Flavor Trends, Strategies and Solutions for Menu Development

Breakfast Breakouts This dynamic daypart embraces so many of today’s hottest trends

Chile-rubbed wild Alaska salmon moves into breakfast seamlessly in the much-loved form of a taco.
PHOTO CREDIT: Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute

The wonderful thing about breakfast today is that it truly knows no boundaries. It has not only expanded its hours into the clockless day, but embraced all sorts of flavor combinations—all under the giant umbrella of breakfast.

Global ingredients, street-food culture, creative comfort fare, New American mash-ups, nutrient-dense ingredients—each drives innovation, giving dining consumers glorious, flavor-forward options.

Veg-centricity is playing a huge role at breakfast, modernizing dishes with produce that has been cooked with craveability in mind. Seafood is also making moves into breakfast, beyond lox and bagel, demonstrating that there are really no limits to flavor play in this space.

Through trusted commodity board sources, we’ve gathered a handful of menu inspirations to spark ideas around breakfast and its blurring into later dayparts.

Wild Alaska Salmon and Egg Breakfast Tacos

(See main image) Salmon at breakfast has moved beyond its traditional format of smoked salmon. Chefs are leveraging seafood’s new casual positioning and using it in different breakfast formats. Here, warm tortillas, baked salmon and soft-scrambled eggs join forces in these Wild Alaska Salmon and Egg Breakfast Tacos.

Rubbed with chile powder and topped with lemon slices before baking, this wild Alaska salmon fillet brings a warm flavor profile to the dish that complements the eggs perfectly. For textural balance, the tacos are topped with avocado and queso fresco, as well as tomatoes and red onion. Demonstrating salmon’s versatility, this dish can be easily adapted to other formats or dayparts.

“To change up the recipe, try the chile-rubbed salmon in a warm sandwich—ciabatta bread would be great—or fold it into a bowl of grains for a healthy, satisfying option,” says Emma Christensen, managing editor for Simply Recipes, a partner organization that developed this recipe with the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute.

> Get the recipe

Roasted Pear, Spinach and Gorgonzola Omelette

This Roasted Pear, Spinach and Gorgonzola Omelette is a sweet-savory take on the classic, boasting elegant flavors. “Gorgonzola can be overpowering, but the sweetness of the roasted pear softens its bite, and the flavors marry well together,” says Kathy Stephenson, director of marketing communications for Pear Bureau Northwest. “It’s a unique and unexpected combination in an omelette.”

Created by Brian Sawyer, former chef of Cloud 9 restaurant at the Senator Inn & Spa in Augusta, Maine, the ingredients can easily be turned into a quiche for a more upscale brunch item, or, by replacing the eggs, the filling can be used for a beautifully layered panini or quesadilla.

> Get the recipe

Pear Bureau Northwest

Roasted pear balances the Gorgonzola in this sweet-savory omelette

Adjarian Khachapuri

Adjarian Khachapuri, a regional specialty from the country of Georgia, consists of the classic cheesy flatbread stuffed, brushed or, in this case, topped with an egg. Regionality influences the bread’s shape: In Adjara, the edges are rolled to pay homage to the boats on the adjacent Black Sea.

“The uniquely shaped, tapered bread provides a rainbow of textures—crispy brown tips, layers of folded dough/cheese, and the open center with salty cheese and a luscious egg yolk,” says Phaedra Ruffalo, senior director of market development for the American Egg Board.

How you eat it is another adventure: Tear and dip the edges of the bread, stirring together the egg yolk and cheese; or stuff and fold, like a sandwich of sorts. Already versatile in its use across dayparts, this dish is poised to become a creative platform for American chefs.

“With a little culinary creativity, this addictive bread is ready for stardom. Imagine a topping of shredded asadero cheese, with ground spicy chorizo and fire-roasted chiles, then, when out of the oven, a whole egg and fresh cilantro,” says Ruffalo.

> Get the recipe

American Egg Board

Adjarian Khachapuri, a regional specialty from the country of Georgia, consists of the classic cheesy flatbread stuffed, brushed or, in this case, topped with an egg.

Savory Rice Waffles

These Savory Rice Waffles are an innovative, gluten-free offering that appeals to a wide range of diners. Eggs are whisked together with cooked U.S. long-grain rice, savory turkey sausage, spinach, cheddar, cremini mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes. The mixture is seared in a waffle iron to a crispy golden brown and served with a maple-sambal sauce.

“This unique play on a brunch staple exemplifies the health-halo trend by offering a gluten-free meal with lean protein in a menu segment commonly saturated with indulgent offerings,” says Carl Schwartz, R&D chef for CSSI, a Marlin Network agency, representing USA Rice.

