The Mess – Your new favorite Whole30 breakfast Scramble

White plate on a wooden table piled high with The Mess breakfast scramble and topped with avocado slices

Every Sunday morning in our house (and even more frequently right now while we’re doing another round of Whole30), you can count on one thing: “The Mess” on our table for breakfast. (Okay, so we don’t always eat it at the table. Usually if we are participating in church online we will sit on the couch and the twins in their camping chairs on the living room floor and eat it while we watch the church service on the TV). This Whole30 breakfast scramble may just be your saving grace as it has been for us.

No dinner plan? No problem! The Mess is great at any time of day.

What I love about The Mess

First of all, It is simple, healthy and fun to put together, and you don’t need to prep anything ahead of time. There is time to chop everything as you go.

Secondly, and probably my favorite thing about this Whole30 breakfast scramble is that it’s super customizable. My kids are not really big on onions and bell peppers. So, often on Sunday mornings my 6-year-old son will ask me, “Mom, can I make my own mess today?” And then he proceeds to get out his own skillet and make a batch right next to me, putting in only what he likes (bacon, potatoes, spinach, eggs and cheese) and none of what he doesn’t (onions, bell peppers). Isn’t that so fun!?

potatoes, bacon, onions and bell peppers cooking in a skillet

I have made this tons of different ways, and you can too. I’m posting the recipe for our most common way of making it, but if you read below, you will see ideas of how to make it your own. It is a great canvas for you to create your own personal breakfast masterpiece based on your own taste preferences, just like my son. And did I mention that it tastes delicious? We are on day 12 of this Whole30 and we have already eaten The Mess for at least 5 meals. It is an easy-peasy go-to meal when your creativity runs out. It’s also a great way to add lots of veggies to your meal. You could make it multiple times in one week using different veggies or meats and never get bored.

Another great thing about The Mess, despite its name, is that there really is very little mess to clean up, since you do it pretty much all in one skillet. (And maybe a pot for boiling the potatoes if you choose to go that route)

Why is it called “The Mess”?

The name originated from a restaurant in Long Beach, California called Schooner or Later. My parents heard about this restaurant and their famous breakfast dish “The Mess” as it was featured on a TV show they like to watch. So we decided to check it out. The food was delicious, but for $14 a plate, I figured I could easily re-create this dish at home for pennies on the dollar. Over the years since then, I have probably made a hundred different variations. But despite the changes, the name has stuck. This one may not resemble too closely the one they sell at Schooner or Later, but we still call it “The Mess.”

What You will Need:

The basic ingredients are simple: meat, veggies and eggs. Plus, as I mentioned before, it’s very easy to change around different ingredients or leave them out based on preferences.

  • Meat: Our favorite is Bacon, but Ham or Sausage or Turkey or Chorizo or whatever your heart desires will work great.
  • Veggies: Potatoes, Onions, Bell Pepper, Spinach – Other great options would be sweet potatoes, mushrooms, sun dried tomatoes, broccoli etc.
  • Eggs
  • Optional: Cheese (omit if Whole30… I know it’s hard, but you can do it!)
wooden cutting board with all the ingredients for The Mess breakfast scramble: potato, onion, bell peppers, bacon, spinach, eggs

How to Make The Mess (your new favorite Whole30 breakfast scramble)

Everything will cook in one skillet, but because different ingredients take more or less time to cook, there is a little bit of technique to make sure everything gets cooked through and nothing gets burned. But here is the basic process:

  • Put chopped bacon in a cold skillet and heat
  • Boil diced potatoes.
  • Add onions and bell peppers to skillet with the bacon.
  • Add the par-cooked potatoes to the skillet and season.
  • Sprinkle with spinach and allow to wilt.
  • Add eggs and scramble until cooked through.

See recipe and notes below for more detailed instructions. Also, check out the photo tutorial under the recipe card.

