Since New Year’s Day is the final send-off to the holiday season, it’s got to include a little celebration and some majorly delicious brunch food. But if you’re like me, the past few weeks of holiday revelry have got you craving food that’s on the lighter side, and processed sugar bomb breakfast foods don’t even sound good anymore. Thankfully, crazy delicious doesn’t have to equal crazy indulgent. I’ve rounded up 24 New Year’s day brunch ideas that’ll be perfect additions to your January 1st lineup—without breaking any of your healthy eating resolutions.
Featured image by Michelle Nash.
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24 New Year’s Day Brunch Ideas That Are Healthy and Delicious
And because we’re not in the business of sticking to strict food rules—or making any at all—we love ensuring that plenty of flavors are woven into our healthy eating picks. If you haven’t heard, indulgence isn’t an all-or-nothing thing. Instead, we prefer variety—in every sense of the word. It’s easy to crave fruits and veggies when you make them a part of a satiating and nourishing complete meal. And it isn’t hard to pass over sugary sweets when you’d rather go all in on the ultimate avocado toast.
Just because your social feeds are ripe with folks making hard-to-follow resolutions about what a healthy 2023 looks like for them, doesn’t mean you have to do the same.
Try picking a few goals that resonate with you. Whether that’s adding some more veggies to every meal, going meatless a few times a week, or simply aiming to bring more color to your plate. Remember: healthy eating shouldn’t feel like a chore.
So with that, keep scrolling for New Year’s day brunch ideas! And because healthy gals don’t gatekeep, I’d love to hear what you’re making for NYD brunch in the comments.
Why We Love It: I know what you’re thinking: healthy cinnamon rolls? Stay with me. While these might not be the most nutritious New Year’s Day brunch idea, they’re certainly a far cry from the sugar-laden, processed rolls that come packaged in a tube. (But don’t get me wrong, those have their time and place.) These cinnamon rolls are airy, gooey, and sweet—all while being entirely gluten- and dairy-free. Magic? Nope, just a truly genius recipe.
Hero Ingredient: If you haven’t heard, everyone’s putting date paste in their cinnamon roll filling.
Why We Love It: My love for this quiche knows no bounds. Sure, I can say that for almost any quiche, but if I’m craving something light, I won’t likely turn to a cheesy, meat-heavy pie. Instead, this quiche leans on plenty of veggies to keep things green and fresh while still leaning slightly indulgent thanks to the goat cheese. Oh, and if you’re not putting salad on top of your quiche, this recipe is proof that it’s time to get on board.
Hero Ingredient: I had never used it before coming across this recipe, but a phyllo crust quiche is buttery, flaky perfection.
Why We Love It: Avocado toast with the volume turned up. While you can never go wrong with the good old-fashioned green standby, this spin takes things a step further thanks to a rich and umami-flavored kale pesto, layers of crunchy veg, and a medley of fresh herbs on top.
Hero Ingredient: The secret to a delicious vegan pesto? Nutritional yeast.
Why We Love It: Sure, this might not be your NYD main dish, but if you’re skipping the mimosas, a fresh fig smoothie is an ideal substitute. As for the nutrition side of things, you’ll get a healthy dose of antioxidants, potassium, calcium, and fiber in every glass. And if we’re talking flavor, this smoothie boasts a fruity, nutty, and slightly sweet sip that you’ll be craving long after brunch has wrapped.
Hero Ingredient: Maple syrup is the ultimate flavor boost.
Why We Love It: This is easily my favorite muffin recipe—let me count the ways I love it. To start, it’s gluten- and dairy-free. On top of that, it uses bananas’ and pumpkin’s natural sweetness for the most deliciously balanced flavor. Lastly, it has to be said: these muffins are unbelievably moist.
Hero Ingredient: Flax eggs (two tablespoons of ground flaxseed mixed with five tablespoons water) is the ultimate vegan baking secret.
Why We Love It: Nothing beats the flavor of a freshly-made shakshuka. It’s warming, comforting, and exactly what you want on the first day of the year. Be sure to soak up all the goodness with a crusty loaf of your favorite bread.
