Nothing says “Family breakfast!” better than a warm breakfast casserole. As the holidays approach, you may be thinking about feeding all the family that is coming to visit. In my house, we love to cook hearty breakfasts for everyone to enjoy together. A longtime favorite of mine is my mom’s simple breakfast casserole. This recipe has all the breakfast classics- sausage, cheese, and egg!
Egg yolks happen to be one of the best sources of choline, an important nutrient for your body (1). Choline is important because it is a key part of neurotransmitters such as acetylcholine, a key part of your nervous system, largely involved with your muscle contraction, heart regulation, and intestine movement (1). Beyond the nervous system, choline helps with the structure of your cells and with metabolism in your body (2).
If you are thinking that this all sounds complicated and important, then you are right! It is. Unfortunately, most Americans are not eating enough choline in their diet (2). When you are choosing your breakfast protein, consider choosing eggs (each one boasts about 7 grams of high quality protein.) Breakfast casseroles are a fun way to incorporate eggs without putting all of the focus on them.
This recipe is wholesome and easy to customize to fit your LEAP diet. You can vary the traditional sausage casserole to include ground beef or any type of ground meat that fits your LEAP diet.
Try substituting leeks for the onions if you are reactive to onions. Bethany has made the casserole using her recipe of homemade almond milk and cashew milk as well as traditional whole organic cow’s milk — they are work well! Need to stay dairy free — just omit the cheese and use a non-dairy milk. You have options!
But from experience, I have a few tips for you to consider when making your breakfast casserole. Use an older loaf of bread. Just as for bread pudding, you want something that can absorb the milk and make a heartier texture — day-old bread will do that better than fresh bread.
A French bread loaf, with its strong crust, is perfect. (Look for a loaf that is made with just organic wheat flour, water, salt, and baker’s yeast. Sprout’s Farmer’s Market or Whole Foods may have loaves that work in the bakery section.) A homemade loaf of French bread or whole wheat bread can work as well. You can even try using gluten free bread in this recipe. If you only have fresh bread, add cubed bread to a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes at 350˚F and allow to cool before mixing with the remaining ingredients.
Consider adding more vegetables to the recipe. Diced bell peppers are nutritious and can festively decorate the dish. Think red and green bell peppers for Christmas time! Cook the bell pepper with the onion. Remember, cooking is an art and a science. Why not go “off-recipe” and play with this dish to make it something that your family can truly enjoy.
Try your hand at preparing this casserole (maybe even the night before), pop it in the oven when you start your coffee maker, and have everyone wander groggily into the kitchen wondering what that AMAZING smell is! Happy hosting, everyone.
- Grass fed ground beef, ground pork/sausage, or ground turkey, 12-16 oz
- Sweet Onion, 1 medium, chopped,
- Eggs, 4 whole (or use 8 egg whites)
- Milk, 2 cups (or 2 cups homemade almond milk or cashew milk)
- Ground mustard, 1-½ teaspoons
- Sea Salt, 1 teaspoon
- Black Pepper, ¼ teaspoon
- Whole Wheat bread, firm, cubed, 8 slices (or substitute your favorite bread)
- Organic Cheddar cheese, 1-½ cups or 8 oz.
- Preheat oven to 350˚F.
- In a cast iron or stainless steel skillet brown sausage/ground beef and onion over medium heat. Drain and cool.
- In a large bowl, beat the eggs, milk, ground mustard, salt, and pepper. Stir in the bread cubes, cheese, and sausage mixture.
- Pour into a well greased 13x9” baking dish (use any LEAP friendly oil).
- Optional: Cover and refrigerate overnight. Remove from fridge 30 minutes before baking.
- Bake, uncovered, at 350°F for 35-40 minutes or until a knife inserted near middle comes out clean.
- Let stand for 5 minutes before cutting.
- add 1 chopped bell pepper along with or in place of the onions
- substitute leeks for onions
- omit black pepper and/or ground mustard if needed
- omit all meat if needed
Guest Post contributed by Emily Berg, Dietetic Intern at Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Emily is from Montgomery, Alabama. She is currently living in Nashville, while completing her Dietetic Internship at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.