Help me round out this brunch menu!

I’m hosting some college friends next weekend for what was originally intended to be lunch at 1pm, but has now turned into brunch around 10:00am. I am planning the meal around white pizza and cinnamon rolls, which were specifically requested by the guest of honor. Obviously, these two items cover the carb bases! When I was planning this as lunch, I decided to smoke a pork shoulder and serve it pulled with a couple of sauces and a spicy slaw, plus tortillas for anyone who might want to make it into tacos. However, now that the time has been moved to 10:00, I’m wondering if I shouldn’t lean in a more breakfast-y direction. I’ll serve apps with mimosas first and probably crank out a couple of pizzas during cocktail hour, then sit down to the main meal at 11-11:30ish (and serve another couple of pizzas with the meal).

I know that a couple of my guests are low-carbing (as we generally do as well), so I want to make sure there is a meat or egg main dish without any carbs involved as well as a vegetable side available for them. Thoughts? Frittata or crustless quiche would work, but feels uninspired. Would serving deviled eggs or mini-quiches as an appetizer be enough of a nod to breakfast? Other “breakfast” app ideas, side dish options, etc.? All suggestions welcome - the only non-negotiable items are the white pizza and cinnamon rolls. Thanks HOs!

Shakshuka’s a no-carb egg dish, which you can slap onto a tortilla for a sort of Israeli/Mexican mashup.

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Steamed or roasted asparagus wrapped in ham would be nice.

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Shakshuka (or green shakshuka) is definitely a contender, although I don’t think this is a runny egg crowd.

One thing I forgot to mention - dishes that can be done in advance or at least don’t require any major labor at the last minute are a must. Cranking out pizzas will require most of my attention!

That’s a great idea for an appetizer or part of a crudite platter - I’ll have to see if there’s any nice asparagus in the markets yet.

I’m confused. Are you serving white pizza and cinnamon rolls as the main lunch? Having a cocktail hour prior to lunch with nibbles? I don’t understand the flow.

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I do love asparagus , brushed with olive oil, roasted ahead of time for just 8 minutes ,still crunchy, then wrapped with roasted peeled sweet pepper making it quite festive then dusted with freshly grated parmesan cheese.
I also like hot cherry peppers , wrapped with prosciutto that is wrapped around a piece of small cheese and / or for those that are vegetarian, anchovies wrapped around cheese, drizzled with garlic powder, EVOO.
These are appetizers I often serve which are made ahead of time.

The flow is a bit difficult simply due to the nature of making pizzas one at a time. For this crowd, last time I made four 12" pizzas and they were all devoured, but I can only do one at a time and they take about 7-8 minutes each. What I ended up doing last time was cranking out two during cocktails, while everyone gathered around the island to chat, and they ate them as they came out of the oven along with some other nibbles. The other two I baked as we were getting ready to sit down to the main meal, and some people made a full meal of pizza and whatever other sides I made, while others chose to eat the protein main (I made a frittata last time). Cinnamon rolls were dessert. However, this event started a bit later in the day last time. Since we’re gathering at 10am this time, maybe starting with cinnamon rolls and coffee and then moving on to savory food later would work better?

I actually upgraded my oven recently and the new one heats much more evenly, so it’s possible I could do two pizzas at a time now (although I only have one pizza steel, so the other would have to be done on an alternate surface). I’ve never done two at a time, though, and I’m not sure attempting it for the first time with an audience of eight hungry people is a good plan, LOL.

I’m still confused :grin: but if you are looking for other items to add it seems a Spanish tortilla might be appropriate . Crabbies or shrimp toasts are nice make ahead apps that are always devoured here. Or a simple white bean garlic dips with pita toasts; jalapeño dip with sweet potato and beet chips is another winner.

I know some low carb people avoid lots of fruit - but I love a fruit salad for brunch (oranges, strawberries, grapes, apples, mint).

These all sound delicious, but unfortunately none of them are low carb. Not everything on the menu needs to be low carb, but since I already have two carby items I don’t want to add any more.

Many low carbers do avoid fruit, but maybe a berry salad would be a nice dessert option for those who don’t want to partake of cinnamon rolls. Knowing these guys, though, I’m guessing they’d prefer to drink their carbs :grin::tropical_drink::clinking_glasses:

I’m thinking you keep the pulled pork and turn it into a huevos rancheros style dish. Pork can be done ahead, and you could do the eggs early morning. Add a chili sauce or more mild a tomatillo sauce (make you life easier and just buy that), and then serve either as DIY wraps with a side of the cabbage slaw and in low carb wrap of choice (or savoy cabbage leaves) or as DIY “bowls” with the slaw, cilantro, jalapeños etc. About everything can be prepped ahead.

Another mexican idea would be pork or chicken posole, also easy to make ahead. Hominy is actually rather low in carbs and very high in fiber so you can include some. Also lots of options to offer as toppings like sliced radishes, avocado, etc. I haven’t made it myself before but i had an amazing (vegan) version for brunch a few months ago that was mind blowing amazing- it included pumpkin seeds and chopped tomatillos. A quick google shows lots of recipes for low carb posole out there.

I would do veggie apps with a few pizzas, the entree and pizzas (if guests want more pizza?) then the cinnamon rolls with a lighter lower carb second option like berries and whipped cream.

For veg based apps quick pickled veggies are great, like spicy moroccan carrots, japanese style quick pickled cucumbers, and of course regular pickles like cornichon. I just bought asparagus at the market, so the asparagus app mentioned upthread would be great.
Maybe some spiced nuts, assorted crudite with your favorite low carb dip.


Will your oven be tied up for pizza baking or do you have some sort of pizza oven type deal?

If oven is free, these sound easy and low carb-

Smoked salmon on cucumber rounds with whipped cream cheese is a good low carb app.


Huevos rancheros is a great idea - I was considering serving a tomatillo salsa in addition to BBQ sauce anyway, so that would be a perfect fit. Maybe I could just scramble up some eggs with peppers and onions and serve family style along with the pork, with lettuce wraps and tortillas, and call it DIY breakfast tacos.

I have a double oven, so I can definitely do two things at once (or I could do these before the pizza goes in) - these would be great. I was also considering this recipe as an appetizer, either in mini-muffin tins or just cut into small squares: The smoked salmon sounds awesome too!


I’m a big fan of DIY menu options- especially with a group that includes multiple dietary concerns- everyone can pick how much of what they want and generally enjoy the interactive aspect too. And who doesn’t like breakfast tacos??


Along the Smoked Salmon idea… easy make ahead dishes…
Poached salmon with a dill based yogurt sauce (served room temp)
A big bowl of steamed shrimp and cocktail sauce
Tuna ceviche (lime, red onion, diced tomato, cilantro)
All of the above can be served with various condiments: mustard, Siracha , tobacco, Taziki, red pepper roasted garlic mayo aioli, to name a few .


Since you have two ovens, what about baking eggs in muffin tins? You can do them in advance. Add roasted asparagus and some swiss cheese to them. Or top with parmesan cheese. Then reheat them gently.


Hey HOs! Just wanted to report back that brunch was a great success thanks to your suggestions. My guests came in two groups, which worked out well. I had baked egg bites, a fruit platter and pizza waiting when the first group arrived, which was perfect for munching while standing around the island with mimosas. When the remaining guests arrived, we sat down to DIY pulled pork breakfast tacos, roasted “Mexican street style” Brussels sprouts, a fresh pizza and lots more booze. Cinnamon rolls for dessert. The guests just rolled out of here in an Uber, tipsy, fat and happy! Thanks again for all the great suggestions!


Nice! That sounds like it was a fantastic success on all accounts!!

That sounds fabulous!