Saturday, February 9, 2013

Eating Vegetarian at Italian Restaurants- Carino’s Italian, Olive Garden, and Zio’s Italian Restaurant

Eggplant Parmesan from Olive Garden, lunch portion.  (Personal Photo) 

Italian is my life-long favorite cuisine.  Most Italian restaurants are at least fairly vegetarian friendly, and have at least a few basic choices like spaghetti with marinara and fettuccini alfredo.  Many will have build your own pizza and pasta options.  Others have pasta entrées with a choice of adding chicken or shrimp, and you could opt to add neither. 

I have composed a list of vegetarian menu items from Carino’s Italian, Olive Garden, and Zio’s Italian restaurants.  These restaurants are definitely vegetarian-friendly!  This is a huge list! 

Vegetarian Options at Carino’s Italian

I first discovered Johnny Carino’s Country Italian shortly after moving to Texas in 1999.  I had long been a fan of Olive Garden.  Carino’s menu has most all “the usual suspects", like lasagna and spaghetti and meatballs, but their “country Italian” selections were a pleasant surprise.  I especially like the little kick of spicy heat in some of the pasta dishes.   If you’re looking for a vegetarian meal, you’ll have plenty of choices at Carino’s: 

Appetizers:  Mozzarella cheese sticks with marinara sauce; tomato Bruschetta on toasted bread; Baked Mushrooms stuffed with spinach, parmesan, red onions, and garlic, and topped with lemon basil cream sauce, basil, and roma tomatoes. 

Pizza:  Traditional Margherita pizza with roma tomatoes, fresh basil, and mozzarella cheese; Ranch and Roasted Veggies, with ranch dressing, oven-roasted vegetables, parmesan and mozzarella cheeses. 

Build Your Own Pizza ingredients:  red onion, roasted red peppers, mushrooms, black olives, roma tomatoes, sun dried tomatoes, spinach, artichokes, basil, provolone, parmesan, extra mozzarella

Make Your Own Pasta:  Pasta choices include angel hair, spaghetti, bowtie, penne, or fettuccine.  Choose sauce from spicy marinara, tomato sauce, or alfredo. 

Pasta from Menu:  Angel Hair with Artichokes and roma tomatoes, garlic, black olives, basil and parmesan. 

Other Pasta Dishes from Menu:  Ask for one of Carino’s signature chicken and pasta selections without the chicken.  This would be a variation of “build your own”. 

     Spicy Shrimp and Chicken:  Penne pasta with cayenne romano cream sauce and sundried tomatoes, green onions, and mushrooms. 

     Spicy Romano Chicken:  Bowtie pasta with cayenne romano cream sauce, sundried tomatoes, green onions, and mushrooms, and artichokes.  Sign me up for this one! 

     Chicken Penne Gorgonzola:  Penne pasta, roma tomatoes, garlic, mushrooms, and gorgonzola cream sauce. 

     Grilled Chicken Bowtie Festival:  Penne pasta with asiago cream sauce, roma tomatoes, red onions, and garlic.  This dish also has bacon, which you would also have to ask to leave off. 

     Skilletini with Chicken or Sausage:  Spaghetti pasta in a hot skillet, with spicy marinara, bell peppers, and onions. 

     Baked Cheese Tortelloni:  Cheese tortelloni baked in creamy meat sauce, but ask for alfredo.  Also baked with mozzarella and parmesan. 


Vegetarian Options at Olive Garden

I’ve been a fan of Olive Garden about 25 years ago.  Many times I’ve enjoyed an entire evening at Olive Garden by having a very leisurely dinner with wine, then enjoying coffee for a while, and ending with dessert and a specialty coffee.  Olive Garden has a respectable number of vegetarian appetizer and entrée selections:

Appetizers:  Choose from 7 vegetarian options for appetizers at Olive Garden. 

     Sampler Italiano:  Choose 2 or 3 appetizers to share with friends.  There are 4 options of meat, or containing meat.  Vegetarian options are fried zucchini and fried mozzarella with dipping sauces. 

     Bruschetta:  Toasted ciabatta bread with a topping of roma tomatoes and fresh basil in olive oil. 

     Caprese Flatbread:  Similar to a pizza, with garlic spread, tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella on flatbread. 

     Hot Artichoke-Spinach Dip:  Classic dip of artichokes and spinach in cream cheese.  Served hot and bubbly with Tuscan bread. 

