They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day, yet how many of you turn towards Lucky Charms or Frosted Flakes to satisfy your morning hunger? Not only are these two breakfast cereals loaded up with sugars (10 grams per serving, to be exact. That's like eating almost three teaspoons of pure sugar. Nasty, right?), but they're filled with ingredients that I'm pretty sure no one can pronounce. Don't get me wrong, I love little marshmallows of magic just as much as anyone, but I'd rather nourish my body with whole, plant-based eats instead of artificial sweeteners and additives. 

This past summer, I was all about smoothies and smoothie bowls. But in an effort to cut back on the amount of fruit I was consuming in a day, I decided to start incorporating more vegetables into my breakfasts. Don't be intimidated, veggies in the A.M. are amazing--if made correctly. Since the temperatures in Chicago have started to drop, I have decided to swap my cold green smoothies for warm breakfasts. One of my favorites (and my go-to for school/class) has been my Apple Pie Breakfast Bowl with Zucchini. This recipe takes only minutes to make and is full of healthy carbs, proteins, and fats. Not to mention, this recipe is 100 percent vegan, paleo, and gluten-free! Intrigued? Find out how to make my most-loved breakfast below.


Zucchini is one of my favorite vegetables to use in breakfast recipes. Their taste is mild, and their texture varies from soft -- if sauteed -- to crispy if baked/roasted. Zucchini's are a breakfast staple of mine, but another great alternative to this vegetable is summer squash (the yellow one!). Summer squashes are typically sweeter than zucchini, but a bit more squishy. If you're someone who likes your foods sweet in taste and soft in texture, then swap your zucchini for a summer squash!

While honeycrisp apples are my absolute favorite, a recent trip of mine to an apple orchard has me appreciating all varieties of the fruit. Some must-have qualities that I look for in an apple are: crispness and sweetness. Perhaps you love a good fuji apple, rather than a honeycrisp. In all honesty, any type of apple will do. I just happen to have a slight bias towards honeycrisp, haha!


I have tried so many brands of nut milks in my life, and my favorite has to be Malk. Sure, the name is a little cringe-worthy to say (moist, anyone?), but the flavor of their milks are absolutely amazing. My favorite flavor is their Maple Pecan. This flavor is perfect for any fall dish, and adds the perfect amount of all-natural sweetness. Since their brand is quite pricy ($8.99 for 28oz, yikes!), my next favorite is Silk's Unsweetened Vanilla Cashew Milk. The price of Silk is around $3.99 for a half-gallon, and their ingredients are clean! Not-to-mention, there are no added sugars. 

Dairy-free milk is an easy way to eliminate animal cruelty, your carbon footprint, and increase your health.


When cooking your zucchini and apples, no oil is necessary! Instead, the nut milk is the perfect liquid to simmer and steam your food in. Additionally, I always cook my food on the lowest heat possible to retain the nutrients in my ingredients. While I'm not a completely raw vegan, I try to limit how often I cook my food. If you're in a rush, feel free to cook at medium heat, as this will speed up the process!


In the end, you're left with a delicious bowl of goodness! While I obviously eat this breakfast during my days off from school, I also love bringing this with me to class! Instead of putting it into a bowl, I fill up a Thermos, grab a fork, and take my breaky with me to school. It's easy, tasty, and will keep you full until lunch.

the recipe

Apple Pie Zucchini Breakfast Bowl (Vegan, Paleo, Gluten-Free)

by Amanda Kaplan, Brunette with a Budget

A tasty fall-inspired and vegetable-filled breakfast bowl that will warm-up your morning!

Makes: 2 Servings

Apple Pie Zucchini Breakfast Bowl

Prep Time:

Cook Time:

  • 2 cups, diced zucchini
  • 1, diced honeycrisp apple
  • 1/3 cup, unsweetened vanilla nut milk
  • 3 tablespoons, pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon, vanilla extract
  • 1 fruit of choice for topping, plums & pears are my favorite!
  • 1 tablespoon for topping, raisins
  • 2 tablespoons for topping, nut butter (my favorites are cashew & almond butter!)
  • Instructions:
    1. Dice zucchini & apple into bite-sized pieces.
    2. Combine zucchini, apple, nut milk, pumpkin pie spice, and vanilla extract into a pan over medium heat.
    3. Once zucchini and apple are al dente, pour mixture into a bowl and serve with a chopped plum, raisins, and a spoonful of nut butter.

What's your favorite recipe for the fall? Let me know in the comments below! If you try this recipe, make sure to tag me @brunettewithabudget on Instagram, I can't wait to see your Apple Pie Zucchini Bowl creations!

with love & light, amanda