Indulgent Smoked Salmon and Bagel Breakfast Casserole

Good thing it’s Friday, because I’ve got an incredibly Indulgent Smoked Salmon and Bagel Breakfast Casserole to rock your weekend!

A hearty dish of Indulgent Smoked Salmon and Bagel Breakfast Casserole is delicious, easy to assemble and sure to feed a crowd at brunch!

That’s right, I’ve taken just about everything that goes into your favorite bagel breakfast – we’re talking cream cheese, chives, smoked salmon, the works – and turned it into a tasty casserole that will feed a crowd. I mean, what’s not to like about that?

To be honest, I’ve been wanting to make something along the lines of an Indulgent Smoked Salmon and Bagel Breakfast Casserole for a looooong time, but have been struggling to find just the right excuse to make it – or enough people to feed it to. So when my Santa Barbara Foodie Gals decided it was time for our first picnic of the warm weather season, and a brunch picnic at that, I knew it would be the perfect opportunity to test this recipe out on a critical yet incredibly appreciative crowd.

One little piece of this Indulgent Smoked Salmon and Bagel Breakfast Casserole is all you need at brunch to start your day off on the right foot!

We opted to hold our season opener of a picnic at the Santa Barbara Mission Rose Garden, which is probably one of the most beautiful open, public spaces you’ve ever seen. It’s our favorite spot for picnics, with a large, open grassy area framed by a lush rose garden and our own historic mission, which still functions as a church today. If you’re ever in the Santa Barbara area and looking for some scenic spots in addition to your eating and drinking, this Rose Garden (along with the Santa Barbara County Courthouse, home to the Sunken Gardens) are not to be missed.

We had quite the spread at our SB Foodie Gals get-together, and my Indulgent Smoked Salmon and Bagel Breakfast Casserole was a huge hit (although not the only star of the show as quiche, mimosas and donuts were also in attendance.) Needless to say, I got the approval on the recipe so I’m super excited to share it with you today!

There's quite a bit of deliciousness in a hearty slice of this Indulgent Smoked Salmon and Bagel Breakfast Casserole!

You know I’m the hugest fan of balanced living and whole foods eating whenever possible, so you should also know I’m not messing around when I call this dish indulgent. Gluten, dairy, cheese, CARBS – we’ve got it all in this bad boy, hence my emphasis on enjoying it only once in a while, in great company. It’s a dish that can serve a crowd, so it would be the perfect addition to an otherwise balanced brunch menu. In fact, a fresh fruit salad and crudité platter would be the perfect accompaniments!

I roughly based this Indulgent Smoked Salmon and Bagel Breakfast Casserole recipe on my savory bread puddings, however I increased the quantities of certain things to account for the crazy absorption rate of the bagels (and to make it a bit more egg-y and “breakfast-like.”)

When it comes to bagels, feel free to use whatever flavor you prefer to pair with your lox. I used a combo of onion and pretzel, but I also think everything bagels, rye, salt or even plain would be just fab here.

A boatload of bagels form the base of this tasty smoked salmon breakfast casserole, perfect to serve a crowd for brunch!

Also, I baked the casserole pretty much right after I assembled it, but I’m venturing to guess that prepping it a little bit in advance (maybe even the night before?) might be a VERY smart idea. After all, after everything is mixed together and loaded in the casserole dish, your Indulgent Smoked Salmon and Bagel Breakfast Casserole is pretty much “set it and forget it,” and who doesn’t want that when you’re trying to entertain a crowd?

This Indulgent Smoked Salmon and Bagel Breakfast Casserole is the perfect make-ahead dish to serve at your next brunch!

Indulgent Smoked Salmon and Bagel Breakfast Casserole
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
45 mins
Total Time
1 hr
 

This make-ahead casserole is loaded with bagels, smoked salmon, cream cheese and all your other favorite bagel toppings, and is perfect to serve a crowd!

Course: Breakfast
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 9 bagels (your choice of flavor), cubed
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, cubed and softened to room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan cheese, plus 1 additional cup for topping
  • 12 eggs
  • 1 cup milk of your choice
  • 1/4 red onion, diced
  • 4 ounces smoked salmon, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives, plus 1 additional tablespoon for topping
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Pour melted butter into a 15-quart baking dish and turn to coat dish. Set aside.

  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients (except the 1 cup of Parmesan and 1 tablespoon of chives for topping.)

  3. Pour mixture into prepared casserole dish and sprinkle 1 cup grated Parmesan over top.

  4. Bake in 400 degree oven for 30-45 minutes, or until eggs are fairly set (they may continue to cook a bit after removing the casserole from the oven so don’t fret if they’re still a tiny bit runny.)

