Are you a breakfast person? Whether breakfast is the most important meal of the day is still a debatable topic; but it seems like certain populations would benefit by consistently having breakfast. In children and adolescents, breakfast skipping is strongly associated with an increased prevalence of weight gain, poor diet quality, and poor food choices. A study also found that students who had regular meals, especially breakfast, had higher academic achievements.

Chinese Medicine weighs in by saying that “In the morning eat like an emperor, at noon like a king, and in the evening like a beggar,” thus emphasizing that breakfast is the most substantial meal of the day. This is explained by the Chinese internal organ clock (horary clock) wherein the organs of digestion (stomach and spleen) are most active between 7AM to 11AM. During this time, it is best to eat a warm and balanced breakfast.

Protein-rich breakfast meals improve appetite regulation by increasing fullness and decreasing hunger. It is also associated with more stable energy levels. Protein is necessary maintain muscle mass, and most adults need 0.4 to 0.6 grams of protein per kilogram body weight to maximally stimulate skeletal muscle protein synthesis.

In the Philippines, our “Pambansang Tinapay” (National Bread) or pan de sal is a staple in most breakfast tables. The name literally means “bread of salt”, but the soft bread rolls actually taste a bit sweet. It is enjoyed in many ways with sweet and savory filings, or even dunked in a cup of coffee.

To level up our favorite pan de sal, this savory spread incorporates a very good protein source, tofu. Locally known as “tokwa “, tofu contains all nine essential amino acids. It actually contains 8 grams of protein per 100 grams serving. This plant-based pimiento recipe also includes chickpeas, which contain 6 grams of protein per half cup serving. Both tofu and chickpeas contain protein, calcium, iron and fiber among other things.

This breakfast sandwich is very satisfying with well-balanced flavors and textures from the slightly sweet, fluffy pan de sal to the creamy, tangy, umami, and mildly spicy pimiento spread. Layering some cucumber and lettuce adds crunch, and are a perfect way to reach your #5aDay daily requirement for vegetables and fruits.

Start your day with this protein-rich, fiber-rich, and flavor-rich delicious pan de sal spread!

125g firm tofu
6 Tbsp canned chickpeas
2 Tbsp miso
1 Tbsp rice vinegar
2 garlic cloves
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
½ pimiento
Lettuce leaves
12 pan de sal buns


  1. Press tofu between 2 towels or use a Tofu Press to drain excess water.
  2. Wash vegetables and drain. Set aside.
  3. Break tofu into smaller pieces and put into food processor. Pulse.
  4. Add chickpeas, miso, rice vinegar, garlic cloves, and cayenne pepper into the food processor. Pulse until mixture is smooth.
  5. Mince pimiento. Fold into tofu-chickpea mixture.
  6. Slice cucumber thinly. Separate lettuce leaves.
  7. Slice pan de sal buns open in half.
  8. Assemble sandwich by layering lettuce, cucumber, and the garlicky pimiento spread on the pan de sal.

SERVINGS: Makes 12 pan de sal sandwiches