Monday, January 23, 2012

Breakfast Casserole Recipe with Spinach, Leeks, Cottage Cheese, and Goat Cheese

Breakfast Casserole with Spinach, Leeks, Cottage Cheese, and Goat Cheese
This Breakfast Casserole with Spinach, Leeks, Cottage Cheese, and Goat Cheese is a fabulous breakfast for Phase One!

(We're almost in the final week of the  Month of Daily Phase One recipes and I didn't want to miss this breakfast casserole from January 2010, which is one of my favorite breakfast casserole combinations.  It does have ingredients which some people might not have on hand, but trust me, this is worth putting a few items on your shopping list!)

I can tell there are a lot of you who are either getting started on the South Beach diet or going back to Phase One for a diet tune-up like I am, because over the weekend a lot of people were using the new Index of South Beach Diet Phase One Recipes. I'm thrilled people are finding it helpful, because I did work hard to get it ready for the new year. Whenever I'm back to Phase One, either a breakfast casserole like this or South Beach friendly Egg Muffins are my usual breakfasts. Either of those can be made on the weekend and kept in the fridge all week, ready to be heated in the microwave for an easy breakfast before work.

I've posted quite a few breakfast casserole recipes, and they're easy to improvise, but last January I wrote Basic instructions for South Beach Diet friendly breakfast casseroles that you might want to read if. That post has instructions, dish sizes, and cooking times for different sizes of breakfast casseroles. The casserole in these photos was made in an 8 inch X 8 inch square dish, which makes six small-serving breakfasts for me, but if you're cooking for more people, just make a larger size. If leeks and goat cheese don't sound like your thing, no worries, check the recipe for other suggestions.

This recipe uses this type of goat cheese that comes in a log. It's an acquired taste to be sure, so if it's a taste that you haven't yet acquired, just use cream cheese, Feta, or even more cottage cheese. If you're using goat cheese, cut off a 3-4 oz. piece and put it in the freezer when you begin the recipe so the cheese is well-chilled when you need to crumble it.

Rinse the cottage cheese with cold water and let drain, leaving the curds to use in the recipe.

Cut off the root end and dark green part of the leek, then cut into fourths lengthwise and slice into thin pieces. Leeks are usually dirty, so I washed the sliced leeks in the salad spinner and spun them dry. (If you don't want to buy leeks I would use green onions or red onion.)

Heat the olive oil and saute the leeks for 3-4 minutes, then add the spinach leaves and saute for 3-4 minutes more.

While the leeks and spinach are cooking, lightly beat the eggs with the Spike Seasoning and black pepper.

Take the goat cheese out of the freezer and crumble it as finely as you can.

Spray the casserole dish with non-stick spray, then layer the leek-spinach mixture, cottage cheese, and goat cheese.

Pour the beaten eggs over the veggies and cheese, then use a fork to stir slightly so the vegetables and cheese are well-distributed in the eggs.

Bake at 375F/190C for 20-25 minutes, until the eggs are set and the casserole is lightly browned. The casserole will be puffed up a little when you take it out, but it settles down as it cools a bit.


Breakfast Casserole with Spinach, Leeks, Cottage Cheese, and Goat Cheese
(Makes 4 large or six small servings, recipe created by Kalyn. You might want to read Basic instructions for South Beach Diet friendly breakfast casseroles if you'd prefer to make this in a larger size.)

Ingredients:
1 leek, white and light green part only (or use green onion or red onion if you don't want to buy leeks)
2 tsp. olive oil
5-6 oz. baby spinach leaves, washed and dried if needed
10 eggs, lightly beaten
1-2 tsp. Spike Seasoning (or use any other all-purpose seasoning that tastes good with eggs)
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste (Spike has salt, so I only used pepper)
1/2 cup low-fat cottage cheese, rinsed with cold water and drained well
3 oz. soft goat cheese, crumbled (the one I used had 7 grams of fat per ounce, could substitute low-fat cream cheese, Feta, or more cottage cheese for the goat cheese)

Instructions:
Cut a 3 0z. piece from a log of goat cheese and put in the freezer to chill while you prep other ingredients. Preheat oven to 375F/190C.