Hero Ingredient: When I choose to go savory for brunch, I’m all about the heat. The jalapeño gives your shakshuka a little kick that’s perfect in this tomato-based dish.
Why We Love It: Moment of appreciation for this porridge bowl’s beauty (honestly, it’s almost too pretty to eat). This recipe makes the most of cold-weather fruit and hearty grains: figs and papaya are lovely sweet complements to the nutty, toothsome warmth of millet and amaranth.
Hero Ingredient: In terms of sweetness and flavor, a little honey goes a long way.
Why We Love It: When all else fails, revert to the classics. And when you’re opting for tradition, blueberry pancakes always win. While some pancakes will weigh you down and make you want to settle in for a long winter’s nap, this recipe keeps things light while still filling you up with all the good, satiating stuff: Greek yogurt, chia seeds, eggs, cinnamon, and plenty of berries. Feel free to stack your plate high.
Hero Ingredient: A tablespoon of baking powder gives these pancakes major fluffy height.
Why We Love It: This is the ultimate New Year’s day brunch—scratch that, any day brunch. We weren’t playing around when we created this totally vegan recipe. Seasoned with chili powder, cumin, oregano, tamari, lime juice, and more, the scrambled tofu doesn’t just mimic fluffy, flavor-packed eggs—it completely surpasses them. I took one look at this recipe and was immediately ready to dig in.
Hero Ingredient: I’m in full support of wrapping up your burrito with any add-ins you choose, but there’s no skipping out on the guacamole. It’s a must.
Why We Love It: Looking to change things up for this year’s New Year’s Day brunch? Make these delicious sweet potato toasts. With three toppings options to choose from (Mexican, Mediterranean, and sweet) it’s easy to ensure every guest is satisfied.
Hero Ingredient: While the trend may have lost its steam, I will never stop obsessing over the genius that is sweet potato toast.
Why We Love It: If you’re looking for something light after a big night, then turn to this simple breakfast bowl with fresh fruit and yogurt.
Hero Ingredient: Adding a cup of cooked quinoa gives the granola in these bowls a delicious crunch.
Why We Love It: If you’re looking for light New Year’s day brunch ideas then look no further than these breakfast toasts. They’re perfectly bite-sized but packed with protein too so you won’t be hungry 30 minutes later.
Hero Ingredient: A thick smearing of almond butter tops your toast with protein and healthy fats. Plus nothing beats the creamy richness of my favorite nut butter.
Why We Love It: If you’re in the mood for some baking on the first morning of the year, try whipping up these gluten-free muffins. Planning on spending a quiet NYD? Baking is a fun, relaxing activity that—when you opt for this recipe—will always result in something delicious. It’s also genius because while I love spreading jam on my muffins THICK, it’s about a million times better to discover a jammy center.
Hero Ingredient: If you know me, you know I can’t get enough of citrus zest in my baked goods (or really, anything). Here, the orange zest plays beautifully with the nutty almond meal and fruity jam.
Why We Love It: If you’re looking for healthy New Year’s day brunch ideas, then this breakfast salad has you covered. I love salads for many reasons, but this one combines a nutritious and flavorful rainbow of veggies, protein-packed eggs, toasted pistachios for crunch and healthy fats, plus, of course, all the antioxidant-filled greens. This is the nutrient-dense start everyone’s year could use.
Hero Ingredient: Arugula is the peppery bitter green that takes your salad from an obligation to an indulgence.
Why We Love It: If there is one required ingredient for every brunch, it’s eggs. These baked eggs are the perfect complement to a big night out and will supercharge you for the day (and year) ahead!
Hero Ingredient: While I’m one for hyperbole, this is not an exaggeration: I live for feta. Sharp and salty, feta pairs perfectly with creamy baked eggs.
Why We Love It: I can come up with countless reasons to love chia seeds, and I’d put this recipe at the top of the list. This pudding is unbelievably thick and tastes like you’re indulging in a first-thing-in-the-morning treat. The superfood also keeps you feeling full with plant-based protein and a good amount of fiber.
