Zucchini Breakfast Casserole
You know what I love? Breakfast. You know what I don’t love? Having to cook it daily. Mornings and I have always had something of an antagonistic relationship, so I’ve always needed some sort of make ahead approach to breakfast. I also find that I’m not usually super hungry when I first wake up, so I like to have something that I can eat at work. I constrain this even further by having a strong preference for savory over sweet breakfasts, and I found that there aren’t a lot of savory breakfasts that you can make ahead, have last for a week, and bring to work in the mornings. Limiting.
In the summer time, I’m a big fan of cottage cheese salads for breakfast, because they’re so versatile and there is so much you can do with them. But this winter, I was finding them not quite as satisfying as they once were. I wanted something warm. I went through several weeks of doing bacon egg breakfast cups, which were delicious, but got a bit rubbery when reheated towards the end of the week. If I can figure out a way to prevent that, I’ll let you guys know! So, as necessity is indeed the mother of invention, I gave some thought to ways that I might be able to keep a breakfast casserole properly moist for a whole week, and I thought of zucchini, powerhouse noodle veggie friend that holds a fair bit of water. Actually, I remove a lot of its water for this dish, but we’ll come to that shortly.
(This was a pizza version I made of this casserole. Delicious!)
I had a friend come to visit recently, and she tried one of the variations of this casserole on Friday (having cooked it on Sunday), and she was very impressed at how good it still was almost a week later. This casserole holds up well! The other awesome thing is that after the basic ingredients of egg, shredded zucchini, onions, salt and pepper, you can add whatever cheese, veggie or meat that pleases you! One time I added tomatoes, fresh dill, fresh garlic, feta, and kalamata olives, another time I added tomato sauce, mozzarella, peppers, onion and pepperoni. I love the versatility of this technique of cooking eggs. Today’s version adds bacon and cherry tomatoes, but they are both optional in the base recipe.
Ingredients (six-eight servings)
- 1 tbsp grapeseed oil
- One medium onion, chopped
- four cloves garlic, minced
- One red, orange or yellow pepper, chopped
- One large zucchini grated, or two small
- One cup of cherry tomatoes, halved
- ½ lb of bacon, cooked
- Six eggs
- 1 cup applewood smoked cheddar, grated
- salt and pepper
To begin, cook your bacon. You can easily cook your bacon a day ahead of time if you so desire. My preferred way to cook bacon is in the oven. To do so, preheat oven to 400, line a pan with tinfoil, and place your bacon on pan. Cook for 20 min. If you have thick-cut bacon, you may need to flip them and cook it another 5 min. If your bacon is very thin, it may only take 15. Keep an eye on your bacon if you’re not used to this technique.
If you cook your bacon on the same day as your eggs, reduce the heat of the oven to 375. Next, chop your onions, garlic and peppers, and add grapeseed oil to a pan on the stove on medium heat. Add peppers, onions and garlic and sautee until the onions are translucent. While they’re cooking, grate your zucchini over a clean tea towel, then ring it out over the sink, to remove as much of the zucchini’s water as you can. Once the onions are translucent, add zucchini to the pan, and cook for another 2 min or so, until they look a little wilted. Transfer veggies into a greased casserole dish and add halves tomatoes to that casserole dish. You don’t want to heat them in the pan because they’ll get overcooked.
In another bowl, beat eggs with salt and pepper. For a nice fluffy casserole, you should beat your eggs until they look bubbly. That means there’s a good amount of air in them. Stir in your cooked bacon (chopped into bite size pieces) a ¼ cup of the grated applewood smoked cheddar, reserving the other ¾ cup for on top. If you don’t want to add bacon to your casserole, the cool thing about applewood smoked cheddar in this dish is that it evokes flavours of meat. As a result, you think you’re eating something a bit more naughty than it actually is, which is always nice!
Pour egg mixture over veggie mixture in casserole dish and gently stir to combine. Top the egg and veggie mix with remaining cheese. Bake for 35-45 min. You want to have the top look nicely browned, and the sides should look browned and set also. I find mine usually takes closer to 45 in my oven, but it does tend to run a little hot.
Let cool for 5 min before serving, or let cool completely before packing it into tupperware to bring to work for morning breakfast. This version comes in at 246kcal a piece, but you could always cut the cheese in half and bring that down substantially. But I’m in training, so I can handle a 250kcal breakfast! I hope you enjoy it!