Pear, Fennel, and Sage Sausage Breakfast Casserole with Sweet Coconut Cream and Walnuts
Breakfast is probably my absolute favorite meal of the day. I could eat eggs every morning for the rest of my life and never get tired of it, and I'm so lucky that eggs for me have never been an issue! Those people weren't kidding when they named it the "incredible, edible egg"--it's got so many health benefits, and YES that includes those yolks people! Don't believe me, just read the book "Eat the Yolks" by Liz Wolfe, it'll blow your mind. But I'm not here to argue the health benefits of eggs, just the taste benefits. I love them, but to be honest, the same ol' same ol' can get a little boring, which is why I love a good breakfast casserole. You can prep this big guy on the weekend, and have portions of it all week for breakfast in the morning (or if you're like us, you can eat it all in one day...(yeah, you heard that right..ONE DAY).
One trend you might have noticed in the last few weeks is that I don't think I've had a recipe go up that isn't a mixture of sweet and savory. I seriously cannot get over the combination of fruit and vegetables or meat, which I really think is just because of my pregnancy sweet tooth right now..it is legit insane. So not only am I making up all the desserts, but even my normal meals have some element of sweet in them, and #sorrynotsorry. I'm sure things will return to their regularly scheduled program once this kiddo arrives, but for now, just bear with me and enjoy the sweet bounty!
There are a few things about this casserole I want to point out before you begin. #1) Fennel. This guy, fennel, is fast becoming one of my new favorites, but the thing is a lot of people can be super intimidated by it, and rightly so. It's a GIANT THING in your grocery aisle that looks like a cross between celery and onion, but has HUGE leafy fronds coming from it. When I bought mine, I couldn't fit it into a grocery bag, and it looked like I was about to cook up a giant fern for dinner. Don't let this deter you my friends! The fronds and stalks are really fragrant and are best used for stocks or salads, but the bulb for me is where it's at. Without going into too much detail, google "how to cut a fennel bulb" and a nifty Martha Stewart video will pop up showing you precisely how it's done. NBD. #2) Yes, you can sub white onions for red, sweet potatoes for red potatoes, spinach for arugula etc....but just know that then it becomes something pretty different and I can't guarantee the taste results! #3) If you use a smaller pan, you may want to half the batch or lengthen the cooking time, but we love large casseroles, so we used a 10x15 and it came out perfect. #4) Garnishes, as always are optional, but I highly recommend the coconut cream, walnuts, and diced pears on top....it takes this casserole to a whole other level, especially if you're using it for entertaining the family. They'll seriously think you're some kind of chef, and all will leave impressed my friend. #5) Follow the dang instructions for coconut cream. Make sure you refrigerate it overnight, DON'T shake it, and you'll be just fine. Coconut milk poured over your casserole will just not be a good look, trust me on this one. So there you have it peeps, check it out and let me know how it goes!
1 cup fennel, diced (the bulb, not the fronds)
1/2 cup red onion, diced
1 cup red potatoes, diced
1 lb breakfast sausage
3 tbsps fresh sage, chopped
1-2 large handfuls of baby arugula
1 1/2 cups fresh pear, diced
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 can full-fat coconut milk, refrigerated overnight
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup diced pears
honey for drizzle
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Lightly grease a 10x15 casserole dish.
- In a large pan, heat 3-4 tbsp olive oil, coconut oil, butter, or ghee until melted.
- Over medium high heat, saute potatoes until slightly softened. Add in fennel and red onion, and saute until slightly softened as well.
- Add in sausage and cook until no longer pink, stirring periodically to ensure vegetables do not burn.
- Just before meat is completely cooked through, add in sage, salt and pepper and cook to completion.
- In a large bowl, beat eggs. Add in sausage mixture, arugula, and pears. Stir to combine.
- Cook in oven for 25 minutes or until eggs have set.
- While casserole is cooking, prepare coconut cream by removing the can from the fridge and turning it upside down. DO NOT SHAKE CAN. Open the can, and drain the water that will be on top (you can discard this or save it for smoothies or sipping). Scoop the cream out of the bottom of the can into a small bowl and stir with a spoon until creamy. Keep cream in fridge until ready to serve.
- After casserole has been removed, cool for 5-10 minutes. Cut into squares and top with a dollop of coconut cream, walnuts, and diced pears. You can optionally add a sweet honey drizzle if you'd like.