If we look at Western Countries, brunch generally starts with tea, coffee, or juice and mixes both sweet and savory foods, such as eggs, salmon, pancakes, waffles, etc. I like to think of it as a more elaborate breakfast served at lunchtime. However, that is a somewhat closed-minded definition of what brunch is. Indeed, a brunch table will look different depending on where you are in the world! Do you want to spice up your brunch table? Stick around to explore some easy and healthy(ish) brunch ideas from across the globe.
Before Looking at Some Easy Brunch Ideas… Where Does Brunch Even Come From?
As you probably would have guessed already, the word “brunch” blends the two words “breakfast” and “lunch”. This term was first used in The United Kingdom in the 1800s. But who invented it? Well, in 1895, Guy Beringer wrote an essay entitled “Brunch: A plea” in which he explored and developed all the benefits that could come from having “brunch”, according to himself. Essentially, brunch was simply a hangover Sunday meal for the noble people who partied a little too much the night before. Later, in the 1930s, the concept of brunch traveled to The United States and got especially popular after the end of World War II.
Easy Brunch Ideas: Nasi Goreng (Indonesia & Malaysia)
This fried-rice dish called Nasi Goreng is from Indonesia and is also much appreciated in Malaysia. Nasi Goreng is fried rice, cooked in sweet soy sauce and containing garlic, onions, tamarind, and protein such as eggs or chicken. It is not a brunch meal per se, but it can, however, be a perfect dish to add to your brunch table. Cheap and easy to cook, you can also make it the night before and warm it up for brunch, as fried rice is even more delicious warmed up! In fact, it is common for people to eat Nasi Goreng leftovers for breakfast.
Easy Brunch Ideas: Nasi Goreng Recipe (4 servings)
Easy Brunch Ideas: Nasi Goreng Ingredients
- 400g of Basmati rice
- 2 tablespoons of sweet soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons of tomato concentrate
- Some protein to your liking (chicken, shrimps, tofu…)
- 2 garlic cloves
- 2 onions
- Chili powder
- Salt and pepper
- 4 eggs
- You can also add some vegetables if you want to!
How To Make Nasi Goreng
- Cook the rice according to the box instructions, either the night before or at least 3 hours before.
- In a pan, start by cooking whatever protein you chose and leave it on the side.
- Add the already cooked rice in a bowl and add the 2 tablespoons of sweet soy sauce and 2 tablespoons of tomato concentrate. Mix well.
- In a pan, with some olive oil, sauté the chopped garlic cloves and onions. If you decided to add vegetables, add them to the pan and cook them too.
- Once the vegetables are cooked just enough, add the rice and protein to the pan. Mix well for around 5 minutes.
- Add some salt, pepper and chili powder.
- Divide the Nasi Goreng into 4 bowls.
- Once you added the rice to each bowl, take the same pan from before and fry the 4 eggs separately.
- Add the egg on top of the rice in each bowl.
- Serve and enjoy!
Easy Brunch Ideas: Dim Sum (Hong Kong)
Let’s discuss the wonderful and mouth-watering Cantonese Dim Sum brunch! What are Dim Sums? Dim Sum is a variety of dishes, often steamed or deep-fried, from Cantonese cuisine, originating in the Guangdong Province, in the South of China. This type of brunch is especially appreciated in Hong Kong, where people eat Dim Sum oftentimes at the end of the morning, along with a cup of Oolong tea. But what kind of dishes are Dim Sums made of? You will generally find some Cha Siu Bao, which is a type of dumpling with a barbecue flavored pork filling and is either steamed or fried. It is served in a type of bamboo basket as shown in the photo above. Usually, you will also find some spring rolls, shrimp dumplings, and egg tarts.
Although not as easy to recreate, you can check if your local Asian supermarket sells Cha Siu Bao, or make a reservation at your favorite Chinese restaurant in town! If you really want to challenge yourself, check out this Cha Siu Bao recipe from TheWoksOfLife.
Açai Bowl (Brazil)
It is, indeed, not the first time we mention the now well-known Açai Bowl on our blog. If you haven’t checked out our list of superfoods yet, I’d highly recommend that you look it up here. If you don’t want to, no worries! I will gladly do a little recap for you.
Don’t let the sweetness of this meal convince you that it is unhealthy, in fact, it is quite the opposite! Açai berries come from a palm tree found in Brazil. They made it to our superfoods list for their high antioxidant values and the way they can increase your energy levels. They make the Açai Bowl perfect for either breakfast or, obviously, brunch.
- 2 tablespoons of açai powder
- 1 banana
- 10cl of almond milk (or any milk you prefer)
- 30g of frozen raspberries
How To Make Açai Bowl
- Cut the banana in half. Keep one-half of the banana for the topping!
- Put everything into a blender except half a banana. Mix until smooth.
- Pour the liquid into a bowl.
- Add half the banana on top of it as a topping. You can add any other toppings you like such as chia seeds, chocolate, other fruits…
Eggs Benedict (United States)
We cannot talk about brunch without talking about eggs and especially, Eggs Benedict which are a staple of the American brunch. Furthermore, the story of the origins of the eggs benedict is quite particular. The dish is called the way it is in homage to Lemuel Benedict. Who was Lemuel Benedict? Well, rumor has it that he was a rich man who was staying in the most luxurious hotels in New York. At the time, he decided to have breakfast at the notable Waldorf hotel and asked the chef to cook him a heavy breakfast meal with eggs, toasts, bacon and hollandaise sauce to compensate for its drunk state. Since then, it has become a classic brunch dish.
Recipe (for 4 servings)
- 4 eggs
- 8 slices of bacon
- 4 English muffins
- A splash of vinegar
- 120g of butter
- 2 egg yolks (for the sauce)
- 4 teaspoons of lemon juice
How To Make Eggs Benedict
- Start by poaching your eggs one after the other. To do that, bring water to boil and add a splash of vinegar. In a glass, break the egg. Then, slowly pour it into the simmering water and cook for 3-5 minutes depending on how runny you want the yolk to be. Do this for each egg. Once they’re cooked, put them in cold water and leave them on the side for later.
- For the sauce, melt the butter in a saucepan. In a regular pan, put some water at the bottom of the pan only, add the egg yolks and stir well. Let it cook on low heat while stirring from time to time. Beat the mixture until it forms a sabayon. Once the sabayon is done, remove it from the stove. While stirring slowly, add the melted butter, some salt and pepper, and lemon juice.
- Cut your English muffins in half and toast them. In a pan, cook the bacon for a bit until crispy. Put it on the muffins, and put the poached eggs on top. Finally, pour the hollandaise sauce on top of everything, and voilà!
Do you like brunch? If yes, I hope this gave you some new ideas to try with your friends. More brunch options worth mentioning include Bánh Xèo from Vietnam, Chakchouka from Tunisia and Huevos Divorciados from Mexico.