Breakfast has always been my favorite meal, but most breakfast recipes include lots of gluten, dairy and meat; all items I was looking to reduce in my diet. I looked for healthier alternative recipes but found very few in the breakfast category with those restrictions. An occasional GF muffin or fruit cup is always nice for breakfast, but I also wanted to incorporate more vegetables and protein… which is not always easy.
The recipe I came up with is based on the concept of avocado toast, (which we all love!) but minus the toast and replaced with the polenta cakes. For those of us avoiding gluten and looking for alternatives to bread, the polenta is a welcome idea.
After many months of playing around with ideas, I came up with not only amazingly healthy, but an incredibly tasty and hearty breakfast. This breakfast has it all, 3 vegetable sources (spinach, avocado, corn), protein, herbs, and as a result some nice subtle flavor that pairs well with breakfast drinks such as coffee, orange juice or tea. I feel great, energized and full after eating this meal, which I eat almost every day!
The egg cups are baked with spinach, the avocado is mashed with chives, and I give instructions for making the polenta patties (the batter makes about 20 cakes which can be frozen). The polenta takes time to make, but since it makes big batches, you can make it ahead of time. It’s worth it. The meal can be made easily in the morning in less than 20 minutes! If you are rushed for time you can purchase the slice-and-bake polenta here.
I make this recipe with dairy substitutes with the use of almond milk, Daiya dairy-free shreds and vegan butter, but you can certainly make it with dairy options. The recipe is gluten-free, as long as you make sure to use items clearly marked as being without gluten or gluten-free.
Eggs with Mozzarella and Spinach, Avocado and Polenta Gourmet Breakfast
Note: These instructions are for making one serving of egg on a polenta patty; the instructions for the polenta makes about 20 patties.
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp almond milk
- 1/8 cup fresh baby spinach
- 1 tbsp Mozzarella cheese (optional) (I use Daiya dairy free mozzarella style shreds)
- 1 small avocado
- 1/2 tbsp chives
- Salt and pepper
- Polenta Corn Grits
- 3 tbsp Butter (optional)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Spray the inside of the ramekin with olive oil spray.
- Crack an egg into a small oven safe cup (These 4-ounce ramekins are the perfect size) and scramble the egg with a fork.
- Add a pinch of salt and pepper, 1 tsp almond milk and scramble again.
- Cut baby spinach into small 1/2″ pieces and place into the cups with the mozzarella cheese.
- Place in oven and cook for about 18 minutes, or until cooked thoroughly inside.
- Wash the avocado with soap and water. Cut the avocado lengthwise, remove the pit and then peel away the skin.
- Place avocado halves into a bowl, cut into small pieces and then mash with a fork.
- Add the chives, salt and pepper and mix thoroughly.
(Follow manufacturers instructions on package for prepping “Basic Italian Polenta”, not the cereal. The process takes about 30 minutes to get thick enough to be made into patties) (I use Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Polenta Corn Grits – make sure it says “Gluten-free” as some of the varieties are not)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Once your polenta is prepared, scoop it onto a lightly greased baking pan. Spread it out onto the pan and then roll flat with a rolling pin. Roll the patties about 1/2″ thick.
- Allow to set up for about 20 minutes.
- Cut the slices (I use a pizza cutter) into pieces about 2.5″ square.
- Wrap each slice in a wax paper sheet and then a piece of aluminum foil sheet, place in a freezer-safe plastic bag and place in the freezer (store for several weeks).
- Cook the polenta cakes for about 10 minutes if thawed, or 18 minutes if frozen.
- Spread the avocado mash onto the warm polenta cake, then add the egg cup on top.
- Top with a sprig of fresh basil
- Make a “fried” egg by placing the egg into the ramekin and not scrambling it
- Add a variety of herbs to the egg or avocado for flavor, including onion powder, dill, or parsley.
- Add herbs or spices to the polenta batter like onion powder, parsley or a pinch red pepper flakes if you enjoy a bit of spiciness.
- You can also add more fiber and nutrients to the polenta batter by adding a couple of tablespoons of flaxseed meal or chia seeds.
- Add thinly sliced meats such as ham or flat sausage patties in between the layers for added protein.
- Add even more veggies by putting a slice of Kale in between the layers, you will barely taste it but it will add nutrients.
- Substitute any cheese (cheddar, pepperjack) for the mozzarella.
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