  5. Let cool slightly and sprinkle on additional tablespoon of chopped fresh chives before serving.

Ahi Poke Pineapple Bites with Avocado Mousse

I don’t think you understand how excited I am to bring you these Ahi Poke Pineapple Bites with Avocado Mousse today!

Ahi Poke Pineapple Bites with Avocado Mousse are the perfect healthy appetizer for your next get-together.

If you know me at all, you know that poke is one of my absolute favorite foods, and it seems to be right up there on your list of favorites, too. My Spicy Poke Bowls are the most pinned recipe on this site, after all, and this Spicy Beet Poke has become one of the most-requested dishes from some of my closest friends.

I’ve been dying to share these Ahi Poke Pineapple Bites with Avocado Mousse for MONTHS now, but I wasn’t about to share them when I couldn’t enjoy them (thanks, pregnancy!) Well, let’s just say that now I’m making up for lost time and ahi poke in any way, shape or form has once again become a weekly staple in my diet.

I love these flavorful little bites because they combine so many of my OG foods in one bite – poke, pineapple AND avocado? I mean, it doesn’t get much better than that.

Ahi Poke Pineapple Bites with Avocado Mousse are both gluten-free and dairy free!

So let’s chat a little bit about the three different components that go into making these tasty appetizers..

The pineapple is the easiest part. I cut into a fresh piña because they are plentiful here in CA even in the winter, but if you live somewhere that’s not the case, you can even use canned slices. The important part is to get the wedges as thin as possible so the juicy pineapple flavor doesn’t overwhelm all of the other deliciousness we’re getting to next.

Speaking of – the next step is perhaps the most important part: the poke! You know the old saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” so I stuck with the basic recipe I’ve used for the other poke dishes on this site. When I made this dish to photograph I left out the spicy sambal oelek, but I must say that there would be absolutely nothing wrong with adding some in to the mix to give the poke a little extra hit of flavor.

And, the third and final step – avocado mousse! Guys, I don’t know why I’ve never ventured down this path before but I kind of feel like I’ve just opened the door to a whole new world of avocado usage. And it’s so easy! Just take ripe avocado, lemon juice and a touch of salt, throw it all in the food processor and – voila! – the creamiest, fluffiest, avocado-ness you’ve ever tasted.

A tray of Ahi Poke Pineapple Bites with Avocado Mousse is sure to be the star hors d'oeuvres at your next party!

I mean, how can you hate a healthy appetizer that contains THE best healthy ingredients (IMO) on the planet? Pineapple, avocado, ahi – I’m looking at you.

Okay, I have to admit that there is ONE more special touch that I think would really take these Ahi Poke Pineapple Bites with Avocado Mousse over the top…and that special touch comes in the form of CRUMBLED MACADAMIA NUTS. I was seriously kicking myself for not thinking of this before I shot the recipe, so please, please PLEASE do me a solid and sprinkle some over top when you make ‘em. And then invite me over 🙂

Ahi Poke Pineapple Bites with Avocado Mousse
Prep Time
25 mins
 

These bite-size appetizers feature the best healthy ingredients - ahi, pineapple and avocado - and are both gluten- and dairy-free!

Course: Appetizer
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
For the poke:
  • 1.5 pounds sushi-grade ahi
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon white sesame seeds
  • 1/4 of a sweet onion, diced
  • Sambal oelek or sriracha, to taste
All other ingredients:
  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 pineapple, peeled and cut into wedges
Instructions
  1. Add all poke ingredients to a large bowl and stir to combine. Refrigerate until ready to use.

  2. Place peeled, ripe avocados, salt and lemon juice in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until no chunks remain. Transfer to a piping bag and set aside.

  3. To assemble the bites, scoop a small spoonful of poke onto each pineapple wedge, then pipe a dollop of avocado mousse on top. [And here is where you would also sprinkle on the macadamia nuts if you’re smart enough to use ‘em.] Serve immediately, before the avocado mousse has a chance to brown.

Five-Ingredient Smoked Salmon and Cucumber Roll-Ups

Let’s kick off the week with another easy appetizer recipe!

A tray of Five-Ingredient Smoked Salmon and Cucumber Roll-Ups will be a huge hit at your next holiday party!

I hope you all had a restful, relaxing weekend filled with lots of fun and holiday cheer. Ours was about as exciting as can be with a one-month old and was made even better by the enjoyment of these Smoked Salmon and Cucumber Roll-Ups, which I am officially dubbing the “it” easy, healthy recipe of the season.

