A few weeks ago, in sharing a lasagna recipe, I mentioned that big, casserole-like dishes have been a meal prep time-saver for me lately. They’re more involved than other recipes, but once they’ve been prepared, they give me at least 4-6 extra portions of food. And they’re a nice way to break up my routine of soups and stews and bowls, which—though trusty allies throughout my whole internship year—are getting a little repetitive at this point.
I often get requests for make-ahead breakfasts in general, and savory make-ahead breakfasts in particular. I can relate well to the demand for this kind of recipe, since I’m always on the hunt for new ideas myself. I’m a big breakfast eater, and my early hours this year have made it difficult to eat breakfasts that are as satisfying as what I’m used to making at home, but also easy to transport to work.
This breakfast enchilada casserole doesn’t have to be eaten for breakfast, of course; it’s great for dinner, too, and I’ve enjoyed it at both mealtimes. But I’m a big believer in getting a nice bolus of protein at breakfast (bolus! Always a funny-sounding word when I put it into writing), and the soy curls in the recipe make that an easy task here.
Soy curls are one of my favorite plant-based proteins. They’re inexpensive, a whole food (whole, non-GMO soy beans are the only ingredient), versatile, and they make a vegan “chick’n” that’s about as good as any store-bought vegan meat you can find, only cheaper. They’re also low in fat and packed with protein, so perfect when a protein-rich morning meal is the goal.
It was my original plan to use layers of shredded vegan cheese in the recipe—pepperjack or cheddar—but I ended up forgetting to pick up any the week I made the casserole. I had plenty of cashew cream in my freezer, as I usually do, so I decided to use layers of homemade cashew cream instead.
It worked out just fine. The cashew cream definitely tastes less “cheesy” than a store-bought vegan cheese would, but it sort of melts into the vegan chick’n and greens while the casserole bakes, giving the whole dish a creamy texture. It’s an easy option if you make cashew cream regularly and have some at the ready, or if you’ve got a powerful blender at home.
If you’d prefer to use a vegan cheese, that’s fine, too, and you can just sprinkle some onto each layer instead of drizzling the cream. (Lately my favorite is the Violife brand.)
Aside from that, don’t let the name of “casserole” fool you. This couldn’t be easier to put together. If you like to make your own enchilada sauce and want to use it, go for it; I used the store-bought stuff for convenience, and the whole dish was assembled in about 20-25 minutes, including the time it took to make the soy curls. It’d be even quicker if you prepared them in advance. Here’s how to do it!
Vegan Chick’n Enchilada Breakfast Casserole
Servings: 6 servings
- 1 8-ounce bag Butler foods soy curls (purchase online or through Amazon)
- 4 cups boiling water
- 1 vegan bouillon cube (chicken flavored works best, but herb/vegetable is also fine)
- 2 tablespoons tamari
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 5 ounces baby spinach (substitute chopped leafy greens of choice, or frozen and chopped leafy greens of choice)
- 12-15 6-inch corn or flour tortillas (12 fit my casserole dish perfectly; you may wish to have a few extra on hand)
- 2 15-ounce cans or jars of red enchilada sauce (substitute 3 heaping cups of homemade enchilada sauce)
- 1 heaping cup cashew cream
- chopped fresh avocado and cilantro leaves/stems, for topping
First, prepare the chick’n style soy curls. Place the bouillon in a large, heatproof bowl. Bring the water to a boil. Pour it over the bouillon cube, then add the tamari, smoked paprika, and onion powder. Stir everything well, then add the soy curls. Cover the bowl and let it sit for 10 minutes. Drain the hydrated soy curls in a colander, pressing them gently to help remove as much moisture as you can. You can prepare these in advance and store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. They can also be frozen for up to 6 weeks.
Preheat your oven to 375F and lightly oil the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch baking dish. Pour one can (1 1/2 cups) of enchilada sauce into a large, deep skillet. Bring to a simmer over medium low heat. Add the prepared chick’n style soy curls and the baby spinach. Heat and stir until the spinach has wilted.
