Culture exchange Dinner party tomorrow night with Japanese exchange students. I have been asked to bring a vegetable dish to this "Breakfast For Dinner" theme. Outside of potatoes, I cannot think of a thing. I don't need a recipe, I need a category suggestion. What is a breakfast vegetable? Help.

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    The closest thing I can think of in western culture might be a fritata with lots of vegetables ... but I wouldn't think of it as a vegetable dish, per se. – Joe Jan 14 '11 at 2:08
  • Do they mean vegetable, or vegetarian? That would open up a lot of egg dishes and bakery goods. – slim Jan 14 '11 at 9:58
  • Thank you slim for your suggestion. I do not believe the criteria was vegetarian or vegan. I didn't want to struggle with keeping eggs hot in a potluck scenario, or risk that the other participants had done egg and potato bakes. I was trying to be a bit more creative. Were I entertaining in my home Joe, I would certainly try the fritata idea. – Plain Ol'Common Sense Jan 14 '11 at 16:17

Grilled mushrooms. While not technically a vegetable, or even a plant for that matter, it's certainly appropriate for the occasion.

A full English breakfast, as eaten in Notting Hill last year, is bacon/sausage and fried egg with baked beans and grilled mushrooms. It also has toast with butter and jam, and a grilled tomato.

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  • The baked beans will also count as a vegetable. – slim Jan 14 '11 at 9:57
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    Carmi, I hadn't even thought of mushrooms. I think that is a good choice for transport and rounding out what other participants may bring to this potluck event. I am going to sauté mushrooms with bacon bits, and marinate some as well to serve at room temp. Thank you for helping think outside the box. – Plain Ol'Common Sense Jan 14 '11 at 16:19
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    @Carmi: For the sake of accuracy, Full English Breakfasts tend to vary a fair bit in composition. Usually a selection from the following (the closer to the beginning, the more common, mostly fried): bacon (not like American bacon), eggs (fried, scrambled or sometimes poached), sausages, mushrooms, tomatoes, baked beans, fried bread, hash browns, black pudding, bubble & squeak. Bacon is occasionally grilled. Also, technically the term also refers to the other courses, which are juice and cereal before, and toast afterwards. – Orbling Jan 14 '11 at 18:06
  • @Carmi: Mushrooms are usually fried in butter in my experience, usually chopped up - but for a more prominent role, certainly if on their own, then portabellos whole. – Orbling Jan 14 '11 at 18:08
  • @Orbling: You're absolutely right about the varying composition of breakfast. I was specifically describing a breakfast I had that struck me as being "typical". As for the mushrooms, they were very definitely whole and grilled, as they had grill "char lines" on them. They do fry them a lot though. – Carmi Jan 15 '11 at 17:06

A tomato comes to mind as a classic breakfast vegetable (even if science says it's a fruit :) As a fried side or sliced garnish, either is tasty.

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  • Pat, I like this idea a great deal, but it is a bad time of year of 'good' tomatoes. I appreciate you help. – Plain Ol'Common Sense Jan 14 '11 at 16:20
  • Or halved and broiled – RolandTumble Jan 14 '11 at 20:59
  • When I was a kid we would have stewed tomatoes with our bacon and eggs, was definitely my favorite. We'd also have rhubarb compote which is technically a vegetable. – Manako Jan 17 '11 at 19:54

Well, we often have asparagus for breakfast. They make really good soldiers to go with poached eggs.

Another suggestion is baked beans. In the region where I grew up (Ottawa valley) a lot of restaurants serve them with eggs and bacon for breakfast.

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  • It's not typical breakfast in the regions I've lived in the US, but I've seen it on brunch menus ... usually with a runny poached egg on top, to make a sort of sauce for 'em. (or with hollandaise) ... unfortunately, it's a bad time of year around here to get asparagus. – Joe Jan 14 '11 at 13:07
  • Fantastic idea. I may use this for a Mother's Day brunch menu come spring when I can get fresh asparagus again. Good thinking. – Plain Ol'Common Sense Jan 14 '11 at 16:23

As another option, not everyone eats hot food for breakfast. In warmer parts of the world, we tend to prefer salads for breakfast.

Perhaps a Greek salad (tomatoes, black olives, feta cheese, olive oil), or an Israeli salad (finely chopped cucumber, tomato, red pepper, oil, lemon juice) would work.

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  • If the dinner weren't so 'AMERICAN' in it's theme, this would be my runner up choice. I am going to make it for my own family dinner next week though. You really teased my taste buds with this idea. – Plain Ol'Common Sense Jan 14 '11 at 16:22

Few ideas (the ones further down tend more to be dishes with vegetables than vegetable dishes)

Eggs: Not sure if you consider this cheating... but you start with eggs, and you have a whole lot of choices... Leafy Greens like Kale and Spinach go great with eggs. As a matter of fact, it's what I just ate today. Cook the Kale, add in scrambled eggs, paprika, salt, Pepper, done. Other choices, poached egg or fried egg on a bed of sauteed greens, omelet,

Salad: There are numerous choices for a salad, but you can add some fruit to a some greens to make a light salad.

Beans: Also sorts of bean dishes work great for a nice hearty breakfast. Baked Beans, etc...

Smoothie: Also not sure if this would appealing or appropriate, but often people put vegetables in their smoothies.