That’s right, these Smoked Salmon and Cucumber Roll-Ups are incredibly simple to make, yet so full of flavor you’d never guess they’re actually one of the healthiest appetizers you can add to your repertoire in this month of endless get-togethers and celebrations.

Five-Ingredient Smoked Salmon and Cucumber Roll-Ups are an easy, healthy appetizer for any get-together.

Oh, and did I mention they only require five ingredients? That’s right! No special grocery store trips or endless hours slaving over the stove to whip up these delicious bites of heaven. You can grab everything you need at your neighborhood grocery store and have a beautiful tray of Smoked Salmon and Cucumber Roll-Ups ready to bring to your next holiday party in less than 20 minutes.

Speaking of those easy-to-find ingredients, here they are!

Cream cheese
Dried dill
Fresh chives
Persian cucumbers
Smoked salmon

See what I mean? Never been easier.

These Five-Ingredient Smoked Salmon and Cucumber Roll-Ups are the best holiday appetizer to make this year!

I think I’ve made it pretty clear why I love these tasty tidbits and want to make them for every occasion for the foreseeable future – they’re easy, healthy, composed of just a few ingredients and yet so full of flavor. Plus, I really missed my regular intake of smoked salmon when I was preggo with our baby girl so I’m making up for lost time 😉

I’m not going to keep you long today because, if there’s anything that’s a constant this time of year, it’s that we don’t have much spare time on our hands to sit reading blogs all day. There are more important things to do and people to spend time with!

But, in case you’re looking for a few other appetizer ideas to whip up this season, here are a few of my favorites from the archives…

These Bacon Wrapped Stuffed Dates

This Butternut Squash Crostini with Crispy Prosciutto and Sage

These Spiced Rosemary Bar Nuts

This Creamy Mushroom Pate

And these Prosciutto-Wrapped Pears with Creamy Blue Cheese.

Read on for the Five-Ingredient Smoked Salmon and Cucumber Roll-Up recipe!

Five-Ingredient Smoked Salmon and Cucumber Roll-Ups
Prep Time
15 mins
 

This easy, no-cook appetizer is full of flavor yet requires just five ingredients. It's the perfect healthy contribution to your next get-together!

Course: Appetizer
Servings: 30 pieces
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 8 ounces whipped cream cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried dill
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
  • 4-5 Persian cucumbers
  • 8 ounces smoked salmon, cut into 30 strips
  • 30 toothpicks
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl, mix together the whipped cream cheese, dill and chives until combined. 

  2. Using a vegetable peeler, peel the cucumbers lengthwise to form long, wide strips and lay out on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

  3. Spoon cream cheese mixture into a pastry bag and cut off the tip. Squeeze a line of the cream cheese onto each strip of cucumber. 

  4. Place a strip of smoked salmon on top of each cream cheese-lined cucumber and roll up the cucumber, securing at the end with a toothpick. Refrigerate until ready to serve!

 

Healthy Shrimp and Poblano “Enchilada” Quinoa Bake

Who’s ready for a delicious, healthy one-pan dinner??

This Healthy Shrimp and Poblano "Enchilada" Quinoa Bake is the perfect healthy, one-dish meal!

Meeeeeee!! Let me tell you, I’m all about the quick-and-easy meals these days. By the end of a long workday, all my eight month pregnant body wants to do is kick my feet up, watch TV and get a healthy, tasty meal brought to me in my brand new Pottery Barn Kids recliner. And if anyone wants to deliver this Healthy Shrimp and Poblano “Enchilada” Quinoa Bake to our door on any night of the week, we certainly won’t be complaining 😉

While we’re still working on the whole me not having to cook a thing part, the hubs has been great at at least helping out with dinner prep for the last few weeks. He’s a master at the grill, so we’ve been making most of our protein that way and then supplementing with either an easy salad or some sort of veggie. But every once in a while we crave something just a little fancier, and this quinoa bake is just the answer!

I can’t remember how it came to me, but a few weeks ago I suddenly got the urge to make some sort of Mexican-themed dish pairing shrimp and poblano peppers. I thought about it for a while, and wavered between making ACTUAL enchiladas, nachos or tacos. But then I thought about how NOT to complicate my life and instead make something that was (a) healthy and that (b) I could easily throw together and just pop in the oven. With the extra pop of protein it provides, a quinoa bake seemed like the perfect way to get the flavor combinations I was craving while also having a filling, delicious meal on hand in the refrigerator to heat up at a moment’s notice.

A Healthy Shrimp and Poblano "Enchilada" Quinoa Bake is a great one-pan, weeknight meal.