     Lasagna Fritta:  My money’s on this one.  Lasagna noodles coated with parmesan breadcrumbs, then fried and served on top of alfredo sauce, with marina poured over the top and sprinkled with parmesan cheese. 

     Smoked Mozzarella Fonduta:  This is actually described as a blend of 4 cheeses:  smoked mozzarella, provolone, romano, and parmesan.  Baked in the oven and served with Tuscan bread. 

     Dipping sauces for Breadsticks:  Choose from marinara sauce, alfredo, or five cheese marinara. 

Soup and Salad:  Minestrone Soup with pasta, beans, and vegetables in a tomato base.  Garden Fresh Salad is Olive Garden’s famous unlimited refill house special, with tomatoes, black olives, red onions, and Italian dressing. 

Pizza:  Choose toppings from mushrooms, onions, bell peppers, black olives, and roma tomatoes. 
Pasta:  Olive Garden offers a respectable 7 vegetarian pasta entrée selections.  Selections may vary slightly by location, and change from time to time. 

     Five Cheese Ziti al Forno:  Ziti pasta baked in a five cheese marinara sauce, with a layer of melted Italian cheeses. 

     Fettuccine Alfredo:  Fettuccine pasta served topped with parmesan cream sauce with a little bit of garlic.

     Eggplant Parmigiana:  Lightly breaded and fried eggplant, topped with marinara sauce and mozzarella and parmesan cheese. Served with spaghetti and marinara.  I can personally vouch for this dish.  The last time I had it, the breading was a light and crispy panko-like.  The eggplant practically melted in my mouth. 

     Capellini Pomodoro:  Angel hair pasta tossed with marinara sauce and roma tomatoes, garlic, fresh basil, and extra-virgin olive oil.

     Ravioli di Portobello:  Ravioli with portobello mushroom filling, in a creamy smoked cheese sauce with sun-dried tomatoes.

     Cheese Ravioli:  Cheese-filled ravioli topped with marinara sauce and melted Italian cheeses. 

     Lasagna Primavera:  Lasagna pasta filled and folded with zucchini, yellow squash, and bell peppers.  Topped with tomato basil sauce and a creamy parmesan drizzle.  Ask to hold the grilled chicken. 


Vegetarian Options at Zio’s Italian Restaurant

Zio’s Italian Restaurant is another discovery I made after moving to Texas in 1999.  We had our Flight Christmas party there one year.  This was a good choice because they have an impressively large and diverse menu, and their prices are lower than most competing Italian restaurant chains.  And beat this for customer friendly-  Above their pasta offerings, they write this:  “The combinations listed below are either suggestions or represent traditional presentations of these dishes. Feel free to create your own favorite combination of pasta and sauce and we will do our best to accommodate.”  Check out Zio’s vegetarian possibilities: 

Appetizers:  Choose from Fried Mozzarella, Fried Mushrooms, or Fried Zucchini.  Not feeling the whole “fried” thing?  How about a nice Caprese Salad, which is fresh mozzarella cheese, tomatoes, and basil. 

Salads:  Choose from House, Greek, or Caeser Salad. 

Pasta:  This is where they invite you to look at their “suggestions” for pasta dishes, but encourage you to create your own combination.  Draw inspiration from this strikingly long list. 

     Linguine with Tomato Sauce

     Angel Hair with Marinara Sauce

     Fettuccini with Tomato Cream

     Capellini Hair with Aglio e Olio:  Angel hair pasta, olive oil, and garlic. 

     Linguine alla Puttanesca:  Linguine with tomatoes, olives, capers, and basil. 

     Fettuccini Alfredo

     Capellini with Pesto:  Angel hair pasta in pesto sauce (usually made of finely processed fresh basil, parmesan cheese, nuts, and olive oil). 

     Capellini alla Siracusana:  Angel hair pasta with eggplant, roasted peppers, tomatoes and olives. 

     Rigatoni with Eggplant Sicilian:  Rigatoni pasta with strips of fried eggplant in marinara sauce. 

     Four Cheese Lasagna

     Vegetable Lasagna with Marinara Sauce:  Lasagna pasta layered with zucchini, broccoli, carrots, and onions. 

     Baked Ziti

     Cheese Ravioli with Tomato Cream Sauce

     Ravioli:  Ask about their special homemade ravioli choices. 

     Stuffed Shells:  Jumbo pasta shells stuffed with four cheeses

     Tortellini Alfredo:  Vegetable flavored cheese-stuffed pasta in cheesy alfredo sauce. 

