Southwest Breakfast Bowl

Southwest Breakfast Bowl | A Sweet SpoonfulWe just got home from a long trip back East to visit both sides of our family and to see my youngest sister Zoe get married in a breezy outdoor ceremony in Vergennes, Vermont. We were gone almost three weeks total, which, towards the end started to feel like a really long time; I couldn’t help but wonder if the leaves were turning on the tree across the street from our house or daydream about all the mail we’d have waiting for us (I’m a real fan girl of good and even quite marginal mail days). From the Adirondack mountains and Burlington, Vermont to New Brunswick, New Jersey, we were in planes, boats and cars on this trip and pretty far removed from our typical routines. And while I’m getting a lot better about going with the flow and letting unstructured days unfold as they will, having access to a few staples in the kitchen always makes me feel a bit more settled wherever we are.

Southwest Breakfast Bowl | A Sweet SpoonfulWe started by visiting my dad at his cabin in the Adirondacks. I’d asked ahead of time for them to stock up on avocados and eggs and my sister picked up some killer farmstand bread on her drive from Central New York, so we made toast fit for kings most mornings while listening to the rain patter away insistently on the roof. Oliver sat on the porch pointing out every passing boat (and there were many), and I spent a lot of time by the big fireplace fantasizing about reading novels in lieu of toddler tending. Real talk.

Southwest Breakfast Bowl | A Sweet SpoonfulFrom my Dad’s place, we headed to the wedding (which I hope to talk more about here soon!) and from there, back to my mom’s in Burlington, where we spent a number of days eating wood-fired bagels and local cheese, visiting Shelburne Farms, cooking a little, taking walks downtown and daydreaming about being in college again. My mom lives within walking distance to a great coop, so we stocked up on basics like coffee, sweet potatoes (which I like to roast for Oliver each week), little grape tomatoes, more avocados and black beans. We’d been buying Dr. Praeger’s hash browns at home for quick, easy breakfast bowls and I was able to track them down as well (simple ingredients; no creepy stuff), so we upgraded our morning toast and made breakfast bowls fit for kings.
Southwest Breakfast Bowl | A Sweet SpoonfulI’ve long been a fan of chilaquiles for breakfast and these bowls have that vibe, only with fresh tomatoes and pickled-onions, and hash browns instead of chips. It’s a protein-packed morning meal and what I’ve recently taken to calling Happy Food — meals that just make you feel really good.

That being said, I know breakfast can be a challenge, especially in this Back to School period many of us find ourselves in. Even without school age kiddos (or any kiddos at all), actually cooking anything on a weekday morning can feel unrealistic. So these could definitely be reserved for a weekend affair or if you’re organized, make the pickled onions and cook down the beans ahead of time and really, you’re just frying an egg and heating up your hash browns at that point. I can handle that, even far away from my own kitchen. Have fun with these; adapt as you will to make them work for your people. Because bowls for breakfast, I tell you: Happy Food.

Southwest Breakfast Bowl

Southwest Breakfast Bowl

  • Yield: 2 Bowls
  • Prep time: 20 mins
  • Cook time: 18 mins
  • Inactive time: 1 hr
  • Total time: 1 hr 38 mins

In an effort to save time here, I used a store bought salsa verde but you could certainly make yours homemade if you prefer. I didn’t include instructions for cooking your eggs as I’ve done these bowls with everything from soft boiled to fried to scrambled and they’re delicious with each — so feel free to cook your egg exactly how you like it (or leave it out altogether). The bowls are best eaten right after you prepare them, but you could certainly prep most of the components (beans, sliced tomatoes, pickled onions) in advance so you’re simply throwing in a few hash browns and frying an egg in the morning.

