When I was a kid we lived directly across the street from the Lutheran church we attended. This had some advantages, and disadvantages, as well. I’m pretty sure we got to sleep later on Sunday mornings than all our friends because it took us like 30 seconds to get across the street to church! On the flip-side, however, we never got to skip church because of bad weather. I remember a few times when the only people in attendance were my family and the minister!
Now one thing you might not know about Lutherans is that they’re very serious about food! Everything from potlucks to banquets, funeral luncheons to breakfasts, and coffee & donut hour, are major opportunities not only for food, but for fellowship as well. When I was a kid one of the main fundraisers for our youth program was a breakfast served on Easter morning after Sunrise Service. This meal typically consisted of rubbery pancakes, greasy sausage, and greenish tinted (yuk) scrambled eggs that had sat in the roasting pans far too long! When my daughter was involved with the youth at our church the Easter breakfast had improved to point where the kids served donated egg bakes, baked goods, hot & fresh-off-the-griddle pancakes, and greasy sausage.
One year I baked 4 egg casseroles for Easter breakfast! That means I was up at 4am putting egg bakes in the oven to get them to church by 5:45!! And in an effort to maintain full transparency, I’ll admit that they were delicious, and I liked them…a lot….but they sure were not healthy! Basically, for those of you who might not know, an egg bake is bread, cheese, more bread and cheese, some ham, bacon, or sausage, and a sprinkle of vegetables in the form of a few onions or peppers. Once combined it sits in the fridge overnight so the bread can soak up all the egg and then it gets baked to golden brown and served piping hot out of the oven. See why I liked it?!?
So as delicious as the traditional egg bakes are, and as much as liked them, they no longer fit into my Cook Eat Be Healthy lifestyle. Now that doesn’t mean I want to give up the deliciousness that is an egg bake. All it means is that I was determined to find an alternative that was just as (or even more) delicious, but about 100 times more healthful! And my family had to approve of it as well!
First thing to go was the bread, but I needed an alternative that could work as the framework for my egg casserole like the bread used to. That’s when I thought of spaghetti squash….it works perfectly in this recipe! It allows the egg to fill in all around it and gives the casserole real substance and body. Then since I was going to eliminate the meat all together, I knew I had to add vegetables to compensate. This is where it gets really fun, and where you can let your imagination run away with you a little bit! I chose to roast asparagus, Roma tomatoes, red pepper, and baby bella mushrooms to put in my egg bake. I like roasting the vegetables beforehand so they’re not still too raw when the egg bake comes out of the oven.
Tip: I find the easiest way to cook spaghetti squash is to cut it in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds and squash guts, then place the halves, cut side down, in a 9 x 13 inch baking pan with about 1/2″ of water in the bottom. Roast until a sharp knife or fork is easily inserted into the squash. Remove from the oven and place the squash on a cutting board, cut side up, until cool enough to handle, then shred the flesh with a fork.
I start by roasting the spaghetti squash in the oven for about 45 minutes, then setting it aside until it’s cool enough to handle. If you’ve never cooked spaghetti squash before you’re in for a real treat! It’s absolutely one of my favorite vegetables as it’s rather a chameleon….it tends to take on the flavors of whatever its combined with. It has great texture, taste, and color! Once you’re able to handle the squash without burning yourself, you’ll take a fork and scrape the flesh out of the skin, and this is where it’s kind of like magic. It’s also where your kids will be so amazed by how “cool” it is, that they’ll be 100% excited to try it!
Once the squash was in the oven I prepared the rest of my vegetables by cutting each of the tomatoes into 8 bite sized pieces, then cutting the mushrooms into approximately the same size pieces. I cut the red pepper into strips, and the asparagus into about 2″ pieces. Those all got tossed with EVOO and a little salt and pepper, then poured onto a baking sheet and popped into the oven alongside the squash.
Once the squash and vegetables are roasted it’s a simple matter of whisking up your eggs, adding the seasonings, stirring in the squash and roasted vegetables, then pouring the whole bowl of goodness into a greased 9 x 13 inch casserole dish. Then I topped it with just a hint of Parmesan cheese and baked it until it was golden and the eggs were set – about 40-45 minutes.
Once the egg bake is removed from the oven I let it rest about 5 minutes then cut it into 8 generous servings. For this meal I served it as a dinner main dish with some Einkorn flour scones flavored with chives and a little more Parmesan. The recipe for the scones, which by the way were delicious, will be featured in my next post, so check back for that recipe on Tuesday! I’ve also served it as a brunch or breakfast dish along with fruit and muffins. And just so you know…the leftovers are fabulous too!
Yields 8 generous servings
A healthier and tastier version of an Egg Bake made with spaghetti squash instead of bread, and roasted veggies instead of meat!
1 hrPrep Time
45 minCook Time
1 hr, 45 Total Time
- 1 spaghetti squash, about 3 pounds
- 10 eggs
- 6 Roma tomatoes, each cut into 8 bite sized pieces
- 1 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
- 6-8 baby bella mushrooms, cut into bite sized pieces
- 1 pound of asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2" pieces
- 6 large basil leaves, cut into thin ribbons
- 2 tbsp EVOO
- 1 tsp salt, divided
- 1 tsp pepper, divided
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/2 tsp chopped garlic, or about 1 small clove
- 1/4 tsp dry mustard
- 1/2 cup real Parmesan cheese
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Prepare spaghetti squash for roasting by cutting in half lengthwise, scooping out seeds and center membranes, then placing cut side down in a baking dish with about 1/2" of water.
- Roast squash for about 45 minutes until it pierces easily with a fork or sharp knife. Remove from oven and set aside until cool enough to handle.
- While squash is roasting, prepare vegetables by tossing them with EVOO and 1/2 tsp each salt and pepper.
- Place vegetables on baking sheet and roast alongside squash until tender and caramelized, about 35 minutes.
- Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees.
- In a large bowl, whisk eggs until combined, then add basil, cayenne, mustard, and other half of salt and pepper, and stir until mixed well.
- Shred spaghetti squash with a fork.
- Combine squash and vegetables with egg mixture until well combined.
- Pour into greased 9 x 13" casserole dish, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, and bake at 375 degrees for 40-45 minutes, or until golden browned and eggs are set.
- Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes.
- Cut into 8 servings and enjoy as desired.
This is just as delicious enjoyed as leftovers!