Just step away from the pancakes.

Put down that bottle of fake-out syrup (shame on you, Aunt Jemima!  I don’t know where that stuff comes from, but it’s certainly not from a tree.)

And no one. (Not even a single artery!)



Breakfast is supposedly the most important meal of the day.

And while I still maintain that that position has already been filled…I concede that, for most people, eating a good healthy breakfast helps them to stay on track and eat a good healthy lunch, which helps them to not eat five Snickers and a bag of chips out of the vending machine at work, which helps them to feel alert and energized enough to go to the gym after work, which helps them to not binge on bad Chinese take-out for dinner.

It’s a Domino effect.  Or a spiral to hell, depending on whether you’ve started off your day with five sausage links and an egg mcmuffin…or this breakfast bowl.


I won’t tell you which breakfast leads to which end.

But I think you can guess which one I’d rather eat.


The idea for this recipe came about when I stumbled upon the MarxFoods Beans For Breakfast recipe contest.  Outside of the US, many other cultures enjoy really savory breakfast dishes…almost dinner-for-breakfast kind of affairs, and I knew this was a concept I really wanted to embrace in my entry.  Then, when I realized that this week’s Food Matters Project recipe was hummus…everything just clicked.

What resulted was a Middle Eastern-spiced breakfast bowl filled with all kinds of nutrient-, fiber-, and protein-rich vegetable and legume deliciousness, topped with a hummus “dressing” and a fried egg.  Though they certainly have a time and a place, pancakes, muffins and French toast will never seem like the better breakfast alternative ever again.


Breakfast Bowl with Za’atar Roasted Eggplant, Swiss Chard, Butternut Squash and Hummus
Serves 6, an Eats Well With Others Original (inspired by Bittman’s The Food Matters Cookbook)

Note – while this recipe seems like a lot of effort for breakfast, the barley/veggie/bean base can be made and dressed the night before so that all you have to do in the morning is spend three minutes frying an egg! And for the original hummus recipe, please check out Erin’s blog!


  • 1 cup dried Mayacoba beans, soaked overnight (can also use cannellini beans!)
  • 1 eggplant, chopped into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 20 oz butternut squash, chopped
  • 2 tsp za’atar (I made my own!)
  • salt, to taste
  • 1 1/2 cup black barley
  • 1 bunch swiss chard, leaves torn and stemmed
  • 14 oz canned chickpeas
  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 6 eggs


  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. In a large pot, cover beans with salted water by 1-inch and then bring to a boil.  Cover and simmer for 45-60 minutes or until beans are tender.  In the last five minutes of cooking, add in the swiss chard leaves.  Drain and set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, toss the eggplant and butternut squash with za’atar, a teensy bit of olive oil, and a large pinch of salt.  Place on a foil-lined baking sheet and roast for 30-40 minutes or until tender.  Remove from oven and set aside.
  4. Bring 4 1/2 cups salted water to a boil.  Add barley to the boiling water.  Lower the heat to a simmer and cover, cooking, for 35-40 minutes or until barley is tender but still chewy.  Drain out excess water.
  5. In a large bowl, toss together the beans, swiss chard, eggplant, butternut squash, and barley.
  6. In a food processor, combine the chickpeas tahini, garlic, olive oil, and 1/4 cup water.  Pulse until pureed, adding more water until desired consistency is reached.  Add in the lemon juice and paprika.  Add salt and black pepper to taste.
  7. Fry eggs in a non-stick skillet, sunny side up.  Distribute the barley mix among 6 bowls.  Top each bowl with one egg and a drizzle of hummus.

Disclosure: I received the Mayacoba beans for free from MarxFoods.  I received no monetary compensation for this post, however, and my thoughts and opinions are my own.


You are reading this post on Eats Well With Others at Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and or owner of Eats Well With Others. All rights reserved by Joanne Bruno.
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87 Responses to Breakfast Bowl with Za’atar Roasted Eggplant, Swiss Chard, Butternut Squash and Hummus {food matters project}

  1. I would eat this for breakfast in a heartbeat! Looks delicious!

  2. My breakfast is pretty consistent every day, but this would actually make me super happy for lunch or dinner!

  3. Sam says:

    I am drooling on my desk a bit (and feeling a bit sad that I ate yogurt and granola for breakfast instead of this…) It looks so good. I often toss leftover beans into a scramble or reheat them while I pan-cook some veggies and put an egg on top for breakfast on the weekends. This looks way better than what I normally throw together.