Pour 1/2 cup of enchilada sauce (from your remaining can) onto the bottom of the casserole dish and spread it around into a thin layer. Layer 4 tortillas over it (for my dish, I could layer three in a row and then cut an additional fourth in half and used it to cover space at the sides). Layer 1/2 of the chick’n/spinach mixture over the tortillas. Top with 1/2 cup enchilada sauce and drizzle with 1/2 cup cashew cream. Cover this layer with another 4 tortillas, the remaining chick’n/spinach mixture, another 1/2 cup sauce, and 1/2 cup cashew cream. Top with 4 more tortillas, then pour about 3/4 cup sauce on top of these, spreading the sauce evenly to cover the casserole. Transfer the dish to the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the top is darkening and the sauce is bubbling.
When the casserole has cooled for about 10 minutes, you can top it with chopped avocado and fresh chopped cilantro. Cut into 6 pieces and serve!
This recipe was inspired by a non-vegan version from my friend Ali. If you check out her post, you’ll get instructions on making homemade enchilada sauce, if you’d like to. I’d put this recipe into the “semi-homemade” category as it is, but preparing sauce from scratch will definitely give it a more wholly homemade feel.
Greens, protein, some starch from the tortillas: this is a breakfast formula that satisfies me and keeps me going happily till my morning snack. I haven’t always had breakfasts like this as an internship student; I’ve had more squares of baked oatmeal than I can count, sometimes a double dose of the whole meal muffins from Power Plates, sometimes toast if I can eat at home. Lately, it’s been microwaved oatmeal at work. But when I have the option of something savory and hearty and protein-dense, like this, I’ll always take it.
Enjoy, friends, and see you later this week.
Simple Ginger Cinnamon Baked Apples
It is still very much winter here in New York, which means that warm and cozy breakfasts are the name of the game. At the moment, cooked fruit is very appealing to me (baked bananas, warm blueberry sauce…you get the idea). These simple, baked gingery apples are my new favorite topping for oatmeal and toast, and they’re versatile enough to serve as a healthful dessert, too.
You can use any type of apples to make this recipe, but I was lucky enough to try Ambrosia apples for the first time. Ambrosias are quickly becoming prized for their sweetness, crispness, and beautiful bi-color exterior. They’ve got a honey-like flavor and aren’t very tart, which makes them especially nice for sweet recipes and treats.
Even though the Ambrosia apples are sweet, crisp and great to eat fresh out of hand, they’re also perfect for this baked apple recipe, which isn’t so different from making baked applesauce. I’d imagine it’s easy to make the recipe more or less complex: you could add a ton of different spices, add a little cornstarch to thicken it up, make it more or less sweet.
I’ve been using a ridiculously simple formula of 1 1/2 lbs peeled and chopped apples (you could leave the skin on if you wanted more fiber from the dish), a tablespoon of coconut sugar, a pinch of vanilla, a pinch of cinnamon, and two teaspoons of freshly grated ginger root. The ginger is adjustable: more or less would be just fine.
When I first made the apples, I used cornstarch, but I’ve found that the texture is just right without any thickener; I start by baking them with foil, so that they get nice and juicy, and then I bake them uncovered for 10-15 minutes so that they thicken up. In the end, they have a perfect texture: thicker than applesauce, softer and more spoonable than a whole baked apple would be. Here’s the recipe.
Simple Ginger Cinnamon Baked Apples
These simple, ginger cinnamon baked apples are so easy to make and so versatile. They’re perfect on oatmeal or with a scoop of dairy free ice cream for dessert!
Servings: 4 servings
- 1 1/2 pounds Ambrosia apples, peeled and chopped into 1-inch pieces
- 1-2 tablespoons coconut sugar (or cane sugar)
- 2-3 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Preheat your oven to 350F. Lightly oil a medium sized square or rectangular baking dish (mine was 7 x 13 inches; 8 x 8 or 9 x 9 square is fine, too).
In a large mixing bowl, toss all ingredients together. Transfer the apples to your baking dish. Cover the dish with foil. Bake for 30 minutes. Give the apples a stir, then remove the foil. Bake for another 15 or so minutes, or until the apples are tender, golden, and the juices have thickened up a bit.
The apples are just perfect with warm oatmeal; that’s how I’ve been eating them the most often. But they also make for a nice, wholesome dessert, especially if you have a hankering for baked fruit but don’t particularly feel like making pie, crisp, or crumble. I like to serve them with a nice big scoop of vanilla vegan ice cream–yum!