To be fair, if you count cooking the quinoa and making the cashew cream, this may not be considered a “one-pan dinner.” But, let’s be real, you really should have some cooked quinoa on hand at all times (meal prep Sunday anyone?) and if you haven’t yet tried your hand at cashew cream you are truly missing out on life. I’ve basically started using it in every recipe where I’m craving a creamy sauce and it is soooooo good you don’t even miss the cream. (See these Healthier Chicken Pot Pie Pockets, this Healthy (Vegan) Green Bean Casserole and this Curry Gnocchi with White Lamb Bolognese, for example.)

So here’s the scoop on how to make this life-changing Healthy Shrimp and Poblano “Enchilada” Quinoa Bake: First, make sure you have some cooked quinoa and cashew cream on hand. I recommend cooking the quinoa using vegetable or chicken broth to add an extra punch of flavor, and I’ve included my go-to recipe for cashew cream below for your ease and convenience (save it, make it, memorize it!)

After that, it’s just a matter of tossing all the ingredients together in a bowl, transferring them to a baking dish, topping with some cheese and popping the whole thing in the oven! The greatest thing about this Healthy Shrimp and Poblano “Enchilada” Quinoa Bake? It’s ready to devour in just 15 minutes!! Now that’s the perfect dinner if I ever saw one.

Healthy Shrimp and Poblano "Enchilada" Quinoa Bake ready for the oven!

And, although the hubs and I EASILY polished off at least half of the bake in one sitting, I also love the fact that it reheats beautifully, which means this preggo mama can have a delicious, healthy, protein-packed meal or snack at a moment’s notice.

What do you think? Have I convinced you yet? I double dare you to give it a shot this week. And, as always, be sure to tag @caligirlcooking in any of your creations so I can share them all over social media! Xo

A heaping scoop of this Healthy Shrimp and Poblano "Enchilada" Quinoa Bake is the perfect filling lunch or dinner.

Healthy Shrimp and Poblano "Enchilada" Quinoa Bake
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
35 mins
 

A healthier take on enchiladas featuring fresh shrimp and poblano peppers, a cashew cream sauce, cheese topping and plenty of flavor!

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
For the quinoa:
  • 1 1/4 cup dry quinoa
  • 2 1/2 cups vegetable stock
For the cashew cream:
  • 1 cup cashews, soaked at least 4 hours or overnight
  • 1 teaspoon nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup water
For the quinoa bake:
  • 2 poblano (or pascilla) peppers
  • 1/2 teaspoon each cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, cayenne and paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • Dash of pepper, plus more to taste
  • 10 ounces peeled and deveined shrimp, tails removed and cut in half (if large)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 of an onion, chopped
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Jack cheese
  • Cilantro and avocado, for garnish
Instructions
  1. Soak cashews in water overnight at least one night before you plan to make the quinoa bake. The next morning, drain the cashews and add them to a blender with the rest of the cashew cream ingredients. Puree until a smooth cream forms and set aside.

  2. You can also prepare the quinoa one day (or more) in advance of making the dish. Simply add the quinoa and vegetable stock to a medium saucepan, bring to a boil, reduce and cook for 10-15 minutes, or until all of the liquid has been absorbed by the quinoa.

  3. Once you have the cashew cream and quinoa prepped, the rest of the meal will come together in a flash. Using a gas grill or stovetop, hold each pepper with a pair of metal tongs and place over a medium flame until the skin is nicely charred. Remove from heat and destem and chop into bite-size pieces once cool enough to touch. Set aside.

  4. In a small bowl, mix together the cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, cayenne, paprika, ¼ teaspoon salt and dash of pepper. 

  5. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and get out a 3-quart baking dish.

  6. In a large mixing bowl, toss the shrimp with the prepared seasoning blend, then add the cooked quinoa, charred peppers, garlic, onion and tomatoes. Finally, add the entire batch of cashew cream you prepared in advance. Stir to combine. 

  7. Transfer quinoa mixture to the 3-quart baking dish and top with shredded Jack cheese. Place in oven and bake for 15 minutes.

  8. Garnish with fresh cilantro and sliced avocado and enjoy!

Healthy Shrimp and Poblano "Enchilada" Quinoa Bake | CaliGirlCooking.com

Mediterranean Sea Bass over Summer Roasted Vegetables

It’s summer time and the cooking is easy!

A close-up view of Mediterranean Sea Bass over Summer Roasted Vegetables, featuring Frontier Co-Op's Oregano Leaf.
This post is sponsored by Frontier Co-Op.

At least that’s what we like to think, right? Memorial Day is behind us, which means we’re heading full-throttle into warm weather eats. And what better way to #SpiceUpSummer than with top-quality herbs and spices?

