Anyone who knows me or reads my blog has probably heard me complaining about breakfast foods before. I love pancakes smothered in syrup, oatmeal, muffins, you name it – just not for breakfast. The idea of eating something sweet and bland makes me want to crawl back in bed and never come out. My favorite breakfasts are sushi rolls, reheated fried food, lasagna… leftovers basically. Savory and filling are what I’m after. Breakfast foods are meant for later.
After spying a puffy pastry breakfast dish in a book somewhere I got it into my head that it would be a great idea as long as I changed every ingredient they used. You know, normal stuff.
I bought a box of puff pastry sheets to have on hand when inspiration struck. And there they sat. For weeks. Then I finally decided that spinach would be the perfect start. I wanted something that at least looked healthy for breakfast despite the fact that I was sandwiching it between indulgent carbohydrates. And you know what goes great with spinach? Feta. Ooh and a little dill. And some nutmeg.
It was then I realized I recreated spanakopita. Oops.
Never one to be swayed from my cravings, I realized that spanakopita is not only exactly what I want first thing in the morning, but that maybe it needs to be tweaked ever so slightly to suit more tame morning palettes. A mouthful of onions, garlic, and salty feta is not everyone’s idea of a pick me up. So I decided to do what I love best which is taking two ideas, smushing them together and winging the rest. In this instance, a filled puff pastry square with my favorite spinach-cheese bake pan omelet.
Tone down some of the more robust spanakopita ingredients, add a bit more eggy casserole and BAM! Spanakopita Brunch Bake. Flavorful spinach inside and buttery-cheesy puff pastry on top. My mom, a notorious breakfast abstainer, even ate some and loved it. You can take that to the bank.
If you want even more “breakfast” in your bake, I’d love to hear how it turns out with some breakfast sausage thrown in. Add any combination of extra veggies you want. I like red pepper, but I bet some broccoli would be delicious too. Not a fan of brunch? This recipe easily transitions from morning to night, so you can have leftovers that taste like they were meant for dinner.
Spanakopita Brunch Bake
Serves 4 to 6
- 1 box frozen puff pastry (1.1 lb, 17.3 oz)
- 2 boxes frozen steam-in-bag spinach (9 oz each)
- 1/4 to 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
- 1/4 sweet onion, chopped
- 1/2 oz feta cheese, crumbled
- 1/2 cup cream cheese, softened
- 1-2 T lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp powdered garlic
- 1/2 tsp dill
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 3/4 cup milk
- 3-4 eggs
- 1-2 T butter, melted
- 1/4 Parmesan or grated hard cheese (optional)
- Salt & Pepper
- Set out puff pastry to thaw.
- Meanwhile, assemble ingredients. Cook the spinach according to instructions in the microwave. Chop your onion and cook over medium heat in a small pan until browned. Chop, measure, and crumble the rest of your ingredients. Once the spinach is cooked, put in a strainer and squeeze out as much water as possible.
- In one medium bowl, mix the spinach, feta, cream cheese, onion, bell pepper and lemon juice together. Season with salt and pepper to taste. The mixture should be relatively dry, so mix with your hands.
- In a separate small bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, powdered garlic, dill, nutmeg, cayenne pepper, and a little salt and pepper until well combined.
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- Once puff pastry is easy to unfold but still cold, you are ready to assemble. Spray or coat a 9 x 13 casserole dish and layer one of the puff pastry sheets. Mine did not completely cover the bottom but you can cut to fit or use a spare sheet if you want. You likely won’t need to.
- Spread the spinach mixture over the pastry, covering as much as possible. Pour the egg mixture evenly over the top – give the dish a little swish to cover everything. Then top with the remaining puff pastry.
- Brush the top with the melted butter and top with the grated Parmesan.
- Bake uncovered for about 45 minutes, until the pastry has puffed and turns a golden color over the entire top.
- Let cool for at least 20 minutes.