Fresh Chilaquiles w/Fried Eggs

So long as you have stale chips, you have everything.

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Season: Spring, Winter
Dosha: Kapha, Pitta

One month ago, I was making chilaquiles on a camp stove, overlooking a surf break in Baja. Cobbled together with remnants in our coolers after 6 weeks on the road, it was one of the most delicious and memorable meals of the trip.

It’s amazing how far away the carefree mornings of cooking in a bikini on an empty beach feel now. So much can happen in a month. We didn’t get the chance to “reintegrate,” really. We left our routine of camping on the beach, riding mountain bikes on wild trails and living simply on the road to the uncertainty of a global pandemic. As I strive to finally find some calm amidst this swirl, I’m starting to truly process this life-changing trip.

And the reason was so simple: we wanted for nothing more elaborate, more certain, more precious than each other, a road we could navigate together, and the promise of a hot meal.

No moment, opportunity, or precious bit of beauty went to waste on us during the trip. And the contents of the cooler were no exception.

The chilaquiles I’ve enjoyed in Mexico are simple; comprised of tortilla chips smothered in refried beans and a canned red chile sauce. But we didn’t have any cans on the beach that morning, and yet we already had everything we needed; the imperfect ingredients we had leftover by happenstance.

The cooler contained a pint of perky little tomatoes and a handful of tiny crookneck squash from the previous weeks’ market. There were a two nopales paddles I couldn’t resist bringing home, having watched a woman cleaning them of their needles. Plus a splash of coconut milk and the crumbles of chips with nothing to dip them in. We cooked it all down to perfection, using flavors and textures from memory to make something new. It was perfect.

I found nopales at the grocery store last week. It was on.

And I knew we had half a bag of tortilla chips begging to be crumbled and sauced; both signs that we were due for chilaquiles. So, I whipped them up as a lazy, special breakfast for a Sunday morning. It was so good, sitting in the sunshine at our dining table, the smells of the ingredients mingling with newspaper ink and coffee grounds. Even in this swirling dust storm of the unknown, we’re all facing, we didn’t want for anything, even in a storm of uncertainty.

The idea that something so excellent came from near-wilty leftovers, otherwise easily discarded, is the highlight of our beachside chilequiles meal. The simple goal of taking what you have and making it awesome, is the ingredient that will make your chilaquiles perfection, no matter where you enjoy them.

Recipe Notes

  • Chilaquiles + veggies: You don’t need nopales to make them. If you can find them – wonderful! But you don’t need to make a special trip to hunt them down. The original iteration used a pint of fresh cherry tomatoes cooked down to make a sauce. It was fabulous! But we don’t have those anywhere near ripe in Colorado now, so I used canned tomatoes and it was excellent. We had a yellow onion, a stray zucchini, carrots and baby kale to toss in to our sauce. You could also add broccoli, other greens or leave them out all together. In fact, I encourage you to swap in whatever vegetables you have on hand and make this dish your own.
  • On spice: Our original recipe had jalapeno in it – we had one tumbling around the cooler. But I didn’t have one here to add this morning and so I sprinkled in some red chili flakes instead (but I did add it to the recipe.) If you have dried guajillo or New Mexican chilis, absolutely add them to give your sauce a kick. Or simply add some of your favorite hot sauce when it’s all pulled together.
  • On coconut milk: I call for canned coconut milk here because it’s richer and creamier, but we used boxed coconut milk (like the kind you’d add to cereal,) in Mexico. Either will work beautifully. And if you don’t have coconut milk on hand? Leave it out. It’s gonna be fine.
  • Greens of choice: Spinach works well in this recipe if you don’t have any kale on hand, or maybe it’s just not really your thing!
  • On garnish: I highly recommend Gucci-ing this one up as you can; a showering of fresh cilantro, pickled red onions, a drizzle of crema, sliced avocado and toasted pepitas are all excellent additions. Feta or cotija are great options for your fresh cheese, if you’re into that sort of thing. Regardless of whether you uplevel or not, know that your chilaquiles will be perfect with the gorgeous things you have on hand and the precious time you put into making it.

Flavor Notes

Flavors are FUN, yes, but they also are the mechanisms by which our bodies nourish themselves. Flavors basically tell our bodies what the food is giving us – on a nutritional and energetic level. Our bodies then prepare enzymes to break those components down, assimilate them, and turn them into fuel for our vibrant lives. We can’t eat just one flavor and get all of the things we need, so learning to track the flavors in our foods helps us to be sure that we’re really getting all of the things we need in our meals. This particular recipe has all six flavors. The more flavors we can enjoy in any meal or food, the happier and more balanced our bodies will be. If you’re wanting to learn more about how the flavors we eat fuel our bodies – energetically and nutritively, check out this little blog post.

  • SWEET: avocado oil, carrots, coconut milk,
  • SALTY: sea salt
  • SOUR: tomatoes
  • BITTER: pepitas
  • ASTRINGENT: zucchini, nopal, kale OR spinach
  • PUNGENT: onion, jalapeño

Fresh Chilaquiles w/Fried Eggs

So long as you have stale chips, you have everything.

makes 2 hearty portions OR 4 smaller servings


Active Time: 15 minutes


Serves: servings


  • 2 Tbsp avocado oil
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion (diced)
  • 1 large carrot (diced)
  • 1 small zucchini squash (diced)
  • 1 large nopal paddle (diced)
  • 1 14oz can crushed tomatoes (SEE RECIPE NOTES)
  • 1 cup full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 handful baby kale
  • 2-3 handfuls tortilla chips (roughly 36 chips)
  • 1 jalapeño (seeded + finely diced)
  • salt + pepper (to taste)

to finish:

  • 4 large eggs (cooked to your liking, I like 'em fried)
  • pickled red onions
  • avocado (sliced)
  • fresh crumbly cheese
  • fresh cilantro (chopped)
  • radish (freshly sliced)
  • black beans
  • toasted pepitas


  • 1Cook the vegetables

    Warm a large skillet over medium-high heat. When a drizzle of water dropped in the skillet sizzles, add avocado oil and swirl the pan to coat.

    Add the onion to the pan, and sweat until translucent. Roughly 4-5 minutes.

    Add the carrot, stirring to incorporate. Season with salt and cook until the carrot is just tender.

    Next, add the jalapeno, nopal and zucchini, again stirring to incorporate. Cook until the zucchini is just tender.

  • 2Make it saucy

    Add the tomatoes. If using fresh tomatoes, you’ll want to cook down the tomatoes until they burst and start to make a sort of sauce. If using crushed, you’ll add the tomatoes and all of the juices and cook until the liquid reduces and the vegetable mixture starts to be more chunky than watery. (Roughly 6-8 minutes.)

    Add the coconut milk. Stir to combine, then taste the sauce to be sure its salty and peppery to your liking. Add more seasoning if you wish. Lower the heat to medium-low.


  • 3Finish + serve

    In a separate, smaller skillet warm a touch of ghee or avocado oil to fry your eggs. Cook them to your liking (I like them sunny side up in ghee.)

    While the eggs are frying, add your tortilla chips to the veggie mixture, stirring to incorporate the chips completely.

    Divide the chilaquiles mixture between plates, top with 1-2 fried eggs.

    Garnish with avocado, crema, pepitas, black beans, radishes, cilantro, hot sauce and anything else your heart desires.

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