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. vegetarian + gluten free
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 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.
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.
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. While the potatoes and garlic are roasting, warm and mash the beans, gather the herbs for garnish, slice the avocado, mash the sweet potatoes then fry the eggs and warm the tortillas. Before you know it, breakfast it ready!
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:
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.