Deep down, everybody loves breakfast—but few among us are lucid enough at daybreak to do anything more creative in the kitchen than float cereal in milk or slap a fried egg on toast.
The solution to getting more out of your cherished breakfast and brunch staples? Wake up your dinner routine by being slightly rebellious and transforming your typical morning foods into a perfectly executed meal tonight.
Yes, everything from pancakes to oats can take their turn on the dinner table. Far from a cop-out, serving breakfast stalwarts such as custardy scrambled eggs and berries for dinner can be your solution to quick, family-friendly meals while also keeping you on track for your healthy eating goals. Truth be told, many breakfast staples can supply the nutrients needed to power up immunity.
Here are five ways to break the rules and serve breakfast for dinner—and feel great about it.
Bake up omelettes inside bell peppers for a healthy, tasty, and quick end-of-day meal. If you’re cooking for a smaller crowd, this recipe is easily halved. Finish everything off with a scattering of chives and/or hot sauce. If steering clear of dairy, you can stir in nondairy milk and shredded vegan cheese.
We took classic cheesy nachos and gave them a breakfast vibe with scrambled eggs and then took them to the next level with satisfying add-ins including beans and creamy avocado. This is a perfect dinner to share around the table where a bit of mess is to be celebrated. You can also serve it with your favourite salsa.
Here, the breakfast favourite, granola, serves as a crunchy topping for this salad featuring seasonal delights, including sweet butternut and apple. The maple-date dressing is sure to be kid-approved. You can add cooked lentils to move it from side dish to complete plant-based meal. If desired, swap out butternut for pumpkin or sweet potato and add a creamy touch with feta or soft goat cheese.
If breakfast oatmeal is your jam, you’ll happily spoon up this oat-infused hearty chili. It comes together quickly enough to add to your weeknight dinner routine, but soaking the steel-cut oats ahead of time is key to having them cook more efficiently. Toppings run the gamut of avocado, sour cream, broken tortilla chips, cilantro, or grated cheddar.
These sweet-savoury pancakes are sure to bring smiles to anyone at the dinner table who longs for flapjack Sunday. If desired, you can add herby flavour to the pancakes with sage or rosemary instead of thyme and swap out parsnip for grated carrot. Serve with a side salad or a plate of roasted veggies.
All sorts of breakfast favourites can also star at dinnertime. Here’s how to stretch your morning glories.
Scatter these crunchy oats on any salad or even over puréed soups.
Stuff into tacos, grain bowls, enchiladas, and quesadillas.
Use to bulk up chilies and soups; use as a whole-grain base for power bowls; or, instead of sweet stuff, stir savoury ingredients into a simmer pot with sliced sun-dried tomatoes, chopped greens, and herbs, and serve risotto-style.
Pancakes and waffles
Use as a whole-grain base for cooked proteins such as fish or grilled tempeh.
Whisk with oil, vinegar, and seasonings for a rich-tasting salad dressing, sauce for stir-fries, or an exciting topping for grilled meats.
Use thick styles as a creamy base for roasted vegetables, or whisk with curry, pesto, or harissa for use on tacos, lentils, or grain bowls.
A slice or two can serve as a foundation for everything from saucy beans to grilled chicken or a pile of chili.
Get J-C Poirier talking about food, and the word “honest” will be sprinkled throughout the conversation like the Diamond Crystal kosher salt the Michelin-starred chef uses in the kitchen of his Quebecois bistro, St. Lawrence, in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. Honest food Poirier’s favourite food is “honest food.” As a culinarian, and one paying homage to his French-Canadian heritage, he’s all about “being honest with his food.” But unlike the opaque marketing buzzword that “honest” has become in the food world, Poirier applies it with earnestness to the cooking that inspires him and that he hopes to encourage in others, including with his recently released cookbook, Where the River Narrow s (Appetite by Random House, 2022) . “What I mean is, you’ve got to be attentive to yourself as a chef or as a cook. It comes by knowing yourself and your background, and where you come from,” Poirier says. “Being honest is offering a part of who you are. That’s how I know the difference between good cooking and great cooking.” Honest roots Poirier comes by his greatness at cooking, well, honestly. All apron strings lead back to his bon vivant mother, who was as convivial as she was creative in the kitchen of the family’s Saint-Jérôme, Quebec, home. She bought local and stretched a dollar. She also pushed boundaries with the young taste buds around the table, exposing Poirier to quinoa before it became a household grain and making her own tofu. Honest training The magic of cooking and gathering over a meal compelled Poirier to eventually enrol in culinary school. He spent a year training in classical French techniques before putting them to the test in the storied Les Remparts in Old Montreal. Poirier was drawn to the physical aspect of cooking, but like many young people forging their own path, he was eventually lured away