Growing up, my sister and I loathed sweet breakfasts. We were forever digging into leftovers from the night before instead. When we visited the Philippines, we found savory-breakfast heaven in the form of sinangag, a traditional garlic fried rice dish often served with eggs, fish or sausage (plus lots of soy sauce and vinegar). It was hearty and pungent and eaten for breakfast on purpose. Hooray!
I continue to seek out savory breakfasts to this day. (Starting with a super-sweet breakfast pretty much guarantees a day full of sugar cravings.) These not-so-sweet breakfast ideas are part of my summer arsenal. They get me going and keep me energized — and even better, they can all be prepared ahead, making them perfect for busy (and hot) summer mornings.
Related: 14 New, Lighter Comfort Food Ideas
Steamed Salmon with Avocado
Leftovers can be so satisfying eaten cold. Top last night’s fish with avocado and a squeeze of lemon for a light yet nourishing meal. We had leftover test-kitchen salmon yesterday, and I remembered how fantastic this combination is. It’s one of Martha’s favorites, too!
2 lemons, 1 cut into thin rounds, 1 cut into wedges
4 salmon fillets (1 inch thick; about 4 ounces each)
Fleur de sel
1 firm, ripe Hass avocado, halved, pitted, peeled, and thinly sliced
1. Arrange lemon rounds on bottom of a bamboo steamer basket. Season salmon fillets with fleur de sel. Place salmon on top of lemons, and cover with steamer lid.
2. Bring about 1 inch water to a simmer in a large skillet. Place steamer basket in water, and steam until fish is cooked through, about 7 minutes.
3. Arrange avocado and salmon on plates. Sprinkle salmon with fleur de sel, and serve with lemon wedges.
Quinoa Salad with Zucchini, Mint, and Pistachios
Again with the dinner leftovers, but the grain makes it feel like breakfast. Quinoa’s a complete protein source on its own — the only plant-based one, in fact — but if you’re extra-hungry, you can top it off with an egg.
1 cup quinoa, rinsed well
1 1/2 cups water
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium zucchini, thinly sliced (about 2 1/2 cups)
1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
3 scallions, thinly sliced (about 1/2 cup)
1/4 cup roasted salted pistachios, chopped
Zest and juice (about 3 tablespoons) of 1 lemon
1/2 cup packed fresh mint leaves, chopped, plus more for garnish
1. Place quinoa and water in a small saucepan and season with a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and cover. Simmer until tender and water is absorbed, about 16 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and let cool.
2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add zucchini; cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and golden, about 7 minutes. Add garlic; cook until fragrant (do not let brown), about 30 seconds. Season with salt and pepper and add to quinoa.
3. Stir in scallions, pistachios, lemon zest and juice, and mint. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.
Egg Salad Sandwich
Speaking of eggs, I love the idea of make-ahead egg salad as an alternative to standing over a hot stove first thing in the morning. Don’t be afraid of the yolks — they’ve got all the nutrients and half of the protein — but if you’re looking to lighten things up a bit, you can swap out half the mayonnaise for Greek yogurt. I’d serve this open-faced on toast or wrapped in dark, leafy greens. Vegetables for breakfast, anyone?
6 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and roughly chopped
1/4 cup Homemade Mayonnaise, or prepared mayonnaise, plus more for spreading
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard powder, or 3/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons diced celery
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon mild Madras curry powder, (optional)
1 8-inch round bread loaf, cut in half crosswise
Dijon mustard for spreading (optional)
1 small head radicchio
1 small bunch arugula
1. In a medium bowl, combine eggs, mayonnaise, mustard powder, celery, salt and pepper to taste, and curry powder, if using. Gently mix until combined.
2. Spread the inside of the bread halves with a layer of mayonnaise and mustard, if using. Line the bottom half with radicchio and arugula leaves, and top with the egg salad. Cover with the top half, and cut the sandwich into wedges. Serve immediately.
Sardines on Rye
More fish for breakfast. This is a healthy update on the classic bagel with cream cheese and lox — the lower-in-fat (but still quite creamy) Neufchatel is a genius swap that really makes this dish. Canned sardines are a super-convenient healthy staple. They add rich brininess and tons of protein to this toast.
4 slices toasted rye bread
1/4 cup Neufchatel cheese (or cream cheese)
One 4.4-ounce can sardines, packed in olive oil (drained)
1/4 thinly sliced red onion
2 tablespoons fresh dill
Salt and pepper
1. Spread bread with cheese. Top with sardines, red onion, and dill. Season with salt and pepper.
An olive branch to the sweet-tooth crowd, this baked oatmeal from Heidi Swanson’s Super Natural Every Day is wholesome without being Spartan and tastes like the best soft-baked granola bar you can imagine. Cook once and eat all week long.
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly, plus more for coating baking dish
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup walnuts or almonds, toasted and chopped
1/3 cup fine-grain natural cane sugar
1 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
2 cups milk
1 large egg
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 ripe bananas, cut into 1/2-inch slices
1 1/2 cups huckleberries, blueberries, or mixed berries
Maple syrup, for drizzling
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter an 8-inch square baking dish.
2. Combine the oats, half the nuts, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt in a bowl. In another bowl, whisk the milk, egg, half the butter, and the vanilla.
3. Arrange bananas in a single layer on the bottom of the coated baking dish. Sprinkle with two-thirds of the berries, then cover with the oat mixture. Slowly drizzle milk mixture over the oats. Gently tap dish on a work surface to distribute liquid. Scatter remaining berries and nuts across the top.
4. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the top is nicely golden and the oat mixture has set. Let cool slightly. Drizzle with remaining melted butter and maple syrup.
Fresh Fruit with Applesauce-Sweetened Tahini
Sometimes you just want fruit for breakfast, and this is one great way to do it. The applesauce-sweetened tahini is easy but different, and the toasted coconut really makes it memorable. You could dress any fruit this way — peaches or other summer stone fruit would be delicious.
1/4 cup tahini
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons water
4 cups sliced fruit, such as mango, black grapes, plums, and citrus
1/4 cup toasted, unsweetened coconut flakes
1. Combine tahini, applesauce, honey, and water in a food processor. Pulse until smooth. Arrange fruit in serving bowls. Drizzle with tahini sauce and top with toasted coconut.
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