14 Spanish and Latin American Dishes for Brunch

Grilled sepia, olives, pimientos de padron , Mojo sauce, patatas bravas, tortilla de patate, boquerones fritos, vino and bread
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For some reason, brunch seems be one of the lesser common social get-together formats. We more often have cook-outs and dinner or cocktail parties, but brunch has a lot going for it: you don´t have to get up extra early or go to bed late, serving liquor is definitely optional, a sunny setting adds to people’s good mood, and the dress code is usually not fussy.

On your next casual hosting occasion, whether your guests are “just” your closest family or a medium-sized group of friends, why not offer...MORE a brunch with a Spanish and/or Latin American flair to the menu? Choose an item or three from the list below, then round it out with your choice of drinks, bread, and/or fruit.

Here are a handful of menu ideas with fun names to get your creative brunch juices started (italicized items are described in more depth below); 

  • 01 of 14
    Huevos Rancheros
    Armando Mejia / EyeEm / Getty Images

    A classic dish consisting of fried eggs placed on a corn tortilla and bathed in a delicious red tomato sauce, huevos rancheros were born in Mexico but are quickly becoming an American favorite. The sauce can be prepared a day or two before, leaving just the tortilla and egg frying for the actual brunch day. Serve huevos rancheros with some refried beans and a good crusty bread and you are practically done with the menu! 

  • 02 of 14
    Costa Rican Gallo Pinto
    Marian Blazes

    Both Costa Rica and Nicaragua claim gallo pinto as their national dish, and most people there would probably not go a day without eating at least a simplified version of this combination of black or red beans (depending on region), rice, bell peppers, and cilantro. It’s a hearty vegetarian dish on its own, but also often accompanies egg or meat dishes, so it´s perfect for brunch. Best of all, you can use rice and beans that are left over from others meals to concoct gallo pinto!

  • 03 of 14
    Spanish Omelet
    Ramon Espelt Photography / Getty Images

    This quintessential concoction of eggs and potatoes is often referred to as Spain´s national dish. It can be served at any time of day as breakfast, a lunch, or supper main dish, or even (cut into small pieces) as an appetizer or bar snack. Leftovers can be put between bread and become a sandwich. What better dish to have as the centerpiece of your brunch menu?

    Here´s how to make an 8- to 10-serving Spanish omelette.

     

  • 04 of 14
    Papaya Smoothie
    ondacaracola photography / Getty Images

    Smoothies made with milk are ubiquitous in Latin America, and are made with almost any kind of fruit or combination of fruits that you can imagine. This one will give your Spanish/Latin brunch just the right tropical twist while helping your system process the meal at the same time, since an enzyme present in papaya fruit has helpful digestive properties.

     

    Continue to 5 of 14 below.
  • 05 of 14
    Pumpkin Fritters
    joannawnuk / Getty Images

    Change out your usual flabby breakfast hotcakes for these crispy fritters just once and you may never go back! Dress them up with butter and syrup or jam, just like you would with pancakes, and you have a dish familiar enough to be comfort food while still be just a bit exotic.

  • 06 of 14
    Torrijas
    nito 100 / Getty Images

    Traditionally eaten for breakfast during Lent, torrijas are the Spanish version of what we in the USA call French toast. These pan-fried eggy slices of bread are usually topped with cinnamon sugar, and they  make a wonderfully sweet carb-y side dish to a savory main brunch dish. 

  • 07 of 14
    Stuffed Venezuelan Arepas
    nehopelon / Getty Images

    No Colombian or Venezuelan worth his or her salt would brunch without an arepa or two. These mild-flavored savory cornmeal cakes work excellently as a base for fried eggs or shredded meat, or can be split open and stuffed with meat or cheese and shredded cabbage. Yum!

  • 08 of 14
    Gazpacho
    Phillipe Desnerck / Getty Images

    Though not typically served for breakfast in its native Spain, gazpacho is a fabulous choice for brunch on a warm day. This classic dish made only of fresh vegetables and a little vinegar and oil (and, optionally, chunks of stale bread) is part soup, part drink, and would be a great lighter (yet still very nutritious) element in an otherwise heavy menu.

     

    Continue to 9 of 14 below.
  • 09 of 14
    Morelian Gazpacho
    Robin Grose

    While on the topic of gazpacho, we cannot fail to mention a delicious Mexican version that has little in common with its Spanish namesake. This gazpacho is actually an unusual fruit salad made with sweet tropical fruits, lime juice, and a couple unexpected savory ingredients. Morelian Gazpacho may very well be the most eye-opening thing you eat all year!

  • 10 of 14
    Mexican Lasagna
    Robin Grose

    If you are looking for a casserole-style dish for your brunch, this is the ticket: shredded chicken, plenty of cheese, and day-old corn tortillas (instead of pasta noodles) baked to delicious perfection. Roast the poblano chiles, make the sauce, and cook and shred the chicken the day before, and all you will have to do on brunch day is assemble, bake, and enjoy!

  • 11 of 14
    Churro Chips
    Robin Grose

    Reminiscent of both Spanish churros and Latin American sopaipillas, these baked chips made from flour tortillas add a pleasant crunchiness to any menu. Offer them with a sweetened yogurt as a “dipping sauce” (a la chips and salsa) for a fun start to your brunch, or serve them as a light dessert.

  • 12 of 14
    Mexican Hot Chocolate
    Mockford & Bonetti / Getty Images

    Lighter and more refreshing than other varieties of a steaming chocolate beverage, Mexican hot chocolate will add sweetness and just a touch of delicious bitterness to your Latin American-themed brunch. Serve with sweet breads (either homemade or purchased from a Mexican bakery) for dipping, and you will be making delicious memories.

    Continue to 13 of 14 below.
  • 13 of 14
    Empanadas
    E. YinYang / Getty Images

    Empanadas, baked or fried dough stuffed with something sweet or savory, are a classic all over Latin America, and can be eaten at any time of day. They can be made large as the main dish or small for snacks, appetizers, or an accompanying side.

    Need a small meat accompaniment for an egg main? Offer Argentinian ground beef empanadas. Would something sweet be the dessert to round out your brunch menu? Make some sweet apple or pineapple empanadas. The possibilities are nearly endless.

  • 14 of 14
    Green Chilaquiels
    Alexandra Grablewski / Getty Images

    Chilaquiles is the perfect Mexican side dish to any number of egg dishes or even heavier brunch proteins such as pan fried steaks or shredded meat. It consists of day-old corn tortillas cut into triangles and fried, then bathed in one of Mexico’s delicious cooking sauces. The dish is filling and flavorful, yet complements (rather than competes with) the eggs or meat. Though somewhat laborious to prepare, chilaquiles is very much worth your time and effort for a special brunch meal.