     Manicotti with Marinara Sauce:  Homemade crepes stuffed with cheese, in marinara sauce. 

     Cannelloni with Tomato Sauce:  Ask for spinach and cheese crepes. 

     Spinach Involtini with Tomato Sauce:  Spinach and cheeses, rolled in a large pasta. 


House Specialties: 

     Eggplant Parmigiana:  Slices of battered and fried eggplant, baked in tomato sauce, with mozzarella and parmesan cheese. 

     Eggplant Rolitini:  Eggplant stuffed with ricotta and mozzarella cheeses, baked in tomato sauce. 


Pizza:  Choose a basic pizza below, and load it up from Zio’s large list of ingredients. 

     Tomato & Cheese:  House-made Rosetana-style sauce with chunks of tomatoes. 

     White:  Mozzarella & provolone cheese, and garlic. 

     Panzanella:  Fontina & asiago cheese. 

     Margherita:  Mozzarella cheese with tomato and fresh basil. 

     Pesto & Cheese:  Basil, garlic, pine nut, and parmesan pesto, with mozzarella and provolone cheese. 

     Pizza alla Graeco:  Mozzarella and provolone cheese with spinach, garlic, and feta. 

     Veggie Lover Pizza:  Mushrooms, onions, green peppers, with extra cheese. 

Pizza Toppings:  mushrooms, sautéed mushrooms, onions, sautéed onions, green peppers, sautéed green peppers, black olives, spinach, pinapple, Salonika peppers, zucchini, feta cheese, sweet peppers, fresh tomatoes, broccoli, baked eggplant, extra cheese. 

Calzones:  Choose spinach & ricotta or vegetable sauté & mozzarella.  Add any toppings from the pizza toppings. 

Cold Sandwiches:  Cheese combo. 

Hot Subs:  Eggplant Parmesan, Egg & Peppers. 

Eggplant Parmesan from Zio's (Personal Photo)

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Getting Started- Vegetarian Dinner Ideas

Spinach and mushroom tortellini in alfredo sauce.  (Personal Photo)
My mom often said she didn’t mind cooking dinner.  The problem was deciding what to cook for dinner.  When getting started on a plan where you are trying to eat more vegetarian food and less meat, you might have the same problem.  Hopefully my list of vegetarian dinner ideas will inspire you. 

Veggie burgers:  There are scores of recipes for homemade veggie burgers.  Beans, such as garbanzo beans, black beans, and lentils are a common base.  Brown rice and oatmeal are also fairly common, and chopped mushrooms.  Check out my article on vegetarian burgers for summaries of over 30 homemade veggie burger recipes. 

Blue Plate Diner Classic Veggie Burger. (Personal Photo)

Entrees with eggplant:  Eggplant is great base for a meatless meal.  My best eggplant dish is eggplant ravioli, made from Rachael Ray’s recipe using wonton wrappers.  Another great vegetarian eggplant dinner is Greek moussaka without meat.  Just layer slices of potato and eggplant, top with a béchamel sauce, and bake. 

Homemade Wonton Eggplant Parmesan Ravioli from
Rachael Ray's Recipe. (Personal Photo)

I probably have eggplant more often from restaurants than from my kitchen. My Chinese delivery standby is eggplant in garlic sauce. I’ve had eggplant parmesan from several Italian restaurants, but my favorite is from Olive Garden. 

Eggplant in Garlic Sauce (Personal Photo)

Eggplant Parmesan from Olive Garden (Personal Photo)
Entrées with potatoes:  I love potatoes and find them very satisfying.  A great dish that incorporates potatoes keeps me from feeling deprived (of meat).  A baked potato sure makes a satisfying meal.  There are lots of choices of toppings such as the classic butter, sour cream, and cheese, or broccoli and cheese.  Jason’s Deli has the most enormous baked potatoes I have ever seen.  Another favorite meal of mine is green beans with potatoes, and cucumber salad.  I also like okra, fire roasted tomatoes, and potatoes over rice. 

 Tomatoes, okra, and potatoes, which I serve over rice. 
(Personal Photo)

Entrées with ancient grains:  Plan a meal with ancient grains like millet, amaranth, quinoa, and buckwheat as the centerpiece.  Visit my article with links to many recipes, or check out my Pinterest board. 