Ingredients

For the Quick-Pickled Onions: (makes about 1/4 cup)

3/4 cups apple cider vinegar
2 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 red onion, very thinly sliced

For the Bowls:

4 Dr. Praeger’s Southwest hash browns
1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 medium white onion, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
3/4 cup drained and rinsed, canned black beans
pinch kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, roughly chopped, plus more to top
1/2 cup halved grape or cherry tomatoes
1 ripe avocado, halved and sliced
2 large eggs, cooked how you like them (I like mine over medium)
1/4 cup salsa verde
1/4 cup queso fresca, crumbled

Instructions

Make the quick-pickled onions: In a medium bowl, whisk together the vinegar, sugar and salt. Add onion and ensure the slices are all covered by the liquid. Let sit at room temperature for 1 hour. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Make the bowls: Preheat the oven to 450 F. Place hash browns on an ungreased baking sheet and bake for 7 minutes until browned. Carefully flip and bake an additional 4-5 minutes until browned on the second side.

MeanwhiIe, in a medium skillet over medium heat warm the olive oil until shimmering. Add the onion and cook until tender and translucent, about 5-7 minutes. Add the beans, salt, cumin and paprika and stir to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning if you’d like. Fold in the cilantro and set aside.

Assemble each bowl by arranging two hashbrowns, a scoop of beans, spoonful of tomatoes, pickled onions, and avocado slices. Top with fried egg. Repeat with second bowl. Top with salsa verde and a few spoonfuls of queso fresca. Enjoy immediately.

Comments

  1. Julie

    Really nice post and recipe/bowl idea! Thank you for this. I tend to eat a bowl such as this for dinner, on nights when everyone in the house has other plans and I can cozy up with a book (or blog). And I visited Burlington for the first time this summer, with my husband (visiting our daughter who had a summer job in Maine--nice perk to having older kids, though I do miss those toddler days)--anyway, Shelburne Farms was our favorite! What a treasure--although, honestly, that entire section of Vermont was quite wonderful. Best to you as Autumn rolls in.

    1. megang

      Hi, Julie. Yes Shelburne Farms is so special! I didn't realize they had a lodge on site for overnight guests, and now I'm hoping to stay there for a day or two sometime in the future. So beautiful and calm - love the adirondack chairs right by the water. Hope you're settling into fall nicely as well. Have a great weekend.

  2. Sara

    You make me laugh..I love mail too, even if it's just credit card offers. I love breakfast bowls, and my husband won't eat normal eggs. I'll have to get him to try this one, I really want to try those hashbrowns. I've never really tried mexi style breakfast bowls before!

    1. megang

      Yay, Sara! I hope you guys like them. Easy to kind of adapt and add what you like ... since I work from home often, I can see the mailman approaching and he probably thinks I'm crazy as I often meet him right at the door :)

  3. Laura

    Dr. Praeger's spinach cakes are basically the only way my three-year-old eats greens.

    1. megang

      Right?! So good.

  4. Cathy

    Looks gorgeous. Here in the U.K., we have one hundred percent frozen potato waffles. They would go great with this bowl.

    1. megang

      Hi, Cathy. So intriguing! Yes, I bet those would be fantastic with these!

  5. Lori

    This looks amazing! We might have to have it for dinner tomorrow night. Hope you are well. L

  6. Liza

    I think this looks great-- even for dinner at our house! I'd like to make a larger batch of the onions,how long would they last in the fridge? And do you think I could just double/triple the recipe? Thanks! Liza

    1. megang

      You could definitely double the recipe! I think they should last 10-14 days for sure. Enjoy!

  7. Kristie

    Loved reading this! I live in Burlington so could picture you in the exact places you described. Would you ever consider doing a book signing or cooking demo when you're in town? (I know, probably the last thing you want to do on vacation).

    1. megang

      Hi, Kristie! Thanks so much for the note. Oh I'd love to do a book signing or demo when I'm next in town. Absolutely. Do you work for UVM? We should be in touch! I'm planning to be there next late March or early April. Thanks again, Kristie!

      1. Kristie

        Yes, I work for the UVM Cancer Center on programs related to integrative health. I'd be happy to help coordinate an event here! I know someone who works at the independent book store, and I believe one of the health food stores has a space for cooking demos. Let's chat when you're ready to start planning your trip!

        1. megang

          That sounds perfect, Kristie. Thanks so much. Lucky you: I love Burlington and UVM (my mom went there for grad school a few years back in education). I'll absolutely be in touch! Have a great weekend,

  8. Meghan

    Those look delicious! Have you managed to read any good novels lately? (I'm always on the hunt for fun books, cookbooks or novels!) Thanks for sharing, Megan!

