Life

Work This Vegan Breakfast Bagel Into Your Pre-Summer Fitness Kick

I’m a big fan of the breakfast burrito. That being said, I’m just as big a fan of a classic deli breakfast bagel. Just like with the breakie burrito, there are tons of directions you can go with your breakfast bagel. Lox and cream cheese, B.E.C., just a fried egg, peanut butter and jam. The list goes on and on. The world of savory breakfast sandwiches really is your oyster.

Today, we’re keeping things lighter. Or, at least, vegan-er — while still holding onto the familiar feel of a classic sausage, egg, and cheese breakfast bagel.

Naturally, if you’re making a vegan meal, you don’t need to use meat or dairy substitutes at all. There are millions of ways to eat a vegan diet without substitutes. Either way though, it’s certainly healthier. Still, we’re really going for that old-school deli breakfast sandwich vibe while staying strictly plant-based. Theoretically, this is to help your summer fitness kick, but that depends on what fitness means to you.

It’s served on bread. And probably relatively close to a wash on calories.

The real question we want to answer is whether going fully plant-based with what is essentially greasy-spoon fare actually tastes good. Do plant-based scrambled eggs stand up to the real deal? How good is Beyond Meat’s sausage at the end of the day? Let’s figure it all out!

Vegan “Sausage, Egg, and Cheese” Breakfast Bagel

Zach Johnston

Ingredients:

  • 1 Beyond Meat Sausage
  • 1/4 cup vegan scrambled eggs
  • 2 slices vegan cheddar
  • 1 bagel
  • Arugula
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper

There’s a great bagel shop inside a synagogue here in Berlin that I frequent. They make whole wheat bagels by hand every day. They’re uniquely Berlin bagels with a hefty chew and bit more of a sour edge. You get what works for you. If you had a date stay over the night before making this, go for a bakery bagel over store-bought.

I’m using the Beyond Meat Beyond Sausage “Brat Original” sausages. There’s a nice spice to these that sort of feels halfway between a herbal German bratwurst and a mildly spicy Italian sausage. They’re also hefty enough that I can butterfly them for easier sandwich building later.

Onto the cheese! I bought vegan cheddar slices from Violife. Generally speaking, the cheese has a close texture to American Cheese cheddar slices with a bit more of a plastic-y edge. Still, it melts and does have a mild cheddar flavor (though, I timed my sandwiches to real cheese and didn’t get an optimal melt…).

Finally, there’s the egg. I’m using a plant-based substitute that’s from Australia (Orgran). The closest thing I can find in the U.S. is JUST Egg. Basically, you’re getting a premixed eggy mixture that works pretty damn well as a plant-based scrambled egg in texture and look.

Zach Johnston

What You’ll Need:

  • Cast iron skillet
  • Non-stick pan
  • Bread knife
  • Spatula
  • White grease-proof paper
Zach Johnston

Method:

  • Put a skillet on medium-high heat and add a small glug of olive oil.
  • Slice the bagel in half along the horizontal and toast off the bagel in the skillet.
  • Butterfly the sausage and place it in the same hot skillet, cut side down. Brown on both sides. Top with a slice of cheese.
  • At the same time, in a non-stick pan on medium-low heat, add in a small glug of olive oil.
  • Add scrambled egg mix with a pinch of salt and a crack or two of black pepper.
  • Rotate the skillet by tipping it slightly in a circular motion to help the eggs set into a thin sheet. Once the thin layer of egg pretty much sets, fold the edges over to create a small square. Top the egg with its own slice of cheese and turn off the heat.
  • Build the sandwich by adding the arugula to the heel of the toasted bagel.
  • Next, add the egg, sausages, and the crown of the bagel.
  • Optional: hit the egg with a few dashes of hot sauce (or chili flakes) while building.
  • Wrap the bagel in white paper and let rest.
  • Slice the bagel in half along the vertical and serve.

Bottom Line:

Zach Johnston

This was really satisfying and a great breakfast all around. But before I rave, let’s get into the cons.

I screwed up the cheese by not covering my pan and skillet to really let the cheese melt. I got a really good melt on the cheese between the sausage and egg (see photo below) but not between the sausage and crown of the bagel. Still, this cheese was the mildest of cheddars I’ve ever had. It brought the texture more than the taste. By the end, it was meltier and had absorbed some oil — getting closer to that crappy and plastic American Cheese you often get at a shitty diner.

Which is to say, it hit the spot.

The eggs worked perfectly as a textural component. But, there was no real “egginess” to them. My scramble was pale and kind of flavorless. I might add some MSG to the egg next time to help coax more flavors from the scrambled egg mixture. I might also put the hot sauce into the egg mix as it’s cooking.

Now for the good stuff. I really like Beyond Meat’s sausages. They hold up to butterflying really well. They’re legitimately tasty. And they really helped this sandwich pop, which made up for the mildness of the cheese and eggs.

***

All told, this was a very good way to start the day. The bagel was funky and filling. The sausage, egg, and cheese definitely vibed and had a real familiarity to them… even if the flavors weren’t bang on. Even the layer of arugula added a nice peppery touch.

I will 100 percent make this again. It took less than ten minutes and hit the spot. It felt… akin to healthy eating. Like a neighbor or casual acquaintance of healthy food. If you try it, promise to dial in that cheese melt and amp up the umami on those eggs.

Zach Johnston
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