The Mess: Breakfast Scramble (Whole30, Paleo)

Eggs scrambled with bacon, potatoes, onions, bell pepper and spinach. Yum!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Breakfast, Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: easy, eggs, paleo, potatoes, scrambled, whole30
Servings: 4
Calories: 279kcal

Ingredients

  • 4 slices bacon see notes
  • 1 large potato or two small
  • ½ medium onion
  • 1 medium bell pepper any color
  • ¼ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon salt or to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper or to taste
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 6 eggs

Instructions

  • Cut your bacon into 1/2-1 inch pieces. Add them to a cold non-stick skillet and turn it on to medium-high. Stir your bacon occasionally with a spatula.
  • Set a small pot of water to boil on the stove. Chop your potatoes into 1/2-inch cubes and add them to the water to boil. You want them to boil just enough so that they are tender, but not soft (4-6 minutes). Drain.
  • While your potatoes are boiling, chop the onion and bell peppers. Once the bacon has started to release some of its grease, but is not fully cooked, add the onions to the skillet. Stir occasionally for about one minute and then add bell peppers. Stir occasionally.
  • Move the bacon and veggies towards the edges of the skillet to clear a spot in the center. Check to see that there is still some bacon grease on the skillet. If it is too dry, add a little bit of oil or ghee. Dump your drained potatoes into the center of the skillet, trying to make sure every potato is touching the pan. Sprinkle with salt, paprika and pepper. Let them cook without stirring for about 3 minutes until the bottoms of the potatoes are golden and crispy. Flip everything with your spatula and let sit for another few minutes to crisp up more of the potatoes. Repeat if necessary and/or until bacon is cooked through.
  • Reduce heat to medium-low. Add spinach and cover for a minute to let it wilt. Stir.
  • Crack your eggs on top of everything. Cover and let cook for one minute. Stir everything. Continue stirring occasionally until eggs are cooked to your desired consistency. Add more salt and/or pepper to taste.
  • Serve and Enjoy. (It's great topped with avocado slices)

Notes

  • This can easily be a standalone meal. If eating by itself, I would say it serves 2-3, a hefty portion of 2-3 eggs each. If serving alongside other menu items, you can make it stretch to 4-6 smaller portions. Add more eggs if needed.
  • Use sugar-free bacon if on Whole30
  • You can replace bacon with sausage and follow the same steps. However, if you use a different type of meat, or one that will not release its own grease as it cooks, then you will need to start by adding something to grease the pan (1-2 Tablespoons of oil, ghee, bacon grease etc.). Already cooked meats can be added to the skillet after the potatoes.
  • Par-cooking the potatoes before adding them to the skillet helps reduce the amount of time needed in the skillet and avoid overcooking the other ingredients. Alternatively, you can microwave the potatoes with a little bit of oil for a few minutes, stirring every minute until tender.
  • Feel free to use frozen hash browns and skip the boiling step. 
  • If you choose to add other veggies (mushrooms, broccoli, sun-dried tomatoes, etc.), they can be added after the potatoes.
  • If not on Whole30, a handful of shredded cheese melted on top is great (add when the eggs are close to being done).
  • Serve for Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner!

How-To make The Mess step-by-step (with photos):

three images of a cutting board with ingredients for the mess breakfast scramble, bacon, potatoes
1. Gather ingredients. 2. Chop bacon. 3. Dice potatoes
bacon in a skillet, potatoes boiling in a pot, bacon cooking
4. Add bacon to cold skillet and turn on to medium-high. 5. Boil potatoes until tender but not soft. 6. Stir bacon occasionally as it cooks
The mess steps 7-9: bacon and onions in a skillet, with bell peppers and with potatoes
7. Add onions to the skillet with the bacon. 8. Sauté bell peppers with onions and bacon. 9. Add drained potatoes to center of skillet.
The mess: veggies in a skillet, spinach
10. Season potatoes with paprika, salt and pepper. Cook until potatoes are crispy on the bottom. 10. Turn everything with the spatula and allow potatoes to continue to crisp. 12. Reduce heat to medium-low. Sprinkle spinach on top of everything.
veggies in a skillet, veggies with eggs, skillet breakfast scramble
13. When spinach has wilted, stir everything. 14. Crack eggs on top. Cook for one minute. 15. Stir everything and continue to stir occasionally until eggs are cooked through.
The mess: skillet breakfast scramble: eggs and veggies in a skillet
16. Enjoy your Whole30 breakfast scramble!
eggs scrambled with potatoes, onions, bacon, bell pepper and spinach on a white plate

What to Serve with the Breakfast Scramble

While great on it’s own, I love to pair The Mess with something sweet. On Whole30, that could be a small bowl of fruit or some air-fryer plantains. When not on Whole30, we like to have it with cinnamon rolls, waffles or this Sweet Boysenberry Crunch. A little bit of healthy with a little bit of yummm. It’s called balance. Because here we remember that Some is Better.



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