Kitchen Intuition: Breakfast tacos

Authored By aliceodea

Last week, the universe was determined to get me to write about breakfast tacos. They were popping up everywhere-from random food porn to YouTube videos and social media posts-like a rash all over my personal internet space for several days running. And since I’m not one to argue with the forces of the universe (and also because breakfast tacos are awesome in so many ways), that’s what I’m putting out here this weekend.

Despite their name, these tacos are not just for breakfast. They’re delicious, nutritious and great for breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner or a snack.

There are two things that can turn a regular taco into a breakfast taco. The first is the addition of eggs; no matter what time of day it is, if your taco has eggs in it, it is a breakfast taco. The second potential qualification is that the taco is eaten for breakfast; if it’s a taco and this is your first meal of the day, it’s a breakfast taco, even if you skip the eggs. Either way, these are just tacos, so there’s no need to bother with a recipe; just assemble the things that you love to have in a taco, get it all heated appropriately, put it in a warmed tortilla, and that’s it! You’re done!

Unless you’re eating just a regular taco in the morning, to make a breakfast taco, you pretty much just have to have eggs, tortillas and salsa (make them vegan by using something like tempeh instead of eggs). Where you go from there is limited only by your imagination. The classic Austin, Texas, version (from the city that claims credit for the breakfast taco) is a flour tortilla, egg, bacon and cheese-but the apostate in me isn’t at all inspired by this combination, which fills one up with empty calories and fats, and leaves off the depth of flavor and amped-up nutrition that you can easily get with a few simple substitutions.

For the tortilla, use corn rather than flour for an extra dose of fiber and fewer refined carbohydrates, or if you’re avoiding gluten. The egg can be scrambled on its own or stirred in with other ingredients as they cook (or simply fried and put on top, if you’re a fan of that sort of thing). Also consider checking your refrigerator for leftovers, as this is a good way of using up food that might otherwise go bad. Got some remaining scraps of veggies, hashbrowns, chicken or refried beans? Heat it up and toss it in.

Some other ingredients to consider are all sorts of beans, a bit of chorizo, sautéed bell peppers or jalapeños, cubes of roasted sweet potato, softened onions, diced tomatoes, sliced olives, capers, artichokes, basil, spinach or wilted greens. Season with a mixture of spices like chili powder, paprika, cumin or an all-purpose taco seasoning; top your tacos with a sprinkle of cheese, avocado, shredded lettuce, cilantro, hot sauce, pico de gallo or any of the different salsas that are out there these days. If you’ve got them, serve with lime wedges or jalapeño pickles.

To see the preparation in action, check out this video from Yoga with Adriene, which shows just how quick and easy mixing up some breakfast tacos can be (she’s from Austin, so she knows of what she demonstrates!). And then, once you’re properly inspired, cook some yummy tacos for yourself, because what could be better, or more fun, on these warm weekend days than whipping up some easy, homemade, tasty tacos? After you get going, you won’t be able to stop (I’ve had them for dinner twice in the past week), since the possible variations are endless!

Alice O’Dea has lived in Chattanooga for over 20 years, but was raised among the mucks and dairy farms in rural western New York. She didn’t really learn to cook until midlife. When she’s not puttering around in the kitchen, she enjoys running, cycling, traveling, photography and trying to get food to grow in the backyard of her Highland Park home. You can email her with questions, suggestions or comments at [email protected]. The opinions expressed in this column belong solely to the author, not or its employees.