While the origins of the meal remain a mystery, the word “brunch” first appeared in print in an 1895 article for Hunter’s Weekly. In “Brunch: A Plea,” British writer Guy Beringer proposed an alternative to the heavy post-church fare of the day, in favor of a lighter mid-morning meal.
“Why not a new meal, served around noon, that starts with tea or coffee?” Beringer suggested. “Brunch is cheerful, sociable, and inciting. … It is talk-compelling. It puts you in a good temper, it makes you satisfied with yourself and your fellow beings, it sweeps away the worries and cobwebs of the week.”
More than a century later, Beringer would be happy with the way America embraced and elevated the culinary hybrid to an art form — a tradition treasured by the hungry (and the hungover).
“At brunch, the last thing you want is last-minute fuss,” says Ellie Krieger. “Basically, these recipes can be prepped in advance.”
To keep it light, think alternatives. “For breakfast, people lean on traditional bacon and sausage,” says Krieger. “Instead try Canadian bacon which delivers the same smoky pork flavor, but is a much leaner option.”
As for presentation, Krieger suggests an inexpensive, edible tablescape. “Pick up fresh, colorful spring vegetables and herbs at the farmers market,” Krieger says. “A bunch of fresh mint in a simple vase or untrimmed radishes on a plate makes an elegant centerpiece.”
All recipes courtesy Ellie Krieger.
Spicy Egg and Avocado Wrap
(Makes 4 servings)
- 8 large eggs
- 4 large red-leaf lettuce leaves
- 4 whole-wheat wrap breads (about 9 inches in diameter)
- 1 avocado, pitted, peeled, sliced
- 1 medium tomato (about 4 ounces), sliced
- 1⁄8 English cucumber, thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon prepared Thai chili sauce or hot sauce, divided
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Place eggs in a 4-quart saucepan. Cover with water, bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer for 9 minutes. Remove from heat, rinse with cold water and peel. Remove yolks from 4 of the eggs and discard yolks. Slice remaining egg whites and whole eggs into 1/4-inch slices.
Lay piece of lettuce leaf over center of each wrap bread. Top each with avocado, sliced eggs, tomato, and cucumber. Sprinkle with chili sauce and season with salt and pepper. Fold one side of bread about 2 inches over filling to form pocket and roll into wrap. Eat immediately or cover in foil and store in refrigerator for up to 1 day.
Per Serving (1 wrap)
- Calories: 370
- Total Fat: 14 g
- Saturated Fat: 3 g
- Sodium: 890 mg
- Carbohydrate: 45 g
- Fiber: 9 g
- Protein: 20 g
- Diabetic Exchanges: 1 starch, 2 medium-fat meat, 2 vegetable, 2 fat
Cinnamon Raisin Toast with Honey-Walnut Spread
(Makes 4 servings)
- ½ cup walnut pieces
- ½ cup plain Greek-style nonfat yogurt
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 8 slices cinnamon raisin bread
- 1 peach (or apple or pear), pitted (or cored)
Toast walnuts in dry skillet over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until fragrant, 3 to 5 minutes. Allow them to cool slightly, then chop them finely. In small bowl, add chopped walnuts to yogurt and honey and stir until well combined. Spread will keep in refrigerator in airtight container for up to 3 days. Just stir well before using. When ready to serve, toast bread and cut fruit into 1/4–inch slices. Spread about 1 tablespoon of walnut spread onto each piece of bread. Top each piece with few slices of fruit. Eat immediately.
Per Serving (2 pieces)
- Calories: 250
- Total Fat: 8 g
- Saturated Fat: 0.5 g
- Protein: 10 g
- Carbohydrate: 37 g
- Fiber: 3 g
- Sodium: 220 mg
- Diabetic Exchanges: 2 starch, ½ fruit, ½ low-fat dairy, 1 fat
Egg in a Basket with Smoked Turkey and Asparagus
(Makes 4 servings)
- 3/4 pound asparagus stalks
(about 3/4 bunch), woody bottoms removed
- 4 pieces whole-wheat sandwich bread
- 4 teaspoons butter, melted
- Cooking spray
- 6 ounces sliced smoked turkey, sliced again into thin ribbons
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 4 large eggs
Place asparagus in steamer basket over pot of boiling water. Cover and steam until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Chop asparagus into 1/2-inch pieces. Brush both sides of each slice of bread with melted butter. Using 3-inch cookie cutter, cut hole in center of each slice of bread; reserve cutouts.
Spray large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and set over medium-high heat. Cook turkey slices until browned around edges, about 3 minutes. Add asparagus and cook until it is heated through, about 2 minutes, then season with pepper. Transfer mixture to plate and cover with foil to keep warm.
Place 2 bread slices and cutouts in same skillet and crack one egg into hole of each slice. Cook until egg whites are set and bread is toasted on underside, about 3 minutes. Using spatula, flip bread/egg slices and cutouts and cook additional 1 minute. Transfer bread/egg pieces to individual plates. Repeat with remaining bread slices and cutouts. Top each one with 1/4 of turkey-asparagus mixture. Arrange cutouts on each plate.
Per Serving (1 egg in a basket with ½ cup asparagus-turkey topping and 1 bread cutout)
- Calories: 270
- Total Fat: 11 g
- Saturated Fat: 5 g
- Sodium: 630 mg
- Carbohydrate: 25 g
- Fiber: 5 g
- Protein: 33 g
- Diabetic Exchanges: 1 starch, 1 lean meat, 1 medium fat meat, 1 vegetable, 1 fat