Measure 1/2 cup low-fat cottage cheese, put in a fine strainer, and rinse with cold water. (If you prefer not to rinse the cottage cheese I think it would just make it a little creamier, but I always rinse.)

Cut off the root end and dark green part of the leek, then cut into fourths lengthwise and slice into thin pieces. Leeks are usually dirty, so I washed the sliced leeks in the salad spinner and spun dry.

Heat olive oil in a frying pan with tall sides, then add leeks and saute 3-4 minutes. Then add the spinach leaves and saute 3-4 minutes more. While vegetables are cooking, lightly beat the eggs with Spike Seasoning, salt and pepper. Remove the goat cheese from the freezer and crumble it as finely as you can.

Spray a 8" x 8" casserole dish with nonstick spray. Spread spinach/leek mixture in the bottom of the dish, then layer on cottage cheese and goat cheese. Pour egg mixture over, then use a fork to gently stir so the veggies and cheese are evenly distributed in the eggs.

Bake 20-25 minutes, or until eggs are set and lightly browned. The casserole will puff up slightly as it bakes, but will settle down when it cools for a few minutes.

Cut into pieces and serve hot. I eat this with a dollop of low-fat sour cream.

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South Beach Suggestions:
Low-glycemic breakfast casseroles like this are perfect for any phase of the South Beach Diet, but they're especially great for Phase One. Whatever combination of ingredients you use, be sure to use low-fat cheese.

More Ideas for South Beach Diet Friendly Breakfast Casseroles from Kalyn:
Breakfast Casserole with Mushrooms, Green Bell Peppers, and Feta
Zucchini and Green Chile Breakfast Casserole
Southwestern Egg Casserole
Breakfast Casserole with Sweet Italian Sausage, Mushrooms, and Cheesecounter customizable free hit

71 comments:

Maria said...

I love cottage cheese, it is a great source of protein for me. This is a great breakfast casserole-protein and veggies. Perfect! Stunning photos too:)

MmmCheese said...

Awesome - such perfect timing for the inevitable January 1st resolutions! :) Looks SO good.

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

I love the idea of making the casserole into muffins. It's instant portion control!

kellypea said...

We'd love this for dinner -- especially after a busy day at work when I don't feel like spending a lot of time in the kitchen. Great combo of flavors -- especially the goat cheese & spinach.

T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

Not just for breakfast - I like these kinds of casseroles to reheat for a quick supper.

Connie said...

Love cheese. It makes ANY diet dish edible. :)

Joanne said...

I love all of your different breakfast casserole combinations. This one seems better than all the rest. Delicious.

Lea Ann said...

I'm a big fan of crustless quiche dishes. Great combination of flavors. Thanks for the recipe.

Veggie Belly said...

this looks like a very delicious meal. i love spinach!

tobias cooks! said...

great for a brunch!

Elyse said...

Love the recipe - what kind of casserole dish do you use?

Kalyn said...

Thanks everyone for the nice comments about this. I agree, this was one of the best breakfast casserole combinations I've tried. Definitely this could be used for brunch or a light dinner too.

The casserole dish I used is an 8"x8" Le Creuset crockery casserole dish I splurged on once when I had a gift certificate! Perfect size for me, and I really like the dish!

Susan said...

I'm been lurking and enjoying your recipes for some time now. Any that I have tried have always been very flavorful and tasty. You and your recipes are the main reason that I choose the South Beach diet. I need to lose between 15 and 20 lbs. and have decided today is the day. The library provided the book, which I read yesterday, and I stopped on my way home from the gym this morning to buy supplies. Now I can’t wait to try your great breakfast casserole recipe. Wish me luck!

Kalyn said...

