowl
Key Lime Chia Pudding Pie Bowl
Dessert for breakfast? Or, in this case, brunch? Why not? Get lost, egg yolks. See ya later, sweetened condensed milk. Sayonara, sugar. So then how do you get that thick-set consistency? The creaminess? The natural color? The secrets here are coconut milk, avocado, chia seeds and just enough patience to let the mixture set. No need to forgo a graham-cracker crust either. Who knew you would be able to have key lime pie while eating healthy unsaturated fat and getting 38 percent of your daily value of fiber? Ch-ch-ch-chia!
Breakfast Quinoa Bowl
This recipe is inspired by one of our favorite restaurant brunch bowls in the Big Apple. The breakfast bowl at Jack's Wife Freda in SoHo features all the requisite components for a satisfying healthy start to the day: scrambled egg whites, sliced kale and quinoa. The inspiration for this brunch bowl features spaghetti squash, which you can steam, scrape and serve for a light, faux-pasta touch. But if you can't find that, thin slices of steamed yellow summer squash -- simply seasoned with salt and pepper -- adds a light, pleasant touch.
Shrimp and Cheddar Grits Bowl With Stewed Okra
This Lowcountry breakfast staple is easy and tasty. Everything about its components -- from the mingling tomatoes and okra to the warm pool of cheesy grits that all spread into each other -- scream bowl 'o' fun. Sure, one tablespoon of cheese per portion of grits does add a tad of satisfying fat and calories, but you can't say grits and brunch in the same sentence without cheddar. And the four seriously satisfying medium shrimp per portion barely add up to 100 calories.
Roasted Carrot Yogurt Bowl With Spring Vegetables
Were you expecting yogurt and fresh fruit? We want to know why fruit gets to have all the fun. Think outside of the bowl, like pairing a plain yogurt with a vegetable that sweetens when it's roasted. Roasted carrots blended into the yogurt add an unexpected flavor as well as nutrients. This bowl's earthy sweetness without all of the sugar of fruit could almost pass for dessert.
English Fry-Up Bowl
Hearty and healthy might not be two words you'd expect to see in the same sentence, but this version of the classic British breakfast doesn't knock too much off your daily calorie count. And the rib-sticking bacon, beans and sausage really does make you feel ready to face the day, no matter the time of year. To lighten it a bit, swap out the baked beans for canned navy beans warmed in a pan with two tablespoons of tomato paste. Or use turkey sausage instead of the Irish sausage.
Related: Full Recipe: English Fry-Up Bowl
Roasted Pork-Belly Oatmeal Bowl
Sure, an ounce of pork belly contains 145 calories, but here the small portion is paired with a superfood like oatmeal. You have to live a little, right? This Asian-inspired bowl swerves away from all the sweet, fruity flavors you're used to experiencing with oatmeal. It features a touch of sesame oil, soy and pickled vegetables to cut through the richness of the pork belly.