Vegan brunch

Vegan brunch

vegan brunch bowl

Today’s recipe doesn’t feature many photos as I am going through something difficult and that’s all I was able to manage. I promised myself not to cut myself up about it. That’s life and it ebbs and flows. I have, finally, after many decades of agonising about the cause of my mental health issues (depression, anxiety, inability to deal with stress, getting overwhelmed easily, tension headaches…to name just a few) got to the bottom of it. I had an epiphany sometime in January and the more I researched it the more convinced I got that I finally nailed it and I am determined to heal from it.

I found a therapist that specialises in cases like mine and I am looking really forward to chatting to her today – it’s been a long time coming. I’ve already got a glimpse of how difficult this process is going to get. I’ve been getting really angry and upset on repeat lately. I am not a joy to be around sometimes, but for the first time in my life, I am truly hopeful that therapy will help me overcome my issues and that I will come out at the other end a healthier, happier and more secure in myself individual.

I don’t want to go into too much detail, but I am saying all this to contribute to the ongoing, public conversation about the importance of mental health. It’s nowhere near loud enough and we need to do more to amplify it. As a society, we focus so much on the physical health but we totally ignore the health of our brain, which drives us all and has the ability to either propel us into or hinder us from living our best lives.

It may seem like I am jumping on a bandwagon as it is somewhat trendy to be mindful these days, but it’s not the case. I’ve been grappling with mental health since I was a teenager – feeling like there is no point to life at 16!!! I remember that vividly. And I never ‘grew out of it’ or ‘got over it’ as some societal ‘wisdom’ would advise. I’ve just turned 40 and I am finally beginning to unravel what had gone wrong and I am so grateful for the wonder of the Internet as without it, I would have never got the answers that I did and no one who could validate my experience.

Recipewise, I have made a nutritious vegan brunch bowl, which can also make a great savoury breakfast or lunch. It features chickpeas in a rich tomato sauce, quick tofu scramble, some avocado and a piece of your favourite bread. I went for a few slices of my favourite Turkish bread, which I char on a hot griddle pan, but any bread you like will work. If not for the fact that I have braces, a piece of sourdough would be my second choice. This dish is perfect for batch cooking, make the chickpeas in advance and Bob’s your uncle, as they say here, in the UK. Enjoy!

vegan brunch

15 min
45 min
15 min
45 min
  • olive oil
  • 1 small onion / large shallot, finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely diced
  • 400 g / 14 oz / 2 cup cooked chickpeas
  • 1 heaped tsp cumin
  • 1 heaped tsp smoked paprika
  • a pinch of hot chilli powder or cayenne pepper
  • 1 x 400 g / 14 oz quality plum tomatoes
  • salt, to taste
  • black pepper, to taste
  • 300 g / 10.5 oz silken firm tofu (I use Clearspring)
  • ¼ tsp turmeric, adjust to taste
  • ¼ tsp black salt (has eggy taste), adjust to taste
  • favourite bread, toasted
  • 1 ripe avocado, cut in half
  1. Heat up the olive oil in a large frying pan. Add the diced onion and sauté on a low heat for a few minutes, until the onions are almost translucent, but not coloured.
  2. Add the chopped garlic and sauté for another 2 minutes, stirring often.
  3. Next, stir dry spices into the onion and garlic and allow them to fry for a few seconds before adding canned tomatoes, a good pinch of salt and pepper.
  4. Squash whole tomatoes down with a wooden spoon then add about 500 ml / 2 cups worth of water and cooked chickpeas.
  5. Allow the sauce to reduce by simmering it slowly, without a lid. Adjust the seasoning to taste.
  6. Grab another pan, or move the tomatoes out of the way to fry up the tofu. Put dry tofu in a warm frying pan, squash it with a fork and season with a little turmeric, black (eggy) salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Toast the bread on a hot griddle pan or in a toaster.
  8. Divide the spiced chickpeas (you will have some left over) and tofu between two plates, serve with half an avocado and your favourite bread.

