While I was cruising the aisles at the market the other day, a box of frozen artichoke hearts jumped out of the freezer case into my shopping cart. (I'm amazed at how often that happens to me. Does it happen to you, too?) As is often the case, I didn't have a plan for them, but I had beautiful farm eggs and a chunk of feta waiting to be called to action, and the idea for this egg and cheese casserole came together in an instant. I'm a huge fan of protein-based breakfasts, and almost forgot to snap some photographs before I nibbled away too much of this dish. The salty feta doesn't overwhelm; rather, it balances the creamy, mild artichokes. The casserole (call it a crustless quiche, if you prefer) would be equally good for a vegetarian lunch or light supper main course. Using plain artichoke hearts -- not the marinated ones -- and steaming the vegetables in the microwave keeps the casserole lower in fat, without sacrificing any flavor.
Egg and cheese casserole with artichoke hearts and feta
1 small onion, diced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1 9-oz box (approximately 2-1/4 cups) frozen artichoke hearts, mostly defrosted, roughly chopped
8 large eggs
2 Tbsp milk (I use nonfat skim milk)
1-1/2 cups shredded cheese (I use store-bought low-fat Italian four-cheese blend, or mozzarella)
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp fresh black pepper
Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray a casserole dish with cooking spray (I used a 12-cup glass casserole, but a smaller dish would be fine.), and set aside.
In a large glass bowl or measuring cup, combine the onion, bell pepper and artichoke hearts. Microwave on HIGH for 3 minutes. Remove from the microwave and transfer the vegetables to the casserole dish. Let them cool slightly while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs until slightly frothy. Add the milk, and beat to incorporate. With a rubber spatula, stir in the cheeses, oregano and black pepper.
Pour the egg mixture over the vegetables. Use the spatula to stir gently, bringing some of the vegetables to the surface.
Bake, uncovered, for 35-40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the casserole comes out nearly clean. Remove from the oven, and allow the casserole to sit for 5 minutes before serving.
Serve hot or at room temperature. When the casserole is completely cool, pack the leftovers into individual portions for breakfast during the week.
More recipes in The Perfect Pantry:
Broccoli, mushroom, egg and cheese breakfast casserole
Egg casserole with Italian cheeses, sun-dried tomato and fresh herbs
Egg and cheese casserole with leeks, red pepper and bacon
Egg and cheese casserole with chayote squash and green chiles
Kale, mushroom and caramelized onion breakfast casserole
Other recipes that use these pantry ingredients:
Sausage apple egg casserole, from $5 Dinners
Jalapeño and cheese breakfast casserole, from Homesick Texan
Sausage, mushrooms, and feta baked with eggs, from Kalyn's Kitchen
Baked egg breakfast casserole with mushrooms, spinach and salsa, from Cookin' Canuck
Sausage, artichoke and goat cheese egg bake, from The Kitchn
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