Savoury Oatmeal: Oatmeal can be made savoury by adding vegetables. Not a fan of oatmeal, but I've heard it done. Not sure if you'd call this a vegetable dish though.

A couple useful links:

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  • Talon8, Thank you so much for your through answers and suggestions. I think the most 'breakfast ideas – Plain Ol'Common Sense Jan 14 '11 at 16:33
  • KEYBOARD ERROR. I sent the last note before finished. I think the most 'breakfast' like ideas for a typical AMERICAN breakfast seem to rule these ideas out, but frankly they sound delicious to me. I don't know that my choice of sauteed onion, bacon and mushrooms could be called typical either having said that. As Americans, we just don't do veggies in the morning outside of potatos where I come from. Maybe southern dishes that include corn fritters or grits is about al – Plain Ol'Common Sense Jan 14 '11 at 16:43
  • Though I am Canadian... Those are American websites. Does that count? :-) – talon8 Jan 14 '11 at 16:53
  • +1 for smoothies. We've started eating a lot of veggie + fruit smoothies for b'fast since getting a vitamix (well, we were when it was warm). Things like melon and spinach or fruit and lettuce turn out really well. – yossarian Jan 14 '11 at 17:03
  • +1. Green smoothies (smoothies with greens like spinach, kale, or lettuce) are delicious. For the savory oatmeal suggestion, I find adding pumpkin works great. And subbing in sweet potatoes wherever you would use regular white potatoes (e.g., a sweet potato hash) is another option. – grautur Oct 22 '11 at 19:05

Hmmmm... Japanese breakfasts are a lot different, but it sounds like this is a "western" breakfast for dinner, like eggs, bacon, and pancakes? I'd say you can't go wrong with potatoes. I have a book of recipes of Japanese pub food, which borrows from a lot of different cultures. One of them basically has you peel and cut a couple russet potatoes into ½ x 2 inch sticks, deep fry them and then mix them with sauteed onion and two strips worth of sauteed bacon and just a little bit (½ tsp) of soy sauce. If you wanted, you could easily add some bell pepper and mushroom to the onion and bacon. It'd be like a Denver omlette minus the omlette with the home fries mixed in. That'd be a good, easy western breakfast appropriate vegetable dish.

If you're looking for something appropriate to a Japanese breakfast, I'd recommend Japanese-style pickles, but it doesn't sound like that's what you're looking for.

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  • I like your suggestion and if I were not trying to stay away from the obvious answer of 'potato' for the side dish, I would go this route. Sounds like a great brunch/dinner for the weekend. I am interested in finding out more about Japanese-style pickles. That might just be a good conversation starter with the students. Thanks for the idea. – Plain Ol'Common Sense Jan 14 '11 at 16:26
  • Definitely ask them about tsukemono (soo-kay-moh-no). They're different from the western notion of pickles and a fascinating part of Japanese cuisine. – Cold Oatmeal Jan 14 '11 at 20:12
  • Darn Cold Oatmeal, I forgot to ask tonight. I will see a couple of these students again and make it a point to explore that with them. Thanks again for the conversation starter and the helpful pronunciation guide. – Plain Ol'Common Sense Jan 15 '11 at 6:09

It might be too late, but to expand on the fritatta comment --

It doesn't have to be served warm. It can be served like a spanish tortilla or a quiche -- either warm, or at room temperature. If you make it the day before (doubtful in this case), you can chill it in the fridge, then bring it out before serving to warm back up to room temperature.

Common vegetable ingredients include:

  • bell peppers
  • onion, leeks or similar
  • mushrooms
  • asparagus
  • broccoli
  • potato
  • spinich or other dark greens
  • zucchini or other summer squash
  • pumpkin or winter squash
  • tomato (diced or sliced, no need to pre-cook)
  • sun-dried tomatoes
  • artichoke hearts
  • peas
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  • Joe, that was an insightful and helpful answer. I must admit I have been cooking for years and NEVER thought once of room temp eggs being not only acceptable, but good. I might add to the list a crisply tangy and mild goat cheese. You have given me a new freedom I am going to happily explore. I am right with you on your yummy ideas for ingredients. Thank you for taking the time and effort to expand my horizons. – Plain Ol'Common Sense Jan 15 '11 at 6:06
  • @Plain Ol'Common Sense : I was just listing vegetables ... almost any cheese works (blue cheeses might be a bit strong in large amounts, though), and of course meats like ham, salami, sausages, etc, if you want to hit almost all food groups at once ... then just serve with some good bread. – Joe Jan 15 '11 at 15:06

For the sake of all the helpful folks who gave me fantastic idea for this event I want to share the results. I cooked up 5 pounds of sliced mushrooms 3 onions and a 1/2 pound of peppered bacon. As they all crip up nicely in the pan I threw some Merlot in the pan to deglaze it and add a little tang, cut the heaviness of the bacon and add richness. Out of a full over sized 12" pie plate, not one mushroom was left, and I think I would have had the same results had I doubled the recipe. Thank you all so much. I now have several new dishes to try out and learn new techniques.

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I love corn cakes. I make mine with lots of fresh (or frozen) kernels and onion - mixed into corn bread batter and fried on a griddle. I often serve with pureed red pepper sauce. You could also do a corn casserole - would be a bit more "brunchy" than breakfast.

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