These tacos check all the boxes: breakfast, brunch or brinner! Sweet Potato Pinto Bean Open-Face Breakfast Tacos are a quick-to-pull-together meal. This recipe is vegetarian and gluten free.
For the Love of Spring
Spring is such a crazy, full, time of year. It seems so much more so than any other time, even the holidays. Having been in hibernation mode for many months, I feel a sense of urgency to do. see. make… get out! Planning the herb garden, vacations, taking walks as often as possible, filling the calendar with plans for attending this or that… and all the Summer festivals to take advantage of! The sun has finally come, after all, and I just want to bask in its rays.
Also, since I’m a self proclaimed bird nerd, my binoculars are never far from my reach, especially this time of year when spring migration is underway. I hear an unfamiliar visitor in the cedars. Everything stops. I grab my binoculars to see who’s serenading the neighborhood with their sweet melodious songs.
It grips my heart listening, knowing that they may have traveled over thousands of miles to get to this point. My hope is the singers are finding respite and food in the native trees Rob and I planted for them years ago.
The Birds are Back
The Rufus Hummingbirds are back and are as feisty as ever, vying for space on the red flowering currant and sugar water I put out for them. The Rufous Hummingbird makes a roughly 3,900-mile journey, one-way, from Mexico to Alaska for its migration! Rob and I recently watched Super Hummingbird. Have you seen it? It will blow your mind!
The drama continues to unfold with the Chestnut Backed Chickadee nest box. A few weeks ago, a bumble bee entered the nest box and settled in. The chickadees wouldn’t go in with the bee in there. I kept thinking they’d defend their nest, but they’d fly to the opening and peer in often flying out then hovering, looking in the hole. They seemed distressed.
Upon these observations, I decided to check the box. Sure enough, I heard a loud buzzing upon gently tapping the side of the box. This is the queen bee’s warning to leave! I read that queen bumble bees will take over Chestnut Backed Chickadee and Bluebird nest boxes after the birds have built a nest, rendering the nest useless for the birds. This is apparently a phenomenon that typically occurs in urban settings, in human constructed boxes. The interaction is not yet well understood by science.
In some cases, there have been reports of women with flyswatters defending the nest box, not wanting to cause harm to the bee, but rather shewing it away from the box so that the chickadees could have access once again.
I could see myself in this role.
Keeping them Safe
So I decided I was going to evict this queen bumble bee and move her to a beloved forest three miles away. After-all, I don’t want to harm her as she’s got a big job to do! But if I didn’t, the bee would build a honey pot to lay her eggs, displacing the chickadees. After all the work the chickadees did, I could not sit by and let this happen. So, I put gloves on, donned a head lamp and grabbed Rob’s telescoping inspection mirror (hehe), and climbed up on the compost bin so I could access the box.
I gently tapped on the box. Buzzzz!! As I opened the side door, she flew out fast and furious! I checked the nest. No honey pot and no eggs. A few hours later I returned to catch her.
This time, I grabbed a large ball jar with a lid and held the jar over the entrance hole and gently tapped… harder… then harder… then, out she flew into the jar! Got her. Lid on, I took off for the forest and released her.
The chickadees eventually returned, this time removing some nesting material, cashing it in the trees, then returning it back to the box. I don’t know if this was the same pair who built the nest or not. Following Nest Watch protocol, I check the contents of box every four days. Although I’ve seen little activity around the nest box this week, I did find one egg! My hope is that they are being surreptitious in their visits and I’ve just missed them or one is incubating while the other is out foraging.
I can’t bear the thought that they worked so hard to build and defend this box, only to abandon it. But, birds do this for various reasons.
At least the bee hasn’t returned.
About the Recipe
Since the hens are laying again at the farm, I’ve been enjoying lots of eggs lately. These tacos are hearty and with their preparation coming in at around 30 minutes, they not only make a tasty weekend breakfast or brunch, but also could stand in for a weeknight dinner.
While it may seem like there’s a lot to do in this recipe, it comes together quick.
- First, roast the potatoes and garlic.
- Second, warm and mash the beans.
- Next, gather the herbs for garnish, slice the avocado, mash the sweet potatoes.
- Last, fry the eggs and warm the tortillas.
A Few Recipe Notes
- Don’t want to turn on the oven? Skip roasting the sweet potatoes and steam them for 10 minutes, adding garlic powder instead of roasted garlic.
- Just about any hearty green will work in the tacos. Try shredded Swiss chard or kale.
- No pinto beans in the larder? Give black or refried beans a go.
- Prefer poached or scrambled eggs? Do it!
- Serve this taco open-face so it satisfies those that want to fold it up and make a mess, while the tidy ones can use a fork and knife.
- The beans and sweet potatoes can be made up to three days in advance. Simply reheat, prepare the eggs and assemble!