If you want your tofu scramble taste even better, pan fry it with some shallot and garlic (like in this and that recipe) and season with nutritional yeast.

8 g
15 g
2 g
12 g
29 g
*per serving
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10 reviews, 38 comments
I love this recipe. Good luck in your journey! 40s are when one comes into their own
    Aw thank you so much, Darlene! That's what I've heard from a lot of women, I am hoping it's true :) x Ania
Thank you for sharing this recipe, and for having the courage to open up about your mental health issues. I can certainly relate, and absolutely agree that it's so important to be more open about those issues. If you injure your body you go to a doctor and there's no shame in admitting that, so why should it be so taboo to seek therapy for your mind? Wishing you all the best, and thank you for all the great recipes you share.
    Thank you for your kind words, Alda and I am sorry to hear that you've had similar struggles. Yes, I am totally on the same page - the shame and dismissal and bias we treat mental health with is ridiculous, it's getting better but it's still lagging behind physical health even though one ceases to exist without the other. This is an old recipe and luckily I have been feeling a lot better lately, but thank you for your kind words and wishing you good overall health too.x Ania
Yet another great recipe. This blog has been my greatest inspiration in plant based cooking. Recipe ingredients are easily accessible, meals are super tasty and beautifully colourful. Always another one added to long list of to make. Thank you for sharing.
    Aw thank you for your kind words, Silvia! It makes me so happy to know that my recipes make a difference to people's lives. I hope you'll enjoy this one as much as the others. x Ania
Just a quick comment to thank you for all you do to encourage good health. I love your recipes and they make a huge positive difference in my life. And secondly to encourage you along your personal journey. Sending hugs and love from Michigan! P.S. I love a good old fashioned English breakfast and this recipe is traditional and nutritious. I can’t wait to make it!
    Aw thank you, Colleen. I am absolutely delighted to hear that my recipes make a difference to your life - thank you for letting me know. This is actually an old recipe of mine (I posted it 3 years ago) and I am feeling much better, but thank you for the encouragement. Even though I am better, I still have to be mindful and work on myself in order not to slip back into my old thought habits. I hope you'll enjoy this recipe and I am planning on publishing one for a full English breakfast too - just having trouble deciding on the elements as there are so many ways I could go. x Ania
Easy to make and tastes great! Thank you :)
    Thanks Ed, so nice to hear that you found this dish both easy and tasty at the same time. And thank you for taking the time to review, I really appreciate it. x Ania
Charmine Turner:
What’s the best vegan brunch meal
    Thank you :)
Wow, really? I knew from reading some of your other posts that I recognized something about your way of presenting information. Turns out it is depression, which we have in common. It is such a personal issue, so I can relate to the worry of either writing too much or being disingenuous. But now you’ve made me very curious about what it is you have discovered... haha. My greatest takeaways are always from stories, so I would love to maybe read yours at some point. I am fascinated by the unconscious ways we are drawn to others with similar issues. My trust in official therapy methods is quite low, because of their reductionism - I only found through my art that it was my induced conservative-right way of thinking that depressed me (having been raised on patriarchal interpretation of art and culture) which in itself was based on denying my sexuality and ancestral knowledge about it. So the way some people throw medication at you or tell you it is “a physical illness” then goes on top of those worries that “there might be something wrong with you” (I did resist this idea, nevertheless) because you are intelligent and question things. It has been much, much better since my going vegan, because of the ethics involved - suddenly the anxiety just disappeared because there was no more hiding the lies I’d been participating in. The depression still returns at times, but it is good to know it’s an ongoing balance to be free of it, not a destination. Meaning that “the dark” always compensates for something — we must remember to embrace it and the loneliness we run away from, because that is why we experience them as negative.
    Hi Adina,
