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This Spanish breakfast casserole is everything you need in a morning recipe. A cross between a frittata, quiche and strata, it’s a velvety egg bake that’s simple to prepare and packed with cheese, three types of peppers and crispy browned potatoes.
Served warm or at room temperature, it’s the perfect vegetarian breakfast for a crowd. But it’s sure to win over any meat-lovers too.
Vegetarian Breakfast Casserole with Hash Browns
Unlike a quiche that usually has a crust and is filled with heavy cream, or a strata that’s packed with bread, this Spanish breakfast casserole has little milk and no bread. It gets its creamy texture from the velvety mix of egg, potato and cheese.
It’s inspired by the traditional Spanish breakfasts I enjoyed while attending the Gastronomika food conference in Donostia-San Sebastian, northern Spain.
At the conference I loved sampling the gourmet dishes by acclaimed chefs such as Basque chef Martín Berasategui, whose seven restaurants boast a whopping 12 Michelin stars.
But one of the meals I looked forward to the most each day was breakfast!
In San Sebastian, a typical breakfast featured:
- blistered Pimientos de Padrón, the small, green peppers that hail from the region of Padrón in Galicia, in northwestern Spain,
- buttery, slightly nutty, aged Idiazabal cheese produced from the milk of the latxa and carrazana sheep that graze on the green hills surrounding San Sebastian,
- Spanish tortilla, the country’s famous open-faced egg and potato omelette.
With its poblano peppers, potato and cheese, this dish channels the spirit of that Spanish morning meal in one, easy make-ahead breakfast casserole. I added some cheddar cheese for colour.
It’s the perfect vegetarian breakfast casserole to serve a crowd or to make-ahead and freeze for breakfast on the go.
An Easy Vegetarian Breakfast For A Crowd
In addition to being enough to serve nine people, this Spanish Breakfast Casserole is healthy and easy to make. It’s a step up from regular brunch eggs.
Since it’s loaded with hash browns, this meatless breakfast casserole recipe is not only delicious but filling. Perfect for brunch any day of the week!
This veggie egg bake with hash browns is also ideal for Thanksgiving breakfast or Christmas breakfast. Since you can prepare it the night before, it’s perfect for those busy holiday mornings when you’re already busy prepping a big meal.
Pop it in the oven and spend time with family instead of in the kitchen!
Ingredients for Spanish Breakfast Casserole with Hash Browns
For the best flavour use high quality ingredients. Scroll to the recipe card for specific amounts of each ingredient.
- Olive oil
- White onion
- Jalapeño pepper
- Poblano pepper – I use pre-roasted poblano peppers that have been frozen and thawed.
- Green bell pepper
- Shredded potatoes (or frozen hash browns thawed in the refrigerator and drained of moisture on a paper towel)
- Onion powder
- Garlic powder
- Smoked Spanish paprika
- Manchego or Monterrey Jack cheese (and cheddar for colour)
Step by Step Instructions for How To Make This Easy Vegetarian Egg Bake
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Heat the olive oil in a large shallow skillet. If your pan is too small the potatoes won’t brown as nicely.
3. Dice the onion and cook in the oil until it becomes translucent.
4. In the meantime, carefully remove the seeds from the jalapeño, poblano pepper and green bell pepper. Dice them into small pieces and add to the pan once the onions have cooked.
Cook for five minutes.
5. Shred the potatoes on a grater. It takes just minutes and produces a much better result than frozen hash browns. Add the grated potatoes ( or thawed and drained frozen hash browns) to the pan and cook until they become soft and are slightly browned.
6. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs, onion powder, garlic powder, smoked Spanish paprika and milk together.
7. Grate the cheese and add about 3/4 of it to the hash brown and vegetable mix. Stir and remove from heat and let the cheese melt.
8. Spray a 9 x9 or 8.5 x 8.5 inch square baking dish and spread the hash brown and veggie mixture into the pan.
9. Next, pour the whisked eggs over the hash brown mixture and sprinkle the remaining grated cheese over the top of the casserole.
10. Bake for 40 minutes or until the cheese start to bubble and turn a light golden colour.
11. Let sit for 5 to 10 minutes before serving to allow the cheese to set.
How To Serve This Breakfast Casserole
- I recommend letting this dish set for 5 to 10 minutes after it comes out of the oven, so the cheese sets and it’s easier to cut.
- This recipe makes nine squares, so serve each piece on a plate with a marinated vegetable salad, fresh fruit, an assortment of olives or charcuterie or black beans rice and beans.
- Ideal for a holiday brunch, this casserole is delicious served alongside a Tropical Fruit French Toast Casserole or smoked trout platter.
