Healthy Winter Breakfasts (Recipe: Maple Vanilla Roasted Pear Parfait)

Eating seasonally can be difficult in the winter, especially if you live somewhere that is covered in snow for 4 or 5 months out of the year and all that’s available locally are potatoes, squash and apples with a long storage life.

Adding berries and tomatoes is much easier in the summer when they’re available straight out of my own garden, just beyond the back door. At the moment, my gardens are buried under three feet of the white fluffy stuff, and it’s likely I won’t see the dirt until sometime in March. However, even amidst the winter wonderland, there is hope for a healthy, ready-to-start-the-day breakfast that will give you the energy and courage (or is it insanity) to head out and embrace the cold.

So, where do we start for winter breakfasts then? First, if you stored and preserved some of your warm weather harvest, you’re already ahead of the curve. Jams, chutneys, peaches, tomatoes and other canned, frozen or otherwise preserved fruits and vegetables make great additions to breakfast. If you don’t have those available or if they’re running low, not to worry. Here are a few basic ingredients to get you started:

  • Eggs: Packed with vitamins A, D and E and protein, eggs are a great breakfast choice. Try them in omelets, poached eggs and egg sandwiches.
  • Whole Grains: Whether you’re looking at steel-cut oats or whole grain breads and baked items, using whole grains is a great way to start your day.
  • Seasonal Fruits: Citrus, pears and pomegranates are all available in the winter and in season. Fall harvested apples that have a long storage life also make an excellent addition.
  • Seasonal Vegetables: Potatoes and sweet potatoes make hash and hashbrowns. Add in parsnips, squash and other root vegetables to change things up. Grab the mushrooms and leeks for omelets and egg dishes. Depending on where you are, leafy greens and radishes may also be available.
  • Yogurt: Both yogurt and cottage cheese contain protein and B vitamins, not to mention calcium. Use it to top granola, and add in a scoop of your favorite jam for a winter-ready parfait.

Photos by Shaina Olmanson
Using Katie’s pairing of pears and pecans and Todd and Diane’s post on a gingerbread and roasted pear dessert from Pam Anderson’s Perfect One-Dish Dinners as inspiration I found my new favorite winter breakfast. There is no guilt in having fruit, nuts and yogurt for breakfast, and warm breakfasts in the winter are divine. Plus, by using the pear as the bowl for your parfait, you also get all the vitamins and nutrients in the skin of the pear.

Maple Vanilla Roasted Pear Parfait

Print Pin Rate
Course: Desserts
Servings: 4 small (or 2 large!)
Calories: 229kcal
Author: Shaina Olmanson


  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 vanilla bean
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 pears Bartlett, Anjou or Bosc
  • 1/4 cup whole pecans
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt


  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a small baking dish just large enough to hold 4 pear halves (an 8" square works well), place the butter and let it melt as the oven preheats. Halve the two pears. Slice the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape out the seeds. When the butter is melted and the oven is preheated, pour maple syrup into the pan. Add in vanilla bean seeds and stir quickly. Place pear halves cut side down in the pan and return the pan to the oven.
  • Roast the pears at 400 degrees F until soft, about 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from oven and immediately take pear halves out. Tilt the pan to combine maple syrup with pear juice. Add in pecans and stir to coat. While still warm, scoop the center seeds out of the pears (I find it easier to do after they've been roasted) and place 1/4 cup yogurt in each. Top with maple syrup and pecans.


Calories: 229kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 18mg | Sodium: 71mg | Potassium: 244mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 23g | Vitamin A: 195IU | Vitamin C: 3.8mg | Calcium: 89mg | Iron: 0.3mg

More Winter Breakfast Ideas

Citrus & Pomegranate with Vanilla Syrup | Simple Bites
5-Grain Pancakes with Flax | GoodLife Eats
Banana Berry Smoothies | Food for My Family
Poached Eggs on Toast with Roasted Tomatoes | For the Love of Cooking
Shirred Eggs | Guilty Kitchen
Baked Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal | A Little Bit of Spain in Iowa
Red Potato & Spinach Mini Frittatas | Poor Girl Eats Well

What are your favorite foods to eat in the winter? Do you have a store of fruits and vegetables to pull from the freezer or canned on the shelves?

About Shaina

Shaina Olmanson is the home cook and photographer behind Food for My Family, where she shares recipes, tips, opinions and her philosophy on food as she wades through the process of feeding her family, her friends and anyone else who will let her. She strives to teach her four children how to eat well: seasonally, locally, organically, deliciously and balanced.

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  1. Nisha @ Healthy Mom's Kitchen says

    This sounds like my kind of treat! I’ve been craving my Apple Cherry Parfait, but think I’ll put that on hold for this. We have a huge bag of pears that should be ripe and ready soon.

  2. My mouth is watering…

  3. That sounds delicious! Will try it this weekend….as a healthy dessert.

  4. Mmmm! This sounds like my kind of desert. 🙂

  5. Steve @ HPD says

    Winter b’fast: half a cup of traditional oat meal, handful each of chopped walnuts and Back to Nature’s Sonoma blend of dried fruit, and a Tbs of brown sugar. And once a week, a Santiago’s b’fast burrito. Best $2 burrito in America!

  6. HI – just wondering who won the Simple Foods for Winter cookbook(s) giveaway.

  7. I look at this picture and just see GORGEOUSNESS. WOW!!! Everything about it is perfection… and you know is has to be delicious!!!!

  8. great breakfast and a fantastic alternative to a cold bowl of cereal (which IMHO isn’t a proper breakfast) – a big ol’ LOVE on this one!

  9. I love this. What a great breakfast or dessert!

  10. Lovely! I so need to stay away from food blogs when I am starving, but these are healthy so its okay!

  11. Shaina, this looks delicious. I’m definitely adding this to the breakfast menu for my family this week.

  12. I happen to have two lovely pears in my fridge right now. I’m trying this out for breakfast in the morning!

  13. That’s like dessert for breakfast, only better because it’s healthy. Not to mention gorgeous.

  14. Steph (The Cheapskate Cook) says

    FABULOUS idea! Looking forward to trying it when my pears get a lil softer!

  15. Wow. This looks heavenly. I want to eat this everyday.

  16. The roast pears are a delicious idea, for it’s another way to prepare one of this season’s favorite fruits.

  17. Shaina, love this post. Such pretty photos! Would enjoy these pears with my oatmeal too.

  18. Sounds like a perfectly heavenly breakfast to me!

  19. Thank you for this recipe. I made it yesterday morning and it delicious! Next time I am going to do it with oatmeal instead of the yoghurt. And I’d love to try it with apples too.

  20. These look lovely! Couldn’t ask for a better breakfast.

  21. Heavenly Housewife says

    Beautiful recipe. i am always looking for delicious treats that are also healthy. This one went into my bookmarks.
    *kisses* HH

  22. Looks like a perfect winter breakfast!

  23. I’ve been saving this recipe in my file for a few weeks, and I wish I’d tried it right away. Simply put: delicious, delicious, delicious. Not only did it warm my kitchen on a frosty February morning, the pears literally melted in my mouth. I substituted a dash of vanilla extract for the vanilla bean, but otherwise, stuck with the recipe as is. My husband, toddler, and I are all looking forward to making again this week!

  24. OH my, this sounds like heaven!
    I must try it with the fresh pears I just got from the market, yum! 😀

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