  4. OohLookBel says:

    Fried egg on top makes everything good! This looks amazing; just hoping that my usual brekkie of peanut butter toast will be as good for me, but I doubt it 😛

  5. Pam says:

    Except for the eggplant, this sounds delish!!

  6. This is fabulous. So full of yummy, healthy, ingredients. I simply love it!

  7. london bakes says:

    What delicious flavours! I love eggplant and so this looks absolutely perfect for me.

  8. Who cares about breakfast? This can be eaten any time of the day, Joanne!! Actually, I do care about breakfast, except it is mostly oatmeal for me. Eating your biggest meal for breakfast is probably not a bad idea! A great way to start the day! 🙂

  9. Ben says:

    Yup, if you start your day in the right direction, it will lead to great things! Hehe. This breakfast is amazing! Lately I’ve been just eating a big bowl of fruit salad with cheese, honey and amaranth. Everything I need to start my day is in those bowls.

  10. Kim says:

    I love the idea of having beans for breakfast. I made something like this awhile back (except I didn’t add veggies). It was a bean porridge recipe from Mollie Katzen. At any rate, I loved it and your version looks ten times better with the added veggies and spices. I’d like to try za’atar one day!

  11. I would take this everyday over an egg McMuffin anyday!

  12. Claudie says:

    Lovely! Perfect example that healthy food can taste and look way better than all those fake meals. It really looks amazing!

  13. I love a good, drippy egg! Especially accompanied by a big buttery slice of toast, but this looks far healthier 😉

  14. Amy says:

    Honestly, the only thing that makes me eat better throughout the day is when I exercise 1st thing in the morning. If I skip a workout, all bets are off and I usually end up with a spoon and a tub of Cool Whip by mid-afternoon. It ain’t pretty. Having said that, I am a total breakfast eater. And I love a runny egg with toast. Ooooh ya!

  15. Margarita says:

    Oh my goodness, I will eat this for dinner! Love everything in it… I have extra chickpeas coz I boiled too much and that would be perfect for this.

  16. Margarita says:

    P.S. Do you know what I can use instead of sumac?

  17. Epicurea says:

    In my culture, we have sausages and bread for breakfast :-), so usually I crave something savory, and this beautiful, beautiful bowl makes it healthy, too!

  18. What a delicious way to start the day! Nothing like a runny egg all over that chard and bean goodness. Nice change from my every day oatmeal!

  19. Mary says:

    What a delicious looking breakfast! I’ve never heard of za`atar before. I’m not usually a huge fan of swiss chard (except in soups) but this sounds like it is cooked just enough to be perfect. Nice meal. I love a savory breakfast!

  20. I grew up with a lot of savory breakfasts from the Philippines (think fried egg, garlic rice, salted fish, beef tenderloin, etc) and while I tend to prefer my breakfast on the sweet side, I definitely crave for savory (and healthy) breakfasts often, too. This sounds great, I love egg and hummus together.

  21. Nelly says:

    The Domino effect always ends with ordered-in pizza.

    This looks pretty much awesome. I’d eat it and I don’t even like beans 🙂

  22. Who could skip breakfast when this is on your plate! YUM!

  23. Suzi says:

    Looks fantastic Joanne. I have never been fond of so called breakfast foods, this is what I like in the morning minus the egg though. Great dish. Have a wonderful day.

  24. Jenn says:

    Wow! This looks wonderful! And a fried egg to boot… makes everything better!

  25. I do LOVE putting hummus on just about anything, even eggs. Brilliant idea. A breakfast like this will keep you (will maybe not you lol) from eating lots of sugar. 😉

  26. Kristin says:

    I don’t know what happened to me but I can’t eat eggs anymore they make me feel sick. That doesn’t stop me from craving them and giving in every now and then in hopes that my body has changed its mind. The next time I give eggs a shot, I will try this recipe. It looks really good!
    Holy Cannoli Recipes

  27. Nicole, RD says:

    Yes, I need a healthy lunch so I had better try this for breakfast. YUM! I am growling right now…and your photos of dippy eggs didn’t help!

  28. I almost always want something savory for breakfast. I definitely had leftover pasta for breakfast on Friday, haha. Can’t wait to give this a try!

  29. With this kind of breakfast I guess you can have 5 snickers for lunch:)
    Looks really delicious, hearty and filling.