Hero Ingredient: Without the chia seeds, this recipe would literally produce a glass of sweetened milk. With them, the result is magic.
Why We Love It: Songs need to be written about how good this banana bread is. While it might seem like there’s no way to improve upon the classic recipe, Camille’s succeeded with this one. Not only is it satisfying and true comfort to enjoy, but it’s filled with healthy, nutrient-dense ingredients and uses a combo of almond and whole wheat flour for even more goodness. You won’t regret starting 2023 with this recipe.
Hero Ingredient: Five, yes, FIVE whole bananas are the secret to keeping this bread moist for days.
Why We Love It: While “sweet” is in the name, my mind usually goes to savory interpretations when I think of the orange spud. I’ll pile up a plate with roasted sweet potatoes or enjoy them as a base for all my favorite baked potato toppings. But these whole roasted sweet potatoes truly transformed my idea of what the veg is capable of. This recipe offers vegan substitutions too, so everyone can indulge in the (addictive) deliciousness.
Hero Ingredient: There’s no contest when it comes to sweet potatoes. That’s likely the reason why I just wrote an entire paragraph about how delicious they are.
Why We Love It: While I’m not the biggest bagel person, (I know, shame), put a lox and bagel sandwich in front of me, and it’ll be gone in minutes. The salty, slightly sweet combo of cured salmon and cream cheese is everything I want for my first meal of the day. The same can be said for this flatbread that puts all the classic flavors in pizza-for-breakfast form.
Hero Ingredient: A fluffy and crispy flatbread is the perfect base for this peppery, bright dish.
Why We Love It: There’s never a bad time to make tostadas but this spicy black bean version will go down well after an all-nighter. It will satiate your craving for carbs while fueling your body with the healthy vegetables and protein it really needs.
Hero Ingredient: Not only does the bunch of parsley give your corn salsa gorgeous color, but it also adds a fresh flavor that keeps your tostadas tasting light. Bonus points: parsley packs a healthy dose of antioxidants.
Why We Love It: If you count yourself among the vegans at your table, this recipe is a great alternative to your typical scrambled eggs. Crumbled tofu is a convincing substitute for eggs and packs your plate with protein. While you’re certainly welcome to enjoy this scramble on its own, it’s also a great base for mixing in all your favorite veggies. Choose a combo you love (I’m all for spinach and mushrooms) and don’t hold back.
Hero Ingredient: Not only does a quarter teaspoon of turmeric give this scramble an earthy, peppery flavor, but it brightens up the color of your dish beautifully. Oh, and of course, the anti-inflammatory superfood is full of all the antioxidants.
Why We Love It: There’s not a combo I crave more throughout the fall and winter than apples and cinnamon. When the two come together, the result is beautifully warming and cozy. This bowl is comfort food at its best, and while it tastes just like your favorite apple crisp, you’ll avoid the dreaded sugar crash, and instead feel satisfied from all the fiber.
Hero Ingredient: Sprinkling on hemp seeds tops your bowl with a good amount of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. But you’re welcome to forget about the health benefits and focus on the delicious texture and pleasantly nutty taste these little guys will give your oatmeal.
Why We Love It: Why is it that every meal seems to taste better in a bowl? The presentation alone is appetizing, but dig in and get ready to discover the best pairing of ingredients you can ever hope to find. I love ricotta’s barely-sweet flavor and super soft texture. In this recipe, the ricotta gets mixed with an equal amount of yogurt for the creamiest thing you ever ate with a spoon. It’s a combo so good, that only the juicy-sweet citrus can make it better.
Hero Ingredient: A little drizzle of honey gives a lovely and refreshing floral element to your bowl.
Why We Love It: Surprised to see waffles on this list? Totally understandable. While these aren’t the healthiest recipe in this roundup, they do lean on sourdough starter so they require less flour and milk than your usual waffles. What’s more, instead of having to throw your sourdough discard in the trash or compost, this recipe helps you cut down on food waste.
Hero Ingredient: This makes the most of your sourdough discard, and there’s nothing more magical than that. It’s just science.
This post was originally published on December 28, 2020, and has since been updated.