- For those who like a bit of heat, add a side of spicy salsa such as Mexican salsa verde, chirmol (Guatemalan charred tomato salsa) or tomatillo and tomato salsa.
- For a Spanish brunch, add our recipe for chilled Spanish Tomato Gazpacho Soup served in shooter glasses to the menu.
Tips and Variations on this Spanish Breakfast Casserole
- If you’re using frozen hash browns, be sure to thaw them in the refrigerator and drain them well on a paper towel before using them in this recipe.
- This breakfast casserole can easily be doubled and baked in a larger oblong pan to serve even more people. I’ve used a lasagna pan that’s 12 inches wide × 16 inches long and it worked perfectly.
- It’s really easy to freeze this casserole. First, allow it to cool completely. Then, cut into pieces and place the individual slices in an airtight container or freezer bags. When you’re ready to enjoy, defrost in the refrigerator and reheat in the oven or microwave. Perfect for a healthy breakfast on busy mornings!
- This recipe works well as an overnight breakfast casserole recipe too! To prep your casserole ahead of time, complete steps 1-4 listed above. Then cover the (unbaked) casserole with foil and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. Once you’re ready to bake the casserole, remove it from the fridge and let it warm up to room temperature for ideally at least 30 minutes. Then bake as directed.
- Rather than buy pre-grated cheese, grate the cheese yourself. It melts so much better.
- For a Mexican brunch version of this casserole, add in cooked black beans and swap the smoked paprika for cumin.
- To make a poblano breakfast casserole, replace the jalapeño and bell pepper with poblano peppers.
- For a non-vegetarian Spanish breakfast casserole, mix in some cooked Italian ground sausage or Spanish chorizo.
- Other add-ins include sliced black olives, cherry tomatoes, crispy bacon, pre-cooked kale – the variations are unlimited.
Spanish Breakfast Casserole
- Skillet ( large, shallow)
- 8.5 x 8.5 or 9 x 9 inch baking dish
- mixing bowl
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 white onion
- 1 jalapeño pepper
- 1 poblano pepper
- 1 green pepper
- 2 cups shredded potatoes or frozen hash browns (thawed in the refrigerator and drained of moisture)
- 4 eggs
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp smoked Spanish paprika
- 1/4 cup milk
- 8 oz Manchego, Monterey Jack and/or Cheddar cheese preferably grate your own as it will melt better
- slices of avocado and pepper or parsley for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Heat the olive oil in a large pan.
- Dice the onion and cook in the oil until it becomes translucent.
- In the meantime, carefully remove the stem and seeds from the jalapeño, poblano pepper and green pepper (wear gloves so you don't burn your fingers on the jalapeño peppers). Dice them into small pieces and add to the pan once the onions have cooked. Cook for five minutes.
- Add the shredded potatoes to the pan and cook until they become soft and slightly brown.
- In a small bowl, whisk the eggs, onion powder, garlic powder, smoked Spanish paprika and milk together.
- Grate the cheese and add about 3/4 of it to the potato mixture. Stir and remove from heat and let the cheese melt.
- Spray the 9 x 9 inch baking dish with cooking oil spray and spread the potato mixture into the pan.
- Next, pour the whisked eggs over the filling and spread the remaining grated cheese over the top of the casserole.
- Bake for 40 minutes or until the cheese start to bubble and turn a light golden brown.
- Let sit for 5 to 10 minutes before serving to allow the cheese to set.
- Slice into pieces and garnish with slices of pepper or avocado.
- You'll get the best results if you use a large shallow skillet for browning the potatoes. If your pan is too small, the potatoes won't brown as nicely.
- This recipe works well as an overnight breakfast casserole recipe too! To prep your casserole ahead of time, complete steps 1-4 listed above. Then cover the (unbaked) casserole with foil and refrigerate for up to 24 hours.
- Once you’re ready to bake the casserole, remove it from the fridge and let it warm up to room temperature for at least 30 minutes. Then, bake as directed.
- To freeze, cool completely before placing the slices into an air-tight container or a sealable bag. When ready to serve, remove the slices, defrost in the refrigerator and then reheat in the oven or microwave.
- Add cooked black beans and swap the smoked paprika for cumin for a Mexican casserole variation.
- Mix in some cooked ground Italian sausage or Spanish chorizo.
- Add some sliced black olives or roasted cherry tomatoes.
If You Liked This Easy Vegetarian Egg Bake, You May Enjoy These Other Breakfast Recipes:
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Dividing her time between Canada, Guatemala and Mexico (or the nearest tropical beach), Michele Peterson is the founder of A Taste for Travel. Her award-winning travel and food writing has appeared in Lonely Planet’s cookbook Mexico: From the Source, National Geographic Traveler, Fodor’s and 100+ other publications.
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