  30. Ranjani says:

    This sounds AMAZING! I love savory breakfasts, and I think pretty much any dinner leftovers can become breakfast with a fried egg on top

  31. Geni says:

    Looks fantastic, although I might have to eat it for lunch. I promise to do some Greek yogurt or steel cut oats or something…no Aunt Jemima, I promise. Okey dokey?

  32. This is so creative! My breakfast is usually yogurt and granola because I don’t leave myself enough time to do anything other than pour a couple things in a bowl, but this would be great for weekends.. I love the idea of starting your day with lots of protein and nutrients, I just always forget to make the effort to do so!

  33. I didn’t make mine because we are not hummus fans, at least, some of us, are not. This was a great sub and I wish I had done something like this.

  34. I probably sound ignorant buy what is Za’atar? My post is totally lame next to yours 🙂

  35. That looks awesome. I actually love a savory breakfast over sweet.

    I never have used beans though! I’m going to have to add that in!

  36. Karen says:

    I’d much rather have this for breakfast than a traditional American breakfast. My breakfasts are usually dinners anyway (leftovers)!

  37. Lora says:

    This breakfast bowl looks like it has a whole days worth of energy…and so delicious. Wow.

  38. This looks so yummy! I could totally see myself eating this for any meal of the day, not just breakfast. Anything with a fried egg has my vote, but the hummus drizzled over top sounds SO good!

  39. Now there’s a meal that will keep you satisfied for a long while! Love the soft egg on top.

  40. Shannon says:

    breakfast, lunch or dinner, i’ll take it 🙂

  41. Jenna says:

    Strangely, I have a sweet tooth in the mornings (though I favor savory the rest of the day!). But this sounds like an awesome dinner as well.
    (And I’ll add that I’m combating that morning sweet tooth with veggie juice at 7:45, so I’m not giving in!)

  42. Dana says:

    I have never understood pancakes, waffles or french toast. Sweet breakfast is just not for me. We visited Israel about 8 years ago and I loved having pita and hummus and a tomato/cucumber salad for breakfast every morning. Looks good to me!

  43. Cara says:

    This is the kind of food that stops me in my tracks. And makes me wish I had all the time in the world!

  44. Juliana says:

    Wow, what a great dish Joanne, especially with the egg on it. I could have this anytime of the day.
    Hope you have a great week ahead 🙂

  45. Dining Alone says:

    I am SO bad about eating breakfast, I just don’t feel hungry in the morning. I would make this for lunch or dinner though, it looks fabulous.

  46. This is exactly the kind of breakfast that I love… I just don’t enjoy cereal and I’m not that fond of sweet stuff either. When I was in Israel, I ate a lot of dishes like this and it really changed the way I looked at food.

  47. Camila Faria says:

    I would have that for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Looks delicious and i love hummus, so…. count me in!

  48. Danielle says:

    That is definitely my kind of breakfast!

  49. Brilliant! Down with the mcmuffin. Gross. This looks like a great way to fuel for the day but also a great post long-run breakfast during marathon training. Evernoted! Thank you for this post.

  50. Rona says:

    I never liked sweet breakfasts…crazy, right! I rather order eggs and then sneak one bite or a few of something sweet from someone else! This dish looks delicious, I am sure that it is a great way to start the day!

  51. I so agree with you and Aunt Jemima. How they heck can people think that is syrup! These pictures are gorgeous Joanne! That egg looks wonderful on top! And this totally would make a wonderful breakfast AND lunch AND dinner 🙂

  52. Shana says:

    I just saw Mayacoba beans at my Winco for the first time on Saturday, and wondered how to use them. Lo and behold, you do the perfect post on Monday. Wow. Inspired, you are. 🙂 I will definitely be trying this recipe. It looks muy delicioso. 🙂

  53. Breakfast is my least favorite meal of the day. Mostly because I love lunch, appetizers, dinner and snacks so much but this bowl is awesome! I could happily devour that for breakfast anyway of the week! Nice 🙂

  54. Debbie says:

    I love breakfast but don’t think I could ever give up my oatmeal with berries and bananas. However, I think this would make a terrific dinner and would have it in hearbeat!!!

  55. daphne says:

    Thats my kind of breakfast- the heartier they better!

  56. Oooh this has all my favorite ingredients! I’m more of a savory breakfast person so this is definitely right up my alley!

