I don’t think I’ve ever eaten more eggs in a month as I have during this Whole30 challenge. When grains and dairy are off the table – there’s not much else on offer for breakfast. No granola, cereal, oatmeal, toast, yogurt, and even smoothies are discouraged, even if they meet the Whole30 criteria.
In search of a morning meal that didn’t revolve around would-be chicken offspring, I tried out dairy-free, sugar-free coconut yogurt. I opted for “plain” flavour because the other options had some sort of sweetener. After sampling the plain coconut yogurt (made from coconut milk instead of cow’s milk) I can fully appreciate what the sweetener and flavouring in the “vanilla” option were trying to hide.
Coconut yogurt sounds delicious in theory. Who doesn’t like coconut? Peak tropical yumminess. But no. Plain coconut yogurt tastes like someone sent a little coconut to work in a machine shop and it suffered a catastrophic workplace injury where it was impaled by a metal beam. It tastes like a handful of nickels – with very faint coconut aftertaste.
To make matters worse, there’s the mouthfeel. Coconut yogurt has the texture of mucus.
No amount of delicious fresh fruit, chopped dates, nuts, or unsweetened coconut flakes can salvage the abomination that is coconut yogurt. I’m sorry, it’s just a total non-starter.
When I tried to do a vegan month a few years ago, also in January, I had a similar reaction to tofu scramble (a plant-based dish intended to mimic scrambled eggs). I endlessly researched to find the best tofu scramble recipe. I finally found what I thought would be a winner – hundreds of five-star reviews, easy to execute, etc.
I went out and bought Himalayan Black Salt and drained off the brine from a can of chickpeas – also known as “aquafaba”. These two ingredients went into the blender along with a block of firm tofu and some other spices. Out of the Vitamix and into the frying pan it went.
The liquid concoction quickly formed into a scramble – it looked like eggs thanks to the addition of a bit of turmeric for colour. And it smelled like eggs from the sulphuric scent of the Himalayan black salt. Looks like eggs, smells like eggs, I became cautiously optimistic.
I put the first forkful in my mouth and nearly spit it out immediately. The flavour and texture is wretched. I couldn’t stomach it. I went without breakfast that day. I have since had better iterations of tofu scramble, prepared for me by my vegan friends. Their versions relied heavily on the inclusion of other flavour boosters like red pepper, mushrooms, onions, etc.
I have no problem with plant-based diets or eliminating dairy but I think the key factor is that these plant-based alternatives don’t try to imitate the original. Call it something else entirely. Of course, there are more and more examples of believable plant-based alternatives – like the Beyond Meat burger for instance – but coconut yogurt and tofu scramble ain’t it.
The Whole30 challenge eliminates soy. So, even if I wanted a heaping bowlful of tofu scramble, it would be off-limits. By comparison to that harrowing experience, I’ll take my dozens of eggs any day.
These Bacon and Egg Sweet Potato Boats are definitely the highest and best use I’ve found for eggs, without the addition of grains or dairy, since starting this diet. The roasted sweet potato has such a great, naturally sweet flavour that I’ve complemented with an Avocado Cilantro Lime sauce and Harissa Relish.
I’m all about reinventing leftovers and minimizing food waste so I upcycled the Avocado Cilantro Lime sauce that I’d served with crudités the night before and reused a Harissa Relish from my Moroccan Carrot Soup with Harissa Relish that I also served last week. Crispy bacon bits, a sunnyside egg and cilantro sprigs finish it off to make a filling and delicious Whole30 breakfast.
Bacon and Egg Sweet Potato Boats
- 2 large sweet potatoes
- sea salt
- 4 slices bacon cooked and chopped
- 4 small eggs
- freshly ground pepper
- ⅓ cup Whole30 approved mayo*
- 1 large avocado
- ½ cup cilantro roughly chopped
- 1 large garlic clove minced
- 2-3 tbsp water, thin to taste
- lime juice from 1 lime
- ¼ tsp freshly ground pepper
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ tsp cumin seeds
- ½ tsp caraway seeds
- ½ tsp chili flakes
- ½ cup chopped jarred piquillo peppers
- ¼ tsp finely grated garlic
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Salt to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Pierce potatoes all over with a fork. Place potatoes on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 50-60 minutes or until fork tender.
While potatoes bake, cook bacon, set on paper towels to sop up excess grease and then chop. Also prepare the Avocado Cilantro Lime Sauce and Harissa Relish while potatoes are baking.
Remove potatoes from oven and when slightly cooled enough to handle, carefully make a slit in each potato, cutting lengthwise without cutting all the way through.
Use the back of a spoon to create a crater in each potato, spoon in 1-2 tbsp of the Avocado Lime Dressing.
Heat a non-stick pan over medium heat. Add 1 tbsp olive oil. Crack two eggs into the pan and cook sunnyside up until whites are set but yolks are still runny.
Add one egg into each sweet potato boat. Sprinkle with chopped bacon, spoon in some of Harissa Relish (to taste), and sprinkle in some cilantro leaves for garnish. Serve.
In a blender or food processor combine ingredients for dressing until smooth. Store in fridge for 5-7 days.
For the harissa relish, place cumin and caraway seeds in small frying pan over medium heat. Toast, shaking pan occasionally, until lightly browned and fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat and add chili flakes. Toast for 10 seconds. Transfer to plate to cool.
In a spice grinder or with a mortar and pestle, coarsely grind cooled spices. Add to bowl with piquillo peppers, garlic, olive oil and salt. Mix. Transfer to airtight container. (Relish will keep in fridge up to 1 week. Bring to room temperature before serving.)
Avocado Cilantro Lime Sauce recipe from: “Avocado Cilantro Lime Dip/Dressing.” Kim’s Cravings. January 8, 2019.