  9. tracy cole

    tried southwest breakfast bowl with plantains instead of spuds for dinner.loved it great blog.very fun.

    1. megang

      Awesome, Tracy! Thanks for the feedback. That sounds delicious!

Join the Discussion

The Thanksgiving Table

A Top Contender

A Top Contender

Today is a different kind of day. Usually posts on this blog come about with the narrative and I manage to squeeze in a recipe. But sometimes when you really stumble upon a winning recipe, it speaks for itself. We'll likely make these beans for Thanksgiving this year. They're one of those simple stunners that you initially think couldn't be much of a thing. And then they come out of the oven all sweet and withered and flecked with herbs. You try one and you realize they are, in fact, a pretty big thing. 

Read More
Brown Butter Sweet Potato Pie with Kamut Crust

Brown Butter Sweet Potato Pie with Kamut Crust

I always force myself to wait until after Halloween to start thinking much about holiday pies or, really, future holidays in general. But this year I cheated a bit, tempted heavily by the lure of a warmly-spiced sweet potato pie that I used to make back when I baked pies for a living in the Bay Area (way back when). We seem to always have sweet potatoes around as they're one of Oliver's favorite foods, and when I roast them for his lunch I've been wishing I could turn them into a silky pie instead. So the other day I reserved part of the sweet potatoes for me. For a pie that I've made hundreds of times in the past, this time reimagined with fragrant brown butter, sweetened solely with maple syrup, and baked into a flaky kamut crust. We haven't started talking about the Thanksgiving menu yet this year, but I know one thing for sure: this sweet potato pie will make an appearance.

Read More
Bring the Happy

Bring the Happy

It has begun. Talk of who is bringing what, where we'll buy the turkey, what kind of pies I'll make, early morning texts concerning brussels sprouts.  There's no getting around it: Thanksgiving is on its way. And with it comes the inevitable reflecting back and thinking about what we're thankful for. And about traditions. The funny thing about traditions is that they exist because they've been around for a long time. Year after year after year. But then, one Thanksgiving maybe there's something new at the table.

Read More
For You, With Thanks

For You, With Thanks

I didn't expect green beans to bring up such a great discussion on traditions, sharing of poems and how a piece of writing can linger with you. So thank you for that. Your comments pointed out how important people and place are and how food takes the back seat when it  comes right down to it. Even if you feel quite warm towards Thanksgiving and are looking forward to next week, reading about recipe suggestions and meal planning online and in magazines can start to feel tiresome right about now. Why? Because I suppose when it all comes down to it, in the big picture it doesn't matter what we all serve anyway. Next year, you likely won't remember one year's vegetable side dish from another. What you'll remember are the markers that dotted the year for you: whom you sat next to at the table, a toast or grace, and the sense of gratitude you felt for something -- large or small.

Read More
How to Break a Thanksgiving Tradition

How to Break a Thanksgiving Tradition

I got a text from my mom the other day that read: demerara sugar? I responded back with a question mark, not sure what she was referencing. It turns out she was experimenting with a new pie recipe that called for the natural sugar and wasn't sure why she couldn't just use white sugar as that's what she's always done in the past. A few days later we talked on the phone and she mentioned she'd let me take charge of the salad for Thanksgiving this year as long as there was no kale. No kale! And I wanted to do the mashed potatoes? Would they still be made with butter and milk? In short, we're always willing to mix things up in the Gordon household. Whether it's inspiration from a food magazine, friend or coworker, either my mom or one of my sisters will often have an idea for something new to try at the holiday table. But what I've slowly learned is that it can't really be that different: there must be pumpkin pie, the can of cranberry sauce is necessary even though not many people actually eat it, the onion casserole is non-negotiable, the salad can't be too out there, and the potatoes must be made with ample butter and milk. And while I was really scheming up an epic kale salad to make this year, there's a big part of me that gets it, too: if we change things too much we won't recognize the part of the day that comes to mean so much: the pure recognition. We take comfort in traditions because we recognize them -- because they're always there, year after year. And so today I present to you (mom, are you reading?): this year's Gordon family Thanksgiving salad.

Read More