Susan, congratulations on starting by reading the book! I always recommend doing that so you understand the science behind which foods are permitted for the various phases. The latest book (South Beach Diet Supercharged) has more food choices, hope you got to see that one!

A Year on the Grill said...

I was mildly interested in this til you got to the muffin idea... What a great idea

Now I am loving this

Carrie said...

This is exactly the type of recipe I was looking for. Well actually I was looking for a quiche recipe, but this is actually what I wanted I think. Thanks Kalyn!

Cookin' Canuck said...

Kalyn, you are the queen of breakfast casseroles. Every breakfast casserole you have featured makes my mouth water and this one is no exception.

Katerina said...

Leeks and Goat Cheese? Done and Done. Despot that I am not doing South Beach :)

oneshotbeyond said...

it sure looks pretty!

jomke said...

looks deeelish, thinking about making this with what vegetables and cheese i have in the fridge. have you used herbs de provence instead of spike? it just includes a mixture of savory, fennel, basil, thyme, and lavender. no chemicals, lots of flavor. however, maybe some extra dried onion and garlic flakes would give it an extra punch

Anonymous said...

My Sunday School class usually has 'snack' and this would be a great alternative to the usual sausage biscuits & gravy sort of fare. Thanks! I can't wait to try this. :)

Kalyn said...

Year on the Grill, the "Egg Muffins" are very handy if you're rushed in the morning. I like to use the individual silicone baking cups, which makes them even easier to eat in the car!

Carrie, thanks. This is very quiche-like but no crust or heavy cream.

Dara, thanks! I do think this is one of my best ones, loved the leeks in it.

Katerina, I'm pretty sure you'd like it even if you weren't on a diet!

One shot beyond, thanks!

Jomke, if you like herbes de provence on eggs, I'm sure it would be good in this, and I think the idea of adding a bit of dried onion and garlic flakes is a good one too if you're not using Spike. Spike is a great savory blend with lots of flavors, so it has a bit of everything in it.

Anonymous, I bet it would be a hit.

Stina said...

this is such a great resource - my husband and i are starting south beach together, and have already made some of your recipes for dinner. delicious! we can do it!! thanks for having this blog. it is literally a life saver!

Kalyn said...

Stina, thanks! Of course I love hearing that.

PJ said...

oh, this is just wonderful! I have got to try this one.. if I were to substitute majority egg whites for the eggs (leaving a yolk or two may be), you think that should work in this recipe, right? Thanks for sharing!

Kalyn said...

PJ, can't see why it wouldn't work just fine to use mostly egg whites in this. Let me know how it turns out.

You'll Eat It said...

This looks delicious! I am going to have to try this one out pronto.

Kevin said...

I could certainly go for this for breakfast in the morning!

Sue said...

This can be listed as a gluten free recipe as long as the seasonings used are safe. I'm going to try this one out so I can eat it for several mornings. I have a newborn and making my breakfast is nearly impossible!

Kalyn said...

You'll Eat It and Kevin, thanks! I'm just about to eat some myself.

Sue, I read somewhere that Spike is not gluten-free, but I'm not 100% sure.

Amy said...

O my gracious! Here is another I must try!!

KALYN! Girl, I am so excited to find your recipe blog!! Yay!!

Thankyou so much!

Amy

Kalyn said...

Amy, so glad you're liking the blog!

Lanie said...

YUM! I linked to this in my Friday Favorites!

http://laniejandco.blogspot.com/2010/01/friday-favorites-jan8-2010.html

~Lanie

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

You reading my mind again here ... spinach and goat cheese ...
This is most beautiful. Like you I love making up a casserole like this for breakfast -and why not lunch &/or a light fast supper - all week!

Bryant said...

I confess - I am one of those men who cannot just follow a recipe without doing some tweaking, so here's the tweak, so to speak: didn't have leeks, used green onions, didn't have goat cheese, used feta. Feta just seems to say "marinated artichokes" to me, so I added 6 or 8 quarters and then for good measure tossed in some chopped tomatoes and a 1/4 cup of bruschetta. Really good, but next time I will back off on the feta cheese - a little of that goes a long way!

