Fresh and Light: 12 Modern Breakfast Casseroles

I have a thing for breakfast casseroles. Part of this is shameless self-interest; I just finished writing a book on modern, updated casseroles, and out of all the recipes, I loved the breakfast casseroles the most! Self-promotion aside (the book doesn't come out until January) the process helped me remember afresh how wonderful a breakfast casserole can be. It will feed you for days, it is often easily transportable, and it can be prepped ahead of time. Here are a dozen fresher, more modern breakfast casseroles that would make wonderful weekday meals for you and yours. Now, the designation of "modern" to casseroles is of course subjective. You might think all casseroles are by their very nature traditional and old-fashioned, and in some ways yes, they are. They are also a very good way of using up what you have. Whisk a few eggs together with some leftover cooked vegetables and a handful of whatever cheese is lying about, and bake. Presto! Casserole.

Overall, though, what I mean by modern is lighter, fresher, and more digestible than the sausage and cream affairs of Christmas morning. I love rich, heavy casseroles, but I don't find them terribly practical for daily eating. I don't want something very greasy or fatty every day, as it puts me into a food coma immediately. So most of these casseroles below follow my personal inclinations and aren't loaded with cream, three kinds of meat, or cups of sugar.

Most of these do include eggs, but most call for low-fat milk or cottage cheese instead of richer cheeses or cream. Again, there's nothing wrong with such delicious treats — I just don't want them every day.

TOP ROW
1 Zucchini and Green Chile Egg Breakfast Casserole - From Closet Cooking. Everything I love in a breakfast casserole: A little heat, a lot of vegetables, and yet so simple. (Just five ingredients!)
2 Zucchini and Asparagus Strata - From Joanna here at The Kitchn. Another vegetarian casserole, made with leftove bread or dinner rolls. So pretty, so green!
3 Breakfast Casserole Recipe with Spinach, Leeks, Cottage Cheese, and Goat Cheese - From Kalyn's Kitchen. Easy, and very green. (Sense a theme?) Also, Kalyn is very good at creating recipes for the South Beach diet, and this is one of those.
4 Herbed Zucchini and Feta Quiche with a Brown Rice Crust - Another recipe from Closet Cooking. I'm fascinated by the brown rice crust, which adds another whole grain to the mix, and a new texture, too. I want to play around with this soon!
5 Smoked Salmon and Potato Breakfast Casserole - From Bon Appétit. A casserole is also a good place to use a little of an expensive ingredient, and have it go a long way. I love smoked salmon but rarely buy it. A casserole like this is a good way to stretch a small packet into a few meals.

MIDDLE ROW
6 Kale and Potato Gratin - From Sara Kate here at The Kitchn. Yes, you might think of this as a supper side dish, but why not breakfast too? My husband adores leftover casserole with egg on top, and you could do the same to this. Or just eat it as is!
7 Marmalade French Toast Casserole - From Cooking Light. Casseroles aren't just for using up leftover vegetables; this one uses up the last scraps of jam and marmalade. You can even mix flavors!
8 Savory Breakfast Casserole - From Cooking Light. Another light casserole, made primarily with egg whites, and with vegetarian sausage.
9 Italian Brunch Casserole - From Southern Living. Love the vibrant, summery flavors in this one.
10 Corn Strata - From Inn Cuisine. The combination of whole grain bread and corn in this one is very appealing.

BOTTOM ROW
11 Garden Vegetable Crustless Quiche - From Cooking Light. A good reminder that any quiche can be baked up with less time (and calories) by leaving off the crust.
12 Breakfast Tortilla Strata - From Cooking Light. Casseroles don't have to depend on bread or rolls; try using other bread-type things in your cupboards. Tortillas, noodles, even taco shells, can be layered into something you can grab for breakfast.

OK, your turn! Do you have a favorite casserole you enjoy for breakfast? Have a recipe to share?

Related: Clearing the Pantry? Make a Free-Form Pasta Casserole

(Images: Kevin of Closet Cooking; Joanna Miller/The Kitchn; Kalyn of Kalyn's Kitchen; Kevin of Closet Cooking; Mark Thomas/Bon Appetit; Sara Kate Gillingham-Ryan; Becky Luigart-Stayner; Leigh Ann Ross/Cooking Light; Karry Hosford/Cooking Light; Southern Living; Inn Cuisine; Randy Mayor/Cooking Light; Becky Luigart-Stayner; Lydia DeGaris-Pursell/Cooking Light)

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