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THE BEST HEALTHY BRUNCH SPOTS IN PORTLAND

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SARAH GROTHJAN

MAY 9, 2019

We get it. Brunch is a must. Sunday mornings are for strong coffee, tangy mimosas, savory eggs, and loud conversation. But somewhere between that third slice of bacon and second pour of syrup, you wonder whether a healthy brunch exists.

Seriously — where is the brunch menu for those who want to swap the mimosa for a green juice or the creamy eggs Benedict for a dairy-free option? Luckily, there’s no shortage of Portland eateries serving up just that. From raw donut bites to vegan mac, Portland has options to keep you full for many Sundays to come.

Prasad

Restaurant

Prasad has it all — gluten-free toast smothered with non-dairy butter, warm oats (also GF) topped with toasted nuts and dried fruit, parfaits made with cashew cream… the list goes on. Is your mouth watering yet? Ours, too. With locations in Northwest and Northeast Portland, this place is where gluten- and dairy-free brunch-lovers unite. Go big with a sesame tempeh scramble or graze on lighter fare, like a green juice or house-made toast. Your taste buds (and stomach) will thank you.

Sure, brunch and “healthy” don’t typically end up in the same sentence, but a guilt-free meal is exactly what’s on the menu at Southeast Portland’s Paradox Cafe. Choose among ScramBowls (tofu, tempeh, or eggs with house veggies) or their vegan version of eggs Benedict. And vegan french toast? Yeah, you can’t go wrong with that.

We’ll admit it — we were lured to this Southeast Portland eatery by the gluten-free, vegan take on macaroni and cheese. Mac for brunch? Yes, please. This dairy-free dish is made with organic quinoa pasta, kale, and non-dairy alternatives. Too early for mac? Choose one of the scrambles made with farm-fresh eggs or the huevos rancheros. We’ll take a poached egg or smoky tempeh on a corn tortilla any day.

At first glance, Jam has all the fixings of a glutinous brunch. After all, waffles, scrambles, breakfast wraps, and build-your-own hash browns don’t exactly scream “health”. Read on, though, and you’ll spy cage-free eggs, organic tofu, fresh greens, nutritional yeast, wild smoked salmon, and house-made vegetarian chorizo. Yep, this Southeast Portland cafe whips up healthy versions of all your favorite brunch classics.

Seasonal veggies, tofu sausage, gluten-free french toast — these are the things (healthy) brunch dreams are made of. And that's exactly what you'll find at this Southeast Portland teahouse that's best known for its brunch and creative cocktails — as well as its locally-sourced menu. Inside, Portland-made art hangs from the walls, and dishes such as a tofu breakfast sandwich, a Warm Farro Salad, and a Gluten-Free Quiche grace tables. We’ll have one of everything.

Yes — artisanal vegan donuts are a thing. This is Portland, after all. Sure, you probably shouldn’t eat several of these in one sitting (though, we won’t judge if you do), but vegan donuts are a good alternative if you’re craving the sweet confection. These donuts in Southeast Portland come in an assortment of flavors, but we’d love to get our hands on the seasonal matcha treat.

Few things rival brunch with a view. At Water Avenue Coffee and Kitchen in Southeast Portland, you'll get exactly that. Grab a bowl of the cafe’s house-made hazelnut, cacao nib granola and walk a block toward the waterfront to watch boats coast beneath the Morrison Bridge. Return for seconds, and order the avocado toast topped with sliced radishes, pumpkin seeds, and fresh chopped herbs. Add a poached egg to the avocado toast or keep it simple with an egg sandwich. Oh, and wash it all down with a steaming cup of coffee. We can’t imagine a better start to your Sunday.

This Northeast Portland eatery takes healthy brunching to a whole new level. With “live” (meaning raw) nachos and donut bites, you can brunch without guilt. Order the giant cinnamon roll with cashew cream cheese or (our favorite) the Lotus Benedict — a biscuit topped with tofu scramble, sausage patties, spinach, tomato, and lemon hollandaise. Okay, fine, we’ll take thirds.

Canteen

Restaurant

While not your typical brunch spot, this Southeast Portland cafe packs all the fixings of a delicious—and nutritious—brunch. And we highly suggest getting one of their bowls. Packed with veggies, these bowls are a burst of both flavor and nutrition. Canteen’s rotating raw cheesecake and Berry Salad aren’t too shabby, either. Plus, they're guaranteed to satiate that sweet tooth.

This is no-fuss brunch at its best. Order at the counter of this quaint, cottage-inspired cafe in North Portland, and choose among a selection of granola, sweet porridge, corn cakes, a bee pollen biscuit breakfast, or the breakfast rice bowl (served with egg, herbs, almonds, feta, and fermented chilies). The straightforward selection is simple yet exactly what you need.

Broder

Restaurant

Danish pancakes, Finnish porridge, and creamy, crunchy eggs — this Scandinavian brunch spot is a must. With menu staples of smoked trout, fresh herbs, and eggs, you can’t go wrong brunching here. Head to one of their three locations in North, Southeast, or Southwest Portland and order one of the baked egg scrambles with a side of walnut toast or the Swedish hash with soft baked eggs. And while you're there, make sure you share a Söderbord among friends for small bites of smoked trout, roasted beets, fresh fruit, and crispy rye crackers. Wash it down with a strong cup of Swedish coffee. Now you’re ready for the day.

In a city full of pop-up cafes and fresh-faced food trucks, La Luna Cafe is the brunch spot you can count on to be there when you need it. A Portland staple since 2005, the Central Eastside cafe serves a healthier take on brunch staples. For instance, there’s the Veggie Benny, a vegetarian version of eggs Benedict with roasted broccolini and Spanish sofrito atop a whole wheat English muffin. Or, there’s the 3 Egg Frittata, featuring the same flavorful Spanish sofrito with wilted greens. If you’re bold enough to stray from the brunch norm, we suggest trying one of their several grain bowls. The Zatar Bowl (with roasted vegetables, beluga lentils, goji tahini sauce, toasted sesame seed, celery leaf, and shaved raw beet) has our vote.

Fern Kitchen is the perfect breakfast/lunch spot for those who enjoy clean paleo eats. A favorite in Portland, this cozy restaurant believes in nourishing their customers’ bodies with locally-sourced products, even listing on their website exactly what farms and purveyors have helped them out. It's their commitment to these fresh ingredients that makes their menu so mouthwatering — but options like House Smoked Steelhead Hash don't hurt, either. Check 'em out on SE 50th.

**Updated by Sarah Grothjan, February 2019