It used to be that the meatless eater had to “make do” a lot at social gatherings or meals. Meaning that most people assumed their guests were all carnivores, and so a vegetarian often had to patch together a plate with salads and side dishes.
But things have changed. More folks are following diets of all kinds, but not in the sense of losing weight. Vegetarian almost seems old-fashioned alongside vegan, gluten-free and raw foods, to name a few.
The hospitable host always asks these days in consideration of those they want to feed well and feel welcome.
When we hosted an overnight girls-only card party at my house recently, it revealed that even among family members, there’s a variety of eating preferences, including vegetarian. One branch definitely has a sweet tooth — witness the appearance of Little Debbie cakes and a bowlful of candy, Halloween-style.
But breakfast casseroles were the order of the day the next morning. Originally we planned two, one with meat and one without. But the meatless one was so “meaty” with vegetables, eggs and cheese that only one was needed.
And we plenty of delicious leftovers for a light supper and/or breakfast the next day.
So the recent request for meatless breakfast casseroles from a James Island reader hit home. I’m glad to have a casserole to recommend along with the other recipes readers shared.
Sydney Delanty of Mount Pleasant stepped up to share her recipe. “My favorite breakfast ‘go-to’ casserole happens to have no meat,” she says.
Maggie’s Chile Egg Casserole
Loaf of French bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
3 cups grated cheese of choice
2 to 3 small (4-ounce) cans green chiles
2 cups milk
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Dash of chili powder
1 tablespoons prepared mustard
Mist a 9x13-inch pan with nonstick cooking spray and cover bottom with 2 layers of bread cubes. Cover with the cheese and then with the green chiles.
In a bowl mix the eggs with the milk, seasonings and mustard. Pour mixture over bread. Let sit overnight. Bake 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes. Let sit 10 minutes before serving.
Carol Dotterer of Charleston proposes a fritatta for a meatless alternative.
1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large Yukon Gold potato, peeled and thinly sliced
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary or 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
1 teaspoon fresh thyme or 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons shredded cheese
Saute onion in oil in an 8-inch ovenproof skillet until tender. Remove with a slotted spoon and keep warm. Arrange potatoes in single layer over bottom of pan.
Whisk eggs, seasonings and onion in small bowl; pour over potatoes. Cover and cook for 4 to 6 minutes or until nearly set.
Uncover skillet. Broil 3 to 4 inches from the heat for 2 to 3 minutes or until eggs are completely set. Sprinkle with cheese. Let stand 5 minutes. Cut into wedges.
Now for the recipe from the card party morning-after. Here’s the original, but see the editor’s note afterward for how we tinkered with it for size and flavor.
Mexican Brunch Bake
Makes 1 (13x9 inch) pan
3 cups frozen hash browns
1 cup frozen corn
1 (19-ounce) can black beans, rinsed
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
21/2 cups Kraft Habanero Heat Shredded Cheese
11/4 cups milk
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Combine first 5 ingredients in 13x9-inch baking dish sprayed with cooking spray; top with cheese.
Whisk remaining ingredients until blended; pour over hash brown mixture. Refrigerate overnight.
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Bake casserole, uncovered, 55 minutes to 1 hour or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
Editor’s note: Because I wanted to make sure I had enough for my crowd, I increased the amounts of the veggies and eggs. I also used a deep 9x13-inch pan to ensure it could hold it all and wouldn’t spill over.
Instead of frozen hash browns, I used a refrigerated brand, Simply Potatoes Shredded Hash Browns. One 20-ounce package would probably do, though we did about 11/2 packages.
I cut kernels off of two ears of fresh corn, which also produced more than 1 cup, more like 11/2 cups.
For the peppers, we roasted 2 poblanos and 1 red pepper that we had on hand, then chopped them. We also added in 2 cans of chopped green chiles.
For the cheese, we just used Monterey jack.
We increased the eggs to 12 to be sure to have enough for the extra veggies, and boosted the milk to 11/2 cups.
For the seasonings, we added in a teaspoon or so of salt and a teaspoon of smoked paprika.
Because we had a cilantro-adverse eater, we left the cilantro out of the recipe and served it instead as a garnish at the table.
Who’s got the recipe?
Looking for more: An office colleague is interested in recipes for lower-calorie apple desserts.
Reach Features Editor Teresa Taylor at food@postand courier.com or 937-4886.