If baked fruit isn’t your thing, or isn’t what you’re craving, the nice thing about the Ambrosia apples is that they naturally take longer to oxidize, so the freshness can be maintained for a while after the apples are cut or sliced. They’re great for fruit salad, or for serving to kids, who can be sensitive to the color of foods. You can learn more about the apples and how to enjoy them here!
I’m happy to have an easy, healthful way to sweeten and jazz up my breakfasts, desserts, and snacks. Speaking of which, a new week of my DI is in full swing, and I’d best get back to it. Till later this week!
This post has been generously sponsored by Ambrosia Apples from BC Tree Fruits, home of the original. The opinions and language are my own and in no way do they reflect BC Tree Fruits. Thanks for your support!
Tofu Scallion Black Bean Scramble
As I mentioned in Sunday’s post, baked oatmeal was my breakfast mainstay for the first four weeks of my current rotation. I have a few weekdays with long commutes, which means that a pre-cooked,
ready-to-eat breakfast was a lifesaver. Plus, it was often freezing in NYC, and something warm and sweet hit the spot.
I foresee plenty of baked oatmeals (or baked oatmeal cups) in my future before the winter is over, but I’m officially getting tired of the repetition. And I’m missing savory breakfast, which is, as most of you know, one of my favorite things.
A new tofu scramble to the rescue. It’s not actually new, because I was making it a lot this past fall. But it’s been a hot minute since I whipped up a new batch. There are countless tofu scramble recipes that I love and rely upon, but this one has moved pretty quickly to the top of the list. It’s super fast, super easy, and, because it features black beans and kale as well as tofu, it’s especially high in protein (around 20 grams per serving).
A protein-rich breakfast, as I’m continually telling (or hearing my preceptors tell) patients these days, can help to keep one fuller longer. Not something I have to give too much thought to when I’m working from home and can easily reach for a snack whenever I get nibbly. But it’s a serious consideration for me this year, with a schedule that includes long commutes, packed mornings of patient appointments, and not always being able to eat when I planned on eating.
The other special feature of the scramble, aside from the beans, are the scallions. They replace onions, which I usually add to my scrambles, and they’re perfect for my busy weekends of batch cooking because they cook through faster than onions do.
You’ll see that I also add a bit of tahini to the scramble; it sounds a little odd, but it’s a trick I learned from this scramble recipe years ago. It makes the scramble ever-so-slightly creamy (imagine soft scrambled eggs, vs. drier ones). And the healthful fat makes the scramble extra satiating, too. Here’s the recipe.
|Tofu Scallion Black Bean Scramble||
Author: Gena Hamshaw
Serves: 4 servings
- 2 teaspoons neutral flavored vegetable oil (such as grapeseed or
- refined avocado)*
- 1 small bunch (about 6-8) scallions/green onions, tops and white parts, chopped
- 1 15-ounce block extra firm tofu
- 1 tablespoon tahini (or cashew butter)
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons warm water
- ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
- ¼ teaspoon fine salt (more as needed)
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1½ cups cooked black beans
- 2 cups raw kale (or another leafy green of choice), chopped
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Heat the oil in a large, roomy skillet over medium high heat. When the oil is shimmering. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring frequently, or until the white parts of the scallions are tender.
- Whisk together the tahini, water, lemon juice, turmeric, and salt. Crumble the tofu into the skillet, breaking it into bite-sized pieces or smaller (this can be up to you: some folks like a chunkier scramble, others don’t—I’m in the latter camp!). Add the tahini mixture to the skillet, followed by the nutritional yeast, and mix well to incorporate. The tofu will turn a nice, golden color.
- Fold the black beans and kale into the scramble. Continue cooking for another 3-5 minutes, or until the kale is tender. Season the scramble to taste with extra salt and freshly ground pepper as needed. Enjoy!
This scramble is pretty simple, in so far as seasoning goes, but feel free to add garlic, smoked paprika, cumin, or other spices to your liking. The black beans can be exchanged for chickpeas, pinto beans,
kidney beans, or another legume, and if you’re running short on leafy greens, another chopped green vegetable will work well. I often use whatever frozen, chopped vegetables I’ve got at home in a breakfast
Sure, baked oatmeal is a fabulous make-ahead breakfast, but so is this: I usually make it on Sunday and enjoy it for the first three weekdays of a new work week. To serve, you can pair it with whole grain toast, an English muffin, corn tortillas, a whole grain, sweet potatoes or regular potatoes—plenty of serving options. If you’ve got some extra veggies to add, even better.
