Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Kale, Bacon, and Cheese Breakfast Casserole Recipe

It doesn't take a lot of bacon to add amazing flavor to this Kale, Bacon, and Cheese Breakfast Casserole.

(Updated with photos and recipe improvements August 2011.) I'm guessing that some of you faithful South Beach Dieters who subscribe to my blog might wrinkle up your forehead when you see the word "bacon" in the title of this Kale, Bacon, and Cheese Breakfast Casserole. Yes, I do know that bacon isn't really allowed on South Beach, and if you're one of those people who believes in following the absolute letter of the law you should use Canadian bacon or turkey bacon to make this dish.  But it only took four slices of pre-cooked bacon to make this taste delightfully bacon flavored, and I microwaved the bacon and blotted off every possible bit of the bacon fat that I could.  Definitely this would be what I call a "once-in-a-while-treat" but truly I'd have a hard time sticking to an eating plan where I couldn't eat bacon again for the rest of my life.  And there is a huge amount of uber-nutritous kale in the recipe, so I hope I can get a few points for that!

Originally this recipe was just for bacon and cheese breakfast casserole, which had been lounging around in the archives since 2005 without a photo.  I've been updating those old posts with photos for several years, but every time I thought about doing this one that bacon guilt got to me, and somehow I never made it.  Then I picked a bunch of kale from the garden today and had the idea of combining kale with the little bit of bacon and the low-fat cheese to make a recipe that's healthier, and in my opinion much tastier, than the original.  (The original recipe was for a large casserole with 18 eggs, and had more cheese plus green onions.  I like the new version better, but I'll leave the original printer friendly recipe link in case some of you liked the original version.)

I started with Kirkland pre-cooked bacon which has only 6 grams of fat in 2 slices; then microwaved it and blotted off the fat with a paper towel to make it even lower in fat.

Wash the kale and cut into thin crosswise strips.  (Stack up the kale leaves and  cut a pile of them at once to make quick work of the chopping.)

Heat some oil in a pan and when it's very hot, add the kale all at once.  (It will look like a huge amount of kale, but it wilts down very quickly.)

Cook the kale 1 or 2 minutes, just long enough to wilt it down.  (If you like your kale extra well-done, cook it a bit longer, but I like the kale to have a slight bit of chew in the finished dish.)

Put the wilted kale in the bottom of a sprayed casserole dish and top with the crumbled bacon.

Then top with 3/4 cup of grated cheese.  I used a mixture of four cheese Mexican blend and a blend called pizza cheese, both of which are low-fat cheeses.

Crack ten eggs into a bowl or large measuring cup, add salt, pepper, and Spike Seasoning if using, then beat eggs well with a fork.

Pour the eggs into the casserole dish and use the fork to mix the ingredients so the egg is well distributed.  (It will look like you need more egg, but trust me on this.)

Bake 22-25 minutes until the eggs are set and the casserole is starting to brown on top.  You can't really tell in this photo, but the center may puff up when the casserole cooks.  It will settle down when the finished casserole cools a bit.  Serve hot, with a dollop of low-fat sour cream if desired.

Kale, Bacon, and Cheese Breakfast Casserole
(Makes 4-6 servings, recipe created by Kalyn)

(Before you make this you may want to read Basic Instructions for South Beach Diet Friendly Breakfast Casseroles which has instructions for different sizes of pan and ingredient options for this type of breakfast casserole.)

1 large bunch kale (8 oz. sliced kale strips)
1 T olive oil
4 slices bacon, cooked very crisp, fat blotted off with paper towel, then crumbled
(I like to use precooked bacon and crisp it in the microwave for 3-4 minutes)
3/4 cup low fat grated cheese (I used a combination of Four Cheese Mexican blend and Pizza Cheese, both of which are low in fat)
10 eggs
salt to taste (I like Veg-Sal in this)
fresh ground black pepper to taste
1 tsp. Spike Seasoning (optional but good)

Preheat oven to 375F/190C. Spray an 8" X 8" glass or crockery casserole dish with nonstick spray.   Cook the bacon until it's very crisp, blotting as much fat as you can with paper towels.  (I like to use pre-cooked bacon, crisp it in the microwave, and then blot off the fat.)

