Monday’s post about a sweet brunch main dish and the uncharacteristic fact that I served such a dish to friends reminded me that if you, like me, tend to order the fried eggs over the raspberry-almond pancakes when you head out to brunch, you might need to be reminded of some other options.
Brunch has always been one of my favorite meals to host. People are easy to please at brunch, and no one expects anything fancy. Plus, there’s an end time, and friends either bounce, heading off to the rest of their Sunday activities, or you wind up doing something fun (in my world, that’s frisbee!) all together. (Here are my tips for hosting a successful brunch.)
And so what follows are a dozen of the best savory brunch mains you can cook up for groups large and small. (Note that this is not a baker’s dozen–that would be too sweet.)
**Hold the Syrup: 12 Savory Breakfasts**
1. Shakin’ Hash Browns. The ultimate in potato breakfasts, a special two-part process turns red potatoes into these crusty baked hash browns that almost seem like they’ve been fried.
2. Sweet Potato and Caramelized Onion Frittata. Part of one of my favorite brunches I’ve ever made, this frittata is great for a crowd because you can take care of roasting sweet potatoes and caramelizing onions in advance and then make the eggs just a bit before guests arrive.
3. Crispy Potatoes with Baked Eggs and Pesto Yogurt. A hash brown and egg mixed skillet that charms even the most cynical brunch-goers, this classic combo gets topped with a light green dollop of pesto yogurt.
4. Homemade Baked Beans and Toast. If your tastes veer towards the British, you’ll be happy to know that this dish of baked beans could be part of a complete English breakfast. Or, you could skip everything and just serve these beans with good toast. They’re also a prime contender when you’re craving breakfast for dinner.
5. Austrian Breakfast Tacos with Spicy Sauerkraut and Summer Sausage. Fusion beyond belief, this corn-taco-based breakfast option relies on the flavors of Austria–sausages and red onions–to bring the concept of taco way further afield than Mexico.
6. Breakfast Quesadillas with Cilantro Chimichurri and Chipotle Crema. The combination of soft scrambled eggs, melty cheese and a bright herb is even more delicious than you think it’ll be, especially when finished off with smoky chipotle crema. If you want to make these for a crowd, assemble then bake the quesadillas in the oven.
7. Lemony Smoked Salmon Scramble. Slices of smoked salmon go a long way in this springy scramble–you’ll need to buy far less of the pricy delicacy than if you were serving bagels and lox.
8. Spicy Potato & Avocado Breakfast Tacos. I never get tired for tacos at dinner, and apparently the same rule applies in the morning. These tacos also take care of your side dish, since the potatoes that might have sat alongside the tacos become part of the filling.
9. Grits with Old Bay Frizzled Shallots and a Fried Egg. The Southern-style breakfast staple makes an appearance on our Northern table, beneath an olive-oil fried egg and some crispy, spicy shallots.
10. Savory Buttermilk Pancakes with Corn. Most pancakes aren’t all that sweet. That is, until you drown them in maple syrup. These savory corn pancakes have so much flavor you won’t be tempted to pour on the syrup. Enjoy them with a spoonful of sour cream or yogurt instead.
11. Smoked Salmon & Dill Hash with Fried Eggs. Hash, as opposed to mere hash browns, can be a meal in and of itself. This one gets its flavor from smoked salmon and dill–which has got to be the most breakfast-y of all the herbs.
12. Spinach Strata with Sage and Gruyere. Like French toast, strata is a brilliant main course for a crowd because the bread gets better as you soak it in an egg-milk-cheese mixture. This strata makes use of nutty gruyere for a gourmet touch. If you dare, serve it with a salad.