Today I’m partnering with Frontier Co-Op to bring you this incredibly fresh and delicious Mediterranean Sea Bass over Summer Roasted Vegetables, which I can guarantee is going to become one of your go-to meals over the next few months. It’s loaded with the best in-season flavor – Frontier’s own Oregano Leaf, tons of lemon juice and a touch of cayenne pepper – and since it uses just one dish, it’s incredibly easy to whip up on any night of the week with minimal cleanup. If you ask me, there’s no better way to #CookWithPurpose, one of Frontier’s main initiatives this summer.

I love working with Frontier Co-Op because of this very message. To them, it’s all about working together to create sustainable, high-quality products that bring people together through delicious food. And you know I’m all about that!

Beautiful Mediterranean Sea Bass over Summer Roasted Vegetables made with Frontier Co-Op's Oregano Leaf. The perfect one-dish meal for summer!

Herbs and spices are some of the best tools we can use to accomplish this. They add so much incredible flavor to a recipe for very few calories, which makes healthy, delicious cooking easier than ever. They’re also perfect for those hot summer days when you want to pull together a wholesome, nutritious meal with minimal time spent slaving away over the stove or in the kitchen.

This Mediterranean Sea Bass over Summer Roasted Vegetables most definitely falls into the quick-to-make/easy-to-cleanup/loads-of-flavor category. All it takes is a half-hour marinade for the fish, 20 minutes in the oven, and a tableful of hungry people.

An overhead shot of Mediterranean Sea Bass over Summer Roasted Vegetables featuring Frontier Co-Op's Oregano Leaf.

I opted for sea bass for this particular recipe because it looked the best at the store, but you can really use any firm white fish. Just make sure all of your filets are about the same thickness so they cook evenly in the oven.

The sea bass (or whichever fish you opt to use) gets marinated in a tasty blend of Frontier Co-Op Oregano Leaf, fresh garlic, lemon juice and olive oil. This imparts all of those delicious flavors throughout the filets, so you get all of the deliciousness in every single bite. Plus, since we’re working with fairly delicate fish, it only needs a half-hour marinade. Because when we’re trying to #CookWithPurpose, we don’t want to waste away an entire evening waiting for our dinner to be ready!

Once you have the sea bass part of your Mediterranean Sea Bass over Summer Roasted Vegetables ready to go, prepping the vegetables is easy. Feel free to use your creative license here, but I opted for zucchini, red baby potatoes and fresh corn. Oh, and shallots, because shallots make everything better. The “do” for these is even easier than the marinade for the fish. We’re bathing our veggies in a simple dressing of olive oil, more oregano, salt and pepper. It really doesn’t take much when we have all of those amazing flavors going on with our fish.

We give the vegetables a little head start in the oven to make sure they have time to cook all the way through, then we add the sea bass for the last 12-15 minutes. It won’t take long for all of the delicious smells from the Oregano Leaf and lemon juice to start wafting through the house, so it’s a good thing you won’t have to wait too long before enjoying!

Individually plated Mediterranean Sea Bass over Summer Roasted Vegetables featuring Frontier Co-Op's Oregano Leaf.

What are your favorite warm weather recipes featuring herbs and spices? How are you going to #SpiceUpSummer this year?

Mediterranean Sea Bass over Summer Roasted Vegetables
Prep Time
40 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
1 hr
 

The perfect, healthy, one-dish meal featuring fresh sea bass and summer's best produce, with tons of zesty Mediterranean flavor.

Course: Main Course
Servings: 4 servings
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
For the fish:
  • 4 pieces of sea bass filet (about 1 1/2 pounds total)
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Frontier Co-Op Oregano Leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon Frontier Co-Op Cayenne
For the vegetables:
  • 4 baby red potatoes, thinly sliced
  • 2 zucchini, cut into thin disks
  • 3 ears of corn, shucked and kernels cut off the cob
  • 1 large shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Frontier Co-Op Oregano Leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
Instructions
  1. Combine sea bass and all other marinade ingredients in a large, resealable plastic bag, making sure the marinade covers the fish fairly evenly. Place bag in refrigerator to marinate for about 30 minutes.

  2. Preheat oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.

  3. Next, prep the vegetables. Toss all vegetable ingredients together in a large casserole dish. Once oven is preheated, place vegetables in for 5-10 minutes.

  4. Remove vegetables from oven (do not turn off oven) and place the marinated sea bass filets over top. Return casserole dish to the oven and bake for another 12-15 minutes, or until the sea bass is cooked through. Serve immediately.