Using rice in this fashion can easily be extended across all dayparts. “It can be used as a base or carrier for anything from a gluten-free eggs Benedict to a tuna poke canapé,” adds Schwartz.

> Get the recipe

USA Rice

These Savoury Rice Waffles are an innovative, gluten-free offering that appeals to a wide range of diners

Loaded Hash Browns

A perfect vehicle for delivering on-trend flavors and seasonal ingredients, Loaded Hash Browns can keep a breakfast/brunch menu new and exciting. Here, chef/owner Alicia Hinze of The Buttered Tin in St. Paul, Minn., uses Idaho hash brown potatoes as a crisp, crunchy packet for tomatoes, corn and queso fresco. A fried egg and dollop of chimichurri complete the dish.

As a base and primary component, the crispy hash browns provide a satisfying textural complement to the Loaded Hash Brown’s ever-changing selection of fillings. This summery mix can morph into heartier combinations, such as grilled steak, pepper, onions and provolone.

“Already a substantial dish with 8 ounces of potatoes per serving, the Loaded Idaho Hash Browns could easily move to the lunch and dinner menu, especially when offered with a heftier filling,” says Don Odiorne, VP foodservice & website, Idaho Potato Commission. “Changing the filling with the season keeps this signature dish new and fresh.”

> Get the recipe

Idaho Potato Commission

Chimichurri adds a bright finish to these Loaded Hash Browns

Blueberry Breakfast Smoothie Bowl

This vibrant Blueberry Breakfast Smoothie Bowl is a blend of blueberries, Greek yogurt, banana, almond milk and honey. Topped with banana, peaches, granola, chia seeds, almonds and toasted coconut, this complete breakfast features a rich variation of textures.

“With foodies documenting every meal, a beautiful bowl—like one with a vibrant blueberry hue—can entice diners to capture and share with their friends and followers on social media,” notes Victoria De Bruin, US Highbush Blueberry Council’s marketing manager. “A beautiful and flavor-forward bowl can be a big win on menus.”

Smoothie bowls are inherently customizable. Toppings, of course, can be easily adjusted, from healthy and balanced for a great morning meal, to crave-worthy and fun for an afternoon pick-me-up.

> Get the recipe

US Highbush Blueberry Council

This vibrant Blueberry Breakfast Smoothie Bowl is a blend of blueberries, Greek yogurt, banana, almond milk and honey

Avocado Chicharronés

For a unique, craveable breakfast base, these crispy-creamy Avocado Chicharrones provide a springboard for a number of possibilities. Avocado slices are breaded in flour and egg, crusted with crushed chicharrones, then fried to crispy perfection.

Hearty and satiating, they can be used as a base for chicharrones con huevos or topped with roasted cherry tomatoes, black beans, Oaxacan cheese, juicy skirt steak and a fried egg for a loaded nacho-style steak and eggs.

“As all-day breakfast and daypart-agnostic dishes rise in popularity on menus, this dish is well poised to offer the craveable comfort of a hearty breakfast skillet, a contemporary and accessible twist on authentic Mexican flavors, and the premium value of fresh avocados from Mexico,” says Stephanie Browder, associate director of foodservice for Avocados From Mexico.

Easily rendered gluten-free and inherently keto-friendly, these Avocado Chicharrones have great potential, from breakfast menus to late-night shareables.

> Get the recipe

Avocados From Mexico

Crushed Chicharrón serves as a savory, crunchy coating on these crispy-creamy Avocado Chicharrones

Fresh Mango & Sweet Potato Hash

Sensory appeal and a health-minded approach characterize this flavorful and unexpected Fresh Mango & Sweet Potato Hash. Onions, sweet potatoes and mango are sautéed with pancetta, brown sugar and red pepper flakes to create a trend-forward, colorful hash, topped with a fried egg.

“Mango is the featured ingredient, with the rest of the dish built around it,” says Chrissy Schurr, baker at Reverie: Coffee & Craft Beer in Patterson, N.Y., and creator of this recipe for the National Mango Board. “Sweet potatoes were used for the bulk of the dish—they cook fast and complement the bright color of the mango. Pancetta balances the sweetness, as does the kick of red pepper flakes.”

Classic and comforting with a twist that demonstrates the versatility of mangos, this dish can also play in other dayparts. “It could be made more hearty with an additional egg and crumbled sausage in place of the pancetta,” notes Schurr.

> Get the recipe


National Mango Board

Mango and sweet potato bring cheerful color to this trend-forward hash.

From the November-December issue of Flavor & the Menu magazine. Read this issue online or check if you qualify for a free print subscription.


About The Author


Eliza Amari is special projects editor for Flavor & The Menu.