  57. Oh lordy, Joanne!! That looks absolutely magnificent – so healthy, savory and hearty as all get out. 🙂

  58. I would have not put these together but it looks and sounds great!!

  59. Mary says:

    You’ve pulled some tricky things together and made a cohesive whole. Nicely done. It sounds delicious. Have a great evening. Blessings…Mary

  60. Elizabeth says:

    I love how much you use za’atar. Always reminds me of Israel

  61. Reeni says:

    This right up my alley since I’m more of an egg person than a pancake person! I love that you can make everything beforehand. You introduced me to a bean I never heard of!

  62. This is exactly the type of breakfast we would eat in our house. I love all the flavors. Hummus for breakfast is new to me but I happen to have a yummy tahini dressing already made that I’ll have to give a go tomorrow.

  63. Johanna GGG says:

    I really like the dinner for breakfast concept but I am so slow at dinner that I would need to prepare this the night before (is that what you did!) – but I liked the idea of a platter of veg and bread and cheese in Turkey when I visited there years ago so I get where you are coming from. A bowl of goodness is a far better way to start the day than a pile of carbs!

  64. Lexi says:

    This looks great! My husband saw the picture and want this for breakfast now.

  65. Rachel says:

    I never think to eat something savory for breakfast but I should really give it a try more often. If there’s humus, beans, and an egg involved I’m sold!

  66. You’re my hero! Seriously, I’m in love. With this breakfast, and with you. 🙂 I have had pie for breakfast on a couple occasions, which is even worse than French Toast or pancakes (at least, my pie is-lol), and was able to still eat healthy the rest of the day but it was HARD. All I wanted to do was eat the entire pie the rest of the day. Eating that much junk first thing really does set you up for a terrible day of eating. This is much better!

  67. Gracie says:

    Mmmmmmmm……I need to make this on the weekend!

  68. Pam says:

    There is something about a yolk that makes my heart flutter… this breakfast looks amazing!!!

  69. Deborah says:

    My mom and I were just having a conversation the other day about how what you have for breakfast really makes an impact on what you eat the rest of the day. (Says the girl who just posted cinnamon biscuits… I know…) I’m all for a hearty breakfast like this – especially with that egg on top!

  70. beti says:

    I am a bit afraid of that runny yolk but it’s a lovely combination of ingredients as always

  71. The breakfast version of a burrito bowl! LOVE it!

  72. vianney says:

    Oh I love having beans for breakfast, but this really kicks it up!!

  73. RJ says:

    omygoodness a fried runny egg makes everything better!

  74. That Girl says:

    I almost always prefer a savory breakfast to a sweet one. But I almost always prefer savory to sweet in general.

  75. Jacqui says:

    Oh man Joanne, I want this for lunch today!

  76. Corina says:

    What a fantastic breakfast, or lunch, or dinner! I usually eat a savoury breakfast and couldn’t get by without it. I’m not usually this adventurous so early in the morning though!

  77. Jenn Kendall says:

    oh wow, this sounds incredible!

  78. if we ever meet, i would like us to drink champagne together and eat hummus for breakfast.

  79. JasmyneTea says:

    I LOOOOVE Middle Eastern breakfasts, especially shanklish and foul, a type of bean dish, so I think this is right up my alley! Will definitely be trying it soon 🙂

  80. This looks amazing! I’ve never cooked with za’atar before. It sounds really interesting and actually quite easy to make now that I know what to do. Thanks Jo 😀

  81. Kristen says:

    Wow Joanne that looks amazing!! When I lived in Peru we often had a savory breakfast…usually soup because it was cheap and could feed my big family. I love your beans for breakfast idea–yum!!

  82. Dawn says:

    Perfect! For one I love Za’atar and secondly I just bought some eggs from the farm and was trying to figure out what to do with them.

  83. Katerina says:

    I first tried beans for breakfast in England many years ago abd I loved it! The addition of protein to this makes it a perfect source of energy to start your day! Beautiful dish!

  84. I would much prefer savoury breakfasts everyday but end up eating oatmeal or a smoothie usually. This bowl sounds delicious but it’s hard to give up my 2 minute breakfast preparation time!

  85. Joanne, you’re killing with these runny yolk photos. There’s nothing I love more than a just-cooked egg on top of some awesome goodness, such as this!

  86. Runny egg yolk just makes everything better. This looks wonderful, especially with the Za’atar and the hummus. 😉

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