Beans and peas:  When I was growing up, one of our favorite meals was a pot of beans, like pintos, with potato salad and cornbread.  I think baked beans would go well with potato salad too.  I like to cook lentils with a can of diced tomatoes.  This would be good with couscous or millet.  Beans and rice, or beans and dark leafy greens make a great meal too. 
Black-eyed Peas, Collard Greens, and Rice, served with
cornbread and raw onion (Personal Photo)

Pizza:  When I was a daily meat eater, I never considered having a veggie pizza, just like I would never go to Baskin & Robbins and have vanilla ice cream.  In the last year or so, I have had some surprisingly good veggie pizzas.  My favorite is spinach, mushroom, and onion, with either tomato or white sauce.  The Dominos Artisan spinach and feta is fantastic, as is the spinach cheesy bread. 

Domino's Artisan pizza with spinach, onions, and feta cheese. 
 (Personal Photo) 

Chicken-less Classics:  Many classic chicken dishes adapt well into vegetarian versions.  I especially like vegetable pot pie, and chicken-less noodle soup with vegetables.  Why not make a Chicken Divan without the chicken? 

Vegetarian Pot Pie.  (Personal Photo)

Breakfast for Dinner:  From time to time, we have breakfast for dinner at our house.  This usually means cheese grits and scrambled eggs.  Sometimes I make a strata, which is casserole of leftover bread, vegetables like mushrooms and onions, milk, eggs, and cheese.  Another great treat is to mix in pureed pumpkin or sweet potato into pancake batter. 

 Strata made with broccoli, mushrooms, onions,
and cheese.  (Personal Photo)

Traditional Italian pasta dishes:  I’ve always loved spaghetti and other pasta dishes.  Vegetarian spaghetti is my “go to” vegetarian meal.  My favorite is sautéed purple onion, mushrooms, and baby spinach in Arrabbiata sauce with vermicelli pasta.  I also like spinach and mushrooms with tortellini or gnocchi.  When we have fresh basil from our organic vegetable program, I enjoy lots of pesto with pasta.

 Vermicelli with spinach and mushrooms.  (Personal Photo)

Meatless Versions of Classic Casseroles:  Make a veggie Shepherd’s Pie.  Make a loaf of beans, chopped mushrooms, and oatmeal, or just fill the bottom of your baking dish with a mixture of chopped vegetables, such as root vegetables.  Top with peas, corn, and mashed potatoes. 

Make a vegetarian lasagna with zucchini or spinach and ricotta.  Tomato sauce or cream sauce both work well with lasagna. 
Zucchini lasagna (Personal Photo)

Make a vegetarian moussaka.  To make Greek moussaka without the meat, layer eggplant and potatoes, and top with a béchamel. 

Make a vegetarian pot pie.  Use the classic combo of green beans, peas, carrots, potatoes and corn, or try vegetables such as broccoli, asparagus, artichokes, butternut squash, and sweet potatoes. 


Stir Fry with Rice or Noodles:  We do a super simple stir fry at our house.  We just fry off cabbage, onions, and mushrooms in the wok.  We serve over rice or vermicelli noodles with soy sauce.  You could get creative and add vegetables such as carrots, broccoli, snow peas, bamboo shoots, or water chestnuts. 

 Vegetable stir fry with rice (Personal Photo)

Mexican Food:  Enjoy vegetarian Mexican food selections such as cheese enchiladas, chile rellenos, spinach and cheese quesadillas, and grilled vegetable fajitas.  Don’t forget the guacamole, beans, and rice, but be aware many Mexican restaurants put pork lard in their refried beans. 

Grilled Vegetable Fajita (Personal Photo)

Indian Food:  There are loads of vegetarian choices in Indian cuisine.  My favorites are Saag Paneer, or spinach and cheese, potato curry with peas and carrots, and finally cabbage.  There are also tasty dishes made with chickpeas, lentils, and eggplant, as well as vegetable dumplings, fried vegetable balls, and samosas stuffed with vegetables. 

Potato curry, lentil dal, zucchini, spinach (saag paneer), chickpeas,
and cabbage.  (Personal Photo)
Baked Macaroni & Cheese:  I grew up with homemade baked macaroni and cheese.  No packaged product with cheese powder.  “Real” mac & cheese is made with milk and eggs and has a soufflé texture when it’s fresh and hot out of the oven. 

My homemade baked macaroni and cheese (Personal Photo)

Vegetable Casseroles:  One of my cousins always makes “veggie casserole” for family dinners, with cream soup, mixed vegetables and mayonnaise.  Squash casserole made with zucchini or yellow squash are also popular, as well as broccoli casserole.  These are usually made with cream soup, sour cream, cheese, and stuffing mix. 