Wishing you a new week full of nourished mornings. I’ve got two weeks left at my current rotation; change is really the only constant this year! Thank goodness for grounding breakfasts.
Apple Berry Baked Oatmeal Cups
It’s no secret that baked oatmeal is one of my favorite, make-ahead breakfast options. I love warm oats, and for most of the last few years it’s been no trouble to cook them on the stovetop, traditionally. When I’m rushing out the door, though—and lately, that’s how mornings seem to go—simmering even rolled oats can feel time consuming (plus, there’s the saucepan to wash).
During my post-bacc, I relied on overnight oats nearly all of the time. In recent years, overnight oats haven’t been my preference except when it’s very, very hot outside: I’d nearly always rather have oats that are warm and a little denser than overnight oats. So, baked oatmeal to the rescue.
Last weekend I planned to make baked oats as usual, but with a twist: baking them into muffin tins, rather than a baking dish. This makes meal prep all the easier because everything is portioned out and ready to go. And the apple berry baked oatmeal cups look really cute, too 🙂
I love muffins and anything shaped like a muffin, but one of my challenges with muffin baking is that the muffin size always feels a little stingy. Lately I’ve been on the hunt for a larger sized muffin tin, which is why I’m happy I found McDonald Paper Company. It’s a local supplier that sells restaurant equipment, but also cutlery, cookware, baking supplies, parchment, kitchen and food prep tools, stainless steel food pans, storage items, and much more. And the site just happens to feature a six-cup muffin pan that’s roomier than usual. It’s a win-win for me: bigger portion size, fewer muffins (living on my own, having a dozen usually means shuttling extra to the freezer).
Years ago, when one of my closest friends was in culinary school, she advised me that restaurant supply stores are one of the best places to find a huge array of bakeware and cookware at great prices. I’ve visited a few here in NYC, often when I’m looking for a kitchen tool that’s offbeat, and now it’s great to know of an online option. In addition to the muffin pan, which I love, I got some of McDonald’s parchment paper for baking and for the many batches of roasted veggies I’ve been batch cooking each weekend!
As for the baked oatmeal cups, they’re stuffed with all of my favorite breakfast-y things: fresh fall apples, frozen blueberries, hemp seeds, flax, chia. They’re sort of a hybrid of this blueberry banana oatmeal bake and these oatcakes. They’re more portable than the former, less dense and dry than the latter, and probably my favorite recipe of this kind to date. Here they are.
|Apple Berry Baked Oatmeal Cups||
Recipe type: breakfast, snack
Cuisine: vegan, gluten free option, no oil, soy free option, tree nut free
Author: Gena Hamshaw
Serves: 6 large oatmeal cups
- 2½ cups rolled oats (certified gluten free if needed/desired)
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon ground flax
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds
- 2 tablespoons shelled hemp seeds
- 1 large apple, chopped (about 1 heaping cup)
- 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
- 1½ cups soy milk (or a non-dairy milk of choice)
- 1 cup applesauce
- Preheat your oven to 350F and spray or lightly oil a muffin pan (6 large cups is great if you have one like this, but you can also make smaller cups in a 12-cup pan—you’ll probably get about 10).
- Mix together the oats, salt, cinnamon, flax, chia, hemp, and fruits. Whisk together the milk and applesauce. Mix dry and wet ingredients. Scoop the mixture into your muffin pan, filling the cups all the way to the rim (these won’t rise). Bake for 35 minutes*, or until firm on the top and browning slightly at the edges. Allow oatmeal cups to cool before serving.
*If you use a standard muffin tin and have about 10 muffins, I recommend baking for about 20-25 minutes instead.
I’ve been serving the cups with some peanut butter and sliced apple, as you can see. They’re great with a banana and a squeeze pack of peanut and almond butter if you’re on the go (I confirmed that yesterday, when I had a particularly rushed morning). They’re also a great, filling snack option. If you’re especially hungry, a double portion is nice and hearty.
I’m sure I’ll be making these throughout the year, using different kinds of fruit and different seeds/nuts. Nowadays, with all of the schedule change that’s underway and all of the adjustment, having a comforting and familiar breakfast feels sweeter than ever. Enjoy—and happy almost Friday!
This post is sponsored by McDonald Paper Restaurant Supplies. All opinions are my own. Thanks for your support!
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