Trim off kale stems, then wash the kale and spin dry or dry with paper towels.  (It doesn't have to be completely dry but shouldn't be dripping with water.)  Stack  up the kale leaves and cut in thin crosswise strips.  (I used small kale leaves from my garden.  If you're using a bunch of large kale leaves you might need to cut out the center rib.)

Heat the olive oil in a very large frying pan.  When the oil is hot, add the kale all at once.  Use a turner to turn the pile of kale until it's all wilted, about 1-2 minutes.  (If you want the kale very soft in the finished dish, cook it a minute or two more.  I like the kale to be slightly chewy.)

In the sprayed casserole dish, layer kale, crumbled bacon, and cheese.  Break eggs into a bowl or large glass measuring cup, season with salt, pepper, and Spike Seasoning (if using), and beat eggs well with a fork.  Pour the eggs over the kale-bacon-cheese mixture, then use the fork to stir gently until eggs are well-distributed in the mixture.  (It will look like you need more eggs, but trust me!)

Bake 22-25 minutes or until the casserole is set and the top is lightly browned.  (Don't worry if the center puffs up; it will settle down when the casserole cools.)

Serve hot, with a dollop of low-fat sour cream if desired.  This will keep at least a week in the fridge and can be reheated in the microwave.  Don't heat more than a minute or two, or the eggs will get rubbery.

South Beach Suggestions:
Even though bacon is not really permitted for the South Beach Diet I think if you use very crisp bacon with the fat blotted off with a paper towel, this is acceptable as a "once-in-a-while-treat."  You can also make it with Canadian bacon or turkey bacon if you want to follow the plan more strictly.

Ten More Tasty Breakfast Ideas with Kale and Eggs:
Artichoke, Kale, and Ricotta Pie with Eggs and Parmesan from Kalyn's Kitchen
Kale and Feta Breakfast Casserole from Kalyn's Kitchen
Red Russian Kale and Red Onion Savory Breakfast Squares from Kalyn's Kitchen
Red Kale and Cheese Omelet for Two from Kalyn's Kitchen
Pan-Crisped Greens with Eggs and Sweet Potato from Healthy Green Kitchen 
Kale and Ricotta Frittata from Jane Spice Recipes
Baked Eggs with Kale and Bacon from Use Real Butter
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  1. I would think you could use turkey bacon in this and get the same effect as regular bacon.

  2. This sounds so good and I'm like you I can't give up the bacon completely. I will definitely give this one a try.

  3. Hi Kalyn,

    I'm wondering if you can guessimate how many servings this makes (it's just me and the hubby and this seems like a lot). I'm also wondering if you've tried freezing this casserole and if so what were you're results.



  4. t-wan, the recipe says 8-10 servings, but you could definitely cut it in half if you used a smaller dish. I have frozen this type of egg casserole. It releases some water when it's reheated. It's not bad, but I prefer it not frozen. It will keep in the fridge for at least a week.

  5. I made this dish and I think I stirred the ingredients too much. The onions, bacon and cheese just floated on top of the egg and were not evenly distributed! Has this happened to anyone else?

  6. Anonymous, I've never had the cheese and other ingredients float to the top. That sounds like too much egg to me, but not sure what happened.

  7. I made this just last night but subsituted what I had onhand. I couldn't bring myself to use 18 eggs, so I did 9 eggs and 2 1/4 cups eggbeaters. I used andouille sausage instead of bacon, sauted with 1/2 yellow onion and some leftover asparagus.

    It was delicious! Everyone in the family loved it. It was a nice change from the meat & 2 veg routine of South Beach.