Squash casserole (Personal Photo)

Getting Started Ideas for Vegetarian Lunches

I put together some suggestions for vegetarian lunch options.  Many of these meatless lunches are cold lunches, which you can easily take to work or school, even if there is no means to heat your lunch. 

Veggie Sandwich made with Morning Star Chipotle Black Bean Burger
and guacamole, egg, and tomato.  (Personal Photo)
Veggie sandwiches with veggie patties:  There are a number of companies, such as Morningstar, Gardenburger, and Bocaburger, that make veggie burger patties.  Most of the Morningstar burgers have texturized vegetable protein (TVP), and some of the Boca have wheat gluten.  I prefer the Gardenburgers, which are mostly brown rice and vegetables.  Dress your burger up like a hamburger, or get creative with avocado, hummus, or pesto. 

  Beet Sandwich on sourdough with feta cheese, mushrooms,
and spinach.  (Personal Photo)
         Eggplant Parmesan sandwich made from one round of leftover eggplant
from my carry out supper.  (Personal Photo)
Other veggie sandwiches:  At first it can be a little daunting to think of meatless sandwiches options.  Once you put your head to it though, the possibilities are endless.  Try grilled vegetables such as zucchini, eggplant, and portabella mushrooms.  Sautéed dark greens with cheese on a crusty bread makes a good sandwich.  Visit my article on veggie sandwiches for over 50 sandwich ideas. 

                              Spinach Salad with a side of red skin potato salad.  (Personal Photo)
Lettuce Salads:  Some restaurants only have bland, basic salads to offer diners seeking vegetarian options.  Don’t let that turn you against salads.  Create your own diverse salad bar-style salad at home.  Start with some romaine lettuce, spinach, or mixed greens.  Round up all the usual suspects such as tomatoes, cucumbers, and onions, then keep a few favorite salad treats on hand, like kalamata olives, beets, and sunflower seeds.  Serve your green salad with a big scoop of pasta salad or potato salad on the side. 


Weight Watchers bean slaw.  (Personal Photo)

Cabbage Salads & Slaw:  There is a Weight Watchers slaw I really like with cabbage, white beans, and Swiss cheese.  My mom used to make slaw with cabbage, apples, and raisins.  I recently bought an interesting salad kit from Costco.  It had finely chopped cabbage, broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts, and included pumpkins seeds, dried cranberries, and poppy seed dressing.  See also my Salads and Cold Foods board at Pinterest. 

My homemade vegetable soup.  (Personal Photo)

Soups:  One of my favorite soup meals is great tomato soup, such as La Madeline’s Tomato Basil Soup, with rice.  I also like Campbell’s Vegetarian Vegetable, with extra corn added.  My absolute favorite soup, and one of my favorite meals of any kind, is my own homemadevegetable soup.  I also like to make split pea soup with diced potatoes.  Loaded potato soup is also tasty, without the bacon of course. 

Pasta salad with cucumbers, tomato, sweet onion, yogurt
and mayo.  (Personal Photo)

Cold pasta dishes:  My favorite cold pasta dish is spiral or shell pasta, with diced sweet onion, cucumber, and tomatoes, mayo, and Greek yogurt.  I could eat myself silly on this stuff. 

  Mock tuna salad made with walnuts and sweet relish. 
 (Personal Photo)
Mock tuna salad:  I found a few mocktuna salad recipes on YouTube.  I made one of them, which featured garbanzo beans.  My favorite however is made with walnuts.  I put a little purple onion, sweet pickle relish, mayo, and a pinch of cumin. 

Green beans, corn, mashed potatoes with parsnip puree and brown gravy,
and cabbage and carrot slaw (Personal Photo)
Vegetable plate:  Make a meal of three to five vegetable selections.  Choose from broccoli, green beans, asparagus, leafy greens, cabbage, and squash.  Pick butterbeans, pinto beans, blackeyed peas, or navy beans for some protein.  Add a root vegetable, such as potato, turnips, beets, parsnips, or carrots.  Maybe throw in some brown rice, a chunk of homemade bread, or for a special treat, some fried apples. 

  Grilled onions, peppers and squash.  (Personal Photo)
Grilled vegetables:  If you’re looking for something light, there are many vegetables that do nicely on the grill.  Try eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash, red or green peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms, or asparagus. 


