Normally the slow cooker gets all the glory when it comes to make-ahead meals, but bakes and casseroles are just as handy. Egg bakes are extra handy in that they provide a ton of protein to fill you up, are super customizable, and they can be eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner—or all 3!
The downfall of egg bakes is that they’re so easy to make unhealthy. I’ve seen my fair share of recipes that are loaded with heavy cream, 5 cheeses, bacon and nary a vegetable in sight.
Don’t get me wrong: I’m all for a decadent, bacon-filled strata or breakfast casserole. But if you’re going to eat it throughout the week, might as well make it something that will include some nutrients.
Adding in lots of veggies is a great place to start. Use a good fat such as olive oil to sauté and soften up the veggies a bit before adding them into the eggs. They’ll cook even more in the oven and become incredibly tender.
Cooked salmon could also be mixed in to add even more flavor as well as EPA/DHA omega-3s. If you’re doing breakfast (or breakfast for dinner), add some turkey bacon or sausage, and whole-wheat toast with a plant-based buttery spread, to serve on the side.
When I’m reheating an egg bake for lunch or dinner, I usually serve it with quinoa and a salad, but this time I figured I’d try putting the quinoa right in the actual bake.
I was skeptical of this method, but it totally works! Putting the quinoa in the baking dish first helps it form a nice crust—similar to quiche, but not as heavy.
The quinoa also adds protein and fiber, so the bake is more substantial and filling—meaning you can squeeze even more meals out of it.
Since this is a Southwestern flavor profile, avocado (another good fat) is a perfect add-on. If you don’t do dairy or you’re trying to reduce saturated fats, omit the cheese and you won’t even notice with the creaminess of the avocado. You can also substitute eggs for tofu for an easy vegetarian option.
To package up the leftovers, wrap individual slices in foil (a layer of plastic wrap inside keeps it from drying out), or in containers in the fridge. Keep refrigerated 5 days, then reheat for 10 to 15 minutes in the oven, or microwave for a couple minutes. It will also keep in the freezer, but I recommend going the plastic wrap + foil route if you do that.
Southwestern Quinoa Egg Bake
- 8"x8" baking dish
- Large mixing bowl
For egg bake:
- 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon olive oil butter or buttery spread like I Can't Believe It's Not Butter
- 1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa warm, or cooled leftovers
- 1 1/2 cups chopped kale
- 1 cup chopped bell peppers any color
- 1/2 cup fresh or frozen corn
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 1 clove garlic chopped
- 1/2 jalapeño pepper chopped (optional)
- 6 eggs
- 1 tablespoon milk or unsweetened plain nondairy milk optional
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup cheddar cheese or queso fresco
- Avocado slices
- Chopped green onions
- Plain Greek yogurt
- Salsa and/or hot sauce
- Sprigs of cilantro
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- Grease 8"x8" baking dish with 1 tsp oil, buttery spread or butter. Place quinoa evenly in bottom of dish. Set aside.
- In large skillet, heat/melt remaining 1 tbsp of oil, butter or buttery spread.
- Add onions, garlic and peppers to skillet and saute about 3 minutes, until just tender. Add in kale and cook another 2 to 3 minutes, just until kale starts to wilt. Set mixture aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk eggs, salt and pepper, cumin and chili powder. Add in 1 tbsp milk or nondairy milk if desired.
- Layer cooked vegetables on top of quinoa, then pour egg mixture over the vegetables. Some of the egg mixture will sink, but there should be a relatively even layer on the top.
- If desired, layer cheese on top of egg mixture.
- Bake 30-35 minutes, checking after 20. When cooked through, eggs should be solid.
- Cool 2 to 3 minutes before slicing. Edges will pull back from pan after the bake cools.
- Serve immediately, or package in foil or containers for later. Can be refrigerated for up to 5 days.
Photos by Ana Stanciu11