  8. Kale and bacon really do compliment each other. They're also great together in stir-fries!

  9. Diana and Miss T, Not surprised that I'm not the only one who has noticed that kale and bacon taste great together!

  10. Love the cheesy top of the casserole! How and with what can I replace the bacon in here, Kalyn?

  11. If you don't want bacon I might make Kale and Feta Breakfast Casserole. I'm not that familiar with meat substitutes, so I don't know what would sub for bacon.

  12. nothing tastes like bacon!

    moderation in life and all things

  13. Well Dave is moderation is the key, my bacon consumption is definitely pretty moderate!

  14. Bacon and kale - now that sounds like a fantastic combination of flavors!

  15. Dara, I just had some for a late breakfast and this may be my new favorite way to eat kale!

  16. This sounds like my favourite breakfast the past few weeks: a massive handful of kale, a slice of turkey bacon, a few egg whites, and low-fat cheese, all scrambled together. Delicious! I never even thought to make a casserole out of it, can't wait to try it!

  17. Kieran, your recipe sounds really healthy! I do think the flavors of bacon, kale, and eggs go so well together.

  18. I try not to post until I've actually tried a recipe but this looks so awesome I couldn't resist giving you a prebake shout out!!! Can't wait to try this!

  19. Hope you enjoy it as much as I have! I've had it for breakfast the past couple of days and am loving it!

  20. I can see I'm going to have to add kale to me garden next year. I've never seen it for sale here and I've been reading about it all summer. I'm intrigued.

  21. Katie, this is my first year growing the dark green kale, and I'm loving it. When you have it in the garden you can pick the leaves when they're fairly small, and they are so delicious.

  22. Anything with bacon is good. But i love that there is cheese and kale in this recipe. I will try this recipe out for sure!

  23. I just got a bunch of Kale in my organic food delivery and needed a recipe. This looks great; will have to try it!

  24. I'm always looking for ways to incorporate more kale in my cooking. This looks fabulous. I'll definitely make mine with bacon!

  25. Monica, me too and my garden is still exploding with kale so I'm still experimenting with it! Glad you like this idea.

  26. I recently drove 2 hours to get to a Trader Joe's store (our town is a bit lacking in the grocery department) and picked up 3 10 oz bags of prewashed, stemmed and cut kale. What a luxury, since I don't have a garden! This casserole was a fantastic use of one bag, but it only served 6 in our house of big eaters. I had pullet eggs from the farmer's market and had to use 13 because they're so small, but it was lovely.

  27. This looks so good! I have never tried Kale or even cooked with it so it will be interesting!! Thanks for sharing!!

  28. Kale is about the healthiest thing you can eat; it's loaded with nutrients. Hope you enjoy it in this!

  29. Just made this with mustard greens; so great with bacon! Maybe I'll actually try it with kale next time.

  30. Anna, glad you liked it. Thanks for letting us know it was good with mustard greens.

  31. S excited to try this in a few minutes, was looking for a recipe with these ingredients.

  32. Kalyn, I just had to come back and comment on this kale casserole. Its just delicious! I planned it for my main dish along w/a salad for my evening meal. My DH who is a very fussy eater who I thought wouldn't even taste it,ate half of it! I think the bacon did the trick for him after smelling it while I cooked. Just needed to let you know it was fab and one of our favorites now. Thanks as always.

  33. RJ, so glad to hear it was a hit, thanks!

  34. Has anyone tried making it ahead (putting together the night before) and then baking the next morning? Didn't know if putting all the ingredients together night before would change the texture or ruin it somehow...thanks!

  35. I haven't tried making it ahead, but I think I'd prep the other ingredients and then pour the eggs over in the morning if you want to make ahead.

  36. I tried making it ahead and thought it turned out great! I followed the recipe up until the baking step, then refrigerated overnight. In the morning I baked a little longer to make up for it being cold instead of room temp. My whole family loved it and I'm sharing the recipe with a friend! Thank you! I hope your arm heals quickly!

  37. Katie, thanks for letting us know that making it ahead worked so well!


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