    Thanks for your thoughtful comment and sorry to hear that you have experience with depression too - it's a hard thing to go through, especially as it's still very much misunderstood and made light of by the vast majority of people. I'm glad to hear that you've found your own ways of coping and feeling better - these things are so important as at the end of the day it is something we have to heal within us by ourselves (although outside help may be helpful, there is a lot of internal work that needs to be done). x Ania
Thank you for sharing
Wishing you love and mental health ♡
Take care of you
Love your recipes!!
    Thank you, Mylinda! I'm delighted to hear that you enjoy my blog. Stay safe! x Ania
Hi Ania, is this a good cook ahead recipe? If so, if I make it the day before how should i store and/or heat it up? Thank you!!
    Hi Carly,
    Chickpeas absolutely yes and although I tend to make scrambled tofu just before eating, you can make it ahead of time. Store, in an air-tight container, in the fridge. To reheat, add a splash of water to the pan, the water will evaporate during the reheating process. Hope this helps! Ania
Wim Hof's breathing method - give it a try.
If that won't help, seek assistance with mother nature (ayahuasca).
Bleessings, M
    Thanks for the suggestion. I have found things that work for me right now so that's what I am exploring . Cheers! Ania
Ghulam Mohyudin:
It was perfect the first time. I learn so much from you as well! Keep it up great post.
    Thanks and glad to hear you enjoyed this dish. Ania
Just made this for breakfast yesterday and it was delicious! I served the chickpea tomato mixture atop a bed of chopped spinach and it was perfect.
    Great to hear, Tracy!
Dear Ania,
I wish you well!! I would like to let you know that your recipes have been such a benefit to My Health, both fysical and mental. The idea that i am contributing to a more peacefull world means so much! I aM very greatfull for your sharing!
    Thanks so much for your kind words, Judith! I am so happy to hear that and thank you for making the choice to be kind! xx Ania
I think the nutrient I need for a brunch was intact in this recipe, thanks for sharing!
    My pleasure! Ania
I applaud young for sharing your difficulties. Many will share your experiences and be relieved that they are not alone. I have had many bouts of mental health issues which have taken a great deal of time and effort to overcome. But it’s worth it and I wish you all the very best.
    Thanks for your supportive words, Mandy! And your story of coming through on the other side is giving me hope - I have been fighting this for so long but for the first time ever I feel like I understood what is the cause of all my suffering. Feeling hopeful and prepared to work hard! x Ania
I have never done this and don’t know if it is allowed! I don’t usually read too much as I concentrate on the ingredients etc. But I wish you well and very well done for your honesty and speaking about it. I really wish you all the best.
    Thank you so much, Melanie. All the support is very welcome so thank you. One of the issues with this type of illness is that it can feel super lonely at times and many people don't even acknowledge that it is real. It makes it super hard to seek help and to commit to healing. I've overcome the naysayers now and I understood the root of the issue so I feel like I am some of the way there. x Ania
Jan Snider:
It takes a lot of courage to talk about issues that are so personal and I completely understand how you are feeling. I too have struggled with depression all my life and when I was younger, I went to many therapists trying to get help. The last one I went to tried hypnotherapy with me and when he saw that it was not helping, he suggested that I try an antidepressant. I am not a fan of taking medications but he said something to me that made me reconsider. He said "if you were a diabetic, would you refuse to take medication for your illness? Depression is a physical illness and if medication can help then you should give it a chance". I did and it changed my life. The first pill he prescribed did nothing for me. The second kicked in after about 6 weeks and since them, I feel so much better. No more suicidal thoughts, no more feelings of lack of self-worth. I am not saying that it would be right for everyone, but it sure helped me. You might want to talk to your therapist about it. Best of luck to you and thank you for sharing your struggles. It always helps to know that you are not alone.