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Getting Started Ideas for Vegetarian Breakfast

Grits with Cheese and Tomatoes (Personal Photo)

Just starting to dabble in moving toward a diet with less meat, and more vegetables and grains?  It could be helpful to do some brainstorming on meatless dishes and meals that you already enjoy, or basic ingredients that you like.  I’ve compiled a list of vegetarian options for meatless breakfasts to get you started thinking. 

  Grits, Eggs, and Biscuits with Tomato Gravy (Personal Photo)
Grits & eggs:  This is our weekend favorite breakfast.  I cook grits, which I like with cheese.  Sometimes I make tomato gravy to serve over grits and biscuits.  We also like “scrambled eggs and stuff” at our house.  I sauté vegetables such as onions, mushrooms, and spinach, and scramble eggs into them. 

Oatmeal and cream of wheat:  This one is not for me.  I like grits, but with butter or cheese, not with sugar.  I don’t like hot cereals other than grits, but I do realize some people really enjoy other hot cereals for breakfast.  Dress up your oatmeal or cream of wheat with some fruit. 

Cereal and milk:  Need to eat quickly?  What’s faster than a bowl of cereal with milk, and maybe some fruit?  And there are scores of choices in breakfast cereals. 

Granola, muesli, and breakfast bars:  To me, granola and muesli are in a category of their own, and not merely breakfast cereal.  Make a nice mix of your favorite grains, seeds, nuts and fruits.  I like breakfast bars that are reminiscent of granola.  I have a great recipe from TV.  Next time I make them I’ll be sure to share! 

Toast and Bagels:  Try toasting your bread with a slice of cheese, or put an open faced pimento cheese under the broiler until bubbly.  Smear your toast or bagel with your favorite jam, jelly, or cream cheese.  Spread butter on your bread, sprinkle with cinnamon, and toast for classic cinnamon toast. 

Biscuits and Croissants:  You could make some really fabulous and delicious vegetarian breakfasts with bread.  Place some scrambled eggs and hash browns on refrigerated croissant sheets.  Roll up and bake according to package directions.  Chocolate chips or Nutella would also be good baked in a croissant.  Press refrigerated biscuits into a muffin tin.  Top with scrambled eggs and cheese, and favorite vegetables such as mushrooms, broccoli, or asparagus and bake.  You could use a vegetarian sausage crumble, but I personally stay away from texturized vegetable protein (TVP).

Chocolate Chip Pancakes (Personal Photo)
Pancakes, Waffles, and French toast:  For me this is another weekend breakfast.  There are endless tasty options here.  I enjoy the occasional chocolate chip pancakes.  When I was a kid, Mom made pear preserves every few years.  One year there were a couple pints of extra liquid, which made fabulous pancake syrup.  You can dress up pancakes, waffles, or French toast with fresh fruit, syrup, or whipped cream.  Try dipping apple rings in pancake batter, sprinkle with cinnamon, and cook on the griddle. 

When I was visiting in Holland, I had some of their famous pancakes a couple times.  They served a single huge pancake, which must have had extra eggs, because they almost had a crepe texture.  There were a couple dozen choices, but I always liked the ones with vegetables, like mushrooms and onions, over the fruity ones. 

Egg and Cheese Sandwich with Baby Spinach (Personal Photo)
Breakfast sandwich:  Grilled cheese would be a good breakfast sandwich.  My favorite breakfast sandwich is a fried egg sandwich with Swiss or cheddar cheese.  I also like sliced tomatoes, avocado, or baby spinach on my egg sandwich.  For a sweet treat, try a Panini made with bananas and Nutella. 

When I need to grab a fast food breakfast, my favorites are Wendy’s artisan egg and cheese sandwich, without the bacon, or their Panini, also without bacon.  The Panini has egg, cheese, and tomato. 

Panini with Banana and Nutella (Personal Photo)
Breakfast tacos:  Breakfast tacos were my mainstay for my vegetarian breakfast last fall when I was teaching.  I’d get potato, egg, and cheese breakfast tacos from Taco Cabana, which are relatively inexpensive. 

Fruit:  Fruits like grapefruit, honeydew melon, and cantaloupe make a good light breakfast. 

Quiche and Frittata:  The possibilities are endless for these classic egg pies.  Add a few of your favorite vegetables, and vary vegetables every time you make one.  

For ideas and pictures, visit my Breakfast and Brunch board at Pinterest.  Look for vegetarian options, and recipes that could easily be adapted into meatless versions.