from the place that reared him. Vancouver beckoned. After stints at Rob Feenie’s Lumière, and even in his own Italian-inspired dining rooms and eateries, a meal in Paris inspired Poirier to get back to his roots in the kitchen. In 2017, he opened St. Lawrence, a cozy 40-seat space that’s like “entering my grandma’s house.” “It’s being authentic to myself,” he says. Honest legacy Poirier retraces his professional journey and personal growth in < Where the River Narrows > using recipes that channel timeless and foundational French and Quebecois cooking techniques, and a more relaxed Poirier at home. If he’s being honest, Poirier hopes the book will be a legacy to share with his two young daughters, Aïla and Florence. It also serves as a business card for a restaurant that’s earning prestigious accolades, including Chef of the Year and Restaurant of the Year by Vancouver Magazine . Last fall, dining authority Michelin bestowed one of its coveted stars upon St. Lawrence, too. Honest values That success can be linked to the professional values Poirier upholds in addition to raw talent. He leads by healthy example, eschewing alcohol, especially on the job, and espousing work-life balance by opening St. Lawrence only four days a week. He also offers employment benefits, including four weeks of vacation every year. His staff stay, and success follows honestly. Looking ahead, Poirier knows only that he will stay true—to himself and his craft. “I’ll just keep going forward and try to be me,” he says. “And my team? Try to be better and better every day at what we do, and the rest will come.” Key ingredients Quality over quantity is as much a mantra for J-C Poirier as honesty, especially when it comes to ingredients. That’s why he encourages home cooks to splurge on premium options. They make a significant difference to the end result, he argues, and because of their quality, you’ll need less of them, too, extending their value. Poirier’s essential top-shelf ingredients grass-fed, cultured butter organic all-purpose flour for baking; whole wheat, buckwheat, and Red Fife flours for bread making top-notch oils for a variety of purposes, including grapeseed oil for cooking, first-pressed canola oil for salad dressing, and extra-virgin olive oil for finishing dishes Diamond Crystal kosher salt for seasoning food and Maldon sea salt for a finishing touch to add texture high quality vinegars, including red wine, balsamic, and apple cider Cooking for the health of it French food doesn’t always conjure healthy eating. After all, the French eat four times as much butter and 60 percent more cheese than the average American. There are health-conscious ways to stay true to both your inner gastronome and the cuisine, however. For J-C Poirier, it’s cooking with emotion, logic, and love, and remembering the following. Less is more “I don’t need a 10 ounce piece of beef. I need maybe four or five, and a really high quality,” Poirier says. “I pay the price for it, but I just eat less.” Eat the seasons “In the summer, I will buy all the vegetables from the farm,” he explains. “When it’s asparagus season, we eat asparagus. In the winter, we eat potatoes and parsnips and sunchokes.” Cook for yourself—and from scratch “A lot of people buy processed food, and that has a higher amount of salt or sugar than if I start from scratch and control what I put in there.” Watch your fat Use high-end, pure versions of butter and cooking oils rather than refined options or those cut with other ingredients that could negatively impact health. “It’s being a little more aware, I think, of what people are buying,” Poirier says. Excerpted from < Where the River Narrows: Classic French & Nostalgic Québécois Recipes From St. Lawrence Restaurant > by Jean-Christophe Poirier. Written with Joie Alvaro Kent. Copyright © 2022 Jean- Christophe Poirier. Cover and book design by Jennifer Griffiths. Photography by Brit Gill, except page 148. Photo on page 8 by Amy Ho. Photos on pages 2, 5, and 6 courtesy of the author. Published by Appetite by Random House, a division of Penguin
Tourtière is, for me, the dish that best represents Québec. It can be traced back to the 1600s, and there’s no master recipe; every family has their own twist. Originally, it was made with game birds or game meat, like rabbit, pheasant, or moose; that’s one of the reasons why I prefer it with venison instead of beef or pork. Variation: If you prefer to make single servings, follow our lead at the restaurant, where we make individual tourtières in the form of a dome (pithivier) and fill them with 5 ounces (160 g) of the ground venison mixture. Variation: You can also use a food processor to make the dough. Place the flour, salt, and butter in the food processor and pulse about ten times, until the butter is incorporated—don’t overmix. It should look like wet sand, and a few little pieces of butter here and there is okay. With the motor running, through the feed tube, slowly add ice water until the dough forms a ball—again don’t overmix. Wrap, chill, and roll out as directed above.
My love of artichokes continues with this classic recipe, one of the best ways to eat this interesting, underrated, and strange vegetable. Frozen artichoke hearts are a time-saving substitute, though the flavour and texture of fresh artichokes are, by far, much superior and definitely preferred.