    Thanks for your kind words, Jan! I am sorry to hear that you are also struggling with mental health, but happy to hear that you have found medication useful. You are right that anti-depressants are always viewed with suspicion and bias while other types of medications are simply accepted as necessary. I wonder if it's because human brain is still a big mystery, we still have so much to discover? I have taken anti-depressants in my late 20's and I am not against them but I really feel like talking therapy is right for me right now as I have narrowed my issues down and so I was able to find a therapist with a very specific field of interest. I completely agree, feeling alone in this is the hardest part so finding people who have had similar experience is priceless. Wishing you all the best with your struggles. x Ania
Rosina Claxton:
Dear Ania
Thank you for sharing your struggles with us, bought tears to my eyes. I look at your pic and see a beautiful, successful and talented soul. Your mouthwatering recipes are a credit to you.
Like Cindy, I have found Dr Joe Dispenza and others like him an absolute godsend in my healing journey. I’ve no doubt you have and will continue to be drawn to the right person/s to assist you each step of the way.
With much love (Aroha)
    Thanks so much, Rosina! I am grateful for all the support, but I'm also sad that my post resonated with so many people. I guess the silver lining is that we can feel less alone. I will check these videos out (I am into that kind of stuff anyway), but I have already arranged for my therapy and I do hope that it will bring much needed relief and allow me to overcome things that hold me back so much. Thank you and wishing you all the very best! x Ania
Thank you for sharing so freely of yourself and your recipes. Your creativity, cooking and photography skills have put many a smile on my face. Wishing you all the best in your journey!
    Thank you for your kind words, Régine! I really appreciate them. I did worry that I am maybe divulging too much private information, but if I am honest these issues are at the forefront of my mind right now - as I am in the process of seeking a resolution - so it felt disingenuous to talk about trivial every day things instead. x Ania
Thank you for sharing this part of your journey. I have dealt with depression most of my life, and still have great difficultly at times. (At 63 years old, I am exhausted.) I wish you the best in your recovery!
    Thank you, Lea! I am glad, but also sad that my post resonated with you. It goes to show how deficient we are, as a society, in dealing with mental health - there are so many people coming forward with similar stories. Please take good care of yourself and seek some help and support. I know it is exhausting - let's just say that this is not my first attempt at therapy - but we only get one life and we deserve to be happy and fulfilled. Wishing you all the best and lots of 'good head days'. Ania
Cindy Lewis:
Big hugs, you can do this :)
    Thanks, Cindy! Same to you! x Ania
Kim Bush:
Oh my goodness, only 40. As far as I’m concerned you are ahead of the game. I’m 49 and feel like I’m just getting my baggage sorted. A wise therapist once pointed out to me that demonizing our past behaviors is not nearly as helpful as Honoring and appreciating them for getting us to where we are so we can then release them as they no longer serve us. I hope this might help you in your journey. Love and light to you.
    Hahaha, thanks Kim! I really appreciate you saying that as I do feel a bit silly for not recognising the issue earlier as it was staring me in the face the whole time! That quote really resonates with me, thank you so much and all the best with your journey too. x Ania
Cindy Lewis:
Hello Ania, I follow you and love your recipes. I've read your story and feel compel to share. I follow Dr. Joe Dispenza who was a chiropractor who broke his spine quite a few years ago now but healed. I know it sounds crazy. Anyway he now teaches workshops over the world, has written a couple of books, Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself, and Becoming Supernatural and another Evolving Your Brain. It's basically guided meditations with changing your thoughts and feelings during the day. It's a lot to say in a message, but two nights ago I was watching some testimonials as they really keep me inspired (I am healing from an autoimmune issue). Here is the link to this lady Amy and it's a beautiful journey but obviously didn't start out that way. Maybe it will resonate with you. Take care, Cindy
    Thank you for your support and kind words, Cindy! I will take a look at this as daily meditation (and exercise) is something I have already started incorporating into my life to aid my healing process. Wishing you the best outcome with your healing journey too. x Ania
Michele Nichols:
All the best to you! Life is a process and we experience many ways to grow and evolve. Take all the time you need. I always love your recipes. Sending you many blessings and hugs. 💙💚💜
    Thank you so much for your kind words, Michele! I really appreciate them. Sending you good vibes back! x Ania
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