Eating a salad for breakfast might sound strange or even far-fetched for some. As a former breakfast-on-the-go type who mindlessly ate peanut butter sandwiches while commuting to work, I can understand the dilemma of transforming the conventional views on American breakfasts. There’s a reason McDonald’s started serving breakfast all day ― people love a good biscuit sandwich loaded with bacon, egg and cheese.
Experimenting with the Whole 30 diet opened my eyes to the idea of vegetables as the main star of breakfast instead of just an addition to a fruit smoothie. Research shows that a vegetable-forward breakfast can nourish the brain, stabilize blood sugar levels to sustain energy, keep you full longer and even increase productivity at work while boosting your mood.
Research also shows that eating a Mediterranean diet reduces the risk of heart disease, cancer and stroke and even aids in weight loss. So why not combine the two philosophies for an even better way to start the day?
This Mediterranean breakfast salad includes a large dose of vegetables, healthy fats, protein and fiber for a balanced and nutritious morning. My favorite components are the sumac roasted sweet potatoes, spiced chickpeas and marinated red onions. Sumac is a Middle Eastern spice with a tangy, lemony flavor and a brilliant red hue. The roasted chickpeas, seasoned with a blend of cumin, garlic and chili powder, add a crunch to the salad to replace our beloved croutons.
However, the real star of the show is the marinated onions. That recipe comes from Teri over at the Instagram-famous food blog No Crumbs Left. The onions sit in a bath of olive oil, red wine vinegar and oregano overnight to add a bright, zesty flavor to the salad. The best part is the leftover marinating liquid serves as a salad dressing. Double win!
Mediterranean Breakfast Salad
- 2 cups mixed greens
- 1/4 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced
- 1/4 cup English cucumber, sliced
- 1/2 small avocado, sliced
- 1 small sweet potato, cut into wedges
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon sumac
- 1 can chickpeas, rinsed, drained and patted dry
- 1 teaspoon each: cumin, garlic powder and chili powder
- 1/4 cup lemon hummus
- 1 large egg
- Kosher salt and pepper, to taste
- 1/4 cup marinated onions (recipe below)
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Roast sweet potatoes: Toss sweet potato wedges with sumac, 1 tablespoon olive oil and kosher salt. Transfer to parchment-lined baking sheet and cook for 25 to 30 minutes, or until tender.
3. Roast chickpeas: Toss chickpeas with 1 tablespoon olive oil, cumin, garlic powder, chili powder and kosher salt. Transfer to parchment-lined baking sheet and cook for 30 to 35 minutes until chickpeas are crispy and golden.
4. Soft-boil the egg: Bring a small pot of water to a rapid boil. Using a slotted spoon, gently lower egg into water. Reduce heat to medium and set timer for 6 1/2 minutes. Immediately drain and place egg in ice bath. Let cool for 10 minutes, then peel and cut in half. Season with salt and pepper.
5. Assemble salad: Spread hummus on bottom of bowl. Add mixed greens, tomatoes, cucumber, avocado, roasted sweet potatoes, roasted chickpeas and marinated onions on top. Drizzle salad with leftover onion marinade, about 2 to 3 tablespoons. Add soft-boiled egg on top and dig in.
No Crumbs Left Marinated Onions
- 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
- 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1. Whisk together olive oil, dried oregano and red wine vinegar in small bowl.
2. Pour mixture over onions in shallow bowl, making sure they are completely covered.
3. Let sit at room temperature (don’t put in fridge!) for at least 4 hours (best to let them sit overnight) before using. They stay fresh 2 to 3 days unrefrigerated.