Sweet Potato Pinto Bean Open-Face Breakfast Tacos
For the Sweet Potatoes:
- 3 Large Cloves of Garlic peeled and smashed
- 1 Tbs + 1/2 tsp Olive Oil extra virgin
- 1 Large Sweet Potato small dice, about 2 C (305g)
- 1/2 tsp Chili Powder
- 1/4 tsp Smoky Paprika
- 1/4 tsp Fine Sea Salt
For the Beans:
- 1 1/2 C (245g) Pinto Beans cooked, 1 can, drained
- 1/2 Lime juiced
- 1 tsp Adobo Sauce from a can of chipotle peppers* (see note) - gluten free if needed
- 1/4 tsp Fine Sea Salt
For the Eggs:
- 4 Large Eggs
- 2 tsp Olive Oil or Butter
Assemble the Tacos:
- 4-8 Corn or Flour Tortillas I use 6" (2.5cm)
- 1 C (135g) Baby Spinach
- 2 Avocados
- Hot Sauce or Salsa
For the Sweet Potatoes:
- Preheat oven to 425F (218C). Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Use a small piece of foil to place the garlic on. Sprinkle 1/4 tsp of olive oil over the cloves and add a pinch of sea salt and pepper. Toss to coat then wrap loosely. Place the packet on the sheet pan. Toss the sweet potatoes with 1 Tbs of olive oil, then sprinkle the chili powder, paprika and sea salt on. Toss throughly. Roast for about 20-25 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Mash the garlic and sweet potatoes together and add a tablespoon of water, as needed, so that the mixture is not pasty, but rather is smooth and spreads easy. Cover to keep warm, set aside.
For the Beans:
- While the potatoes are roasting, place the beans in a small sauce pot. Add the lime, one tablespoon of water, adobo sauce and salt. Warm gently. Mash, cover and set aside to keep warm. If the beans seem too firm, add more water, 1 tsp at a time until they are a spreadable consistency.
For the Eggs:
- In a non-stick or cast iron skillet (my preference), add the oil or butter and heat on medium-low. When the pan has heated or butter just melted, crack the eggs into the pan, working around the perimeter of the pan, one at a time. Immediately put a lid on the pan and set the timer for 3 minutes. Make sure the heat is on medium-low to low. This will produce loose yolks with cooked whites, sunny side up. Cook 4 minutes for a firmer yolk. Remove from heat.
Assemble the Tacos:
- While the eggs are cooking, work quickly to warm the tortillas directly on a gas flame on the stove a few seconds at a time on both sides flipping several times until warm. Wrap in aluminum foil to keep warm. (Alternatively warm the tortillas according to package directions). Place 1 or 2 tortillas on a plate, add a small handful of spinach, spread a spoon full of beans and sweet potatoes over the spinach, add a few slices of avocado then place an egg on top. Season generously with salt and pepper and sprinkle with chopped chives and cilantro over the top.
- Serve with more herbs, salt, pepper and hot sauce.
Izzy @ She Likes Food
Traci!! this has my name all over it! I could eat this for breakfast, lunch and dinner! It has all my favorite flavors and looks so delicious!!
We have so many birds in our backyard and it’s so fun to just sit out and watch them fly around! And we just had one momma come back to nest near our front door in the same nest where she had about 6 babies last year! I hope you are enjoying spring :)
Laura | Tutti Dolci
Breakfast tacos are the best and these look especially good – I’d even be tempted to make them for an easy (and delicious!) weeknight dinner!
And I’ve done this so many times! It’s so satisfying Laura! :D
Jen @ sweetgreenkitchen.com
Love this! I make something very similar in regular dinner time rotation. I just love the combo of sweet potatoes and beans (I usually use white beans) on a corn tortilla and the egg on top looks perfectly cooked! Yum, yum, yum!
So simple and so delicious! I love the creamy texture of the beans with the sweet potatoes too!
All kinds of yes. And not just for Cinco de Mayo… I’m talking, like, every morning. These are perfection!
I’ll take every morning Karly! :D
Tessa | Salted Plains
My mouth is watering looking at these photos, Traci! Spring really does seem to be a busy time – hibernation to 100 mph. As long as I get warmth and sunshine, I’m okay with that. :) Love the updates on your chickadees!
It’s so true! o-100 in no time – how? Warmth and sunshine isn’t happening here just yet.. we’ve a few months to go :D
Lindsay | With Salt and Pepper
I love your addition of sweet potatoes here! I love sweet potatoes and I love them in savory dishes and I LOVE any kind of mexi inspired meal any time of day or year!
Lindsay, I lol at your enthusiasm for sweet potatoes! Me TOO! But it’s been too long since I tried SP in a sweet recipe.. I’m thinking muffins now.. mmmm! I hope you enjoy the recipe! :D
Ahaaaa.. winter is coming where you are. But the promise of spring is just around the corner! I hope you enjoy the recipe Rachael!
Angelina | Baked Ambrosia
What a wonderful breakfast idea!! These tacos looks amazing :)
Thank you Angelina!
Nicole @ Young, Broke and Hungry
These taco stacks look incredible and full of so much flavor! Also, you can never go wrong with a runny egg.
Thank you Nicole!