Kalyn said...

Bryant, I have to laugh because I'm exactly that way about recipes! I think that's what makes cooking fun. Your additions sound really good though, although I agree that Feta can get pretty potent in a dish like this.

Anonymous said...

I JUST made this (eating a slice as I type!) I used 10 egg whites and 5 whole eggs to lower the fat a little bit. I used Friendship cottage cheese which is very dry, so no rinsing required. I didn't put in the full amount of goat cheese because it just looked like so much but I wish I had just gone ahead! The cheese is the best part.

If anyone is interested, I calculated 240 calories, 12 g fat, 7 g carbs, and 25 g protein based on 4 servings.

Anonymous said...

Do you ever do calorie, fat, carb, protein counts, etc? I am still watching these and it is difficult to break down some recipes, i.e. the great breakfast ideas you have just shown us. Thank you.

Kalyn said...

I chose the South Beach Diet to manage my weight partly because I didn't want to have to calculate points, carbs, calories, etc. If you need that information you will have to calculate it yourself.

TechSkirt said...

Just made this (forgot the leeks - so I used green onions) and it smells delicious!!! I had to bake it for 33 minutes though to get the right texture.

I'll be tasting it tomorrow morning. Yum! Thanks for all of the recipes!

Janeen said...

Oh Ms. Kalyn, you are my hero! Thank you for posting such amazing recipes. I will be making this tonight for tomorrow's breakfast. I can't wait to try it. I'm 4 days in to the South Beach Diet and I am really enjoying looking at your site for inspirations for new recipes. Keep up the good work!

Kalyn said...

Janeen, so glad you're enjoying the recipes.

Anonymous said...

is it possible to make this the night before serving??
if kept in the refrigerator overnight and simply put into oven the next morning, will this turn out just as well?

Kalyn said...

I haven't done it that way, but I'm guessing it would work. It would be best to let the ingredients come to room temperature before cooking it if you had time.

Anonymous said...

I lately came across your web site and have been reading many posts of yours. I just thought I'd add a fast comment and let you know that you've got a really nice weblog. I'll watch out for updates from you!

Corinna said...

The flavor combos in this are fanastic. Thanks for another keeper, Kalyn!

Kalyn said...

Corinna, glad you enjoyed it.

Cookin' Canuck said...

This is a winner for certain, Kalyn. The cottage cheese is a wonderful addition - an extra burst of protein and flavor.

Zesty Cook said...

Happy (belated) New Year, Kalyn! This caught my eye this morning because of the leeks--I've been experimenting a lot with them in the kitchen lately! My last creation was a leek and potato soup, but this may have to be my next one :)

bhamgirl said...

This looks like a perfect breakfast casserole!

Becky at VintageMixer said...

This sounds fabulous!! I'm not a huge eggs-for-breakfast gal but when you add all of my favorite ingredients I'm sure I would love it! Hope you are doing well. I've missed seeing you over the last few months!

Kalyn said...

Thanks Dara. I love sneaking a little cottage cheese in there!

Zesty, Happy 2012 to you too! I really love leeks.

bhamgirl, thanks!

Becky, I miss you too! Hope we see each other soon.

Doren said...

I love the look of this and have been experimenting... alternating between frittatas and your breakfast casseroles... have used leeks with spinach before (and feta cheese) and it's a great combo. Right now I have a lot of kale, so I'm thinking of making this with kale substituting for
spinach, but I have always disliked cottage cheese, and wondering what I might substitute for it... low fat cream cheese?

Kalyn said...

I'd probably just leave out the cottage cheese. I have a breakfast casserole recipe on the blog with Kale and Feta cheese that I love!

Jamie said...

Diet or no diet, this looks fabulous! Husband's been making a lot of cheesy, rich gratins lately and this may make an equally delicious but lighter change. Love anything with goat cheese in it, too.

