Breakfast has been a red-hot category for a number of years, with creative innovation driving serious consumer fandom. In fact, breakfast foods are so popular, they’ve broken out of the morning daypart and into all-day offerings. At the same time, plant-based foods are now enjoying the spotlight, thanks both to their wholesome appeal and to newfound culinary attention that makes them craveable and delicious. Huge menu opportunity lies in combining the breakfast/brunch daypart with the plant-based food trend.
Here are five easy ways in, starring beans. Why beans? Not only do they promise plant-based protein and a good level of satiety—important for fueling busy lives—but they are also prevalent in a number of global cuisines. According to the National Restaurant Association’s “What’s Hot 2018 Culinary Forecast,” ethnic-inspired breakfast items rank among this year’s top five food trends.
1. Breakfast Burrito
Because the burrito is a tried-and-true fan favorite, chefs have license to interpret this in ways that fit their restaurant’s personality. Beans are not new to burritos, but making them the star amps up the plant-based messaging.
- Breakfast Burrito: Black beans, pico de gallo, scrambled eggs, guacamole, flour tortilla
—Handcraft Kitchen & Cocktails, New York
2. Huevos Rancheros
This Mexican dish offers up comfort and flavor, along with a bit of adventure. At its core, huevos rancheros is a braise, inviting all sorts of creative play with ingredient and flavor combination. Beans simmered in sauce add protein and heft while taking on flavor beautifully.
- Deconstructed huevos rancheros with smashed black beans topped with two sunny side up Bass Farm eggs, pico, salsa verde and tortilla chips
—Gumption, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
3. Breakfast Chili
Nothing sounds homier than chili, and moving it into the breakfast arena makes a lot of sense. Southwest, Latin, Eastern Mediterranean—the possibilities for exploration here are endless.
- Huevos Verdes: Two eggs any way, black bean chili, corn tortillas, queso fresco, salsa verde and potatoes
—Spoons, Baltimore, Md.
4. Breakfast Bowl
Bowls are the new menu darling, thanks to their satisfying, wholesome posture, along with a promise of layers of flavor and texture. At breakfast, beans make a great base for modern bowls, taking on global flavors and keying into breakfast traditions from Latin America and the Caribbean.
- Egg & Mushroom Cazuela: Scrambled eggs with roasted sweet potatoes,black beans, artisan Jack cheese and poblanos rajas, topped with wild arugula, Cotija cheese, cilantro, tortilla strips and avocado
—Tortas Frontera, based in Chicago
Chefs are capitalizing on this Eastern Mediterranean breakfast dish, and making it their own. A spice-forward braise with eggs, once diners embraced it, the world of possibility opened up, where pulses or grains can add their satisfying profile for a fresh take.
- White Bean Shakshuka with carnitas
—Madison on Park, San Diego