Sarah | Well and Full
My grandma loved birds too – some of my best memories with her include helping her scatter birdseed below the trees that had the birdhouses in them. She especially loved cardinals, and now whenever my mom and I see one we know that she’s with us. Happy Spring, Traci! <3
Cardinals… ahhh… we’ve not seen them since we left Texas, as their range isn’t this far north. I miss their songs and their beauty. Thank you for sharing such a sweet memory.
I love, love, love your recipes, but, I think I love reading your blog even more, I am one happy lady after visiting, thank you……
Gail, you’ve made my day! Thank you for your sweet words.
Geraldine | Green Valley Kitchen
Spring really is such an exciting time – everything is bursting with color and life, Traci. Love the ongoing saga of your little feathered friends – who knew a bumblebee had so much power over birds and I’m amazed you could catch it! You need to take some pictures – I feel like I know these birds now or at least give them some names :). Love these breakfast tacos – I am a big fan of a savory breakfast and this one’s got it going on! Have a wonderful weekend, Traci!
It IS a beautiful time of year… SO much happening with all the anticipation of Summer-time fun and travel! That bumble bee – right? I’ve seem hummingbirds back off of them too – and hummers are tenacious! Ahhh pictures. I’m so focused I forget. Indeed. When I visit, I ether have my hands full with binoculars, or my inspection mirror, headlamp… etc. it’s a lot to manage. I’ll get Rob out there with me to take a few snaps. I think you’d like this recipe, Geraldine! xo
Mary Ann | The Beach House Kitchen
You’re truly an inspiration to all of us Traci! Your hard work and dedication to help all living things is amazing! These breakfast tacos sound so hearty and delicious. I just love the sweet potato mash and the beans. I would definitely need to enjoy this open face with a fork and a knife, so I get every last bit! Thanks for sharing. Happy weekend!
Awh, you’re super sweet, Mary Ann. Thank you. That mash makes these extra creamy… then that yolk :o (!!). A fork and knife for you, then! xo
Rachel @ Bakerita
Spring is seriously such a fulfilling, magical and inspiring time of year! Love all the birds up in Washington – so amazing. I used to love going to the park near my house to watch them. And these tacos! Tacos for breakfast should always be a thing, and these look beyond delicious. Swooning!
The parks in Seattle are a perfect place to birdwatch (esp. Greenlake!!). I hope you enjoy these Rachel! xo
Cheyanne @ No Spoon Necessary
Lol! I love that you just called yourself a ‘bird nerd’! If caring about bird and your little chickadees makes you a nerd, then I’d say that is a complement to yourself! I just love your compassion for ALL animals Traci! I mean, you even showed compassion towards the bee! I am not a fan of bees, so I probably would not have been so kind if they took over my chickadee’s box! :) I’m glad all is well with the little chicks and they are back in their home! Now for these tacos! LOVE THEM!!!!! Breakfast is my favorite meal by far, and I have an undying love for tacos, so combining the two has me swooning! Loving the sweet potato and pinto bean combo with that runny egg! So much to love here! Pinned! Cheers, dear friend! xoxo
Thank you Chey! I’ll take it as a complement! You know, I used to not like bees.. or wasps. I was stung in the eye when I was a kid. But the more I spent time around them, and saw how they lived their lives and then learned all the benefits they provide to nature and to us, I can’t help appreciate them. And really, I found if I leave them alone, they leave me alone (no swatting and freaking out!). Lots of tabasco on these girrrl! Thank you for your pin! xo
Medha @ Whisk & Shout
That gif of you stacking these tacos is mesmerizing! I am loving everything about this- so delicious and so many great flavors :)
Hehe.. Let’s make some tacos, Medha! :D
Traci, you have a gift to bring out the extraordinary in what many of us pass as the ordinary. I love that you know so much about food, nature, birds, and the list goes on. :) Thank you for inspiriting us to appreciate the beauty in this world. What a flexible and balanced recipe for tacos. For me, eggs on everything typically makes for a better meal and this one is no exception. You captured such gorgeous light in these photos!
There’s so much to see, if we only stop and take time to see it. :D Indeed, heaven on Earth. I’m with ya on Eggs, Emily… simple, yet such a satisfying staple. I’m so happy the hens are in laying mode again.. I was missing their eggs tremendously!
Meredith | Earth & Oven
Omg, Traci- I could watch that movie (or whatever the kids ore calling it these days) of the build-up of those tacos one million times! You seem to always know how to fuse comfort food cravings and nourishing, simple foods together in the most gratifying way.
Haha… it’s a GIF, Meredith! Thank you for your sweet words! :D
These tacos sound very satisfying. I loved reading about your nest box rescue adventure. I could easily have seen myself doing the same thing! Hopefully you’ll see some little ones now especially after your efforts. Keep us posted! I just saw my first ruby throated hummingbird here 2 days ago. It’s always a thrill when I see my first one returning, one of nature’s many marvels for sure!
Thank you Jean! I hope you’ll give em a go. SO exciting to see your first ruby throated of the season! It’s like seeing an old friend. :D