Kalyn said...

Jamie I like the way the cottage cheese lightens it up but the goat cheese still adds great flavor!

jocdom said...

Thanks for all the great recipes. Just finished making this one and it's awesome! I think next time I'll add some artichokes too! Also, loving all the veggie recipes! They're keeping me on track in phase 1. There's only so many times a girl can eat steamed broccoli before it gets boring.

Kalyn said...

I do like the idea of adding artichokes to this. Glad you are enjoying the veggies!

Pat Machin said...

We don't have 'breakfast casseroles' over here - at least, we didn't! I made this with butternut squash instead of spinach as I didn't have any and wanted to cook it NOW! You were duly linked as my source. Thanks. I love your blog.

Kalyn said...

Thanks, glad you are enjoying the blog!

Sarah Marie said...

Yum!!!! Kalyn I first found your blog when my friend pinned your "Avocado & cucumber & mint" salad a few weeks ago. I should start by saying that I am NOT one who likes to cook - I only made salads and protein shakes in the past...but the salad looked easy enough. So I tried that. Then I was browsing through your blog and found a couple other recipes that didn't look too intimidating. And now I am having SO MUCH FUN trying out your recipes - they are delicious, and the fact that they're SB friendly is an added bonus. I just made this casserole and I am sitting here eating it and it is delicious as well. So thank you for your great recipes, and the way you present them on the blog, because they are easy to follow, even for a girl who could barely boil water a couple weeks ago. ;) Cheers!

Kalyn said...

Sarah Marie, I love hearing that! So glad you're having fun with the recipes.

RPI Colloquium 09 said...

Made this last night in prep for a couple Phase 1 breakfasts this week and OMG- it is absolutely delicious. Made a couple of subs you suggested based on what I had on hand- didn't strain the cottage cheese, used green onion, a great all-purpose veg. seasoning, chopped spin and neufchatel cheese. This will be added to the special breakfasts/brunches category in my cookbook! Thanks for the recipe!

Alisha116 said...

So, so good - a great way to start off Phase 1. The rinsing of cottage cheese to get the curds only is seriously genius!

Kalyn Denny said...

Thanks Alicia. I have no idea how I got the idea to rinse the cottage cheese, probably saw it somewhere, but I love the result.

Frustrated Momma said...

This was so very good. I made it for Sunday brunch and had leftover for this morning as well, it's also good microwaved the next day. I couldn't bring myself to buy goat cheese (too much $ for 1 meal) so used mozzarella as suggested in the recipe. I did not rinse and drain the cottage cheese, this was a mistake. I was worried I would lose too much down the drain, but I should have done it anyway.

Kalyn Denny said...

Glad you liked it.

Sarah Morris said...

Hi Kalyn!

I am hosting a brunch for my spin class group following our class Saturday morning. Is there a way I can make this the night before and top it off in the oven following spin class (when everyone is pouring their bloody marys and mimosas)?

Any suggestions and help is GREATLY appreciated!!!!

Sarah

Kalyn Denny said...

Hi Sarah,
I haven't tried cooking this ahead, and I think I would recommend doing all the preparation for the Breakfast Casserole the night before and storing the uncooked casserole in the fridge overnight. When you go to class, take it out and let it sit on the counter, so it can come to room temp, then cook when you get home.

If you don't want to wait that long to cook, you might be able to partially cook it the night before and then finish in the oven. I am afraid the finished version would be flat though, because it does puff up a little when it cooks and sinks down as it cools.

Have fun!

Kim McGowan said...

This was really good. I tried it with light feta, light cream cheese and light cottage cheese. I have to say the cream cheese was awesome in it. I think next time I will add a little more flavor to it with tomatoes and mushrooms. Can you freeze the finished product?

Kalyn Denny said...

Kim, you can freeze this type of breakfast casserole, but when it thaws, it does release some liquid and change in texture a little. I used to freeze them all the time, but now I prefer just to keep in the fridge and eat through the week.

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