Turn your home fries into a complete meal by adding bacon, sausage, bell peppers or a fried egg. Abigail Monti / Daily Nexus

In my experience, there are two types of breakfast-eaters in this world: those who opt for savory flavors and those who opt for sweet. (No, I will not be acknowledging those who don’t like breakfast. Your opinion is not valid here.) Personally, I fall into the former category — there’s nothing better than waking up to a huge meal of eggs, sausage and melted cheese on toast. But if you are growing increasingly bored of the same old breakfast sandwich combination, I highly recommend introducing potatoes into your rotation. 

Oh potatoes, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways. Tater tots, hash browns, roasted potatoes… the list goes on and on. Yet the most underrated potato option in breakfast diners everywhere might just take the top spot in my heart: home fries. A heaping, warm mixture of potatoes, onions, garlic and savory seasonings is hearty, nostalgic and satisfying. Plus, they’re an ideal vessel for extra toppings. Try adding bacon or sausage for a meaty flavor, or bell peppers for a pop of color and crunch. You can also top off your home fries with a scrambled egg and shredded cheese for a complete meal that will keep you full all morning long.

But if you still aren’t convinced, maybe this will help: all the ingredients you need for basic home fries are available free for  UC Santa Barbara students at the Associated Students (A.S.) Food Bank. As a college student who is chronically low on cash, no meal tastes better than a free meal. 

Even while seasonal produce rotates through the A.S. Food Bank located in the back corner of the University Center’s main floor, you can usually count on some variety of potatoes being in stock. Potatoes, a pantry staple renowned for their versatility and affordability, are traditionally harvested between late summer and mid-fall. However, thanks to modern-day technology and strategic crop rotation, potatoes in proper storage will stay in good condition for up to seven or eight months after harvesting. Thus, potatoes stay on grocery shelves all year long. 

During the week of Feb. 19, the A.S. Food Bank offered russet potatoes, red potatoes, Garnet sweet potatoes and jewel sweet potatoes. In a pinch, you can turn any variety of potatoes into home fries. However, the starchier the potato is, the better it’ll crisp up in the pan. Keep an eye out for russet potatoes, Yukon Gold potatoes and Garnet sweet potatoes for the best results. I chose to mix together three kinds of potatoes for color and variety, but feel free to opt for just one.

Potato medley home fries 

Duration: 25 minutes

Yield: 2-3 servings


  • 2 cups potatoes, diced 
  • 1 cup yellow onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • Salt and pepper


  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup bell pepper, chopped
  • Sausage or bacon, chopped
  • Shredded cheese


  1. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high temperature. 
  2. Add the potatoes and stir to coat. Cover the skillet with a lid and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally or until the potatoes are slightly softened.
  3. Remove the lid, then add the onion and garlic. Stir fry for another 5 minutes then sprinkle with the paprika, salt and pepper. Optional: Add the bell pepper and/or sausage with the onion and garlic. 
  4. Continue frying uncovered until the potatoes and onions are tender and can be pierced with a fork. Optional: Scramble an egg in the pan and top with shredded cheese!

If you’re itching for more flavor, consider adding other seasonings like crushed red pepper, Italian seasoning or cumin. Whether you’re a savory breakfast lover or just looking for a new way to enjoy potatoes, this recipe is sure to become a favorite in your breakfast rotation. And with the availability of ingredients at the A.S. Food Bank, you can enjoy this delicious meal without breaking the bank.

A version of this article appeared on p. 12 of the February 29, 2024 version of the Daily Nexus.